A TALE OF LOVE AND SPIRITS
The birth of an urban distillery, at the pulse of a vibrant metropolis began as a dream and is now a reality. “When my husband announced that he wanted us to start a distillery, I thought he was going through a mid-life crisis and losing his mind!”, quips Maureen David, President of 1769 Distillery.
That’s what happens when you take a passion to the extreme. Visiting distilleries was always part of the couple’s itinerary while travelling. From Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, to distilleries both large and small in Europe and North America, there was always a fascination with the art of distillation. “We were on a hunt to discover small distilleries tucked away in little towns or in the countryside. We wanted to know their stories. We wanted to experience the revival of small batch spirits where the main objective of these passionate distillers was quality,” says Maureen.
Andrew Mikus is Maureen’s partner, both in life and business. They met in the late 80’s while both were pursuing careers in television. Andrew is also partnered in another business, a film and television post-production facility located near the distillery. “At this stage of my life, I wanted to diversify into something that I had a personal interest in. The main thing is to have fun building a business while creating classic spirits using traditional methods that I can call my own.” Andrew’s passion for the craft of distilling drove him to become certified as a Master Distiller. Soon after, the equipment was purchased and the permits were in place.
extended video clip from CTV’s Sunday Bite
Andrew is in charge of all aspects of production. Maureen, a former television producer/director, takes care of marketing and sales. Both collaborate on product development. It’s a husband and wife team working together on a new venture from the ground up. “It’s definitely a new adventure! Never a dull moment in our household!”, jokes Maureen.
The name “1769 Distillery” was chosen because it is the year of the first recorded distillery in Quebec City. At the time, shipping duties made it too costly for French settlers in New France to continue buying rum from the West Indies. They began to distill rum from molasses brought back on the British ships from the islands. Shortly thereafter, during the American Revolution, Loyalists arrived in Canada and began to produce whiskey from the grain that was grown there.
245 years after the first distillery in Quebec, 1769 Distillery is pioneering a rebirth in unique artisanal spirits. The goal is to revive the art of quality distilling in an urban setting, which makes it all the more special. Proud to be the first Montreal urban distillery of the 21st century and located in Verdun! 1769 Distillery’s products are all handcrafted in small batches using ultra-premium, natural ingredients, then bottled and packaged for your drinking pleasure! What better way to bring back the timeless tradition of micro-distilling to this cosmopolitan city and for a husband and wife team to be at the cutting edge of a revival of this industry in Canada!