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New distillery to wet whistles in Vermilion

Vermilion is set to see its very own distillery soon. Copper Cork Distillery has been in the works for the past 16 months and aims to provide craft spirits for Vermilion and the region.

Right on Main Street in the town, the distillery is purpose-built to distil new spirits. The idea comes from four partners investing their time and money to get it up and running. Todd Ree, managing partner and head distiller, taught at Vermilion College for close to twenty years before deciding he wanted to try something new.

“One day, originally three of us, had an idea that maybe we should start a craft distillery in Vermilion,” says Ree. “It’s amazing how it all jived; we knew exactly what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it, so we started the process.”

Once it’s fully operational, Copper Cork will be crafting a full line of products. A premium vodka and gin are some of the spirits to start, alongside a savoury flavoured vodka for use in caesars. In the long-term, whiskey will be made as regulations stipulate it must be aged in a cask for at least three years. Ree says that when it comes to distilling, the sky is the limit to what they can do.

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“We may even dabble with rum if we can find a source for sugar or molasses. The appropriate stuff.”

Ree hopes to create an experience out of an ancient process in the heart of Vermilion. It’s set to be modelled after an old-style speakeasy with a bar for sipping at. Tours will also be offered for denizens to learn more about the process. On top of all us, Ree says a buzz is being made both locally and from further out.

“We’ve got a guy from Hardisty who wants to put our stuff in his liquor store. We’ve got the Twisted Pork in St. Paul who wants to put our stuff on their menu in the restaurant. We’re getting lots of calls; people are excited.”

The distillery has applied for licenses to both the province and the federal government. Ree says they aim to be up and running by the end of the summer.

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