WORDS & PHOTOS BY CHRIS TIESSEN
When Lisa and Mark Townsend opened Silver Fox Distillery in the small town of Arthur just over three years ago, they had two goals in mind: to develop a truly diverse lineup of great tasting spirits, and to craft them using local ingredients and sustainable practices. (Actually, there might be a third goal: to be the first Ontario distillery that doubles as a Doctor Who museum of sorts. But you’ll have to visit the place to see what I mean.)
At last count, Silver Fox has released forty gin- and vodka-based products (with whiskies and rums on the way), incorporating everything from local grains and maple syrups to area lavender and goat’s milk whey. And they’ve made it all happen in the most environmentally-friendly way: by donating their spent grains to an area pork farmer, for example, and developing their own water recycling system for cooling during the distilling process.
And they’ve done more than just ‘make it happen,’ as Mark makes clear. ‘So far we’ve won twenty-six awards across North America – including the 2022 US Open Spirits’ Grand National Championship,’ he says. ‘We’re the first Canadian distillery to receive this prestigious award.’ Not too shabby for a three- year-old, two-person operation.
Like so many other remarkable farms and food businesses that dot Guelph and Wellington County, Silver Fox Distillery is a partner of Taste Real – a County of Wellington program that promotes local food and facilitates valuable connections among food businesses, consumers, craftspeople, farmers, and distillers alike. That includes champion distillers like Mark and Lisa.
Learn more at silverfoxdistillery.ca