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Craft distiller has plans to make his own absinthe

NANAIMO — A distiller in Nanaimo hopes to bring a locally crafted absinthe to market. Arbutus Distillery is months away from releasing its brand of craft liquors such as vodka, gin and eventually absinthe.

NANAIMO — A distiller in Nanaimo hopes to bring a locally crafted absinthe to market.

Arbutus Distillery is months away from releasing its brand of craft liquors such as vodka, gin and eventually absinthe.

Producers of craft beer and liquor including Arbutus Distillery owner Mike
Pizzitelli say evidence provided by the American market points to a coming boom in craft liquors, which has generally followed a growth in small beer breweries.

The facility is now home to a 1,000-litre distiller. A boiler is expected to be functional soon to complete the apparatus.

Once Arbutus begins production, the hope is to first release their brand of vodka, Coven, in bottles complete with a glow-in-the-dark label.

The first release of The Empiric gin is expected to follow soon after, before a 140-proof absinthe — Baba Yaga — is planned for release.

“Everything here [in B.C.] is like 10 years behind a lot of the craft brew cities like Portland,” said Pizzitelli. “First came craft brew, then all the laws changed and that paved the way for craft distilling.”

The provincial government has been reviewing liquor policies and plans to introduce new legislation sometime this year.