Nova Scotia Fundy Gin Supports Whale Sanctuary Project


These days, brands are giving back more than ever. It’s an uplifting movement that puts a real, caring face on businesses, whether they’re beverage companies, apparel or equipment manufacturers.

In Nova Scotia, Still baked distilleries is shaking up the spirits scene with its Fundy Gin. Liberation is made with a host of local botanicals and is the work of underwater welders turned beverage entrepreneurs. A portion of proceeds from the gin supports the Whale Sanctuary Project, a body of water along the Nova Scotia coast that provides a natural habitat for captive whales and dolphins.

You heard right, the underwater welders. Still Fired was co-founded by two of them, Andrew Cameron and Owen Ritchie. Both have made careers in the decidedly niche business of commercial diving, undertaking engaging but dangerous projects in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. It turns out that some of those highly specialized skills paved the way for the Distillery.

“I never thought I would be able to find a different business that could keep me as on my toes as commercial diving, but I was very wrong,” Cameron says. “The transition into the spirits industry has been exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming at times, but also much warmer than a career as a diver in the Atlantic Ocean.”

A wine glass with ice and dulse next to a bowl of dulse and a bottle of Fundy Gin.

Cameron and Ritchie used their welding prowess to build the first “legal” stills in Atlantic Canada. It was a savvy move that dramatically reduced start-up costs, as crucial equipment can be prohibitively expensive. This was the basis for launching the brand, which the duo officially did in 2015.

Gin was always going to be front and center, as Cameron and Co. had a real appreciation for that stuff. “Long before we established the distillery, we were (a little) laughed at for choosing to drink gin in an industry full of whiskey and rum drinkers,” Cameron says. The gin renaissance had yet to begin, at least not in North America. “We knew we wanted to create a unique local gin and we wanted to set it apart from all the others.”

How do we achieve such a thing? You focus on the terroir. “The easy answer for us was Dulse,” Cameron continues. “A delicious, edible red kelp that offers a plethora of complementary flavors growing in our great backyard known as the Bay of Fundy. Dulse is a maritime staple, and at the time we were one of three distilleries in the world to use seaweed in our gin.

Unique? To verify. Show a real sense of belonging? To verify. Not only was Fundy Gin born, but it offered an authentic taste of the Coast Province. But it hasn’t been easy. “A good gin is a fascinating and frustrating labor of love that requires an abundance of time, energy and finesse,” says Cameron. “To create a quality gin, you have to find the perfect blend of botanicals and measure them at a specific amount so that they all complement each other, without one overpowering the other.”

Still Fired opted for a trilogy of ingredients that grow right next to it in juniper, angelica root and dulse. The seaweed in particular is harvested and dried by hand, offering a hint of smoke and saltiness on the palate. The resulting gin is very neat, which is not always the case for this particular spirit. Cameron likes it too, hit with citrus or in a Dry Martini format.

The decision to give back is a combination of recognizing consumer awareness and the community in which Cameron and his team reside. “The ‘buy local’ movement has completely changed the way consumers shop, and businesses are behaving accordingly,” he says. “Customers are learning more about what their definition of local means and they want to feel like their purchases are helping those around them. This was an essential part of our business plan, as we live in the small town of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, a place rich in history, culture and community, where giving back is the way of life. .

So far, Still Fired has raised $10,000 for the Whale Sanctuary project. Cameron says the ultimate goal is to raise ten times that amount over the next five to seven years. The partnership came about after the project announced that it would establish its headquarters in Nova Scotia. The two parties met and have supported each other ever since. Nova Scotia proudly presents itself as Canada’s ocean playground and we all love and respect our oceans,” says Cameron.

The plan is to maintain maritime support in the future. And there’s more in store for the brand, including a bartending contest to be held in New York. The grand prize, Cameron says, is a trip for two to their playground. “We plan to show the winners all that this ocean has to offer and we think these are the perfect first steps to raise awareness,” he says. .

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