Barr Hill Gin made it to Quebec no longer then a year ago I believe, I’m not sure when it exactly made it to SAQ but I do know it made it to my bar about four months ago and into a martini glass where it can receive the respect and appreciation it deserves.
While in Vermont for a few days I decided to take advantage and check out the root of this fine gin, where it’s being made, what kind of facility they’re using and who are the people behind the magic. After an hour drive through the beautiful back-country roads I arrived to a Ford dealership and my GPS telling me to keep going through the lumber yard to a lone house at the end of the road where I would have never guessed they were producing enough product to share with the world, then again the last distillery tour I had was in Barbados where Mount Gay is made.
No signs to indicate I was at the right place, an open sign hanging on the wall and not a soul in sight… I approached cautiously convinced I’d messed up with the GPS ending up at some strange lumber yard lodge where a lumberjack would turn me away like a fool. As I walked through the door I landed in front of a table with a variety of products and a lovely lady standing behind it that reassured me I’d arrived at the place I intended to get to! We spoke briefly about the fact that we only had the Barr Hill gin in Quebec and asked a few questions about the other products before she offered us a sample of the gin that we already knew and loved, the Tom Cat that is the Barr Hill Gin aged in a charred American White Oak barrel for four to six months and the top shelf bottle of Barr Hill vodka that blew my mind when told it was distilled from honey.
After tasting and chatting about the products we were asked if we’d like to take a tour of the production floor, without even flinching I said yes with wide eyes and a huge smile on my face! Through the door we went and walked through a hall and offices into the bottling room where two gentlemen that were filling and sealing by hand greeted us and carried on with their work.
As much as I wanted to join in and seal a few bottles I opted against asking and carried on with our little tour. We continued to the still room where the still chambers went up to the second floor, there was liquids flowing, spirit being made and the smell of honey in the air was making me feel like a kid in a candy factory! I could have walked around there for hours just admiring the equipment and the technology going into making these products! In the same room were the barrels being carefully aged before they would make their way into that lovely corked clear glass bottle, if I had the money I would have picked one and taken it home to tap and share with everyone! It was beautiful, I was gazing at all of it, so much going on in such a small little shop at the end of a snow path. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to snag a picture of a Tom Cat next to the ones that would be bottled in a few months!
As we walked away I spotted a barrel written Rye on it and asked more about it, turns out that in the coming year there will be a few additional products added to the line. Whiskey is on the menu and I love the sound of that, from a company that prides themselves on using top notch farmer harvested product I can only expect this brown water will be a hit and will absolutely have to be an addition to my bar once it’s out!
This post really only covers that fact that I’m in love with local products, meeting who makes it and the people they have working for them, seeing where it’s made, seeing it up close and the producers being transparent. I walked away with a huge smile and with a huge find! Vermont like Quebec has AMAZING products, we’re missing something they’ve come up with to show off some of what they have to offer, they’ve set up a trail they advertise to check out a handful of distilleries all over Vermont. Montreal being 10 times the size of Burlington has to step up their game and set something as cool that I can occupy my spare time with!
I’m really looking forward to the release of the new spirits this year and you should check out their site for a more thorough look at their history and the care they take for everything related to their company!