RAW Distillery

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Gain Access to the VIP SECRET SHOW by RAW and The Gathering

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RAW Distillery has joined the roster as one of The Gathering 2019’s partners. Not only will they be providing their mountain-made craft spirits throughout The Gathering, but they will also be co-hosting a VIP concert that you do not want to miss. First things first, let us tell you a little bit about The Gathering and why you simply must be there.

Introducing: The Gathering 2019

Cult Gathering Banff 2019

The Gathering is an exclusive summit which focuses on exposing the world’s most successful brands. Bringing together key players in brand awareness, marketing, customer devotion, and more. This event pulls big names from around the globe to uncover the inside secrets that have lead to their insurmountable success. The event will be taking place from February 20th – 22nd at the enchanting Banff Springs Hotel.

About 1,000 delegates from across Canada, the US, Australia, China, and the UK will come together to learn from and celebrate this year’s brand honourees and speakers. The summit is continually ranked as one of the most intimate and inspiring events for marketing professionals,
CEOs, CMOs, and entrepreneurs.

 

 

The Gathering 2019’s Honourees

This year’s Gathering will be honouring brands such as:

YETI, The Los Angeles Lakers, MARVEL, Cheetos, The North Face, Porsche, M&Ms, LUSH.

See? When we say “big names,” we mean it. On top of these hard-hitting brands, Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk will be headlining The Gathering to receive the Personal Brand Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious award is in honour of an amazing sports career, his entrepreneurial spirit, and philanthropic endeavours.

“Tony Hawk is one of the most recognized athletes out there. He’s a role model for fans of all ages. He’s had an outstanding skateboarding career, but he’s also been able to turn that into a marketing engine for several successful businesses and use his celebrity to do incredible good for high-risk kids around the world. We can’t think of a more deserving Cult Brand Personality!” says Bradley Foster, Managing Director of The Gathering.

The Gathering Music & RAW to Co-Host a VIP Show

DEAR ROUGE: The Gathering 2019

The Gathering continues to expand and evolve while maintaining its intimate and personal atmosphere. This year, The Gathering Music Festival has expanded to bring together emerging Canadian bands for a series of concerts. The live shows will be taking place at the Bands Springs concert stage and the Rose and Crown pub in Banff.

In addition, the Gathering and RAW are pleased to present an intimate private show with Dear Rouge at Canalta Lounge. The Vancouver-based husband and wife duo, Dear Rouge, will be playing on February 22nd for an unforgettable VIP secret show while RAW serves signature cocktails and provides tastings of their locally-made craft spirits. To gain access to the VIP secret show by RAW and The Gathering. All you have to do is click here to RSVP.

Spaces are limited! We hope to see you there.

Skijordue 2019 is Comin’ in Hot, and We Want You to Be there!

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Listen up, Alberta! We’ve got something extremely exciting and extremely Canadian coming up and we want you to be there! RAW Distillery is the official Rye supplier for Skijor Canada 2019’s event, Skijordue hosted at the Calgary Polo Club in Okotoks on February 23rd.

If you’re wondering what Skijoring is, you’re probably not alone. Let us break it down for you! It is a winter sport in which a person on skis or a snowboard is pulled by a horse, dog, or vehicle. It sometimes involves a racing/competitive aspect and it always involves a whole lot of fun and booze!

Skijordue 2019

Sam Mitchell and her husband organize this annual charity fundraiser, Skijordue. The event is called “Skijordue” because the two main aims are to go fast and eat cheese. Fittingly, they’ve combined the words Skijor and fondue. The horse-draw racers take off, racing through obstacle course challenges, while spectators feast on cheese and sip Alberta Rye.

If you’re curious how intense these events can get, Sam explained to CBC News that the horses can hit speeds up to 65 km/h. If you like horses, winter sports, going fast, eating cheese, and attending parties, we think you’ve met your match! Whether you’re brave enough to sign up yourself or just looking to spectate, RAW whisky in hand, you belong here. There will be 4 races, a circuit, relay, sprint, and long jump.

RAW: Your Offical Skijordue Rye Supplier

In it’s very nature, this event is tons of fun. But beyond that, it fuses a number of RAW Distillery’s passions into one spectacular day. Founders, Lindsay and Brad, are especially excited about this unique event for a number of reasons. Lindsay grew up horseback riding competing in horseshows, finding immense joy and comfort on horseback no matter what the style. Brad is formerly a semi-pro wakeboarder and spent a great deal of time on the ski-hill patrolling in Kananaskis on his snowboard, even as a coach or with their avi-dog. Fast forward, and the two have become deeply passionate about local, authentic, RAW spirits which are sophisticated, yet uncomplicated. Their award winning Unaged RYE begins with glacier fresh water, 100% Alberta-sourced Rye grain and is finished in Port Barrels from Portugal. Adventurous, bold, flavours straight from the Rockies.

