North

Yukon's Two Brewers in good spirits after Canadian Whisky Award wins

Yukon-made whiskies won three medals at the national competition, and Two Brewers was also named "Microdistillery of the Year."

'Certainly the Yukon water is likely a big factor,' said co-owner Bob Baxter

'We're certainly making something that's different from what a lot of people consider to be Canadian whisky,' said Bob Baxter, surrounded here by casks of maturing single malt whisky. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Bob Baxter, co-owner of Yukon Brewing, has heard a lot of raves about his company's Two Brewers Whisky — but one recent testimonial was a bit odd.

"One of the writers described the aroma from it as 'freshly cleaned hospital linens,'" Baxter said. "And when you think about that, that is such a distinct aroma. And whether it's good or bad — he liked it. So I guess it's good!"

"Gives you an idea of the kind of jargon that's thrown around the whisky world."

Two Brewers whisky is distributed in Yukon, B.C and Alberta and will soon be available in Quebec, Baxter said. (submitted by Yukon Spirits)

Baxter's not thinking too much about cryptic reviews, though — he's too busy basking in his company's success at the 2018 Canadian Whisky Awards. Two Brewers' creations won three medals, and the company was named "Microdistillery of the Year."

"As the night went on, and we kept going up front to collect another medal, and then collecting the big award at the end, we kind of started to get some weird looks across the room," he recalled.

"We're certainly making something that's different from what a lot of people consider to be Canadian whisky."

Two Brewers is a relative newcomer to the Canadian whisky scene. The first bottle was sold in early 2016, and a year later, the company was already collecting awards

"Certainly the Yukon water is likely a big factor," Baxter said. 

'As a brewer would'

Baxter says Two Brewers Whisky is unusual because "Canadian whisky" usually refers to rye. He says Two Brewers, on the other hand, makes single malt "like you make in Scotland". 

Alan Hansen (left) and Bob Baxter (right) with the customer buying the first two bottles of Two Brewers Whisky, in Feb. 2016. (Yukon Brewing)

He also describes how his company makes whisky "as a brewer would" — using different types of brewer's barleys such as roasted malts, chocolate malts or honey malts.

"Our logic is that if it's different going into the barrel, it'll be different coming out of the barrel."

Spirits have to be distilled and matured in Canada in order to qualify for an award. According to the Canadian Whisky website, a panel of independent experts (blind) tasted and scored each entry.   

Two Brewers' Release 05 (an "innovative" single malt) won a bronze medal, Release 06 (a classic single malt) won a silver, and Release 07 (a peated single malt) won a gold. 

Release 08, Baxter says, is about to hit the shelves in Yukon.

Two Brewers whisky will soon be available in Quebec. Right now, it's distributed only in B.C., Alberta and Yukon. Baxter says he often gets emails from people asking him to send a bottle in the mail, but he can't legally do that.

Bottles of whisky are tagged and ready to be shipped. (Yukon Brewing)

With files from Sandi Coleman

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