Silver spirits

For Thomas Steinhart, distilling isn’t just a business or a labour of love, its a family tradition. Years of perfecting recipes have paid off for Steinhart after he recently captured a silver in the very prestigious and notoriously tough Berlin International Spirits Competition for Steinhart’s gin.

Originally from Germany himself, the win not only meant a lot to Steinhart’s company, but to himself as well.

“I always had it in the back of my mind, but legislation wasn’t favourable,” he said, about opening a distillery. “The regular vodka and maple were my first. The maple, I wanted to do something really Canadian.”

Although Steinhart has also won awards for his vodka, he notes that personally, gin is his favourite to concoct.

“The gin for sure,” he said about what he enjoys creating the most. “Gin is my passion.” He noted that each time they make gin with all of its citrus and spices, the whole distillery smells like Christmas.

The competition was nerve wracking for Steinhart as it is known to be one of the toughest, with very few gold awards given each year.

Although just past the Antigonish border in Arisaig, Steinhart is a well known brand in Pictou County and can frequently be found at The New Glasgow Farmers Market.

The market for Steinhart distillery is not limited to Nova Scotia though. Steinhart has just recently shipped his first three pallets to Europe as well as having it shipped to China and different parts of Canada in the past.

“I think what people like the most is that I don’t use artificial colours or flavors,” he said about his product. Steinhart’s Spirits themselves are not the only medal winners. In the past, he has won competitions for packaging and the look of the bottles his products come in, although he does note that he is very happy that the spirits themselves are now multiple award winners.

Although distilling is where his passion is, Steinhart has a few other pieces to his business including cabins beside the distillery that are available to rent with the chance to do some hands-on distilling. He also noted that he is thrown a few weddings at the distillery, too.

Steinhart enjoys coming up with new flavours and putting tastes together.

“You put everything together and you get something that makes me and a lot of other people go ‘wow’!”


Thomas Steinhart shows off some of his award winning spirits at his distillery in Arisaig. (Brimicombe photo)

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Heather Brimicombe
Heather Brimicombe is a Pictou County native and graduate from the University of King's College in Halifax with a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree as well as a combined major in Sustainability. She has previously won a Canadian Communities Newspapers award for a multimedia feature and was part of a team nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalism data award in the investigative category. Photography, art, sports and outdoor activities are all hobbies of hers as well as crafting, and baking.