Fraser Stills: New distillery coming to Fraser next year
Construction broke ground on Fraser Stills last week, a new distillery expected to grace the Fraser Valley by next year.
Owned by Fraser residents Barry and Debbie Young, the distillery will offer its own variety of whiskeys, gins and vodka made in house, and is a family business in every way.
The idea to open a distillery began nearly two years ago when the Young’s daughter Jenna, a microbiologist living in Georgia, called up to ask her parents if they wanted to start a distillery.
“She wanted to apply her science knowledge to the craft of distillation,” said Barry Young. “And we talked to our other children. Our son is a cook down in Georgia and our older daughter and son in law are excited about being in the business too.”
The Young’s other children, Michael and Rebecca, will also be joining the team. Barry Young is coming out of retirement from his former actuarial career to start the distillery. Young and his wife have lived in the Fraser Valley for six years.
Young said the distillery will focus on whiskey, gin and vodka. They intend to make a single malt whiskey, rye and four different types of gin, including one made with local Fraser juniper berries. Once the distillery is up and running, they will begin to phase in food, with the hope of having a fully operational kitchen by the 2019 ski season.
“We want to focus on creating our product, creating the bar and phasing in food over time,” said Young. “I think it’ll be a combination of small plates, and a small number of full meals.”
Fraser Stills will feature a tasting room that will sit about 45 people, and a barrel storage room that can be rented out for special occasions. There will also be regular tours of the distillery.
Young described the design as contemporary industrial. The inside will have a concrete floor, and open ceiling exposing the ventilation system, pipes and electrics. The outside is meant to resemble a whiskey cask, built with metal, charred wood and light wood.
“We worked hard to make it something that would fit into Fraser,” said Young. “Fraser has this concept called Fraser funk. So it’ going to be a combination of Fraser funk and an industrial look.”
Young said he doesn’t expect to compete directly with Idlewild Spirits Distillery in Winter Park.
“I think there will be similarities because we’ll both have food, really well crafted cocktails and we’ll both have whiskey and gin,” he said. “But I talked to the owner and we’re both very comfortable that there’s room for two of us in the valley. Actually we think that the more success each of us has the more success we’ll both have.”
The distillery is expected to be open for business next summer.
“Hopefully sometime in the next couple weeks you’ll see structural steel start to rise in Fraser.”
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