Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverages but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Daniel Plenzik, owner and distiller of Bridgeland Distillery, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Bridgeland Distillery is a craft distillery focused on creating premium Spirits. No detail is overlooked in every step of the production for a resultant premium product. It starts with a beautiful facility located in the vibrant community of Bridgeland-Riverside, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and blessed with the best ingredients sourced locally. The result is a premium local brand that is growing in recognition every day by Calgarians and Albertans.

The tradition of Wine and Beer making in the neighborhood of Bridgeland was a large part of everyday life back when Calgary was still a young city. These talented immigrants transplanted their culture that took root in Bridgeland. In this community, aromatic tomato sauce, fermenting wine, and of course, brandy and grappa fill the air on a typical autumn day!

It is because of this tradition that we founders (Jacques Tremblay and Daniel Plenzik) of Bridgeland Distillery had the inspiration to pay homage to the history and people of this city and set up a distillery in the community of Bridgeland focused on bridging tradition and innovation to produce premium Brandy, Whisky and Grappa! Using our combined knowledge of viticulture, winemaking, and brewing, and drawing on our own cultural backgrounds, we set about bringing locally crafted brandy, whisky, grappa and eau de vie to Calgary and beyond!

Tell us about yourself

We both had great careers as engineers and very much enjoyed our time in that industry. But as time went on, we wanted to start a second career that focused on another passion of ours which started out as a hobby that has now flourished into the dream we call Bridgeland Distillery. Jacques’s awareness of whisky came early from many terroir-related contraband stories of “bagosse” he heard (Quebec’s answer to moonshine circa the 1930s) and his own personal tasting experience.

As a long-time Calgarian, Jacques has enjoyed traveling the world to visit and learn how whisky is made around our country and in various parts of the world. He learned what makes a whisky special; attention to detail which is evident in every product we make. A long family history rich in viticulture and winemaking in the northern hills of Piemonte, Italy, is where Daniel’s passion originated. Over the years, he established deep roots in Calgary and fostered his love for the industry through winemaking, where he merged history, art, and science to create exceptional wine. After all, an outstanding brandy and grappa starts with a great wine!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Alberta has grown so much over the last five years with explosive growth in the beer industry, which has followed now with spirits. There are 47 distilleries now in Alberta and counting! We were most recently awarded "Alberta Distillery of the Year" by the Alberta Spirits Awards with multiple gold medals for our products.

We are most proud of this award by supporting local ourselves and could never have done this without the support of our agricultural partners from Red Shed Malting in Penhold, the Molnar family in Taber, our very own Scarpones Italian store in Calgary, and the wonderful St. Hubertus winery in Kelowna. Our premium spirits are what they are because of these wonderful agricultural partners in our own backyard!"

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There are so many! Entrepreneurship is, of course, extremely hard work, but we are motivated by doing what we are passionate about. Being so new, it was most difficult over the last 20 months of COVID to get momentum being a new start-up. We look forward to the boom that is about to be unleashed once COVID is under control!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan.
  2. Stick to that plan but don't be afraid to make adjustments along the way.
  3. Don't forget your mission statement and philosophy. Remember why you started this to begin with.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

We are extremely passionate about what we do! We absolutely love it and would like to share it with anyone who will listen; please come for a visit. We do distillery tours every Sunday and would love to tell you more in person!

Where can people find you and your business?

New Calgary Distillery
Brandy | WhiskyPremium Craft SpiritsWe are closed for a private event on Nov 10th and for Remembrance Day on Nov 11th!

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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