New Distillery to Open in August


Kelly Ann Woods and John McLennan at their business park location.
Photo: David Fournier.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 7, 2014

Cheers are soon coming to the Squamish business park.

A Vancouver couple is wrapping up work on a new distillery in town, the first one in Squamish to produce liquor.

Construction is in full swing on Progress Way in Business Park, where Gillispie’s Fine Spirits plans to open its door for Canada Day in July.

The artisan craft distillery will offer sampling for $5, deducting that price if you buy a bottle. The production site will also act as a retail location, a provision that will involve a bylaw amendment.

Recently, the owners, Kelly Ann Woods and John McLennan, wrote to the council expressing their support for the amendment.

The amendment, part of the Omnibus bill, would allow manufacturing of alcohol, including tasting and on-site sales, in light industrial and downtown area.

They are hopeful the district will amend the bylaw to make way for their business.

“Our experience in dealing with the district has been positive,” McLennan said.

Both live in Vancouver but wanted to move to a place that was inspiring.

Squamish, with stunning scenery, small-town feel, and proximity to Vancouver, was the ideal fit.  

“And a lot of people in this town look thirsty,” Woods said, laughing.

BC Government overhauled liquor laws in the province last year, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs like Woods and McLennan.

Under these new laws, brewers and distillers can now apply to have an on-site consumption area such as a lounge or a tasting room.

Distillers that use 100 per cent BC agricultural raw material and are distilled in the province were also made eligible for direct sales.

Gillispie’s Fine Spirits is also part of a cultural push to produce locally and in environmentally responsible manner.

Vodka produced at their site would be more ‘green’ than the bottle imported from Russia, they said.

“This will be our attempt to be local and green,” Woods said.

Gillispie’s will produce gin, vodka, whiskey, and Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur.

Some of their liquors will be named Gastown Shine, Vtwin, Aphro, and Lemonchella.

They also plan to produce liquor named after Squamish.

B.C. is home to 269 wineries, 76 breweries, and 27 distilleries, according to the government.




  1. TJay says:

    This is good.

  2. ellen says:

    more alcohol, just what we need, oh joy! howe sound brewery is apparently not enough!