Vancouver Island Spirit Named Best Contemporary Gin In The World

A couple from Vancouver Island is celebrating after their Seaside Gin won the best contemporary gin in the world prize at the World Gin Awards in the United Kingdom.

Alayne and Jason Mac Isaac founded the Sheringham Distillery in Shirley, B.C., in 2015. Their Seaside Gin beat competitors from 22 other countries, reports CBC.

Traditional gin is flavoured with juniper berries to produce its distinctive taste, but according to Alayne MacIsaac, contemporary gin can feature other flavours as well. The winning Seaside Gin is flavoured with coriander, angelica root, rose petals, lavender, lemon, orange, cardamom and winged kelp.

The couple was inspired by walking on the beach on Canada’s west coast, and the kelp gives their product an ocean feel, noted Jason MacIsaac. “I think it also gives it a bit of depth, some umami, and also helps round off the rest of the botanicals,” he told CBC.

Before opening the distillery, Jason was a professional chef, and Alayne worked in the fashion industry. They combined their strengths when they launched their business together.

They create their hand-crafted spirits with B.C. agricultural products and use as many local ingredients as possible. The Sheringham Distillery is located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which was part of the rum running route during Prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s. Exporting liquor from Canada was not illegal, but it was u unlawful to import it into the United States.

Their Kazuki Gin won the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition silver medal and 2019 CASC silver medal. Cherry blossom petals and yuzu peel imported from Japan contribute to its flavour.

The distillery’s Akvavit features notes of dill, caraway, anise, citrus and winged kelp. This spirit also won a silver medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition as well as CASC Best Canadian Artisan Spirit (Best In Show) in 2018 and B.C. Distilled first place aperitif audience favourite in 2017.

The company’s coastal craft spirits are only available for purchase in British Columbia.

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