Who we are
There are times in life when big decisions are made. Husband and wife team of Andrew Hayden and Jillian Rutherford took the plunge and established Fernie DistillerS in 2016.
Jillian, with her engineering background, is one of the few female distillers in Canada and is central to the operation. Combined with Andrew's experience working with global beverage alcohol brands and consumer packaged goods, they make a well-blended management team with all the necessary industry experience.
The business draws inspiration from the community and its spirit and this extends to working relationships with other organizations, businesses and individuals in Fernie.
We have a close relationship with our neighbours at Branch 36 of the Royal Canadian Legion. We are right next door.
Sitting around the table with our friends at the Legion meat draw (every Saturday at 4pm), it was suggested that the hall become the home of the distillery. The rest is history.
We have designed our space with you in mind. It has been renovated to be a welcoming and comfortable space unlike any other space in Fernie.
Informal and yet refined at the same time, it is versatile and is available as a private event venue. Click here to inquire.
View the stills, chat with the distiller and learn about the process. Have a tasting of our current products. Relax in the lounge and enjoy a cocktail.
Our retail area has bottled spirits for sale as well as apparel and a selection of other unique items.
The past is
the key to the present.
In Jillian's studies in Earth Sciences, an important concept was made popular by Charles Lyell, "The present is the key to the past." For Fernie Distillers, the past is the key to the present.
The inspiration for our story is the story of Fernie and the Elk Valley. We are grateful to the good people at the Fernie Museum for their help, insight and enthusiasm.
A glance at some of the history that is reflected in our products.
The No.9 mine was located in the Coal Creek area of Fernie. Opening in 1943, No.9 employed 109 miners at its peak and in 1950 it started operating with the first underground diesel locomotive in BC. These days you can follow a hiking trail that passes old mine entrances, buildings and equipment ruins with interpretive signage.
Prospectors & trains
Thanks to William Fernie and Colonel James Baker, the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in Fernie in 1898 and became a vital link supplying goods and transporting coal. It also brought people and allowed for growth and prosperity which has continued to present day although, the train doesn't stop in town any longer. (Except every second December, the spectacle of the Christmas train lights up the track and town.)