Phantom Light Distillery takes home provincial award among ‘really tough competition’

(From left to right) Phantom Light Distillery’s Cory Thoms, Stephanie Thoms, Cherry Pie Ligtas, Drew Martin and Brendan Miller at the 2023 ABEX Awards in Saskatoon. – Brendan Miller/Submitted

A Prince Albert distillery is toasting to winning a provincial business award.

Phantom Light Distillery took home the New Venture ABEX Award in Saskatoon on Saturday. The ABEX awards are hosted by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

“There was some really tough competition there that we were up against, so it was actually quite surprising to me that we won,” said business partner Brendan Miller.

“Things just keep on rolling for us.”

Finalists also included Weyburn’s MegaDry Disaster Restoration Inc., Regina’s REV Auto Group Inc., Saskatoon’s The Prairie Grazer and Yorkton’s Vetted HVAC Services Ltd.

The New Venture Award celebrates a business that’s been in existence for three years or less, which has shown positive current or expected profitability, job creation and entry into new markets.

Last year, Phantom Light Distillery won platinum at the international SIP Awards in California, judged solely by consumers. They were also the house vodka at GMC Stadium for the Calgary Stampede this summer.

Its partnerships – such as with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and University of Saskatchewan athletics – have allowed Phantom Light to take off.

“They allow us to get into the community and visit one-on-one and make relationships with people throughout the province, all the way from the north with the La Ronge Ice Wolves down to Estevan and Weyburn,” said Miller.

The distillery recently came out with a spiced vodka, which Miller said is competing with spiced rums.

“We’ve made it all natural because when we take out so many of the impurities, we didn’t want to just go on the market with something that tastes good, but is full of chemicals,” he added.

Ultimately, Miller said, hard work has landed their name across Saskatchewan, even starting to hit the shelves in Alberta.

“It’s a lot of work, but at the same time, you have something really special to share with people,” said Miller.

Phantom Light Distillery has grown to seven partners, between Prince Albert and Saskatoon, since it hit the market in 2020.

The distillery also won the New Venture Award at the Prince Albert chamber’s Samuel McLeod Business Awards in April. They were nominated for Business of the Year and the Marketing Award.