Andrew on the Certified iStill Workshop!

Here is an interview with Andrew Blanchard from Calgary, Canada. Andrew followed the 3-day Certified Distilling Training we hosted at the New World Distillery. It’s high time to dive in deeper and find out what makes this workshop the industry’s best and leading distillers training.  Here’s the interview with Andrew!

Andrew, can you tell us a bit more about your distillery and the products you make and will make?

The basic thought is gin from local grain to glass.  This will result in both Vodka and Gin sales initially.  Our hope is that we will have our flagship gin, and then small batch gins that will be only available at the distillery door.  The flexibility of the iStill will also allow us to make and barrel whiskey, but that won’t be available for a several years.

The locally available barley and wheat will serve as our spirit base, and our botanicals will be substantially sourced from our First Nations that locally forage the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

What made you decide to go to the Certified iStill Workshop? What were you hoping/expecting to learn?

The provincial liquor regulating body requires a licencee to show competency.  A certified programs enhances an application and will ensure this isn’t a stumbling point.

Originally I thought this was going to be a very technical course on distilling.  Although there was a technical component, it also included many non-technical aspects of the business of opening and running a distillery.  That being said, the course was focused on production, just not exclusively on production.

Having the course taught on the production floor of a working distillery was amazing.

What did the course teach you? What did you take away?

The keen focus on producing taste rich spirits through the utilization of the correct techniques and equipment was a common mantra throughout the course.  The distilling process is only a small part of the business.

The fact that you have a dozen classmates from various locations resulted in a collaboration of knowledge.  Case studies were shared from almost every participant.

I am now in the process of adjusting our plans to include several technique changes to ensure that I can produce spirits that I can only hope are as tasty as those made my our gracious hosts.  Huge thanks to the New World Distillery!

Would you advice other distillers to go to the workshop? Why should they join?

I have already told my business partner he has to attend!  This workshop is not just for the head distiller, but really anyone in the business of operating the distillery.

The students having dinner together on the first night …


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