RAW Distillery


CTV Morning Live Segment

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May 3, 2017

Thanks CTV for taking the time to learn about us and our brand new products! It was a fun filled morning. Special thanks to Jeremy McGregor for his bartending skills and for composing the best Gin an Tonic I have had to date! the juniper syrup just sweetened the deal. We didn’t get to share live but look forward to this at future appearances. The versatility of this peppercorn gin is impressing even me!

First public tastings will be offered at Alberta Beer Festivals in Calgary this weekend, Crush and Cork in Canmore May 10 between 2-6pm, and of course the Canmore Uncorked Whisky Fest May 12. We can’t wait to see what you think! Be bold… come say hi! share and post your reviews to be entered to win 2 tickets to the Canmore Uncorked whisky fest!

Available Now | Where can you find us… what are we up to?

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Try, taste and experience our products:  (currently sampling Vodka, Peppercorn Gin, and our Unaged RYE) – we will keep you posted on our social media feeds so you don’t miss out! be sure to follow along… or post suggestions on upcoming events or places you would like to see us!

Learn about how we produce our carefully crafted spirits:

  • Scheduled tours on request – give us a shout!  We will be providing guided tours at 1460 Railway Ave Canmore, AB

Purchase our Products:  (please visit your nearest liquor store and ask if they will bring us in for you!… they usually will… then let us know and we will be ever grateful with huge shout outs!)

Canmore & Area:

Calgary & Area:

Edmonton & Area:


Barrel Booster Rewards Table

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Rewards $10 $25 $75 $100 $250 $500
High 5 appreciation!
Private Guided Tour
$20 Voucher
Invite to Grand Opening Event
RAW T-Shirt or Tank Top
Name on a Whisky Barrel
RAW Whisky Glass
Invite to VIP Appreciation Night
First Right of Refusal for Special Limited Release Offerings
2 Day Hands-On Distilling Training Package


RAW T-Shirts


Progress Update

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We have found a production facility in Canmore Alberta that we will proudly call home! At this point our focus is working towards the regulatory compliance and licensing expected as a new player in this industry.

Our slogan of “Adventurous bold flavours straight from the Rocky Mountains” is the impression we are hoping to leave. “Quality Alberta ingredients, local production, glacier fresh water, and a brand that resonates with locals and tourists.”

We are forecasting our facility to be ready to start production in November this year. Assuming licensing is successful our intent is to have product in stores by Christmas so patiently waiting consumers can enjoy with their family and friends.

We will be offering a craft Vodka with an Alberta wheat base. As well as two expressions of Gin we are really excited about. We have completed our recipe development for a RAW Citrus and RAW Peppercorn Gin that are turning out to be real crowd pleasers. The response to our initial tests have been better than expected and we are ready to go to market with these products. We have crafted a product with all natural RAW ingredients that are literally bursting with grapefruit and citrus flavour.

peppercorn-on-wooden-spoonThe RAW Peppercorn Gin is whats really got us teaming with optimism. The Tellicherry peppercorns we have sourced are from “The Reluctant Trading Experiment” who sources the highest quality ingredients in small quantities from sustainable sources. The peppercorns we use in this Gin lend a unique pepper component that seems to blend harmoniously adding notes of fruit, citrus, and earth undertones that are very pleasing to the pallet. RAW Peppercorn Gin and Clamato are already becoming the go to cocktail at our house this summer.

The next focus of RAW’s recipe development program is our RAW Seasonal products. These recipes are currently under development, initial experiments have put us ahead of schedule and we are pleased with the results. We have defined the parameters of the flavours we are bringing to market. The next step is trial and error until we get it right, we are in no rush. For us to release a product to market it has to not only be something we are happy with, it has to reflect our values and be an expression of what we are trying to achieve in our distillery.

While Initial production will focus on getting our first three products to market, we are also committed to divert a portion of our production to Canadian whisky production. Whisky takes three years to mature by Canadian Law. So the sooner we start that clock the quicker we can increase our offerings to our customer base.

In the meantime, our focus will be the core RAW product lines. Assuming licensing is successful, customers who make their way to our Canmore production facility will be able to purchase our new or seasonal products not offered to retailers yet so it should make it worth the drive!

