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Craft gin festival this June celebrates area's craft distillers

'There is a creative flair to gin that other spirits simply don’t have,' says Marty Van Vliet, co-owner of the Elora Distilling Co.
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Ontario’s first Craft Gin Festival will give guests a chance to taste more than 30 unique hand-crafted juniper-based spirits from distilleries across southwestern Ontario.

The festival — set for June 10, World Gin Day, on the grounds of the Elora Centre for the Arts — builds on the successful launch of the Ontario Craft Gin Trail last year to celebrate the craft distillers in the province who are making these products, according to a news release. It will bring together nine Ontario gin distillers in an event that will include live music, local food and special events.

“The craft distilling space is an exciting place to be right now,” says Marty Van Vliet, co-owner of the Elora Distilling Co. and mastermind behind the Craft Gin Festival. “Rather than making gin by the millions of litres, we are crafting 100-litre or 50-litre batches of the most wonderfully creative and unique gins, and we are doing so with local ingredients, from grain to glass. These creations offer flavour profiles the large brands can never put together.”

The Craft Gin Festival will feature the six member distilleries of the Craft Gin Trail — Junction 56, Elora Distilling Co, Spring Mill Distillery, Dixons’ Distilled Spirits Inc., Silver Fox Distillery and Willibald Farm Distillery — along with Last Straw Distillery from Vaughan, Paradigm Spirits Co. from London, Ont., and Sobrii, the Stratford, Ont.-based distiller of non-alcoholic spirits.

The ticketed event will also feature a Martini Olympiad of Olympic-inspired events featuring the martini and its ingredients.

Gin is experiencing a bit of a renaissance that has grown and evolved from the spirit that matured and emerged in England in the 17th century. The defining characteristic of gin is that is has juniper as its principal botanical, but beyond that distillers are free to let their imaginations run wild, the release said.

“Gin can be whatever we want to make it,” says Van Vliet. “It is open for interpretation — that’s what makes it an amazing product. There is a creative flair to gin that other spirits simply don’t have.”

For more information on the Craft Gin Festival, please visit, or buy tickets at


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