Distillery takes top prize

Ampersand Distilling Company in the Cowichan Valley has taken home top honours in the gin and vodka categories at BC Distilled 2016

  • Apr. 13, 2016 7:00 p.m.

Robert Barron Citizen

Ampersand Distilling Company in the Cowichan Valley has taken home top honours in the gin and vodka categories at BC Distilled 2016, the province’s premier craft and micro-brewery festival.

The distillery’s Ampersand Gin and Per Se Vodka were both voted audience favourites out of more than 100 products sampled at the festival.

Ampersand Distilling is a family-owned and operated business that makes crafts spirits from organic B.C. wheat.

The distillery’s flagship product, Ampersand Gin, received a silver medal at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and was voted 2015 Local Beverage of the Year by EAT Magazine readers.

Though trained as engineers, father and son duo Stephen and Jeremy Schacht have used their knowledge of science and traditional distilling techniques to create the hand-crafted distillery.

Ampersand spokeswoman Jessica McLeod said the success of the distillery since it began operations in late 2014 has been “overwhelming.”

We’re certainly surprised by the fervour with which our products has been met,” she said.

“I believe our success is because of the quality ingredients and the unique technologies that we use in our distilling processes, and the talents of all involved.”

Nicon Developments celebrates 40 years

Nick Woywitka, owner of Duncan-based Nicon Development Ltd., and his staff and subcontractors have constructed more than 1,200 housing units since he started the company 40 years ago.

They constructed the Chemainus Theatre, additions to the Island Savings Centre and the building of a number of schools in the Valley during the past four decades in business.

Woywitka said the secret of the company’s success is that he’s learned to keep his “nose above the water” during economic downturns.

“The economy is cyclical and, after the last seven years of recession, we’re just now starting an economic upswing,” he said. “We recently held an anniversary celebration that had more than 100 staff, subcontractors and suppliers there. The future looks bright for the business.”

New officers for Chemainus Chamber

George Gates, from Chemainus Village Computer Centre, is the new president of the Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce for a one-year term.

The chamber also chose Chris Istace, from Beyond the Usual, as its first vice president at its recent AGM, and Lana Halme, from Downtown Auto, as second vice-president.

Brad Grigor, from Turning Point Arts, is the new secretary -treasurer for the year.

The new directors are Barb Bond from Silver Mine on Chemainus, Anita Voisin from Chemainus Family Eyecare, Julie Stevens from Maple Lane Cafe & Catering, Lilli Young from Timeless Rose B&B, Warren Goulding from Chemainus Valley Courier, and Aly Tomlin from Riot Brewing Company.