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Distillerie Shefford: From sap to bottle

Interviews

Distillerie Shefford: From sap to bottle

The Eastern Townships, with Mount Shefford as a backdrop, is where the Bourassa brothers harvest some 2,500,000 litres of maple water per year, and where they nurture their second passion—the distillery.

Published on July 31, 2023

Distillerie Shefford is above all the story of Patrick, Hugo and Charles Bourassa, three brothers who have been passionate about maple for more than 20 years. Hugo gave me a warm welcome at La Cabane à Boubou, the boutique where maple delights and products from the distillery can be found.

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A passion for maple

Hugo and his brothers became owners of their first maple farm in 1998, and in spring 2020, they acquired Distillerie Shefford, excited by the opportunity to expand the range of maple products they already had. After renovating the building that houses La Cabane à Boubou, they set up the distillery. 

When I asked him what he’s most proud of in this venture, Hugo replied, “We make our maple syrup and alcohol ourselves. Our proudest achievement is being able to successfully feature maple in so many products and use it in so many different ways.”

A spirit that's one of a kind

We went on to discuss Acerum, the distillery’s flagship product. When asked how people react when they try it for the first time, he laughingly said, “People are surprised by the fact that it isn’t sweet.” 

This unique spirit is made by fermenting and distilling a maple sap concentrate. Brown Acerum, for example, is aged in oak casks, which gives it notes of caramel and pear confit. Vibrant and slightly mineral, it tastes like cinnamon and has a delicate bitter orange finish. And it isn’t sweet, because the fermentation process transforms the sugar into alcohol.  

For Distillerie Shefford, Acerum is to maple sap what whisky is to grain and what rum is to sugar cane. It’s also a proud reflection of the Quebec terroir. 

An important ally

When Hugo showed me the spirits one by one, my attention was drawn to the fox depicted on the bottles. He explained that squirrels pose the greatest threat to the maple trees. “They cut the tubing and take the sap spouts. Foxes prevent them from causing damage. They’re our greatest ally against them.” So, it’s a nice nod to this animal, which can be found on every distillery product label.

In short, when you go to Shefford to visit the distillery, you’re bound to leave with maple products from La Cabane à Boubou. And when you go to Shefford for the maple products, you inevitably rediscover its terroir through the spirits. One thing’s for sure—whether you come for one or the other, a warm welcome awaits.

distillerieshefford.com

18 chemin Saxby Nord
Shefford QC  J2M 0A6

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