Rossland Mountain Market welcomed a new vendor on Thursday. Kevin Goodwin is the owner and distiller of Kootenay Country Craft Distillery, and it was his first time bringing his locally sourced gin and vodkas to the market.
While Goodwin has previously attended markets in Creston and New Denver, he only recently received the Farmer’s Market Authorization that allows him to sell at the Rossland market. The B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, which issues the authorizations, requires separate approval for each market a vendor plans to attend, and each authorization only covers specified dates, which have to be agreed upon with the market’s organizers in advance.
Goodwin and his wife Lora run the distillery in Creston. Products include their gold medal winning Valhalla Vodka, a craft gin, and flavoured vodkas, like mint and huckleberry ginger cinnamon.
They purchase all of their ingredients from farmers in the region, and use water from a mountain spring. “Mountain spring water is an important part of our product,” says Goodwin. “Mostly because chlorinated water has a flavour, so it would affect the flavour of the product.” They even buy their bottles from Vernon, and Laura’s mother designs the labels.
But Goodwin isn’t Mountain Market’s first alcohol vendor. Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery, also in Creston, attended the market for the first time last week, and vendor Patricia Husk says so far the reaction from market-goers has been positive. “People like the idea of being able to stop and buy a bottle of wine, plus their veggies, and baking,” she says.
The law allowing alcohol at farmers’ markets passed last June, but it wasn’t until this year that Rossland Mountain Market took advantage of the new legislation. The market’s manager, Miche Warwick, explained that before allowing alcohol, the market needed to be registered as a society, and needed to check in with the city, in case any local regulations prohibited the sale of alcohol at farmers’ markets.
So far the effort seems to have paid off. “It’s exciting, and I see lots of bottles and bags heading out of the market, so I think it’s going well,” says Warwick.
Goodwin agrees: “People are receptive to local products, and they’re definitely curious.” He hopes that the longer people see Kootenay Country at the market, the more receptive they’ll be to taking home craft spirits.