Prohibition in BC took effect on October 1st, 1917, but it was short lived. On October 20th, 1920 Prohibition was officially repealed and was replaced with a new system of government control over the sale and importation of alcohol. BC was the first of the Canadian provinces to dismiss Prohibition, which lead to the rise of a successful export trade of liqour to the United State.
The Liberty Distillery is not the first to distill spirits in the City of Vancouver. In fact Vancouver was home to United Distillers Limited at 8900 Shaughnessy Street in Marpole, not far from Oak Street and SW Marine Drive. It appears to have been strategically positioned with the plant facing the Fraser River. This was 1927: right in the middle of American Prohibition (1920-1933). However, in 1930, the Canadian Parliment made it illegal to export liquor to the United States or any other country that had adopted Prohibition. And so it continued the rich history of ’Rum Running’ from BC.
Recently, changes in the BC laws have allowed small distilleries like ours to open and encourage the making of high quality spirits by skilled distillers using BC’s abundant agricultural production.
Details about BC and Canadian Prohibition can be found in the readings of Robert A. Campbell, Demon Run or Easy Money: Government Control of Liquor in BC from Prohibition to Privatization, 1991
Thomas Hobbes once said “A free man is he that is not hindered to do what he hathe the will to do.”
We often get asked where does our name come from?
The name Liberty was chosen because it captures the very foundation on which The Liberty Distillery, and its sister company The Liberty Wine Merchants (dating back to 1986), were built: struggling against all odds, bonds and other restraints.
Sometimes in life, it is necessary to create, to educate, to elevate and to liberate. ‘Liberty’ inspires us – it is who we are and how we, and in the words of Khalil Gabran, “Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.”
Liberty: The ability to have control over one’s own actions, exercise of freedom and rights. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one’s own choosing.