content-shadow-left content-shadow-right

Niagara Falls Craft Distillers

A big welcome to our newest additional to the great dining and entertainment scene on #LundysLaneNF

Niagara Falls Craft Distillers has announced its distillery will open for the first time this Friday February, 10, 2017 at 6863 Lundy's Lane, Niagara Falls as part of the Syndicate Restaurant & Brewery complex.

Founded in part by Chris Jeffries, co-owner of Taps Brewing Co. in Niagara, the distillery hosts a 10 hectolitre copper kettle with 21 plate still.

At launch, Niagara Falls Craft Distillers will offer Lucky Coin Motel Hand Crafted Vodka, Lundy’s Lane 1814 Small Batch Gin and Barrelling Annie Whisky, all available in 750ml bottles through the distillery’s retail store.

And thanks to Ray Spiteri of the Review for this article on Niagara Falls Craft Distillery

Chris Jeffries and Andrew Murison, of Niagara Falls Craft Distillers, are excited to open their new venture to the public on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.
(Ray Spiteri/Niagara Falls Review/Postmedia Network)

Chris Jeffries and Andrew Murison, of Niagara Falls Craft Distillers, are excited to open their new venture to the public on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (Ray Spiteri/Niagara Falls Review/Postmedia Network)

Some of Niagara Falls’ famous people, battles and reputation will be recognized in the form of hand-crafted, distilled liquor.

Niagara Falls Craft Distillers is scheduled to open Friday at Unit B, 6863 Lundy’s Lane, adjoined to Syndicate restaurant. A VIP gathering is being held Thursday.

It will produce, bottle, market and sell specialty, small-batch vodka, gin, whisky and other distilled spirits on site.

“Customers are drinking more craft beer and craft wine in the last 10-15 years and the Niagara region has been a real driver of that, in particular with local wine and local cider,” said Andrew Murison, one of the partners in the new venture.

“We just feel that if you look at what’s happened with beer and wine, that’s going to happen in distilled spirits like vodka, gin and, particularly, whisky.

“We decided that it would be a great opportunity to start a business that services that emerging customer need, but to do it in a location that is internationally recognized across the world.”

Murison, who is the president and general manager of the new venture, is one of three partners who came together to create the business.

He has worked for two decades on both sides of the Atlantic in sales and marketing leadership in the alcohol beverage industry.

When he crossed paths with businessmen Chris Jeffries and Ian Kowalchuk, Murison said they realized they shared a common desire to “create an award-winning business shaped by craft and passion.”

Murison is a native of Scotland, and has managed global markets for some of the world’s leading drinks companies.

Jeffries is a veteran Niagara-area restaurant manager who has more than 15 years’ experience brewing and marketing premium craft beer, having trained at Chicago’s renowned Siebel Institute of brewing science.

Jeffries owns Taps brewery and Syndicate restaurant.

Kowalchuk, who oversees business development for a Niagara-area construction company in which he is a partner, has degrees in business and sciences. He is actively involved in community organizations, and is currently chairman of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.

Murison said the partnership presented an opportunity to create a fixture with Niagara roots and a foothold in Canada’s distilling industry.

He said the objective is to provide the highest quality distilled liquids, using locally sourced ingredients.

Murison said the brands they will create and nurture will tell stories celebrating Niagara Falls’ rich and colourful past.

For example, the specialty whisky called Barrelling Annie’s is named for Annie Edson Taylor, who, on her 63rd birthday in 1901, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Niagara Falls Craft Distillers will also unveil Lundy’s Lane 1814 gin, in recognition of the historic Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

Lucky Coin Motel vodka will reflect the area’s more contemporary reputation as an entertainment city.

“We think that the customers are making the decision to buy products which are local,” said Murison.

“We’re hoping that we could do the city of Niagara Falls proud with the brands that we’re putting into the market. We want to sell them here and we want to be visible here. But we would like to be able to sell them into other parts of Ontario and other parts of Canada, so that when people look at the bottle and they read the story on the bottle, they’re learning about a new story or they’re remembering about a story which is really credible and really inspiring about Niagara Falls’ history.”

While the limited volumes of a small-batch distillery restrict how widely the specialty products can be made available, Murison said discussions are already taking place to have Niagara Falls Craft Distillers brands listed with the LCBO for broader distribution.

He said the distillery is negotiating with the LCBO on the exact date their products will be available in stores.

“The vodka and the gin will be available in 25 local stores in the Niagara region, all the way up to Hamilton.

“The Barrelling Annie’s whisky will be available in 120 stores across Ontario, as of April. That number will increase to about 200 by May.”

Murison said guests to the distillery will be able to sample the products in a tasting room.

Visitors can also purchase bottles at the site.

He said Niagara Falls Craft Distillers is a “grain to glass” business.

“We buy all the raw materials, we process them to convert them into alcohol, then we finish them, which is basically adding flavour, so things like gin, you add a gin basket to get the flavour, and then we dispense it into a bottling line.

“It’s a very linear process from start to finish, compared to what some of the larger internationals will do where they’ll make some part of the process one place, another part of the process somewhere and bottle it somewhere.”