Nova Scotia spirits sales soar

NSLC quarterly results show explosion in local liquor sales

The NSLC has seen a big increase in sales of local spirits.
The NSLC has seen a big increase in sales of local spirits.   Meech Kean

The people of Nova Scotia love their local spirits.

The NSLC released its quarterly results this week, and while the sales of beer, wine and spirits have all grown, one category of alcohol stands out.

The sale of locally crafted spirits rose by over 250 per cent, to a total of $580,000.

“Local production of spirits is something that’s growing,” said NSLC spokesperson Denise Corra. “We want to support their success and we’ll do what we can to make that happen.”

In January 2015 the NSLC changed the standards for local craft distilleries. They lowered the mark-up so that local distilleries would be paid more per bottle than commercial distilleries and changed the $2,000 licensing fee to $500. These changes have made it easier for locals to compete in the market.

Glynn Williams, owner of Authentic Seacoast Distilling Co. Ltd, is the producer of Fortress Rum. Nearly one-third of the total increase in sales came from this spirit. Williams says local distilleries can put up a fight with commercial producers.

“Why not? We produce products that are as good, or even better, than some of the big boys,” he said.

Distillers like Authentic Seacoast Distilling were previously being paid around 20 percent the retail value for their products. After the changes they can now be paid as much as 50 percent depending on where the ingredients are bought and where the product is distilled.

Besides the financial motivation Williams says it’s the local community’s love of his product that makes him feel the best.

“They see something in a product that connects them with our common heritage,” Williams said. “It feels good.”

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