Discovering Canadian spirits

Christine Sismondo (left), Stephen Beaumont

Canada’s rapidly growing distilling scene comes into sharp focus in Canadian Spirits, the new book from bestselling author Stephen Beaumont (The World Atlas of Beer) and National Magazine Award-winner Christine Sismondo (America Walks into a Bar). The title from Halifax’s Nimbus Publishing just hit stores this fall.
It wasn’t so long ago that Canadian spirits, drew little attention on the world stage. These days, though, the industry is vibrant, ever-changing, and commands international respect.
“The Canadian distilleries market had this period of explosive growth, but nobody was really documenting it,” says Beaumont. Documenting the thriving industry, though, proved something of a challenge. Much like his first experience with The World Atlas of Beer, capturing the stories was like trying to “take a snapshot of a moving train.”
“There’s so much more than we realize,” says Sismondo of the more than 160 producers featured in the 280-page full-colour guide.” My greatest hope would be this book would be something that people will take as an inspiration to go, hit some trails, check out what’s out there.”
Broken down by geographic region and peppered with details from Canada’s fascinating distilling history, the book provides an introduction to producers large and small, plus a primer on the best whiskies, gins, rums, vodkas, and spirits on offer.
For the authors, each of the stories is captivating. “More than half of the people I talked to had these really different backgrounds,” Sismondo says. “Some are people who’ve never distilled before. Others are trying to revive family traditions. Most are really beautiful stories.”

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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