HIP Sips And the Booming Beverage Business in the Bow Valley

Canmore, Alberta is a beautiful mountain community located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains just an hour's drive west of Calgary. This former coal-mining town has come to be known around the world for many things, including its beautiful mountain scenery, prolific wildlife, world-class athletes and off-your-doorstep adventures.

Now Canmore has another great reason to be world famous and it pairs well with the mountain culture that first got the world's attention - a growing collection of world-class craft breweries and distilleries who might just make you go "mountains... what mountains?".

Wild Life Distillery co-founders Matt Widmer & Keith Robinson were born and raised in the Bow Valley, and their passion for this incredible place shines through in everything they do. Inspired and educated by master distillers from around the world, Matt and Keith are devoted to bringing quality spirits to the place they call home.

Distillery Tours & Tastings

Join a WLD tour and learn about the process of creating award-winning spirits, sample the goods and enjoy the experience of drinking an amazing WLD-original cocktail surrounded by the beautiful Canadian Rockies.

"By constant pursuit of personal betterment, we are on a path of continuous learning and growth in our industry. Extreme attention to detail is a result of this mentality, and we demonstrate this through all of our processes at the distillery. We are passionate about what we do, and look forward to sharing this passion with you."

Meet the Maker: Canmore distillers have moonshine in their blood


In the early 1900s, it was illegal to sell alcohol in mining towns, but Brad Smylie’s nonna could see a market for quality moonshine. She put the distillation skills she’d learned in Italy to use in her newfound home, and she became a local legend, even inspiring a book about her boozy exploits.

Brad was born after his great-grandmother’s death, but as the owner, with his wife Lindsay, of Raw Distillery in Canmore, he’s channelling her success by making and selling—legally—spirits. To date, his products include vodka, peppercorn, citrus & botanical gins, an unaged rye finished in port barrels, as well as some collaborations, including a peppercorn gin caesar with Bow Valley BBQ’s Parkway Clamato.

“The name refers to the raw form of whatever ingredients we’re using, and also the granite that’s in the Rocky Mountains,” Lindsay says. “We want to be bold, expressive and celebrate raw ingredients.”

Distillery Tours & Tastings

RAW offers both private and group tours of their production facilities in Canmore. Join Brad and Lindsay for an introduction to the distilling process, including sampling the finished product!

“Small craft distillers are part of a soon to be large community. The first time you try a RAW product I want you to be blown away. The responsibility of quality spirit production is one I take seriously. I have made it my mission to craft products of the highest quality. Together with other distillers in Canada we will encourage this dynamic industry to grow together."

Canmore Breweries

Prefer your bevvies with a few more suds? Not a problem!

Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company was established by Niall Fraser in 1996. Brewing originally occurred at their downtown location which is now a destination for locals and visitors alike. With business booming, their beautiful new production facility was added in 2011, increasing capacity and adding a great new tour option.

Brew options include fan favourites Powder Hound Bonde Ale, Rutting Elk Red, and Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat as well as Seasonal Specialties like the Alpenglow Winter Ale or Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin Ale.

The Canmore Brewing Company is the relative newcomer to the valley, but they have already made their mark on the local landscape.

“It is part of our mission and mantra. We want to make good beer that is part of the great activities we do on daily basis: ski, bike, hike, sit on a patio. We want a mountain beer that is authentic.”

Their beer, named after Canmore, the mountains and mountain locations, include the Ten peaks Pale Ale, the Mineside Stout and the Georgetown Brown, just to name a few. Stop by their beautiful brewery in Canmore for some tasters and a tour of the facility.

There's nothing better than an exciting day in the mountains followed by some great drinks on the patio - especially when those drinks come with that extra special Rocky Mountain flavour.



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