D I S T I L L E R Y P R O F I L E
The house was built in 1874, in the Second-Empire style, during the booming
“Barley Days” of the county
A barley days find
Two weeks into their search for a B&B, they discovered that 66
Gilead Distillery was up for sale. The distillery, which had been
owned by Sophia Pantazi and Peter Stroz, was situated on land
that featured the Cooper-Norton House and farm. The house was
built in 1874, in the Second-Empire style, during the booming
“Barley Days” of the county.
The farm was originally a hops farm, and the barn was used
for drying hops. The barn still has the original slatted drying floors
on the second level. There were also big stone fireplaces that were
used to dry the hops. The distillery building was constructed in
2010 and contains a copper hybrid still, combining both a pot and
Once they assumed ownership of the distillery, their original
intention was to change the bottles, but possibly keep the com-pany
name. After meeting with a branding firm, they decided
to change to Kinsip, which pays tribute to the property and the
Soucie says the new approach was to use Kinsip, House of Fine
Spirits as the “mother brand,” but they also wanted each product
to stand on its own within the same category. For example, that
meant gin would not be called Kinsip Gin, but rather Juniper’s Wit
Gin, made by Kinsip.
“The brand transition was the main challenge,” said Soucie. “It
was like building an airplane while it was flying. There was a point
that old and new products were on the shelves at the same time.
We couldn’t afford to just switch so we did it over time. We were
transparent about all of our actions and I think people liked that.”
Although the new owners had limited experience as distillers,
they were fortunate to be able to hire the distiller from 66 Gilead,
who provided his experience and knowledge as they began to cre-ate
their own products. Once their products were created, they set
about getting them on store shelves.
With the assistance of an agent, Kinsip was able to participate
in an Ontario government program that helps small distillers sell
to local stores. Their products are now available throughout Prince
Edward County and more than a dozen Liquor Control Board of
Ontario (LCBO) locations.
Kinsip now produces its own varieties of gin and vodka, and
several aged spirits such as rum, brandy and whisky. The company
has also been working on a new line of bitters and experimenting
with a maple syrup-based liqueur.
Soucie said their location in Prince Edward County has been a
boom to business. “We are fortunate to be in a place where a cou-ple
million people come each year and right now, we are the only
distillery. There are 40 wineries, eight breweries and about half a
dozen cideries,” he said.
The company makes considerable effort to connect to local
marketing channels and ensure that there is printed promotional
information at major tourism destinations including retail outlets
and bed and breakfasts. Since Kinsip also produces maple syrup
that is sold at these locations, it often leads to a discussion about
the operation, and local businesses suggest that visitors should
tour the site. Kinsip also offers food as part of their tours, which
encourages people to stop by during meal times.
Kinsip also attends as many local events as possible and
has created a vibrant online community. It has more than 5,000
Instagram followers and has an increasing number of people who
are purchasing products from their website. Soucie said he envi-sions
that they will be spending more on social media and search
engine optimization services to increase their marketing reach.
Another unique aspect of the operation is that the farm
also contains an old pig barn that has been repurposed into a
cooperage called Carriage House C The distillery contains a copper hybrid still, combining both a pot and column ooperage. Inside, Pete and
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