D I S T I L L E R Y P R O F I L E
The idea for Back40 Distillery began about five years ago and quite unexpectedly.
Longtime pals Lorne Haugen and Rick Lazaruik – who met 20 years ago at a
hockey rink where their sons were playing pee wee hockey – were sitting around one
evening in front of a meat smoker in Haugen’s backyard in Tofield, Alta., having a cocktail and
discussing what kind of ingredients went into these commercial spirits and could they make
these using simple, quality ingredients?
“We knew exactly what was going into these products and could control the quality,” said
Haugen. “This was especially important because my daughter is a celiac. We made all types of
fresh and smoked sausage, bacon and jerky, all gluten free.”
After talking about this business idea for about two years, Haugen and Lazaruik – both
in their mid-50s – decided to move forward with the idea and completed a distillery course in
Denver, Colo. Fast forward to January 2017.
“We opened Back40 Distillery and started production – with a bar and tasting room – in
Camrose,” said Haugen.
As for the company’s unique name, he said, “Both Rick and I had old family friends and
relatives who used to make their own liquor. It was literally made in the back field or what we
used to call ‘the Back 40’ meaning the back 40 acres.”
Serving the entire province of Alberta, Back40 Distillery is an incorporated business con-sisting
of Haugen and Lazaruik as equal partners.
“And our families help out when possible,” said Lazaruik.
SUMMER 2020 § POURED CANADA § 5