Photo: Eau Claire Distillery
Turner Valley, AB -- Eau Claire Distillery in conjunction with Alberta Carriage Supply invites the public to come watch a spring planting spectacle at Bar U Ranch on Sunday 22 May. The event, just south of Longview, will be the biggest working draft horse operation in Alberta in at least 50 years. More than 50 draft horses from all over the province, representing the key breeds of Western Canada, including Suffolk Punches, Percherons and Belgians, will plough and seed 25 acres of land using traditional, vintage-style farming equipment. The malting barley planted will be harvested approximately 100 days later to be used in the new whisky from Eau Claire Distillery, due for launch in 2017. The public is invited to attend between 10am and 3pm. There is a strict no-dogs policy, and an option to ‘Dress Western’ is encouraged. The Bar U Ranch visitor centre will be open on the day between 10am and 5pm.
“We are extremely excited to be the first horse farmed grain operation to include such a large number of teamsters ploughing, harrowing and cultivating,” says Dale Befus of Alberta Carriage Supply, who organized the event after putting a call-out to the province’s draft horse community, and will be among the horse farmers draughting the land. “The sheer number of horses pulling vintage ploughs and the fact that everything is done with antique farm equipment will make it quite the spectacle for the wider community to come along and see.”
Horse farmed grain is an integral part of the Eau Claire Distillery story and culture. It was the Founder and President David Farran’s weekend pursuit of traditional horse farming that led him to establishing Eau Claire in the first place.
“For Eau Claire, a core component of our belief in premium spirits is our ability to access product straight from the farm,” says Farran. “Through horse farming our distillery is connected to the land in the ultimate ‘farm to glass’ experience – and to our knowledge we are the only distillery doing so in North America and maybe the world. We are preserving knowledge of farming that has been lost to a new generation, and more so, we are able to work with some of the most beautiful and majestic animals on the planet – the gentle giant work horses bred to work the fields.”
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Bar U Ranch is located 65km south of Calgary and of great historical horse farming significance. It was from here that France was re-populated with Percheron horses after its own population was decimated in the First World War. Today Bar U Ranch is a national historic site that uses a living history approach to present ranching industry and is one of the jewels in Parks Canada’s crown.
“Bar U Ranch and its manager Travis Weber are hugely supportive of preserving the knowledge and practice of traditional farming so we are hopeful of being able to plough and harvest the grain at Bar U for many years to come,” says Farran. “We are showcasing that Alberta has the finest agricultural produce in the world, providing everything you need - from grain to glass - to make the finest quality premium spirits.”
For further information, please visit eauclairedistillery.ca.
About Eau Claire Distillery
Devoted to hand-crafted, artisanal and fine sipping spirits, Eau Claire Distillery is Alberta’s original craft distillery located in Turner Valley on the touristic Cowboy Trail, not far from Calgary. Made using ingredients harvested from farms in Southern Alberta, Eau Claire Distillery’s Parlour Gin and Three Point Vodka have set the bar to be included among Canada’s most premium spirits. Housed in a 1929 converted movie theatre building, the distillery’s visitor centre and tasting room is open for public tours as well as available for private events. Find out more at eauclairedistillery.ca