Red Deer craft brewery tries hand at distilling

A local brewery is taking a new step in producing alcohol, trying their hand at distilling spirits.

Troubled Monk is joining a craft spirit scene that is burgeoning in Central Alberta, becoming the third outfit to attempt it here. Stone Heart Distillery in Innisfail was the first and Lacombe’s Old Prairie Sentinel Distillery celebrated its opening last month.

Charlie Bredo, co-founder of Troubled Monk, said they are excited to take this next step and become Red Deer’s first ever distillery.

“We’re creative guys, it’s culinary arts in a lot of ways,” said Bredo. “This is just another way to be creative and have fun with our jobs by making different types of alcohol.”

The brewery opened in 2015 as Red Deer’s second craft brewery, and now they are branching out.

Hoping to have some product available in late spring or early summer, Bredo said they want to try making small batches of vodka, gin, brandy and even whisky.

“There are similarities and differences with what we’re doing now,” said Bredo. “You have to make a lot of sweet liquid that you ferment and then after you ferment it, you distill it. We already have a lot of equipment and procedures in place.

“Our customers obviously appreciate local craft products and we think, by doing this, we can offer another product to choose from.”

The beer they brew is made with locally sourced barley, and Bredo said they have a similar goal of using local ingredients when it comes to making spirits.

Bredo said they plan on trying their hand at vodka, gin, whisky, brandy and potentially liqueurs. Other spirits, such as rum, are more difficult due to ingredient requirements.

“We’re just going to have fun with it and experiment,” said Bredo. “We’re going to lots of small batches of different spirits and see what picks up traction.”

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