Sooke’s own Sheringham Distillery is continuing to make its mark in the spirit world by winning the title of Best Contemporary Gin at the 2019 World Gin Awards.
The company’s owners, Alayne and Jason MacIsaac, were at home in Sooke when they discovered that their gin had beaten out hundreds of other entries from 23 countries around the world to win the title.
“It was very exciting, for sure. We heard the news and were, like ‘What? Did this just happen?’” said Jason.
“It’s really a dream come true for us to be honoured in this way. We’re naturally very proud of our product, but it’s always nice to get the recognition.”
It’s not the first award for the gin, which in 2017 won a silver medal at the World Spirits Competiton in addition to a series of other recognition since it was first released in 2016.
Perhaps it’s the unique makeup of the spirit that has captured the imagination at these competitions as it is made from B.C. white wheat, B.C. malted barley, natural botanicals and sustainable hand-harvested local winged kelp.
“It’s that kind of imagination and local ingredients that set us apart,” Jason said.
Sheringham is still a very young distillery, having just moved to Sooke this year after an initial three years at its site in Shirley.
“We’d sort of maxed out what we could do at our previous location and are very excited to be working here. Hopefully, we can up the production a little,” said Jason.
The company is moving forward with a second brand of gin, called Kazuki, coming to shelves later this month.
Sheringham has also recently released Red Fife whiskey, a spirit that has already won the best in show at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition.
Jason recounted how he came to distilling after a 23-year career as a professional chef.
“I have a long history with food and drink and have always had a burning curiosity in distillation,” he said.
That curiosity led him to construct his own still where, for several years, he experimented with flavours before deciding to move into a new career in distilling.
Alayne, his partner in the business, has a background in business administration, sales and marketing, so the couple is perfectly matched to continue what appears destined to be a very successful business.
“We use traditional distilling methods and B.C. grains to achieve a traditional and sustainable approach to production,” Alayne said.
“There’s something about the hand-crafted, artisanal approach that has really captured the imagination of consumers.”
With their move to their new location, the couple hopes to increase the current production rate of about 20,000 litres per year while still maintaining the high quality and local production values upon which the company was founded.
Sheringham boasts a tasting room at its Sooke location, 6731 West Coast Rd.