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Top Five Liquid Libations

Home to over a dozen breweries, numerous wineries, artisanal ciderhouses, five distilleries and one of the top ten hotel bars in the world (plus a famous tea scene), whatever your beverage of choice, you’ll find yourself refreshed in Victoria.
 

THE VICTORIA ALE TRAIL

Home to Canada’s first brewpub, Victoria has been coined as the “Cradle of the Craft Beer Revolution” and with over 14 craft breweries we are truly the heart and soul of brew pub culture in B.C. Brewers in the city get creative with their offerings, often pairing locally sourced ingredients to create characteristic flavours. 

Begin in Rock Bay by fueling up with some nibbles and German-style beer at Moon Under Water.  Then head onto Spinnakers, the country’s oldest craft brewery and home to dozens of year-round and seasonal specialities. Be sure to try their Little Sunshine sour beer, which uses ‘Happy Wellness’ tea from Victoria’s Silk Road Tea infused with bergamot, kaffir lime and white and green tea. You can also stop by Hoyne Brewing which uses honey from the Fairmont Empress hotel’s hives to sweeten their Summer Haze Honey Hefe. Visit Phillips Brewing, Category 12, or Vancouver Island Brewery for a tour of their facilities, or stop in at one of the downtown brewpubs such as Canoe or Swans to try a flight of brews on site. 
 

CRAFT SPIRITS

The thirst for craft spirits is alive and well in Canada, especially on Vancouver Island. Victoria Distillers and the Fairmont Empress have joined forces to create a truly distinctive gin. Inspired by the 1908 cocktail, the spirit features seven botanicals including a South Asian botanical called the pea flower. Watch as additional mixers are added: this gin changes colour! Visit De Vine Vineyard to sample their Vin Gin made using the winery’s Pinot Gris and Gruner Veltliner grapes. In Shirley, Sheringham Distillery creates their citrusy Seaside Gin using only products grown in B.C. All the spent grains are sent to local farms to become a healthy source of high protein livestock feed. Merridale Cidery and Distillery distill in a 200-litre, hand-hammered copper pot still from Germany on their farm, which gives them the flexibility to make aromatic brandies, gins and smooth vodka too. Like their cider, their gin and vodka are also made entirely from BC grown fruits and botanicals.
 

TEA CULTURE

Tea culture has been ingrained in the history of Victoria since the first wave of European settlers arrived. Often considered a traditional, formal affair, tea culture has been wonderfully modernized in Victoria. Think tea-infused cocktails at Q at The Fairmont Empress, tea-infused beer at Spinnakers, tea-based spa treatments and a tea tasting bar at Silk Road Tea, a tea sommelier at Hotel Grand Pacific and a range of Afternoon Tea experiences at the city's many hotels and tea rooms.
 

WINERIES & CIDERIES 

Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands (affectionately known as the Wine Islands) are the fastest growing wine region in Canada. Find one quarter of British Columbia's wineries here, with most of them centered around the Cowichan Valley and Saanich Peninsula. Experience all the region has to offer in terms of wine by organizing a self-guided tour or scheduling a luxury limousine wine tour. Click here for a map of wineries in the region.

You know what they say, an apple a day...Southern Vancouver Island is home to two of Canada's most celebrated cideries.  Enjoy a flight of cider while drinking in the panoramic views at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse or dive into a delicious cider at Merridale Cidery & Distillery before strolling through the picturesque orchard. 
 

COCKTAIL CULTURE

Victoria is home to many cocktail bars with innovative mixoligists incorporating unique ingredients made right here on the island.  For a noteworthy experience, head to Clive's Classic Lounge where house-made liqueurs, bitters, syrups and shrubs are transformed into a variety of creative cocktails.  Another local favourite, Little Jumbo has an ever-changing selection of cocktails to delight all tastes and dedicated mixologists that will impress you with their knowledge and passion on all things libation. 

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