from Siebel Institute in Chicago a few
years ago and was looking to get into the
craft brewery business.
She changed her mind when she saw
how many artisan breweries were popping
up all over Canada and decided to switch
her focus to the up and coming craft distillery
business. After looking around for
options for distilling training, Diubaldo
says she found the perfect match in The
“The Distillery School was really the
first hands-on distilling training that I had
had,” said Diubaldo, who took the course at
Sons of Vancouver in 2017.
“Essentially, it’s like you’re working in
a distillery for a week, which is an invaluable
experience,” she added. “I can’t really
express how helpful it has been.”
“I think you can cram a lot of learning
into five days,” said Diubaldo, adding she
relished the opportunity to observe what a
To enrol in the program, each applicant
is asked to complete a questionnaire.
Hamer reviews them and will then talk
to each prospective student to ensure the
very hands-on approach offered by The
Distillery Schools is a good fit.
Lester says some students of The
Distillery School have been people interested
in spending time in an operating distillery
to see it’s something they’d like to do,
but most of the participants are looking to
launch their own distilling business.
“I’d say that less than 20 per cent have
opened their own distilleries, but there are
many more who are in the process of doing
that,” Lester said. “I think that the longer we
are around, the more that will happen.”
Josh McLafferty is a fellow B.C. distiller
who was among The Distillery School’s first
students. Shortly after taking the course,
McLafferty opened the Monashee Spirits
Distillery in Revelstoke and it wasn’t long
after that he won the best liquor award at
the annual BC Distilled festival in 2018.
It was an award that Sons of Vancouver
had taken home the previous four years.
“We were the reigning champions, and then
Josh opened his distillery and took our title,”
Lester laughed, adding he couldn’t be happier
Other distilleries launched by former
students of The Distillery School include
Fernie Distillers, the Woods Spirit Company
and Bespoke Spirits in B.C. and Montreal’s
Distillerie Mont-Royal in Quebec.
Another successful alumnus is Jenna
Diubaldo, Manitoba’s first female craft distiller.
Diubaldo is preparing to unveil her
own brand of spirits through her new business
called No. 13 Distilling Company that
she plans to open in Winnipeg later this year.
Diubaldo, who started homebrewing
beer as a hobby around seven years
ago, got a brewing technology certificate
EDUCAT I O N
16 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca