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Local farmers important to Alta. distillery

Local farmers important to Alta. distillery

The Fort Distillery orders about 20 bags of wheat per month from a local producer

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A new distillery in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. is putting an emphasis on locally produced and processed ingredients.

Nathan Flim, co-owner of The Fort Distillery, works as a crop inspector with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Nathan is the head distiller while his wife, Kayla, looks after the creative side of the business.

Working with farmers daily allowed Nathan to develop an understanding of the amount of Canadian food that’s processed elsewhere and shipped back to Canada. His new business looks to keep each aspect of spirit distilling local.

“The farmer that I get my wheat from is about six miles down the road,” he told Farms.com today. “I bring the grain back to the distillery, process it and sell it as an end-user product. I think it’s much better to keep the grain here rather than ship it to China or the U.S. for processing.”

Prior to working as a crop inspector, Flim spent time with the CFIA inspecting pedigreed seed growers.

That added knowledge of the ag industry helps him choose the best grain for his distilling purposes.

“I know that if a farmer is selling certified seed that it’s good quality and has been inspected for impurities,” he said. “I know that when the wheat ends up at my distillery I’m receiving beautifully cleaned wheat.”

Flim primarily produces vodka and gin at the distillery. And because he leaves “a lot of flavour” in his products, selecting the right kind of grain and ensuring its cleanliness is key to getting the tastes he’s looking for.

“It isn’t a flavourless vodka,” he said. “If the grain was full of wild oats, that’s going to add flavours in there that I don’t want. For distilling, I’m looking for lower amounts of protein. A soft white wheat would be better but it’s hard to come by here so I’m using a hard red winter wheat.

“You want lower protein so you can release all of the starches from the grain. The more protein there is, the less accessible the starch is for me.”

Nathan and Kayla Flim
FortSaskOnline photo