Happy 2021 everyone! We hope you’ve managed to keep your holidays a little magical despite everything that was thrown our way in 2020. We want to kick off 2021 with a good old-fashioned recap of the year we’ve just bid farewell to, and share with you what we’re looking forward to this year.
Like many small businesses, our operations here at the distillery were quickly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. We swapped our production from the usual gin and vodka to hand sanitizer after observing the shortage in the region. Thanks to the all the support from our community, we were able to donate large amounts of sanitizer to various organizations in our area.
When we reopened the distillery lounge in May, our goal was to bring people together again, and do so safely. Our patio space opened in August, just in time to soak up the final rays of summer. We hosted multiple events with the Funky Mango Food Truck which were a hit, and we hope summer 2021 will bring more opportunities to eat and drink with friends.
The Fort Distillery received a number of awards in 2020, including the Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Customer Service Award. We showed well at the Alberta Beverage Awards, with the Shaft securing the Best in Class award in the ready to drink category, the Daiquiri and Maple Gin Old-Fashioned bringing in Judges’ Choice, and our Two Bean Brew taking home the Best in Class award in the coffee flavoured liquor category. Our Two Bean Brew also won Best Alcoholic Beverage in the Made In Alberta Awards.
Our Lab Bench line was launched in August with the release of our Bent Stick Beer collaboration: the Electric IPA Gin. Then, for the holidays, our head distiller, Julia, was hard at work for months developing and perfecting our Cranberry Spiced Gin. This was a big release for us, and we managed to sell all 1000 bottles in no time. We hope everyone who managed to snag a bottle enjoyed it! Don’t worry— there will be more small batch Lab Bench releases in 2021!
This was also the year we finally launched our Tumbler & Rocks line of ready-to-serve cocktails. Original and innovative, our 120ml drinks cover your favourites and redefine what it means to pour a great drink. We’re excited to expand our Tumbler & Rocks line and share new cocktails with you this year.
We feel very fortunate that despite 2020’s trials, we were able to avoid any permanent layoffs, and even hired eight new employees to assist with our production, distribution, and customer service. In a year that seemed to lack reasons to celebrate, we continue to remain grateful for the support of our community. We wouldn’t be where we are without our loyal customers.
We’re entering 2021 with a bigger family and so much to look forward to: new collaborations, new cocktails, and new spirits. Thanks for following along with our journey; we look forward to keeping you updated with our latest news and launches this year (whisky anyone?!).
– Nathan, Kayla, and The Fort Distillery team