Craft Spirits

First, there was third wave coffee. Then came the microbrewery hype and the passion for privately-imported biodynamic wines. More recently, everyone and their grandmother seems to be talking about the magical craft spirits they have just discovered.

Up until a few years ago, the liquor world was a very restricted club. In Quebec, for instance, artisanal distillery has only been permitted since 2016 (that interdiction dates back to prohibition!) and just a handful of companies fit the criteria to be granted a permit (and have the budget to pay the fees and get the right equipment).

For some, this has been a long time coming since it probably started with the farm to table culinary movement. For over 25 years now, people have been conscious about their food and most importantly, its origin. From local markets to local producers, customers are expecting information on what they are consuming. Hence, it seems like it was just a matter of time before these expectations were applied to liquor.

But why such a generalized enthusiasm?

We think it might be due to the fact the artisanal distillery industry managed to slide into the very desirable and selective “premium” category. By definition, premium goods “are of a higher than usual quality and are often expensive”. Even if the quality is subject to many discussions, the products associated with “craftsmanship” and “small batches” are often perceived as premium, due to their limited quantities. While some are buying because they are looking for exclusivity and rarity, others seek passionate makers or simply something new to rave about. Whatever the reason is, all consumers come to the same conclusion: the more expensive price is worth it.

While the regular premium spirits remain the number one sellers, some sarcastic individuals say that buying these products means you buy into trends in the hopes of having a “unicorn” product to display on your mid-century buffet and your Instagram account.   We believe it’s more than that. And hey - the more choices on the shelves, the merrier the drinkers!