In Historic Downtown Fernie, the local food and beverage industry is expanding with the opening of Fernie Distillers in spring 2018.
Although this is a brand new start-up, the company has strong legs. Coowner Jillian Rutherford will be taking the production lead and has put her Engineering degree and experience in the O&G industry to good use, selecting and installing the distilling equipment with a meticulous eye. For two years she has honed her skills, taking courses and building experience and relationships with distilleries throughout BC. She plans to start simple with ‘No. 9 Mine’ vodka, made with local organic Bishop wheat from Creston and Fernie water, purified using reverse osmosis. Other products including a ‘Fernie Fog’ liqueur and ‘Prospector Gin’ will soon follow, also focusing on local produce when possible to build the flavour profiles. The company’s branding was created by Lisa Holst of Fernie-based My Friend Pike. A bright and airy tasting room will offer retail sales, tastings, and cocktails in the lounge 3 evenings a week. The sunny garden patio will be a popular spot in the warmer months. The tasting room is a work of art in itself, with shelving and a custom bar-top made from reclaimed wood and accents including an original leather panel from the Legion next door and a bar-front made from a brewery bottle conveyor belt.
Seeking a lifestyle that reflected their passions, Jillian and husband Andrew (who will advise on business development and sales), along with their two kids and 4 year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Crush, have found their home in Fernie. They celebrate 1 year living in the mountains in June, after visiting for 20 years to enjoy the year-round activities and social scene.