Jack, Jim Or Johnny – Gin, Vodka Or Bourbon: Choose Your Own Adventure At Cornucopia

October 8, 2015

Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial is stirring up some fun this November with an array of thirst-quenching spirit tastings, seminars and parties to be enjoyed. From mixology sessions to Single Malt Seduction and Bourbon Country seminars – Cornucopia is placing liquor in the lime-light, to reveal the supreme talent in B.C. and the local Sea to Sky region.

Poured: The Full Spectrum of Taste is Cornucopia’s most all-encompassing drink event. Experience the full spectrum of flavour as you sip a 50 year old whisky from Europe, an expertly crafted B.C. beer, a Canadian cider or a fine wine from the world’s topmost regions. Anchoring the second Saturday of Cornucopia, Poured is a spirited night of music and revelry, with accompanying delicious bites from a variety of vendors. Tickets include a souvenir glass and five tasting tokens, with additional tokens available. Shop Poured HERE.

Cornucopia pays tribute to gin, not only as an instrumental piece of the ever-evolving mixology puzzle, but as a quality, standalone spirit. Being such a versatile liquor, gin has found its place at the well of every bar. Be it Hendricks or Tanqueray, gin and juice or gin and tonic, the old-world spirit has established itself as a globally-recognized staple drink order. Join Shaun Layton and Chris Funnell at the Gin Unplugged seminar, where their pure and simple mission is to break the stigma around gin; leading a guided tasting and discussion on a wide-range of gins with various flavour profiles.

Bourbon or whisky? At Cornucopia, we say BOTH! Chris Funnell, a familiar face on the whisky (or whiskey) circuit, leads the Bourbon Country and Whisky Evolution seminars. In the battle to bourbon supremacy there are two majority contenders: Kentucky and New Orleans. Explore the controversial history of bourbon, and why so many are eager to lay claim to the spirit’s origins, while sampling six to eight exceptional bourbons.
The evolution of whisky is one dependent on its area of origin – differing from country to country. However, what remains consistent is the often sizzling mix of rebellion, taxes, perseverance, and entrepreneurial spirit. Explore the flavours and characters that define whisky in places such as Ireland, Scotland, the USA, Japan, India, and Canada, tasting six to eight high-quality, small-batch whiskies from around the globe.

Pemberton – Whistler’s neighboring community to the north – is home to some of British Columbia’s most committed producers and growers. It’s only natural that the area nurtures hugely-popular businesses like Mile One Eating House and Pemberton Distillery. Both locally owned and adored businesses will again bring their expertise to Whistler for Pembytopia (November 7), running as part of Cornucopia’s Culinary Stage Series.
Randy Jones, owner and Chef at Mile One Eating House and Tyler Schramm, owner and master-distiller at Pemberton Distillery led this collaborative seminar bringing their extensive knowledge, experience and passion for creating high quality local food and drink to the table.

We caught up with Lorien Schramm, Tyler’s wife and business partner, for an insight into how Pemberton Distillery came to be, and what influences have shaped Master Distiller, Tyler Schramm’s organic, handcrafted spirits.

  1. How important is using local produce at Pemberton Distillery?

Using local produce is very important to us. The Pemberton potato is the original reason behind starting the distillery. We use local Pemberton and Sea to Sky potatoes, fruits, grains and herbs in all our spirits. It’s a way of adding value to the agriculture around us, supporting other local businesses and farms and reducing the need for extensive shipping. We can drive about 15-kilometres down the road and pick up 95% of our ingredients. Additionally, we love offering our customers a distinctive product with truly local terroir, one that is absolutely unique to our region.

  1. How did you end up owning/operating a distillery? Give a brief explanation to how you got to where you are today?

Tyler Schramm and his brother originally had the idea while looking into a way to add value to Pemberton potatoes. In researching the idea further, Tyler completed his Masters of Science in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot Watt University in Scotland. While there, he was able to perfect his recipes for potato vodka on the school’s pilot stills and also had the opportunity to taste many flavourful potato vodkas brought over by his Polish classmates.
Upon realizing that Vodka was more than just a neutral spirit we were inspired to create a sipping style Vodka. Coming back to Canada, Tyler and his brothers Jonathan and Jake built the distillery themselves in 2008 and we started distilling in 2009. We started with a program of producing potato Vodka in the winter and Whisky over the summer, which works perfectly with the seasonality of potato farming here in Pemeberton, BC. From our Vodka we started creating new takes on old classic spirits like Gin, Absinthe and Liqueurs etc. 

  1. What spirit are you most passionate about?

Our organic potato Vodka was our first spirit and is a classic Pemberton spirit – made from local Pemberton potatoes, grown at Across the Creek Organics Farm, a fourth generation potato farm here. It’s a classic old world, sipping style Vodka with lots of character and terroir. From the beginning we knew we wanted to produce a Vodka representative of this Valley and what it’s famous for, not just a neutral Vodka that could have been made anywhere.  
We are also passionate about Whisky. It is such a rewarding spirit to make in that it changes drastically during the aging process – from an intense, fiery new make spirit right from the still to mellowing out and being refined over years in the cask. It requires patience, but the waiting is worth every drop, and very much part of the allure. We are starting to work more with local famers to source organic small lot grains and doing our own micro-malting and smoking at the distillery which is very exciting.  

  1. What makes Pemberton Distilled spirits unique or different to competing products?

We are the only certified organic distillery in British Columbia and one of very few in North America. This means that we not only use organic ingredients but our process is organic as well – we don’t use any synthetic additives, GMO products or commercial enzymes in our mash, fermentation nor chemicals at any stage of our production.
Our spirits are unique in that we work hard to create products that are distinctive and really showcase and represent our region. Our goal is always to create a high quality spirit that provides our customers with a unique and enjoyable experience. 

  1. What inspires you when creating a new craft spirit?

What is abundant and local in our area inspires us the most – whether its fruits, grains, herbs, wild botanicals, honey. All the ideas for our spirits come from what is growing around us. We enjoy making spirits that showcase what you can find here in the natural world. 

Pemberton Distillery’s organic, handcrafted and locally-produced spirits are a must taste at this year’s Cornucopia. Catch Pemberton Distillery at House Party, With a Twist, Pembytopia and more

Looking forward to trying it all?  The Cornucopia Liquor Store will be on-site for the entire 11 days of Cornucopia. This is your chance to sip and savour, find a new favourite and then take it home.

Package your accommodation with event tickets to receive rates exclusive to Whistler.com. Enjoy an incredible CRUSH + Cellar Door + Accommodation Package From $129 per person, per night. Check out these exclusive deals HERE.