Dining & Wine

Meet The Canadian Artisan Spirit Of The Year Winner

February 13, 2024

Results from the 2024 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition (CASC) have been announced, with the top overall scores given to The Fort Distillery for its Mountain Pass Whisky!

For the first time in seven years, a blind panel of judges from across the country awarded Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year to an Alberta-based distillery, amongst a field of nearly 300 entries representing more than 80 small-scale spirits producers from 10 different provinces and territories. Mountain Pass Whisky becomes just the second whisky ever to win the top CASC award.

“After many years of positive trends, it’s now clear that superior, world-class whiskies are being produced by artisan distillers in every part of the country,” says Alex Hamer, founder and executive director of Artisan Distillers Canada (ADC), which produces the annual competition. “Based in the city of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, The Fort Distillery has demonstrated they’re one of the bright new lights in the Canadian distilling sector. From their humble beginnings in 2018, they’ve signalled that Alberta’s artisan distilling community can now produce the calibre of mature products we’re used to seeing in places like B.C., Ontario and Quebec.”

The 2024 Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year is a single-grain whisky made from 70 per cent malted barley and 30 per cent corn, and aged for 40 months. According to the CASC judges’ notes, Mountain Pass Whisky features pumpernickel bread, fennel, root beer spices on the nose, with “flavours of malt, hot honey, salted pretzels, oak spice, citrus zest, and toast, and finishes spicy but juicy with fruity flavour.”

The 2024 CASC results were also notable for strong showings from two Quebec distilleries, which each came away with multiple Best in Class awards: Alpha Tango Spirits, based in Val-d’Or, won in the Flavoured Gin and Alternative Rum categories, and Distillerie Mitis, based in Mont Joli, was crowned for its Eau de Vie and Liqueur.

In addition to this year’s spirit and bitters sensory awards, CASC introduced Business and Community Awards to bring attention to the outstanding work Canada’s artisan distilleries are doing in their communities across the country.

Absinthe: Lore & Legends Distillery (QC) – Artemise
Aged Gin: Stillhead Distillery (BC) – Islay Cask Gin – Navy Strength
Alternative Rum: Alpha Tango Spirits (QC) – Moonlight Rum
Amaro or Vermouth: Compass Distillers (NS) – Bitter Aperitivo
Brandy: Maple Leaf Spirits Inc. (BC) – Lady of the Cask
Classic Gin: Fernie Distillers Inc. (BC) – Forager Spruce Tip Gin
Classic Vodka: Silver Devil Spirits (AB) – Silver Devil Vodka
Contemporary Gin: Ampersand Distilling Co. (BC) – Ampersand Gin
Contemporary Vodka: Northern Vintage Distillery Ltd (BC) – Tuesday’s Vintage
Eau de Vie: Distillerie Mitis (QC) – Acerum vieilli en baril
Flavoured Gin: Alpha Tango Spirits (QC) – Echo Foxtrot Gin
Fruit Liqueur: Maple Leaf Spirits Inc. (BC) – Cherry Liqueur
Infused or Flavoured Vodka: Wayward Distillery (BC) – Depth Charge
Liqueur: Distillerie Mitis (QC) – Entaille
Rye Whisky: Sons of Vancouver Distillery (BC) – Summer Road Trip Across the Midwest
Single Grain Whisky: The Fort Distillery (AB) – Mountain Pass Whisky
Single Malt Whisky: Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Whisky (YK) – Two Brewers Release 41 – Special Finishes
Traditional Rum: Ironworks Distillery (NS) – TEN
White Spirit: SFR Distillery (ON) – Poitín
Young Whisky: DEVINE Distillery (BC) – Ancient Grains
Bottled Cocktails: Compass Distillers (NS) – Barrel-Aged Negroni
Bitters: Ironworks Distillery (NS) – Cocktail Lab Spiced Apple Bitters

Tasting Room Destination Award: Bridgeland Distillery (AB)
Product Collaboration Award: Moonshine Creek Distillery & Moosehead Breweries (NB) – Community Spirit
Product Innovation Award: Odd Society Spirits (BC): Wild Thing Collaboration – Mushroom Whisky
Sustainability Award: Pivot Spirits Ltd (AB)
Community Engagement Award: Holocene Distilling Project (BC)

See the complete results in all categories here. Cheers! —Vita Daily


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