Getting to Know: Gillespie’s Fine Spirits

Gillespie’s mantra is LOCAL AWESOME BOOZE! They handcraft their artisan spirits and cocktail accompaniments using BC grains and fruits in their distillery in Squamish. At market you can buy their vodka, gin, lemoncello, and Boozewitch shrubs. ‘What are shrubs?’ you might be wondering. Well, we had the same question! Kelly from Gillespie’s was kind enough to give us more information about shrubs and about her family business.

What is a Shrub?

Shrub is another name for a sipping vinegar or drinking vinegar. We like to call it a flavour enhancer. It is a way of preserving fruit used since the colonial era. Ours are bright and lively as they don’t have the cooking step and are made with our signature long ferment apple cider vinegar. They can be used in soda water (great for soda stream lovers), in cocktails, and a myriad of culinary purposes. Reduce sugar and enhance flavour!

Why do you participate in markets? Why are they important for you and the public?

Markets are a fantastic way for us to reach our clients directly. When you see our products on the shelves at shops, we don’t get the opportunity to jump out of the bottle and tell you a bit about us, why we do what we do and how to use our products. Local is the new exotic. Buying locally is such an amazing experience. And keeps our dollars in our community. I like to think that every dollar is a vote for what you believe in and if supporting local families, makers, bakers and growers is important to you, then the market is the single best way to make that happen.

What are some of the things customers may not know about you or your business?

We are literally a family business made up of myself (Kelly) and my partner in life (John). He makes it and I sell it. John was born in Saskatchewan but grew up in Scotland. He is the handiest person I know. He was trained as a mechanic and all of our equipment was custom built by him, having been repurposed from other food industries. That man works really hard and often long into the night. Add to that our almost 2 year old son, life and business is pretty intense when you’ve got to get up and be at a market early squirrelly!

We won the Squamish Green Business award for our green efforts and our spirits are award winning and appreciated by industry professionals and the public alike.

In addition to being an award winning cocktail maker, teacher and drink consultant, I am also a yoga teacher and an actress so keep your eyes peeled for me on the tube!

Why is buying local important?

Buying local changes the world. from an environmental stand point, to your health, to the world economy, to the health and wealth of your community. The more we can localize and support innovators and people who want to bring their beauty, talents and gifts to the world, the better we will all be. It takes great courage to build a product, apply for markets and show up with your banner up and put your stuff in front of people. Tremendous vulnerability and courage. Encouraging those people changes the very fabric of where we live. Never mind those farmers – Did you eat today? Thank a farmer!