March 20, 2017

Distilling Wild Spirits in Canmore

Distilling Wild Spirits in Canmore

It is not every day that a new vodka hits the liquor store shelves, and certainly not one that is fabricated using only (100%) ingredients from Alberta. The bad news is Ginger and Nutmeg missed the grand opening party. The good news the Wild Life Distillery is nearby, in Canmore. The distillery’s founders Matt Widmer and Keith Robinson are both Bow Valley locals. Widmer grew-up in Banff and Robinson in Canmore, their connection, like many residents, was snow and sport related – in this case, cross-country skiing events. It might seem strange for graduates of Kinesiology (Widmer) and Business Administration and Marketing (Robinson) to join forces, but they both appear to be driven by entrepreneurial forces. In the summer of 2014, they shook hands on the slightly crazy idea of opening a distillery in Canmore, and the Wild Life Distillery began to take shape. Nutmeg asked how the concept came together. According to Widmer, “I have had an interest in distilled spirits since 2010. While living in Tofino, I would chat with a friend (MBA graduate) on a weekly basis about business ideas and options for future entrepreneurial goals. Distilleries were just starting to be a thing on Vancouver Island around then, and it sparked my interest. Why were there no small distilleries in Alberta? I travelled to Chicago in 2011 to take a spirits course and learn about the industry. Then after some investigation with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), I discovered that there were extremely high production minimums to grant access to a class-E manufacturing license. So basically, you had to produce 250,000 litres of absolute alcohol to get a license, which clearly prohibited any small distillery from considering starting up. It was then in the summer of 2014 that the AGLC changed the licensing structure, and dropped this huge minimum to zero.” This was the game-changer that they needed. “The distilling industry is full of big bucks and big dreams. Keith and I had to find ways to achieve the big dreams without spending too many $$. “ And, sure enough starting a new venture is not easy… Probably the most difficult part of opening this business was getting permission from the municipality to renovate and acquire our building permit. This involved months of planning, navigating the building and fire codes, and countless meetings with the town to finally arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. Only then, could the space be renovated to suit the production requirements. Determining and finalising equipment needs took months of research and hours of commissioning once it was all installed. The Wild Life Distillery facility is now fully operational and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 8 pm. Drop by for a tour (at 3 pm), enjoy a cocktail or buy a bottle of local vodka to take home. Can you tell our readers about the Wild Life Vodka? We use all Alberta ingredients for our vodka. The grains are raw hard, red wheat and malted barley. We mill, mash, ferment, distill, bottle and label every drop of every bottle on site. It is 100% locally produced, and we are proud to be able to do so here in Canmore. From ‘grain to bottle’ the process is around two (2) weeks. We use Canmore ground water for blending, and the resulting spirit is clean, smooth and authentically Albertan. Where can readers find your Wild Life Vodka locally? In Canmore: Stores: Liquor Depot Canmore, Cellar Door, Rusty’s Liquor and Unwined at 3 Sisters Restaurants: Where the Buffalo Roam, The Drake Pub, Hogshead Pub, and The Hive Gallery In Banff: Stores: Liquor Depot Banff, Side-Street Liquor, Town House Liquor, Tunnel Mt. Liquor Restaurants: Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant, Melissa’s Restaurant, The Bison Restaurant, Park Distillery, The Block Bar/Restaurant and The Banff Park Lodge What is Next up on your list of spirits to be produced? Gin. We should be ready with gin within several weeks, and then from there, we will likely do a flavoured vodka for summer. Contact details: Wild Life Distillery 160 -105 Bow Meadows Crescent Canmore, AB T1W2W8 Tel: 403-678-2800

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June 20, 2016

Alberta Food Tours for Culinary Tourists

Alberta Food Tours for Culinary Tourists

OK, so Alberta suffers from a few extra months of winter than other locations in Canada, but that has not stopped foodies from noticing what the Province does produce — naturally. Events such as Cook it Raw Alberta (2015) have raised culinary awareness levels globally. Karen Anderson, the founder of Calgary Food Tours, is a self-professed food lover. Her passion for the kitchen influenced by a family of cooks, with roots in St. Andrews by-the-sea, in New Brunswick, Anderson tells Nutmeg that “One grandfather owned a fish market, and the other was a farmer.” (more…)

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July 6, 2015

RAVE Coffee a New Brew in Canmore

RAVE Coffee a New Brew in Canmore

Nutmeg is coffee-obsessed if a cup is not in her hands within 30 minutes of her feet hitting the ground in the morning it’s best to stay away. What is odd about her addiction is that her first encounter with coffee was while visiting her grandparents in the West Indies and she hated the bitter brew. Now, just a few years (or so) later she’s hooked. Needless to say when a new java option appears in town Nutmeg feels it is her duty to investigate. (more…)

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March 30, 2015

Constructing An Edible Life in Canmore

Constructing An Edible Life in Canmore

The cocoa goji balls are criminal – they should be locked up! Carole Beaton owner and operator of An Edible Life in Canmore is modest, she says that she is not a confident cook and “only started baking in the fall.” When pressed for more details, Carole admitted that she may have baked before launching her food business, but never in retail quantities. (more…)

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July 8, 2013

Canmore Underground Discovery Tour

Canmore Underground Discovery Tour

Quarry Lake with a sweeping Bow Valley view is perched above the Town of Canmore. It is a popular recreational location in summer months for picnics and wedding photos. The lake is the result of a successful mine reclamation project on a site that was at one time known as Canmore Creek #3, a strip mine. Nutmeg is fairly confident that the buffed athletes who swim in the lake waters when participating in the annual Canmore Triathlon and families who enjoy leisurely summer picnics on the rocky shores have no idea of the lake’s history. (more…)

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September 13, 2012

Touring Canmore with Street Sherpa

Touring Canmore with Street Sherpa

Are you visiting the Canadian Rockies? Would you like to get a taste of real, off-the-beaten paths, small mountain town spirit? As you already know, Nutmeg is a giant fan of Canmore. When she stumbled across this concept a journey that embraces the beautiful Bow Valley area, a bit of history and some shopping she simply could not resist uncovering more about Street Sherpa. (more…)

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August 2, 2012

Forget Tupperware Bring Some Spice Home

Forget Tupperware Bring Some Spice Home

Think Sex And the City; Think Eating & Drinking; Think Shopping; Think Fun and what do they all have in common? Things that friends love doing together. All the essential ingredients for a home party!   (more…)

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June 18, 2012

Paintbox Lodge Canmore Things are Cooking

Paintbox Lodge Canmore Things are Cooking

Does Paintbox inspire your creative juices? A bit of childhood whimsy with paint by numbers? Or the lyrics to the 1967 Pink Floyd song? (more…)

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March 26, 2012

Oh Canada Eh

Oh Canada Eh

Ginger and Nutmeg have some close friends who after living in Minnesota, Montreal, Colorado and Seattle have chosen (wisely) to live in Provence, on a permanent basis.  Now, one could question their combined level of sanity in choosing (not so wisely) to visit Calgary and Canmore at the end of January. (more…)

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March 12, 2012

A Cooking Lesson in Canmore

A Cooking Lesson in Canmore

Ginger’s whole family was in Canmore to celebrate belated birthdays and the New Year ahead. The house was full and there was lots of buzz around the first day of kiddie ski lessons. Just try to imagine 500 kids starting ski lessons on the same day. Nutmeg awoke that morning with a minor version of the modern day plague – a head cold. She chose not to battle the kids and parents at the hill, but rather to stay home quietly with Jade and wait for the chef to arrive. (more…)

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