ach spirit that eventually makes it to market has its own mountains to climb, obstacles to overcome, and story to tell. Shay de Jaray, head distiller and owner of Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers in North Vancouver, British Columbia, knows a bit about about facing a daunting challenge. His beverage journey began in Medford, Oregon, well known for its wine industry, but no one was paying much attention to an untapped resource—Bartlett pears. “There were all these awesome pears just hanging there waiting for me,” de Jaray notes. Through his vision the pears made their transition into cider, and then a thought dawned on de Jaray: Why not make a brandy with the pear cider? The brandy was distilled, barreled in fresh pinot noir barrels and left to rest. At this point de Jaray took the next step on his personal journey, traveling to Vancouver, BC to found Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers—a micro-craft distillery and brewery that would produce beers, ciders, vodka, gin, and akvavit. The pear brandy came along for the ride and settled in its new home in the back rooms of Deep Cove. Three barrels alone, and almost forgotten. As Deep Cove developed from concept to reality the time came to officially establish and license the business as a BC Craft Distillery. However, in order to receive the BC craft license, along with the accompanying 100 percent state spirits tax reduction, all products must be crafted from 100 percent BC ingredients and fermented on-premise. Even a single product created from non-BC ingredients w o u l d invalidate t h e license— and that pear brandy didn’t qualify. De Jaray was honest with the BC Spirits Authority about the existence of the pear brandy (along with two other small batch products) as they worked on licensing. He requested that the products be grandfathered in, but the regulators would not allow it. The product had to leave the premises or be destroyed. “We either had to give it away or get rid of it,” explains de Jaray. “The product was so good—it was unacceptable for them to force this stuff down the drain.” WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
BC Spirit Rescue What happened when three barrels of pear brandy threatened to invalidate a craft distillery license. WRITTEN BY AMBER G. CHRISTENSEN-SMITH PHOTOS PROVIDED BY DEEP COVE BREWERS AND DISTILLERS
The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.