BC Distilled 2019 Recap

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Audience Favourites

  • Absinthe: Alchemist Distiller, Summerland – Green Frog Absynthe

  • Akvavit: Sheringham Distillery, Sooke – Akvavit (winner 2017/18)

  • Amaro or Vermouth (Italian-style bitter liqueurs): The Woods Spirit Co, North Vancouver – Barrel Aged Pacific Northwest Amaro

  • Brandy or Eau de Vie: Merridale Cidery & Distillery, Cobble Hill – Cowichan Pear

  • Barrel-aged Gin: The Dubh Glas Distillery, Oliver – Noteworthy Gin | Barrel Rested (winner, 2018)

  • Flavoured or Infused Vodka: Taynton Bay Spirits, Invermere – Ginger Matcha

  • Liqueur (TIE):

    • Bruinwood Estate Distillery, Roberts Creek – Advocaat

    • Sons of Vancouver, North Vancouver ­– No. 82 Amaretto (winner, 2015/16/17) 

  • Gin: Sheringham Distillery, Sooke – Kazuki Gin

  • Other aged or white spirit: Resurrection Spirits, Vancouver – Resurrection White Rye

  • Rum: Sons of Vancouver, North Vancouver ­– Craft Coconut Rum

  • Vodka (TIE):

    • Ampersand Distilling Company, Duncan – Per Se Vodka (winner, 2016/17/18)

    • Wayward Distillation House, Courtenay  – Unruly Vodka

  • Whisky: Odd Society Spirits, Vancouver ­– Prospector Rye Whisky

  • Young Whisky (aged less than 3 years): de Vine Spirits – Ancient Grains (winner, 2018)

Survey Insights

There are some consistent trends in Audience Feedback – often they are things that are generally out of my control or that I’m not willing to change. If you’re really interested I encourage you to read last year’s recap, especially regarding food. I’m not going to comment very much, but will acknowledge your comments.

Things you’d like to see changed

  • More food … I am happy with the food balance, and don’t see it changing in the near future. The number restaurants we have and the amount of food they provide represents what a festival of this size can afford.

  • Food trucks — more, or less, or longer, or not at all. One comment on them: I don’t want the food trucks there they whole event. It’s a lot more difficult to manage the in and out traffic, and I’d have to pay them more (yes, I pay them to be there!).

  • Retail Store Inventory — The retail store got more comments this year than others — they ran out of some favourites rather quickly. I’m going to work with them to see if we can find a solution for next year. It’s somewhat challenging because there is a huge amount of inventory to manage, and we’re not always sure what you all will want MORE MORE MORE of in any given year.

  • The line up! This caught us off guard this year. It’s never been as slow as it was. I think the weather meant more jackets and bottleneck at the coat check. We will make changes next year to streamline it (ensuring a warm, sunny day).

  • Glassware — those of you who commented on your desire for better glassware obviously weren’t at the show two years ago for the NEAT glass fiasco. This comes down to cost, which is why I offer the option to purchase a Glenncairn glass. Believe it or not most years I do spend time trying to source better glassware, but usually don’t have luck finding the right balance of cost and design. Even renting ISO glasses would cost twice as much as buying and giving away our current ones.

  • Taxis — we called at least three times throughout the evening to try to get them there. Taxis in Vancouver … you all know.

  • Time — See last year’s comment. I still think three hours is enough, and any longer will risk overconsumption.

Things You Liked

  • Crowd size — I got a lot of feedbacl on the how much you appreciated that the event wasn’t overcrowded. I commented on this is last year’s recap so I’ll leave it.

  • Variety of distillers and products — Hey I get no credit for this. Distillers in BC are killing it!

  • Approach to ticketing / no tokens — I also commented on this last year. We’re staying the course on this.

  • Food — There were actually more positive comments than negative on the food availability (there are never any negative comments on the quality, only the number of restaurants). I think our restaurants did an amazing job this year, and a lot of you agreed. For the vegans/vegetarians … I actually offer a financial bonus to the restaurants to provide veggie food. It’s still not enough :)

  • PADS dogs – the puppies will return! Next year we’ll make improvements to the puppy lounge space. This year we raised over $8,000!

  • Presence of actual distillers / distillery staff – This is actually a requirement to participate in BC Distilled. Distilleries can’t just send agents/sales reps/friends. There has to be staff present. This will not change.

Final Notes

  • 43 volunteers helped with this event. How amazing is that?

  • Once again, South Peace Grain provided financial support for the festival. They are amazing supporters of the festival and of BC distilleries.

  • Next year, BC Distilled takes place on Saturday, April 4. Save the date!