Raise a cocktail glass and get ready to toast: Canada’s first, and only, national spirit competition reserved exclusively for artisan distilleries launches today.
In recent years, Canadian micro-distilleries have seized the spotlight, and the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition (CASC) takes as its mission the goal of celebrating this 150-year-old confederation’s best artisan spirits.
CASC is founded and run by Alex Hamer, who, for the past five years, has run BC Distilled, Canada’s largest artisan distillery festival.
“With 45 of Canada’s roughly 120 small-batch distilleries, BC has led the country in building this exciting new industry. BC Distilled has been at the forefront of bringing attention to our amazing distilleries,” said Hamer. “CASC will do for the rest of the country what BC Distilled has done for British Columbia – build awareness and support for smaller distilleries.”
Expert judges for the competition represent every region of the country, hailing from New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. They will be tasked with tasting and evaluating spirits in the late fall for an announcement in early 2018.
The competition will award bronze, silver, and gold medals based on several criteria. In addition, the judges will choose the top spirit for each region, as well as a Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year.
“There’s some amazing talent across the country making every kind of spirit possible, from vodka and gin, to whisky, rum, and every kind of liqueur you can think of,” Hamer said. He estimated that Canada’s artisan distilleries are producing 400-500 different spirits. The festival will seek submissions from as many of these distilleries as possible.