If you don’t know Eau Claire Distillery, allow me to make the introduction. Eau Claire, meet our readers. Readers, Eau Claire is a grain-to-glass producer of artisanal spirits located in Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of our neighbors to the north, the distillery is a little over 30 minutes southwest of downtown Calgary.
The location is stunningly rugged. Eau Claire calls the foothills of the Rocky Mountains their backyard and water source. The ranches and farms in the area – generations old – provide the distillery with high-quality ingredients for the small-batch spirits it produces. Its location on a so-called “cowboy trail” might lead one to believe that Turner Valley is a simple, sleepy hamlet. But dig a little and you’ll find a history that includes Prohibition, moonshine stills in the hills, and a brothel.
Eau Claire itself is located inside the Turner Valley Movie Theatre and Dance Hall, which was built in the 1920s. And beyond making incredible, limited-run, handcrafted spirits such as Parlour Gin (London-dry style with Saskatoon berry, rosehip, coriander, lemon, orange, mint and spice notes) and Christmas Gin (produced using frankincense and myrrh, seriously), they’ve done something I wish more distilleries would do: they surveyed their visitors to learn more about them, and then shared the findings. In particular, Eau Claire surveyed American consumers, meaning this is information our US operators need to see.