Hello from Hudson Bay Distillers!
My name is Tim, and I am one of the owners of Hudson Bay Distillers, a family-owned and operated distillery. Today I’d like to talk about who we are and what our company is all about.
Hudson Bay Distillers is a micro-distillery located on a family farm in Landis, Saskatchewan. The company consists of three main people: me, Kim, and Cavrin. We also get help from Kelli and Joel every chance we can. We all have different skill sets and bring something unique to the table.
I have an industrial background and have worked in many different food plants and processing facilities as well as industrial sites in the energy sector. When it comes to fun, many hours have been spent hunting, fishing, and trapping. I also enjoy building things and crafting ordinary projects that I can put my own twist on. I was born into a family that has its roots in Eastern Europe and Scotland, so it seems only natural to have a distillery!
My creativity has been useful within the context of Hudson Bay Distillers because we embrace a ‘built, not bought’ line of thinking. When the opportunity came to build our own distillery and create our own spirits, it was right up my alley. This business has given me a chance to build a facility my way, to design the processes the way I want to have them and, most importantly, to produce spirits that we created from scratch. Of course, I couldn’t accomplish the project without the help of all of the other team members, but for now, I am taking all of the credit because they are not here!
Working every day in the distillery can be tiring, but it’s never dull. The constant interaction with chemistry and physics, not to mention the millions of variables that go into producing a spirit, keep me plenty entertained. I am very proud to have the title of Distiller and do not take it lightly. Ian Henderson from Edradour Distillery has always been a mentor to me, his love of making great spirits mixed with his meek attitude is inspiring. How many times have I heard him say, “it’s not for me to say...I’m just a whisky maker.”
Well, I guess I should probably share some information about the rest of the team, shouldn’t I?
My wife, Kim, is the “driving force” in the team (that’s the polite way of saying strong-willed and assertive). Kim was raised on the farm that now holds our distillery, and possesses a love of people and animals alike. She started out in the veterinary industry, she is now on the nursing staff at Kerrobert Hospital, which may seem like an odd twist but to her, it’s all about caring for lives that can’t care for themselves.
Her official title here at the distillery is CFO, but she can also be found working with me in the still room, on the bottling or canning lines, and helping Cavrin with the sales and marketing side of the business. She is everyone’s go-to person and as such gets a steady stream of tasks. When the chance came to start our own distillery, Kim jumped right in. This opportunity to build something that we can all work on at home and someday pass on to our children fit perfectly into Kim’s dreams of our family’s future.
One of Kim’s great loves (besides me, of course) is her love of sled dogs. I surprised her with her first sled dog when we first got married: a blue-eyed Siberian Husky named Lonesome. This started her love affair with raising, training, and racing sled dogs, something that she still does to this day. She has gained an excellent reputation in the world of Siberian Huskies as a renowned breeder in Canada.
Cavrin is the CEO of our company and grew up in Hudson Bay. As a child, he enjoyed sled dogs and hunting. When he finished high school, he went on to become a Red Seal Journeyman Electrician, specializing in industrial builds. He soon gained recognition as someone with great people skills and a keen eye for detail, which is how he got the nickname Mr. Picky Pants.
After travelling all across western Canada and working away from home, Cavrin jumped at the idea of starting his own company. His skills and life lessons have been a priceless asset to our company as it grew from the initial construction to a full-fledged business. Like the rest of us, Cavrin has a ‘built, not bought’ attitude and takes great pride in the workmanship that he puts into projects and the things that he creates.
As the head of marketing, Cavrin’s plate is full, and his creative skills are in high demand; marketing products within the budget constraints of a young company is a daunting task, to say the least. Not only does Cavrin help with creating new, one-of-a-kind spirits, he also designs the labels and packaging; it is here that his creative skills really shine. Our product packaging are among the best in the industry and receive constant compliments from customers and retailers. We believe that high-end bottles and labels are only fitting for high-end products. You’ll never see our spirits in plastic bottles, nor will we produce spirits that should be in plastic bottles.
Now the last and youngest piece of the puzzle is our daughter Kelli, her husband Joel, and their kids Octavia and Anders. Kelli trained as a paramedic and holds a degree in Early Childhood Development, which makes her an incredible asset to the company in case I get injured or if I act like a baby.
She is very creative and uses her talent to help with marketing ideas and promotions. She is always a welcome sight at events, farmer’s markets, and tastings. Her off-the-floor sense of humour often relieves the day-to-day stress of running a business and is particularly helpful during long nights of bottling or canning.
Her husband, Joel, is a millwright by trade and works in the mill in Hudson Bay. His skills and life experiences are invaluable around the shop, where he builds, fixes, or designs improvements in the distillery operation process. It is always nice to have a tradesman handy to bounce ideas off of; having a millwright that works for beer and snacks is even better!
Now on to the grandkids. Octavia and her little brother Anders have become a great inspiration to us. Even though they are too small to work in the distillery, they are a constant reminder of our future. Looking at them, we know that someday soon they will be a part of the next generation of distillers. This gives us even more reason to remain true to our goals. Plus, I get to hide in the house and play with the kids, unless Kim has beaten me to it. Can you guess how Kim came up with the name “Anvia” for our new spirit line?
To sum it up, we are a family-run distillery, and like any closely-knit family, we all rely on each other. Each one of us is like a spoke on a wheel. Every spoke is as important as the next, adding strength and support to the others; remove one, and the whole wheel comes apart.
We are not a company with multiple investors and money-grabbing entities - we are simply a family with a passion for hand-made products resulting from hard work, passion, and dedication. Hudson Bay Distillers is a grain-to-glass Type 1 distillery. As a Type 1, we mash, ferment, and distill all of our products ourselves, all on-site. We have focused our attention on creating new spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails, also known as coolers.