It is the second oldest artisanal distillery in Quebec in operation, (just after Michel Jodoin), and yet, when we think of Intermiel, this is not what comes directly to mind, but of course a beautiful range of honeys!
But let’s go back to sum up the adventure of this company. It began in 1976 when Christian Macle and his wife and Viviane, teachers who arrived from France in 1969, settled in St-Benoît (Mirabel) and bought a hundred hives. He has some experience in the field for having helped his grandfather when he was younger. In 1992-93, his wife left teaching to join the business full time and developed educational tours of the beekeeping environment. She will also later develop a line of care products, Apiflore, for sale on site or online. It was also during this period that they began to produce their first meads, the fermented honey alcohol that the Gauls drank. In 1996, their Production Director and oenologist André Abi Raad was hired.
The distillery chapter began in 2006, with the acquisition of a 500-liter German still, still in operation. It is used to make eau de vie that is used in the composition of certain products, rather than working with neutral alcohol purchased in bulk. This is more expensive, but it is necessary to obtain the desired final taste.
In 2006, their daughter Éléonore took over. Her husband is also involved in the business, which employs between 25 and 80 people depending on the season.
Finally, with the changes in laws in 2018, they begin to market 3 eaux de vie, each made from the three basic ingredients they have at their disposal on their neighboring land, apples from their 600 tree orchard, syrup from their 18,000 taps maple grove, and honey from their 6,000 to 9,000 beehives (depending on the year). In fact, the hives are spread out in several places in the province, some of them are moved during the season to pollinate for example the blueberry fields of Lac St-Jean or the cranberry fields in Central Quebec. These three products complete the range of meads, maple alcohols, and ice ciders.
But a brandy is a product that is typical of Europe and little known in North America. So it took a more fashionable product, and finally, after 2 years of elaboration, arrived the Api Gin Signé Macle in mid-July 2020. This one is thus conceived from the flower to the bottle since the base alcohol is obtained by the distillation of honey, and of course, gin obliges, it is composed of juniper. There are also aniseed, coriander…
Intermiel‘s store is open all year round, and if you have never done it before, the educational visit is very enriching to learn more about bees and the benefits of the products these workers offer us (honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, wax…).
Crédit photos : © Nemo [ photographe ] pour Distilleries Canada