Robert Black says whiskey tours in Scotland inspired him to open his own distillery in Peterborough.
“The last trip I felt I got to do this – this was too cool to not try and do this,” said Black.
And so he and Barb Matchett chased that dream – launching Black’s Distillery at the corner of Hunter Street East and Mark Street in the spring. The official grand opening was held on Saturday.
The small business offers rye whiskey, barley whiskey, gin and vodka. Black focused on relying on Red Fife wheat, which is grown by Douro-area farmer Peter Leahy at Merrlynd Organics farm.
Red Fife was first grown by David Fire at his family farm in Peterborough in the early 1840s.
“I have a passion for fine spirits, good food – things that are made authentically,” said Black. “And the science behind them was kind of the drive for it.”
In a city that’s seen a surge in craft breweries, Black believes his craft distillery can whet customers’ tastes for spirits.
“I believe it’s an up-and-coming market,” said Black. “People are very interested in how spirits are made, what’s in them. It’s just like having food – they want to know how it’s produced. Local is also important for a lot of people too.”
The distillery – which features a retail store – will also offer tours, taste tests and even cocktail classes in the evenings.
Black says he’ll slow expand with more specialty and seasonal tastes later this year. The LCBO will be offering Black’s Distillery vodka next month.
“Being that I’m a craft distillery, I’m small enough I can switch things up and try different grains,” said Black.