Living in Artesia means so many urban, cultural, natural, and culinary discoveries nearby. Weekends and summer nights are easily enriched with experiences that open doors to new friendships, memories, and sensory delights.
Join us in exploring some of the quintessential activities and outings possible around Artesia, Brookfield Residential’s award-winning community, and in our extended back yard – from Seton to Spruce Meadows and more. Enjoy this first story in our series of choice places to venture close to home.
If you have a suggestion our community may covet, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line at email@example.com
AN ARTESIA OUTING: EXPERIENCE A DISTILLERY ADVENTURE
One favourite, extraordinary Alberta experience requires just a quick jaunt. Perfect for a day or half-day trip from Artesia community, visit the award-winning Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley to learn about craft spirits, be first to taste new products, and stock your Artesia home bar, so entertaining is a breeze for any host.
Focused on creating distinctive, artisanal, small-batch craft spirits using traditional processes, even the most discerning cocktail connoisseur will be impressed with the integrity of the ingredients, harvesting, hand-crafting, bottling and concocting that goes into the ultimate spirits experience a la Eau Claire!
Insider tip: Eau Claire Distillery has created a secret-menu cocktail for Artesia residents. Be in the know and ask for “the Artesia” to be wowed with a blend of Eau Claire’s recently awarded Best of Class – Platinum at the 2019 SIP Awards, Prickly Pear EquineOx, in-house made Blueberry Thyme simple syrup, Eau Claire Soda Company artisanal Original Tonic Water, fresh mint and a twist of lemon and lime juice. Simply delightful! Artesia residents will also receive 10% off all spirit purchases between now and September 30th, 2019!
FILL YOUR BOOTS: TAKE TO THE COWBOY TRAIL
Located on Alberta’s famed Cowboy Trail, surrounded by mountain views, ranches and farms, and the Sheep River winding its way around the town, Eau Claire Distillery founder and Alberta foothills local David Farran knew the beauty and colourful history of the town would be an ideal setting for what would become our province’s first pure craft distillery.
Launched five years ago, the Distillery – with a beautiful bar, tasting room and its state-of-the-art equipment — found a home in a refurbished 1923 movie theatre on the aptly named Whiskey Row. The street rose to be during the time of Prohibition and Turner Valley’s oil boom — which only adds to the vintage, maverick mystique of its story.
ALBERTA’S PRIDE: FROM FARM-TO-GLASS
In addition to using cold crisp Rocky Mountain waters, Eau Claire Distillery sources the best of ingredients locally, whenever possible. What’s more, the enterprise runs its own barley horse-farming operation with a majestic team of horse-drawn ploughs led by Dick and Duke whose image adorns the Eau Claire Distillery logo.
Alberta’s reputation for these ingredients has had many a mass big-name producer, some from other countries, trying to buy these commodities from this area, yet Eau Claire (which means “clear water”) stands strong behind its niche product.
“Much like the ‘farm-to-plate’ philosophy in the restaurant business, we have a ‘farm-to-glass’ philosophy,” says David Farran. “We believe today’s sophisticated consumer cares about unique niche flavours and where and how the spirit was produced.”
“The Scots are known for their whisky, the Russians their vodka, and the English their gin,” says Farran, “Yet we believe we can create superb, hyper-local variations that surpass these known offers and appeal to a discriminating crowd. People are tasting the difference and we hope people appreciate the art and science at play in creating spirits recognized for excellence on the world stage.”
The awards and demand are pouring in for this “hyper-local” brand of Alberta spirit, who released its first batch of vodka in 2014. Eau Claire’s unique Prickly Pear EquineOx won Double Gold in the 2019 San Francisco International Spirits Competition, as well as Best of Class – Platinum in the SIP Awards. Eau Claire Distillery’s Single Malt Whisky took home Double Gold at the 2019 SIP Awards, as well as Gold at the 2019 New York International Spirits Competition. The New York International Spirits Competition also named Eau Claire as the Canadian Whisky Distillery of the Year in 2019.
The Distillery crafts Parlour Gin, Single Malt Whisky, Three Point Vodka, Prickly Pear EquineOx, Cherry Gin as well as seasonal spirits including Gin Rummy and Christmas Gin and a lineup of handcrafted canned cocktails including a Cherry Gin Collins, Parlour Gin & Tonic and an EquineOx Mule which combines their award-winning Prickly Pear Vodka and Annex Ale Project’s Ginger Beer. Eau Claire also releases limited edition distiller series including a Saskatoon Honey Gin and Dill Pickle Vodka some of which are only available for purchase at the tasting room.
What Locals Know: If you visit the famed Okotoks Seaman Stadium a short drive South of Artesia for a baseball game, you can crack the locally made gin in a tin in the stands with the rest of the fans!
THE EAU CLAIRE EXPERIENCE: WHAT TO EXPECT
A visit to Eau Claire Distillery can be as simple as walking in during open hours and enjoying a drink at the bar, a locally sourced charcuterie platter or shop at their in-distillery store. But there is more, we recommend planning your trip to make the most of the experience:
Tour & Tasting
Visit Eau Claire Distillery for a behind-the-scenes look at how spirits are made. The tour includes a visit into the working Distillery amidst Eau Claire’s beautiful, German-made copper distilling towers, a visit into the exclusive fermentation hall, and a tasting of Eau Claire products, some which are available only at the Distillery. Tours run daily starting May long weekend to September 30th at 1pm and 3pm.
Discovery Well to Distillery Tour
This one-of-a-kind tour combination showcases the historic town of Turner Valley and the rich and interesting history between the oil boom in 1914 and prohibition in 1916. Learn how spirits are made, then travel to the historic nearby gas plant to appreciate the site’s significance to Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Learn the techniques required to make fun and creative cocktails with the added benefit of enjoying your creations. One of the Distillery’s skilled mixologists guides a group through making and enjoying signature Eau Claire cocktail recipes. All ingredients and recipes are provided along with a selection of locally sourced charcuterie
Taste your way through the making of whisky at Eau Claire. Master Distiller, Caitlin Quinn guides you through a whisky nosing, including some of Eau Claire’s very own!
Farm Dinner Series
Eau Claire Distillery’s Farm-to-Glass philosophy extends to a locally inspired dinner series featuring producers and farmers from Alberta and surrounding provinces. The dinners run Thursday and Friday nights, throughout the summer. Guests can enjoy a three-course meal prepared by Judy Wood, a local chef, beginning with a handcrafted cocktail featuring Eau Claire Distillery spirits naturally. Approximately 50 people can be accommodated.
For all of these experiences, visit Eauclairedistillery.ca for the latest dates, times, and more information.
There are at least three routes to get to Eau Claire Distillery from Artesia — 33 minutes, 36 minutes, or 43 minutes. We recommend the 43-minute route to travel along the celebrated and historic Cowboy Trail, with which the Distillery is directly in its path. From Artesia it does mean initially going north, turning west to get on the 22x, and then taking a left (south) near Priddis onto Route 22. The Cowboy Trail. This route makes for a true Alberta experience.
Consider stopping in at the famous Millarville Farmers Marketeither on route or on the way back! The market runs Saturdays from June 15 to October; with gates open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $3.
TRY THIS AT HOME
Invite your friends, family or neighbours for a drink this summer and entertain them with an exclusive “Artesian” cocktail. Sip in the sun and enjoy!
2oz Eau Claire Distillery Prickly Pear EquineOx
.5 – 1oz Blueberry Thyme Simple Syrup
.5 – 1oz Fresh Lemon & Lime Juice
6 Mint Leaves
4oz Eau Claire Soda Company Original Tonic Water