Anohka Distillery in Parkland Canada is Alberta's newest craft distillery. Unique in Canada, Anohka Distillery is breaking the mold by making gin unlike anyone else in the Country. All while also capturing the spirit of the province by distilling gin in what may be the most Albertan way possible. Enjoy a farm to flask craft distillery experience tour and tasting at Anohka Distillery in Parkland County in Alberta, Canada. While visiting, learn what makes this distillery so unconventional.
Anohka Distillery in Parkland County was designed to standout and to draw people in. Their plan worked. We first noticed the distillery as we drove by on the highway on our way to Jasper National Park. That is when we decided to add it to our list of places to visit.
The first gin made by Anohka Distillery in Parkland County is Tempest. Typically, a gin includes a 500ml mason jar of botanicals when making a batch. Tempest challenges the status quo by using fifty-five different botanicals and ten times the amount. Meaning, they use a giant Rubbermaid bin of botanicals to the usual 500ml worth. Naturally, Tempest Gin lives up to its name by creating a storm of flavours with each sip. Anohka Distillery's unconventional approach works as Tempest received the 2022 Best Canadian London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards.
Anohka's light menu which amazing. We didn't eat there this time because we had just filled up at Java & Gems Get Stuffed in Gainford. Choose from dishes like poutine, fried pickle, and Anohka Tomato gin basil soup. Although we didn't eat, we did try a couple of cocktails. I tried the Highway 770 made with Tempest Gin, pineapple juice and chai syrup. Wondering about the name? Anohka Distillery in Parkland County is on the corner of Hwy 770 and highway 16 (Yellowhead). The other cocktail was the L-Train. I'm not sure how that one got its name, maybe for the light rail transit system (LRT) in Edmonton. The L-Train is made from Anohka's Timeless Gin, St. Germain, lemon juice and club soda.
Gurpreet Ranu, owner of Anohka Distillery took us on a free tour of the facility. On the tour we leaned about how he took a round about journey to entrepreneurship. Incredibly, his first profession was as a particle physicist. Next, he became a lawyer and serves as the in-house counsel for the distillery. Now he holds a master's in science in brewing and distilling from Scotland. Interestingly, it is how all three of these professions combined to redefine the Canadian spirits industry.
Anohka's vision for combining old world distilling practices with innovative technology sets them apart from others. Their method for heating the stills is extraordinary. Where others use steam to heat the stills, Anohka is the only distiller in Canada to heat the still using a direct fire method. Naturally, this method is riskier as it involves building a fire underneath a copper still full of alcohol. Fortunately, this is where the owner's combination of professions combines with a uniquely Albertan solution for safely making direct fired spirits. Alberta has one of the most advanced and highly skilled energy sectors in the world. So, Ranu reached out to industry experts for help designing a safe direct fire method using natural gas and oil-field technology. The result of a direct fired heating process is a deeper and more complex flavour profile making it worth the effort to pioneer a new way to distill spirits.
The inspiration for creating Anohka Distillery came to Ranu during a moment of quiet reflection while sitting in his law office in a downtown Edmonton high rise overlooking the prairies. He began to wonder how the whiskeys that he enjoyed were made. That is when he discovered that Alberta's barley and grains are shipped all over the world for making beers and spirits. In fact, despite having all the raw ingredients, few spirits are made here. We are exporting the raw materials only to have them sold back to us as high value products instead of being processed here. For example, Japanese beers Asahi and Sapporo are both made with Alberta barley. Ranu saw an opportunity and decided to make a change.
Ranu's love of whiskey and learning that 80% of Scotch distillers use Alberta barley inspired Anohka Distillery in Parkland County. Anohka's future whiskey will be 100% locally sourced from within 500km of the distillery. To be considered a whisky in Canada, it must first be aged for a minimum of three years. It is because of this regulation that most distillers start our making clear spirits like vodka and gin. For this reason, Anohka is currently making a single malt spirit called This-is not-whisky. It received 96 points, the highest mark in the world at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. If this is any indicator, good things are in store for Anohka's future.
Anohka Distillery in Parkland County hosts events throughout the year and is available for private bookings. Like, their belief in sourcing local ingredients for their spirits, they also believe in supporting local artisans. During our visit they were holding a Christmas Market featuring local artisans.
Anohka Distillery embodies Alberta by merging two of its major industries, agriculture, and the energy sector to create something new and extraordinary. Should your love of adventure include gin and discovering wonderful, singular, and exceptional places that aren't afraid to do things differently, then a stop to Anhoka Distillery in Parkland Canada should be on the list.
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What a great article Janet! I learned a lot of interesting facts. I had no idea that most of our Canadian grains are distributed to other world distilleries such as Asahi and Sapporo in Japan! That it takes a long time to bring whiskey to market that other clear spirits are distilled in the meantime. I very am excited for this entrepreneur and hope they continue with their upward success and will watch for Anohka in the future.
Thank you Kim. It was a very interesting and informative tour that the owner provided. I am looking forward to seeing how Anohka grows over the years. I think we will plan to ride our bikes there in the spring which should be a fun trip with a snack and cocktail as motivation to keep on pedaling.