Honey the key in unruly spirits

The Wayward Distillation House is something of a dream come true for owners Dave and Andrea Brimacombe.

Dave Brimacombe checks the still at the Wayward Distillation House.

Dave Brimacombe checks the still at the Wayward Distillation House.

An artisan craft distillery opened in Courtenay just before Christmas last year.

The Wayward Distillation House is something of a dream come true for owners Dave and Andrea Brimacombe, who were able to open their doors when the Craft Distillery Agreement came into effect in 2013. Starting the business wasn’t financially viable under previous legislation.

“The province — I will give credit where credit is due,” said Dave, who is retired from the military. “The liquor industry is cumbersome and over-regulated. But they really did something right when they created the Craft Distillery Agreement.”

The policy requires producers to use only B.C. ingredients, and to ferment, distill, bottle, blend and distribute liquor themselves.

“Now, we are able to function not being a multi-million dollar establishment,” Dave said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The fermenting and distilling process takes place in a warehouse that can been seen through a window in the reception area. In the middle is a 250-litre still that stands 12 feet tall.

“Still a work in progress, but the ground work has been laid,” Andrea said, noting the number of distilleries popping up on various parts of the Island.

Wayward spirits include Unruly vodka and gin, which can be found at a number of local watering holes, liquor stores and at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Dave said. “If we stop selling for five minutes we might have enough alcohol to launch our other products, but we just can’t keep up with demand.”

While most spirits are grain-based, the key ingredient in Wayward liquor is honey.

“Other people use honey as a sweetener but we’re the only ones (in Canada) using it as a fermentable,” Dave said.

The couple purchases honey from an apiary near Dawson Creek because local operations don’t produce enough to supply the required amounts in a single-source format.

“We use 2 1/2 pounds of honey per bottle,” Dave said. “Our first order was over 6,000 pounds. We’re on line for 20,000 pounds this year, and even more next year. It would have a negative impact on the local honey market if we were to move that much honey from consumers.”

Aside from honey, the gin also incorporates a blend of juniper, coriander, lavender, citrus peel, cedar and sarsaparilla root.

The ‘Unruly’ label symbolizes a challenge to the traditional world of mead and vodka. The Wayward moniker refers to the couple’s vagabond lifestyle when they moved every three years, and how it took upwards of three years to find a location for their distillery, after other potential sites had fallen through.

It’s located at 2931 Moray Ave. in Courtenay, open from noon to 6 p.m. daily. The outside of the building offers electric car charging stations.

The distillery takes part in the BC Distilled Festival April 18 in Vancouver and in EAT Vancouver in May.

Call 871-0424 or visit www.waywarddistillationhouse.com for more information.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read