SPIRITS HANDCRAFTED IN MONTRÉAL
Maureen David, President, and Andrew Mikus, Master Distiller, co-owners
1769 Distillery makes gin (Madison Park) and vodka (MVodka — “M” is for Montreal!). They also make whisky, which will be available at the SAQ around mid-June (for Father’s Day!).
MVodka, MVodka Reserve, Madison Park Breakfast Gin, Madison Park Barrel-Aged Gin, Madison Park London Dry Gin, Madison Park Pink, Canadian Whisky (aged three years), bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.
1769 is the year when the first Canadian distillery officially opened its doors in Old Quebec City. There were probably plenty of small family-owned craft distilleries that worked “under the table,” but the first to be officially registered was in 1769. That is what prompted Maureen David and her husband Andrew Mikus, both Montrealers, to name their company “1769 Distillery.”
Master Distiller Andrew Mikus earned his certification after training in the United States, in the states of Washington and South Carolina.
For a long time, Maureen David worked in the television industry, including as a director and a producer of travel programs. “Wherever my work took me, I never missed an opportunity to visit small family distilleries. And it was the same when Andrew and I were travelling for leisure… Together, we developed a real passion for these small businesses, their history and their desire to create wonderful products by hand, as opposed to mass production. They were always so proud to show us around their facilities,” she says. One day, while visiting a microdistillery in the Maritimes, they had a flash that would transform their lives: “We need to open a microdistillery in Montreal!”
After they both quit their jobs (Andrew owned a post-production company), they embarked on this adventure, taking the steps one by one and learning their craft gradually as things progressed.
The rules regarding the distillation and distribution of alcohol in general are very strict in Quebec, much more than elsewhere in Canada and in the United States.
Among other restrictions, provincial regulations prevent mixologists from dosing their cocktails in advance. As a result, they are forced to do this at the bar at the time of ordering, which eliminates some interesting possibilities, such as aging or maceration, for example.
But that didn’t stop them!
1769 Distillery came up with the idea of developing a cocktail that would be mixed, poured into charcoal-lined barrels (level 3), and packaged at their distillery in Verdun. The barrels could then be distributed to restaurant licence holders through the SAQ’s private import network. Consequently, Andrew Mikus and Maximiliano Vallée Valletta, the award-winning head bartender at Les Enfants Terribles, created the “Oak Barrel-Aged Maple Old-Fashioned,” the first exclusive “evolutionary” cocktail, a first in Quebec!
Even before it appeared on SAQ shelves, the distillery’s Madison Park London Dry Gin won three prestigious awards from the American Distilling Institute in 2015: the Gold Medal, the Best of Category and the Best of Class.
“This was the first time we ever attended a convention. We weren’t even at the awards ceremony. We could never have imagined winning these awards!!!”
“Definitely the work of craftsmen who constantly seek to make better quality products. Before marketing a product, Andrew and I must be completely satisfied with it. We have to love it! This is the very foundation of our business,” says Maureen David.
1769 Distillery aspires to be better known in Quebec and beyond the borders of the province and the country. But above all, they want to help “put Quebec on the map” everywhere in the world! “We, the microdistillers of Quebec, are extremely proud of what we do. Nothing gives us more pleasure than seeing that Quebec products are making inroads in foreign markets!”
Winning their many awards! In addition to their awards from the American Distilling Institute, MVodka received three silver medals. Two in 2016 (one from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the other at Vodka Masters 2016 in London, U.K.), and the third in 2017, again from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Sushi and salmon tartare (among others, the one at Les Enfants Terribles!)
ENFANT TERRIBLE SINCE 2015
Photo Credits © Alambika and 1769 Distillerie / Patricia Brochu for the barrel
Each month, we feature one of our suppliers, a local producer with whom we are proud and happy to work with.
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