Revelstoke’s alcohol scene is about to get a whole lot bigger.
Mount Begbie Brewery is about to double in size and now there are two distilleries in the works in the community.
First, there is Gareth Jones, who is proposing to open up Jones Distilling once the brewery vacates its downtown building.
The latest proposal is from Josh and Jenn McLafferty, who have gone public with their plans to open up Monashee Spirits on Mackenzie Avenue, next door to Eagle Pass Heliskiing.
“There won’t be any shortage of booze in the town,” joked Josh when I spoke to him last week.
The McLaffertys’ plan is for a small-scale distillery selling vodka, gin, and, eventually, whiskey from their downtown location. They plan on creating a small store front where you can sample the offerings and enjoy a cocktail, all while watching the distilling process take place.
“Small is what we’re trying. We want to focus on local, sustainable, and simple,” said Josh. “We want to supply Revelstoke first, they’re our number one customers.”
Josh and Jenn, who live in Sicamous, decided to open a distillery in Revelstoke last year. They’ve been coming here to ski, mountain bike and dirt bike for years, said Josh, and it was finally time to make the move full time. They plan on buying a home here as well.
They make their own alcohol at home, and even made the wine for their wedding.
“We’re a younger couple and we like booze. We eventually decided to take it to the next step,” said Josh. “At the time no one was going into Revelstoke and that’s why we decided on there.”
When the plans for Jones Distilling were made public earlier this year, they realized they weren’t the only ones, but decided to keep going.
“We’re pretty stoked about having two distilleries,” said Josh. “Make it into something like the wine tours.”
They take possession of the storefront on July 1 and will spend the rest of the year renovating the space and getting it ready to open for next spring. Josh, a underwater welder by trade, said he would be making the equipment himself.
They have spent time learning how to distill from friends who own distilleries, and Josh said he will be going to the U.S. for courses over the coming months.
“It’s actually a very mathematical science process,” he said. “It comes down to it at the end, it’s by taste and smell.”
He said they want to make a bourbon and single-malt scotch, which commits them for at least eight years.
“Our main focus is to stay small, own our town and go organic as much as possible every step of the way,” he said. “We want to release a lot of stuff, but it’s going to be a fine balance between what we want to make and what the people of Revelstoke want.”
You can find out more about Monashee Spirits on their website, monasheespirits.com.