It’s at the bottom of the Monts-Valin that the Fjord Distillery ran its first still in 2016. The first micro distillery of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, it’s the hard work of two brothers and their father who made it possible for the company to come to life. We don’t pretend to be the first to have distilled in the region, but the first to have done it with a licence… With the stammering of the project, it’s a family history that was discovered and that inspired the creation of the distillery.
Whether it is Joseph, Aurèle, Bertrand or today Serge and his two sons, Benoit and Jean-Philippe, this curiosity and interest towards distillation was passed on from generation to generation.
Serge will tell you about the legend of the 5-generation “gin lovers”
First gin lover generation
According to what we were told, it was our great grandfather Joseph who first initiated our family to the happiness of drinking a good gin. During the last years of his life, my father, Bertrand, Joseph’s grandson, went every week to the liquor store to buy him his gin bottle. This green shaded bottle with the red heart, which still lies around in the liquor cabinets of many families today.
Second gin lover generation
I knew my grandfather Aurèle well. He was very resourceful. He operated a cooler for over a decade, hence our nickname “Ice Bouchard”. He invented a saw to cut through the thick Lac-Saint-Jean ice, which had a diameter of 4 feet! According to what one of my uncles told us, Aurèle too was a gin lover. He had invented his own still made from pieces of copper pipes and vessels. My grandfather would set up his cauldron on the stove in the basement while my grandmother would put up newspapers in the windows, because she didn’t particularly like this “not so legal” hobby.
Third gin lover generation
My father, Bertrand, was also a gin lover. He mostly drank Beefeater gin with 7-up or Tanqueray on special occasions. He was quite resourceful as well. He repaired snowmobiles and mastered wood as much as plumbing. 56 jobs like we used to say. I remember when he started making moonshine every fall. He said it was to have some fun during the holidays. Cereal mash in a big barrel, magic bubbles that lasted 10 days and then, he would take out from nowhere his famous antique cast iron cauldron, which was slightly modified. He settled on his Coleman stove in the basement, and me, as a kid, I would spy on him through the stair rails. I didn’t realize at the time, that these illicit, but pleasant elixir aromas would soak up in me and motivate me to pursue on this road with my sons and with great passion, but this time legally. “ Salutations, Bert!”
Serge, Jean-Philippe and Benoit
Fourth and fifth gin lover generations
My sons, Jean-Philippe and Benoit, once told me “ Hey dad, lets make some gin.” I then told them a story that was still a secret to this day. The idea rapidly became a concrete project. Jean-Philippe, with his entrepreneurial spirit, Benoit, with his chemist thoroughness, and myself, Serge, the retired dad, with my industrial experience. Yes, we have worked hard to implement the very first micro distillery in Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean, with one goal, to produce the best gins using our own local boreal richness. Our ancestors inspired us to value and appreciate gin. Today, we are very happy to produce it, legally, and to share our passion and the uniqueness of our products with all the gin lovers.