It was just about a year ago that the first distillery to operate in Vancouver in a long time opened up on Hornby Street. Long Table Distillery kicked off an exciting year for fans of locally-produced spirits, with five other distilleries opening in the lower mainland, and bringing our total to 14 in the province.
I sat down to talk with founder and distiller Charles Tremewen to find out how the year went. I asked him what his biggest surprise was in the last year: "I have been amazed by how wonderful the fans are - once they recognize the products we produce. It's fantastic how appreciative people are of fine local spirits."
Long Table opened it's doors with a London Dry Gin and Texada Vodka, but has since added other products, including an aquavit, a cucumber gin, and peppermint mist. The year ahead promises more innovation. Charles plans to continue to grow his product base, explore more BC ingredients, and look to collaborate with BC growers and producers.
Another interesting question for me was how the addition of so many distilleries has impacted Long Table. "We're seeing a shift due to the synergy of a growing awareness in Vancouver of distilleries," Charles said. In this case, the competition appears to have been good for business. This gets at the heart of our purpose at BC Distilled, with the idea that a broader general awareness is good for the distilling community as a whole.
Long Table recently got another first under their belt, with the launch of their tasting lounge, something the provincial government recently allowed. Their first Gin and Tonic Fridays was held on Janruary 31, opening to a packed house, as well as a visit from Vij's Railway Express and Vikram Vji himself. This new option for distilleries promises to be a great way for fans to try the products and interact with the distillers -- we'll no doubt see Charles' colleagues follow suit in short order.
If you haven't yet, perhaps it's time to drop by, have a taste, and wish them a happy birthday. It's the first of a few birthdays fans of local spirits can celebrate in 2014.