Ken Winchester, a recently retired master distiller, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Whisky Awards last month. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Ken Winchester, a recently retired master distiller, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Whisky Awards last month. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Canadian Whisky Awards raise a glass to Vancouver Island’s Devine Distillery

A Saanich Peninsula distillery will have to slide the bottles over and make some trophy space on the top shelf.

The Devine Distillery and Winery team once again has reason to raise a glass after receiving several accolades in its best showing ever at the 2021 Canadian Whisky Awards, including Artisan Distillery of the Year.

The small-batch whiskey distillery had one spirit with an intoxicating presence at the awards. Devine’s Ancient Grains young whisky — made from a B.C.-grown blend of barley, spelt, emmer, khorosan and einkorn — won Best Mixed Hash Whisky, received a gold medal and kept its winning streak alive by taking home the Best Whisky Spirit award for the third year in a row.

READ MORE: Raise your glass: Award-winning spirits, handcrafted on Vancouver Island

It wasn’t just the company’s product that was being honoured, but its people as well.

Ken Winchester, a recently retired Devine master distiller, received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the online event. A press release said Winchester was “deeply honoured” by the recognition. The Whisky Awards said the distiller’s contributions to the craft spanned North America.

“I’ve always believed that Canadians are capable of making whiskies that rank among the best in the world,” Winchester said. “I’m glad that people feel I’ve contributed to the development of our industry. There are so many talented people, and such great opportunities, in this country. I look forward to tasting what comes next.”

Devine says the majority of products that go into its spirits are sourced from local farms, so you can taste the Peninsula in every sip.

The Canada Whisky Awards are usually held during the Victoria Whisky Festival, but the celebration was broadcast online this year due to the pandemic. All the whiskies are blind tasted by a panel of independent experts.

Located on the Saanich Peninsula, outside Victoria, Devine is a true small-batch, craft distillery creating handcrafted spirits made solely from British Columbia-grown ingredients.

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