New distillery project approved in RM of Buckland

This site will soon be home to a new microdistilley that was approved by the RM of Buckland on Monday./Michael Oleksyn

A new microdistillery is coming north of Prince Albert. The new project for Phantom Light Distillery was approved by RM of Buckland council at their Aug. 10 meeting.

“It’s excellent. It’s just a vacant building, a brand new vacant building. It seems to be what they need right now so we are looking forward to them coming in,” Reeve Don Fyrk said.

The manufacturing and processing facility project was approved by council after a public meeting was held and Fyrk thought it was an interesting project to have located in the RM.

The former warehouse suited the purposes of Drew Martin and Joel Perrault, who are co-owners in a group of five investors.

“We are a group of about five individuals that are asking for a development permit to start a distillery,” Perrault said.

They had originally looked at locating the distillery in St. Louis but they could not work out plans though the community was enthusiastic. They plan to start small but eventually develop the business further.

“The location, eventually, we would like to have a storefront there where we sell our product just the lake traffic there is unbelievable. I only started going there the last few years. It’s off the main, it’s the service road, it’s paved the whole way I think it would be a great location. There was some questions about, and honestly great questions about odours and things like that,” Perrault told the meeting.

They plan to eventually employ up to 20 people as the business develops. This includes retirees and seasonal employment opportunities. They plan to have everything up to the standards of the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).

Perrault explained to council that their goal was to source as much as they could locally at all levels of business.

Martin, who is in charge of the distillery operation explained to council that microdistilleries have a low volume and that will keep odour low for neighbours.

“Our volumes are very low compared to what other distilleries can do. Our goal is to be at that 250,000 litres that would be kind of our max, that is what the SLG considers a microdistillery,” Miller said.

Miller explained to council that odour would be more of an issue with beer production. The distillery would not be bringing in mash for production. He explained that the way the distillery produces would be unique from other distilleries.

A microdistillery can only have so much raw product in the building at any time and this brings down the risk for odours. They also will not be adding much extra scents to the products. The building would have a slight alcohol scent inside and not outside.

“Basically once we pulled all of the alcohol out of the stuff that we are doing there really isn’t anything left,” Miller said.

The mash would be put into a septic tank and then disposed of.

“It would be no different than a consumable because there is not any alcohol left,” Miller explained.

The production end would include three 400 litre stills which limits the amount of waste.

Products coming from Phantom Light Distillery would include a Spiced Rum, Spiced Vodka and a gin.

One concerned neighbour who had concerns about the odour supported the project after having their questions answered in the public hearing.