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Beer, wine and spirits fast becoming a big part of the local economy

Beer, wine and spirits are becoming big business in the Island Coastal region.
On Thursday night, Nanaimo’s first distillery – Arbutus Distillery – celebrated its grand opening, and the first commercial winery on the Sunshine Coast is set to open July 5th.
Mike Pizzitelli is the owner of Arbutus Distillery, which is currently concentrating on vodka but has plans to produce gin and absinthe. They have just launched their Coven Vodka, featuring an innovative glow-in-the-dark label designed by Hired Guns that reveals a spooky coven of witches when the lights go out.
Pizzitelli says Vancouver Island seems to be a hotspot for breweries and distilleries.
Pizzitelli says they’re hoping to start selling their black-magic-themed products in the Vancouver area soon.
The Sunshine Coast Winery is on the site of a former dhalia farm in Sechelt, where they’re growing pinot noir and pinot gris. President Iris Fan says they’re planning to blend those grapes with varieties from the Okanagan, but they’ll need to wait for the local vines to mature so the first wines are using the Okanagan grapes.
The winery is also planning to get into fruit wines with local products.
Fan says the development of a local wine and beer industry on the Sunshine Coast is also opening up great opportunities for tourism.
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