Dreaming of a distillery

Lost Boys Distillery hopes to create craft spirits in Fernie.

For Trevor Semchuck and Spencer Schey, their hopes of opening a distillery in Fernie may be soon coming to fruition. The two Fernie-based men have been working on a strategy to open a small-batch distillery for over a year. They are hoping to open Lost Boys Distillery and begin production in early 2017.

Although they technically define their business as a “small-batch” distillery, they will be also using many craft distillery techniques, including sourcing as many local goods as possible.

“Fernie is such a unique place and there are all sorts of seasonal activities here and we just see a way to make seasonal spirits to kind of complement what people love doing here,” Semchuck told The Free Press. “We are really going to focus on collecting everything by hand and just trying to optimize on when they are best to be used.”

According to Semchuck and Schey, they are hoping to collect and use as many natural products as they can, including berries, flowers and grains. They want to be as hands-on in the production process as they can be.

“We’ve sourced grains from farmers in Alberta. Basically we have the opportunity to go and collect grain as it is being combined from the field and we take it from there all the way to the bottle,” said Semchuck. “We have the opportunity to go to different fields, check the quality and check the protein content, the water content, the starch content that is going to work well with our recipes and then we take it the whole way through.”

The strategy of Lost Boys Distillery is to include the community in the process, and both Semchuck and Schey are open to hearing any concerns from the community about opening a distillery in Fernie.

“Something that is really key to the whole Lost Boys Distillery is that we want this to be Fernie’s distillery – not a distillery in Fernie. We want everybody in Fernie to a part of what we are doing. People are going to have concerns; that is great. I want them to bring those concerns to us so we can talk about it and find a way to make everybody happy,” said Semchuck.

According to Schey, there has been interest from the community, including local restaurants. “I’ve been talking to some people and people have been very positive about it and very excited about it, for sure. There is a spot for it in Fernie,” he said.

The Lost Boys Distillery is a homage to Lost Boys Pass, but also means more than that to the owners.

“The neat thing about doing small batch distilling is because we are using seasonal products, there is going to be variation from year to year. So in essence, our product is going to wander a little bit and wandering is parallel to being lost,” said Semchuck, adding that all investors have a thirst for adventure, and “don’t mind putting ourselves in places where we won’t really know where we are.”

Semchuck and Schey, along with two other partners in the business, wanted to start this style of business as a way to create a legacy in Fernie.

“It came from maybe wanting to make a good living here and trying to contend with working towards something and building a legacy as opposed to working for somebody else,” said Schey.

Semchuck and Schey have been obtaining hands-on education in distilling through different avenues. In March, Semchuck ventured to Colorado for a course in craft distilling while Schey has been pursuing a pseudo-apprenticeship with Park Distilling, based in Banff, Alta. They have been working on creating recipes that will work with the seasonal ingredients they plan to incorporate into their products.


“We want to focus on making a quality product that can be enjoyed on its own, on ice or in a mixed cocktail. We don’t want to be just one thing. We’ve got lots of ideas to do a lot of different products,” said Semchuck. “Ultimately that comes down to developing it with our team and the diverse set of palates that are in Fernie.”



Just Posted

Fernie and RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Peanut Butter Campaign supports local food banks

Both Save On Foods in Fernie and Overwaitea in Sparwood participated in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Global accessibility advocate brings efforts home

Fernie has third world accessibility problems, says Cotton

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

Most Read