As soon as I heard about Dillon's Distillers, the new distillery in Beamsville (in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area), I knew I had to plan a visit. Shawn and I are huge fans of local spirits and I was intrigued by some of the things I was hearing - this is a place that makes their own bitters! How exciting is that?
We set up an appointment for our recent trip to the area and the team at Dillon's was kind enough to arrange a tour for us, so we got the full experience. Geoff Dillon, who is the distiller, walked us through their operation and explained how they are already creating fully Canadian rye, vodka and white gin. Soon, he will be bottling his own 100% Canadian rye whisky too. A family business, Geoff's father Peter even grows many of the herbs they use in their bitters and other spirits.
I found our Dillon's tour fascinating. One of the things that most intrigued me was just how sustainable and environmentally conscious the process is. This is a truly Canadian business with their vodka using 100% Niagara grapes - many of them grapes that would have otherwise been discarded by wineries during the thinning process. This is a great way to make use of a local resource that otherwise would just be thrown away and turn it into something spectacular. They also provide their rye grain back to farmers after they extract the alcohol, when it would otherwise be wasted. In addition, they've developed a rainwater collection system and a cistern to collect their cooling water. This is a company that embraces what the Niagara region offers and wants to ensure that they continue to support it in a sustainable way.
Both Shawn and I enjoyed our tasting experience - the vodka was impressive - it's smooth and strong with a hint of its own flavour without that weird aftertaste you get from artificially-flavoured vodka. We bought a bottle to bring home for further sampling. I also enjoyed the gin and rye, so I suspect we'll be back for bottles of those soon too.
We also picked up some bitters - those are strong and super tasty. A perfect accompaniment to a great cocktail. They were all out of pear when we visited, but we'll be back to get some on our next trip. We'll also eagerly await their rye whisky release in the coming years.
And you can't visit Dillon's without noticing what a truly beautiful space it is. The design team did an incredible job of creating a storefront that is lovely, modern and welcoming. It also showcases the gorgeous Dillon's bottles to the maximum. This will be a regular stop on our Niagara visits in the future.
Thanks to Whitney and the whole team at Dillon's for the tour and tasting experience.
Dillon's Distillery is located at 4833 Tufford Road Beamsville, Ontario Canada L0R 1B1
More photos from our visit: