A Lanaudière distillery is preparing to launch the first certified organic gin in Quebec this month.
The organic Saga Grand Gin is produced at the Grand Dérangement distillery located in Saint-Jacques, about fifteen kilometers southwest of Joliette.
One of the company’s two owners, Marcel Mailhot, also a farmer, says he has enough organic corn in his fields in the neighboring village of Saint-Alexis, to meet the needs of the distillery.
“Not only did we decide to produce our basic alcohol ourselves from the grain, but it will also be organic,” says Mailhot.
Certified by Écocert and bearing the “Organic Canada” logo, Saga Grand Gin meets international organic certification standards, which will allow its export. Its manufacturing process meets the requirements of the Canadian Health Regulations, as well as those of the Council for Reserved Designations and Enhancing Terms (CARTV), which manages the organic appellation in Quebec.
Thus, more than 95% of the ingredients used in its composition are certified organic, that is to say produced without the use of synthetic chemicals.
By subscribing to the organic appellation, the Grand Dérangement distillery must comply with a series of requirements, covering the entire manufacturing process up to the cleaning products authorized to maintain the equipment. It will also have to undergo regular checks by the Ecocert certification body.
“Companies must keep a register to ensure traceability. The balance of ingredients purchased and products sold is calculated to ensure consistency, ”explains France Gravel, vice-president of Écocert.
If the requirements are met, the finished product is not systematically analyzed, continues France Gravel. “If we have any doubts, we will have it analyzed in the laboratory to see if it contains pesticide residues. In the case of a product resulting from distillation, however, I do not know to what extent it could be found. “
In any case, more than a product without chemical residue, it is the guarantee of work that respects the environment that they want to offer their customers, say the distillers of the Grand Dérangement. “We care about ecology and proximity. We take the grain of our region to add value. For us, it is not only “from grain to bottle”, but “from field to field” that we work. The corn from our fields is transformed into alcohol, and the resulting spent grain feeds local cattle. We respect the natural cycle, ”explains Marcel Mailhot.
Producing its base alcohol on site, instead of buying neutral alcohol in bulk like the background in most Quebec distilleries, costs the company about three times more, according to Mr. Mailhot. Yet the Saga Grand Gin will sell for $ 49.75, an average price. “With that, we cover our expenses, but not really more. Our hope is that the government hears us and that the mark-up collected by the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec) on sales directly on site at the distillery will be lowered. ”
According to the CARTV register, five other spirits, fruit and maple brandies, have received organic certification, all sold on site by the producer. The Saga Grand Gin is the first gin and the first organic spirit produced in Quebec to be sold on its shelves, confirms the SAQ. It will be available there towards the end of the month, in stores and online.