The in-house customer experience is where we see the real ‘Craft’ of distilling shining through. It is our vision that adventurous customers seeking new experiences can be led through a gin tasting of single botanical gins to develop an understanding of your individual taste preference. A ‘gin profile preference’ can be specifically tailored to that profile and personalized gins can be created based on these individual taste preferences. Or if you just want a gin that has a certain flavour highlighted, we just might be able to do that too. Watch for more news and progress updates!

RAW Distillery Set to Begin Production This Fall/Winter

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“Assuming AGLC licensing is successful, we are on track to meet the major milestones set out for this project” RAW Distillery founder Lindsay Smylie sat down recently to discuss the concept of their new distillery start-up. “ The momentum is overwhelming to us, the amount of people reaching out wanting to help make RAW a success has quite honestly caught us off guard” say’s Lindsay, speaking to the recent release of the RAW brand through an Alberta BoostR Campaign, website and social media launch.

“The biggest question we have been getting is why RAW? What is RAW going to do that’s different from everyone else? and it’s a fair question because there is no shortage of options on liquor store shelves” says Lindsay. “My answer to anyone asking why they should choose our RAW brand spirits is simple… we are a local option, support local” Lindsay adds that the bigger question is what makes us different? RAW is a brand that speaks to people’s emotions.

The RAW experience of tasting a variety of craft vodkas, gins, or whiskies is the goal for the RAW team. Encouraging customers to sample, for example, 4 different types of gin or vodka from 6 different base grains or botanicals can be an eye opener. “Our vision is to take that tasting one step further and guide our customers in a tasting experience where we will encourage customers to identify their own taste preferences. Our skilled team will then customize a spirit at our distillery based on personal feedback. It’s a unique concept that as far as we can tell is a niche not being met in western Canada. It’s something we are pretty excited about” says Lindsay.


To support Raw Distillery go to AlbertaBoostR to see the live crowd funding campaign.  For more information about RAW Distillery you can connect with them at info@rawspirits.ca or www.rawspirits.ca

New Calgary Distillery Start-Up Jumping Over Hurdles

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RAW Distillery is an emerging artisan spirits producer hoping to ride the wave of consumer interest in craft spirits. “Marketing spirits in today’s marketplace has to go beyond brand loyalty”. Says CEO and Distiller Lindsay Smylie, a local Calgarian who goes on to say “it’s about a tasting experience”. Lindsay, an executive consultant specializing in health care, was introduced to the spirits industry through her love of the craft beer scene. “If someone told me 4 years ago that gin was to become my full time passion. I would have laughed them right out of my office.”

Together with her husband Brad Smylie, a local fire fighter and beer brewer their dream is set to become a reality this fall. “There was a time not long ago that a start-up just couldn’t compete in this space, well that was also true of beer in the 90’s!”. Brad adds “people are looking for spirits that aren’t made in industrial sized ethanol refineries, our intention is to provide a local option, with local ingredient at a competitive price.” And adds “and we’re having fun doing it”.

RAW distillery was intending on converting an old brewery into a distillery in Canmore and be in production this fall. This brewery originally operated under the name Mountain Brewing Company in the 90’s and mainly produced lagers. “Our operations are projected to add 6-8 full time jobs in Alberta.” says Lindsay “The Canmore site was dusty and old, but it had character, this Reno just made sense to us.

We both identify with the Rocky Mountains and the culture. Extreme sports and mountain living are how we met and you’ll see that reflected in our branding.” Lindsay adds “RAW is more than a brand to us, it’s the emotion we are hoping to invoke when we introduce people to our craft.”

It was this location that has thrown these two entrepreneurs their first true roadblock. “With all the barriers to entry this Industry is known for, we knew starting up a business in this economic climate would not be an easy task. I guess we never anticipated negotiating the site with its owner was going to be a barrier to us” Say’s Lindsay speaking to the recent decision of RAW to relocate in Calgary. “Negotiations weren’t moving forward so we were faced with the hard decision to relocate”.
With change comes opportunity, “fortunately for us there is a lot of empty space in Calgary for lease with oil prices being what they are, it makes our start up more viable than it would have been in the boom.”.

RAW is set to launch an AlbertaBooster campaign this weekend to raise start-up capital to purchase oak barrels. To donate to the campaign go to www.rawspirits.ca or https://www.albertaboostr.ca

Brad, Lindsay and Distillery