A local distillery is hitting the skies.
The Fort Distillery has teamed up with Porter Airlines to serve their signature Tumbler & Rocks pre-mixed cocktails on all long-haul flights.
Nathan Flim, the founder and president of the Fort Distillery, is ecstatic about the opportunity.
"We're extremely excited about this deal," said Flim. "It's really exciting for us to be able to expand outside of the borders of Alberta and into other provinces and into the U.S."
"This airline deal is kind of like a dream come true."
The distillery was founded in Fort Saskatchewan back in 2018 by Flim. Their launch lineup included gin, vodka, and a few liqueurs as well as a cocktail lounge for guests to enjoy those products.
"It has been a really good city to start a business in," said Flim. "[We have] had tons of local support."
In 2020, right before the pandemic, the Fort Distillery launched its most popular product, the Tumbler & Rocks brand. These are pre-mixed 100-milliliter bottles of classic cocktails such as an old-fashioned, martinis, and margaritas.
From the launch of the product, Flim had an idea that they could be perfect for an airline.
"It makes a lot of sense," said Flim. "It's a ready-to-serve cocktail, you just pour it over ice and serve it to the passenger and you are good to go."
The deal was born out of a trade show in Montreal last year, where Flim ran into people from Porter Airlines who were looking to expand their flights to western Canada.
"During COVID, [Porter] bought a whole bunch of jets and they're expanding their presence across Canada so they will be flying into Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver," said Flim. "They were right in the middle of what those jets are going to look like, what are they going to offer on the jets, and so it was a really opportune time to meet them."
"We sent them samples...they loved the quality of the drinks, they loved that we were Canadian."
The hope is that this new deal will ramp up production, creating new jobs at the distillery and helping out the local economy.
"[The deal] will result in about four to five times the production than we did last year," said Flim. "We'll be hiring more local staff, using more local vendors."
"Growing outside of the province has really allowed us to support our local community as best we can."
The drinks will start being offered on flights starting February 1st.