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Story by Alain Bossé     


The resilience of business owners in the Atlantic Provinces always amazes me. All businesses face challenges, but to be located outside of a highly populated and industrialized area—choosing instead to be based in amore rural locale—has its own set of challenges. Yet intrepid entrepreneurs all across the Atlantic provinces show time and time again what can be done with a good work ethic, passion, drive and of course, amazing products.

Steinhart Distillery is one such business. Located in scenic Arisaig, not far from Antigonish, NS, the operation founded and owned by Thomas Steinhart has the perfect trifecta for success; an impressive pedigree, an impressive location and a very impressive product.

Thomas can trace his distilling roots back more than 300 years. He has fond memories of being a child and helping his grandfather stoke the wood-fired stills on their farm in his home country of Germany. 

Thomas immigrated to Canada in 2001 but it was more than a decade before he established the distillery, in 2014. It’s been open just under five years, but what an impressive run Steinhardt has established for itself, already with a number of  prestigious awards and accolades. This past January, Thomas took his signature blue bottle of gin to London, England to see how it would fare against 80 other distilleries at the 2019 Gin Awards. And that signature blue bottle won first among Canadian gins.

Not content to only make one product, Thomas also creates wild blueberry, haskap and rhubarb-flavoured gins. If gin isn’t your thing, the distillery also makes beautiful vodkas; my personal favourite is his maple vodka, which is simply perfect for sipping. If you’re looking for something with a little more zing, then his habanero vodka might be exactly what you need. There are also strawberry and haskap vodkas and a coffee maple liqueur that is simply delicious. The company pride themselves on using fresh local fruits, herbs, and spices—and there are never any artificial ingredients added to their products.

In 2018 Thomas took on a new endeavor when he launched 9zero2 Brewing, also at the same location in Arisaig and focusing on craft beers. To this point he has released five new brews, including Arisaig Ale, Pilsner, and Smoked Autumn Amber. Products are available direct from the distillery and are also for sale at NSLC stores.

The distillery is open for tastings as well as educational sessions, and the cottages located on site provide delightful accommodation opportunities.

Open daily from 10am to 7pm, located at 5963 Highway 245 Arisaig, NS. Phone 902-863-5530 or email
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Summer Blueberry Gin & Tonic

Makes 1 cocktail


1 oz (30 mL)                          Steinhart Classic Gin

1oz (30 mL)                           wild blueberry juice

3-4 oz (90-120 mL)                              tonic water


1 tbsp (15 mL)                    frozen wild blueberries

Wedge of lime


Fill 8oz glass with ice, add classic gin and blueberry juice, top with tonic water. Add blueberries and garnish with lime.



Steinhart Oasis

Makes 1 cocktail

1/3oz (10mL)                                    maple vodka

1/3oz (10mL)                               Cuban gold rum

1/3oz (10mL)                               habanero vodka

3 to 4 oz                                               ginger ale

Wedge of lemon


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, place maple vodka, rum, and habanero vodka in shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into an 8-oz glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with lemon.


Maple Ice Cream Float

Maple Ice Cream Float

Makes 1 cocktail


1 oz (30 mL)                                     maple vodka

1 scoop                                      vanilla ice cream

6 oz (180 mL)                                                cola

Pinch maple sugar


In a tall glass place 3 oz of cola, add ice cream and top with maple vodka. Slowly pour the remaining cola. Garnish with a pinch of maple sugar and serve with a spoon and straw.



Header credit: Steve Smith/Visionfire

Header no caption


Intro credit: Steve Smith/Visionfire

Caption: Steinhart Oasis

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