Why we're hosting the first-ever Craft Spirit Festival in November

We had so much fun hosting the Cider Harvest Festival in September…we’re doing it again. Only this time, it’s all about the spirits. Introducing: The Craft Spirit Festival at Merridale. On November 3, we’ll be hosting all eleven craft distilleries on Vancouver Island for an evening tasting event where you can sample craft spirits, sip on cocktails, meet the makers, and learn about the art of craft distilling. 


Craft is defined as someone who produces spirits from raw material to final product entirely at one location. BC craft spirits must be made from BC-grown agriculture products, then processed, fermented, aged, and bottled at a single location. They typically cost more to produce because of the quality raw materials, smaller batch sizes, and few economies of scale. Ask any craft producer, and they will say it’s a labour of love.  


Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are home to several craft distilleries. Eleven, to be exact. Merridale has been distilling and blending craft spirits alongside our craft cider for several years now, and we’re proud to be bringing together all eleven distilleries for the first annual Craft Spirit Festival here at the farm in Cobble Hill. As islanders…we like to think that we offer something different. Maybe it’s the unique micro-climates that give us excellent growing opportunities for our raw ingredients. Maybe it’s just that we love where we live, and it’s reflected in what we create.


As we continue to expand our craft business (if you haven’t heard the news, we’re opening a craft distillery and brewery in Victoria as a second Merridale location next year), it feels fitting to celebrate with a kickoff that’s all about spirits. Our farm, orchard, and cidery will remain open in Cobble Hill. With the new Dockside location, we plan to venture into grain-based distilling and brewing which includes whiskey – a product that can’t be produced using apples. 


General Admission is $35 and includes a safe bus ride from Victoria, Westshore, Duncan, Shawnigan Lake, or Cobble Hill, two tasting tokens and a souvenir tasting glass. Additional drink tokens can be purchased for $2. Our kitchen will be open and serving a selection of small plates made to pair with cocktails and spirits: beetroot and gin-cured salmon with braised fennel and crisp apple on house-made sourdough, confit duck tacos, and pork belly tacos. Spinnakers Liquor Store will be providing a special pop-up liquor store at the event to sell bottles of spirits for the participating distilleries. Get your tickets.

The full lineup of participating craft distilleries is as follows:

Our Craft Spirit Festival also marks the kick-off of Eat Stay Play in Cowichan, which runs from November 3-12, 2018. The event was made possible in part thanks to support from British Columbia's Buy Local program.