Champ Libre, born in May 2018 in Mercier, Quebec, is above all a brewery whom also quickly gained success with its beers. However, from the start, this project was going to have a distillery division with a modest production and would be produced in stills consisting of 200 liters.
This idea originated by two locals. Alexandre Provost, who worked in the insurance industry and dreamed of owning a distillery, and Patrick Cool, co-founder of a company specializing in the representation and distribution of local beers and products and wanted to create a microbrewery. They were lacking the master brewer to complete their team. Alex Ganivet-Boileau, former chief brewer of the microbrewery “Les Trois Mousquetaires” in Brossard and recipient of numerous awards filled this position and joined this team. Two other investors complete the foundation of this company.
A first batch of around 300 bottles of gin was launched on December 21, 2019, essentially made from ingredients grown in their pilot vegetable garden located behind their building. The idea was not to produce in volume, but to produce products with a distinct identity. This first batch of production, labelled “Agricole”, was carried out with the expertise of the distillers of the Subversifs, including a base of barley malt brewed and fermented on site. The ingredients which are used fresh (juniper berries, lemon thyme, grapefruit mint, rosemary, verbena, lemongrass and lemon balm), were partially used directly in the still tank and in a basket through which the steam passes alcohol before condensing. Lastly, hay was used as an infusion to provide a combination including a golden color and a rustic flavor. Two-thirds of this first batch sold on the first day !
Photos by : © Nemo [ photographe ] for Distilleries Canada