Oh, another thing. This year’s theme is Euro Western Modern Vingage Splendour. As you can imagine, there will be an eclectic array of ensembles to feast your eyes on. Expect a lot of fur, fringe, spandex, and more. Come on out, enjoy our Rye, and take in the glorious spectacle that is Skijordue. “This is a really special event for us! We hope everyone can come out and enjoy this truly Albertan event.” -Lindsay Smylie

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, because we want you there, we’re giving away tickets to Skijordue. Check out our Facebook and Instagram to find out how to enter.

See you there, cowboys, cowgirls and riders!

RAW to Attend this Year’s TRIBUTE to Craft Spirits Festival

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Listen up, drink lovers! We’ve got big news. RAW Distillery is delighted to announce that we will be taking part in this year’s TRIBUTE to Craft Spirits Festival. Even bigger news: TRIBUTE kicks off today! First and foremost, here’s what you need to know about the festival:

TRIBUTE to Craft Spirits Festival

RAW Cocktain TRIBUTE to Craft Spirits Festival

This unique festival is the newest addition to Banff’s beloved SnowDays, the two-week-long celebration of snow, ice, winter, and (now) craft spirits. A wonderful addition, if we do say so ourselves. The festivities all take place nestled within the exquisite Canadian Rockies. What better way to celebrate the cold but beautiful winter months than with a specialty cocktail in hand?

TRIBUTE, with the support of Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, will be held in Banff and Lake Louise from January 16th – 27th, 2019 and we could not be more excited to be involved! Cocktails, craft spirits, great food, awesome people, and unbeatable scenery. What more could you ask for? Truly, you do not want to miss this festival.

Learn More.

TRIBUTE Cocktail Menus: January 16th – 27th

RAW Peppercorn Gin at TRIBUTE to Craft Spirits Festival

So, here’s the deal. The festival begins on the 16th by launching specialty TRIBUTE TO CRAFT cocktail menus in 15 bars and restaurants in Banff and Lake Louise. Each participating establishment’s menu will be home to 5 craft spirits from Alberta and BC for the duration of the festival.

And, you guessed it, RAW’s spirits will be in rotation!
Here’s where you can find us:

  • TOQUERAW Botanical Gin
  • Block Kitchen & BarRAW Peppercorn Gin
  • Larkspur – RAW Rye Unaged
  • Vermillion Room – RAW Peppercorn Gin
  • PARK Bar & Restaurant – RAW Botanical Gin
  • Balkan RestaurantRAW Rye Unaged
  • Magpie & Stump – RAW Botanical Gin
  • Eddie Burger Bar – RAW Peppercorn Gin
  • Mount Norquay – RAW Rye Unaged

Learn More.

THE MAIN EVENT: TRIBUTE DISCOVERY EVENT:

JANUARY 26th – 27th

Though the entire festival is exciting, this event is what we’re especially excited about, and you should be too! On January 26th and 27th from 2-9pm, TRIBUTE will be holding a massive outdoor event in the Banff village. The discovery event allows attendees to mingle about and get acquainted with craft distilleries from all over Alberta and BC and bars and restaurants from Banff and Lake Louise.

There will be between 10-15 festival stations where you can taste spirits and hors-d’oeuvres made by a diverse roster of exceptional businesses, all made with local ingredients. Free admission, to taste the amazing cocktails and food on offer, $1 coupons will be available to purchase to enjoy what the makers are whipping up just for you.

If you’re still not sure what to expect, we’ll put it simply: a big outdoor drinking festival with some of the best food and beverage offerings you can find in The Rockies. As you may have guessed, RAW Distillery will be hosting a station at the Discovery Event and we would love nothing more to share our spirits and specialty cocktails with you!

Fledgling micro-distilleries crafting a spirited scene in Alberta

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Globe and Mail by Dan Clapson

Until a few years ago, Alberta’s liquor rules made it almost impossible for small-scale craft distillers to produce spirits that would find their way into local bars.

You could sit in a bar in downtown Saskatoon and sip a gin martini made with locally made Lucky Bastard Distillers’ Gambit Gin. In Vancouver, you could perch on a stool along the glossy white bar in the Lobby Lounge of the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver and drink a cocktail with Victoria Gin fresh off the bottling line from Vancouver island.

But not in Alberta.

At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Brad and Lindsay Smylie own and operate Raw Distillery in the town of Canmore. After meeting more than a decade ago, Mr. Smylie discovered a love of home brewing and together they opened up their small-scale operation in December of last year.

