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The sign above the door reads Alberta Temperance and Moral Reform League, after an organization founded in 1923 that zealously fought against all forms of alcohol.
Inside, a reception room decorated with genuine turn-of-the-century furniture, photographs and memorabilia is where guests are entertained with a historical, but amusing, video documentary of the league.
Knock three times on the wall panelling and doors swing open to unveil a large saloon featuring a long bar with farmhouse tractor seating and a large moose head above the big back mirrors, plus a stage area. A well-documented video of the history of the Turner Valley area leads into a product display of the distillery’s labels, while a circular stairway leads up into a mezzanine tasting room.
A large outdoor patio area with seating for around 150 patrons featuring a wood-fired pizza oven opens up behind the speakeasy, offering a pleasant view of the farmlands.
The speakeasy is now open for corporate and social groups.
Farran and his team are also planning further expansions at the Eau Claire Distillery to add a whiskey storage room and a packaging facility.
One of the celebrations that had to be cancelled due to the pandemic was Tourism Calgary’s annual White Hat Awards. The opportunity to applaud hard-working individuals and businesses who make such an effective contribution in bolstering Calgary’s vitality and reputations couldn’t be live. But the winners, among a selection of 543 semifinalists, did receive a surprise in-person presentation of a Smithbuilt White Hat at their place of employment.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.