All products are distilled with glacier water from the Rocky Mountains and include an unaged rye, a vodka, as well as one citrus-infused gin and another with tellicherry black peppercorns.

Globe and Mail photo by Todd Korol

Craft beer and spirits coming to provincial farmers market

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Rocky Mountain Outlook by Jordan Small

There are 92 liquor manufacturers in Alberta and in the Bow Valley, including Wild Life, there are six: Grizzly Paw Brewing Co., Banff Ave. Brewing Co., RAW Distillery, Park Distillery and Canmore Brewing Co.

The main ingredient behind the policy change was giving small business owners the opportunity to widen their consumer base.

“This creates new business opportunities for entrepreneurs who are truly at the heart of this policy change,” said Joe Ceci, president of the treasury board and minister of finance, in a release.

To “better serve the industry,” the Province and Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission also announced a decision to streamline the licensing process by harmonizing licence classes and creating a small manufacturers licence type.

It would create a single licence that identifies brewing facilities and licensed establishments.

“This is a win-win for Alberta’s businesses and consumers and a positive development for the broader community as we all get a chance to discover and support more locally made products,” said Alain Maisonneuve, acting president and CEO, AGLC, in a release.

Distilleries springing up all over southern Alberta

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Calgary Herald by SHELLEY BOETTCHER

Raw Distillery — Brad Smylie’s great-grandmother was a bootlegger decades ago in Ontario. Now he and his wife, Lindsay, are the owners of Raw Distillery in Canmore. They have a vodka, peppercorn gin, an unaged rye, and they’ll soon release a citrus gin and a botanical gin, as well as a peppercorn Caesar collaboration with Bow Valley BBQ’s Parkway Clamato. rawspirits.ca

Meet the Maker: Canmore distillers have moonshine in their blood

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Calgary Herald Swerve

You could say that the art of distillation runs in Brad Smylie’s blood. A hundred or so years ago, his great-grandmother was a bootlegger in a tiny mining town in northern Ontario.

In the early 1900s, it was illegal to sell alcohol in mining towns, but Smylie’s nonna could see a market for quality moonshine. She put the distillation skills she’d learned in Italy to use in her newfound home, and she became a local legend, even inspiring a book about her boozy exploits.

Smylie was born after his great-grandmother’s death, but as the owner, with his wife Lindsay, of Raw Distillery in Canmore, he’s channelling her success by making and selling—legally—spirits. To date, his products include vodka, peppercorn gin and an unaged rye finished in port barrels. A citrus gin is next to be bottled, followed by a botanical gin, as well as some collaborations, including a peppercorn gin caesar with Bow Valley BBQ’s Parkway Clamato.

“The name refers to the raw form of whatever ingredients we’re using, and also the granite that’s in the Rocky Mountains,” Lindsay says. “We want to be bold, expressive and celebrate raw ingredients.” You’ll find Raw spirits on restaurant lists and at liquor stores in Canmore and Calgary, including Crush & Cork, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, Crowfoot Liquor, Liquor Depot, Willow Park Wines and Spirits and others.

Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Smylie moved to Calgary to work as a firefighter. He and Lindsay met through a mutual love of the outdoors, a passion that eventually led them to Canmore. Brad’s other interests included making beer. In the course of a decade spent brewing in his basement, he realized the family history was calling to him; he wanted to try his hand at distilling. Production started in January, and the first products hit the stores in early May.

Business has been booming, and the Smylies have plans for expansion and the addition of a tasting room. It’s a far cry, Brad notes, from his first experience working with a still. That came courtesy of his grandfather, Pep, his bootlegger great-grandmother’s son. Every fall for a few years in his teens, Brad was roped into stoking the fire under the still, while the elderly man and his buddies made grappa, a high-test Italian spirit.

“It was a really nerve-wracking experience, to be honest,” Brad says. “A bunch of old Italian guys who’d yell at me because they didn’t want the smoke getting too high in case someone was watching.”

On the plus side, however, the experience became early training for both of Brad’s careers: firefighter and distillery owner.

Brad’s grandfather passed away a few years ago and, not long after, the Smylies thought it would be nice to own the old family still. They haven’t been able to find it, but they’re not giving up yet. “It’s in somebody’s basement somewhere,” Lindsay says.

History in a glass

Brad Smylie’s great-grandmother used to deliver her moonshine—dubbed Recreation Rye and Cobalt Bloom—in milk jugs to “blind pigs,” another name for a speakeasy. The idea behind the name was that people would pay for a look at a blind pig (or some other unusual animal) and, along with a peek at said critter, receive an alcoholic beverage.

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:

Lethbridge: