When Spirit of York first started, there was a clear vision — one that’s embodied in the name itself. The name “Spirit Of York” is an ode to its three spirits, which works as a constant reminder as to what we do, why we do it, and who we’re doing it for.
For Gerry Guitor, one of the founders, it’s these three spirits that remind him and the entire team the importance of not only standing for your own products and vision, but also standing for something greater.
The first spirit is the spirit of heritage, tradition and doing things the way things used to be done. This pillar holds even more weight when you call the Distillery District your home, the epicentre of what used to be all Canada’s spirit production.
“We take on a very hands on approach to making sure we produce quality spirits while honouring tradition and heritage given that we’re living in this area that’s ripe with it,” says Guitor, adding that their focus on the craftsmanship is what’s helped them stand out since starting the distillery.
Maintaining heritage is the sort of legacy that Spirit of York likes to honour on a daily basis, through everything we produce in-house. Using time-honoured distillation techniques, state-of-the-art equipment and high quality ingredients — all this helps fulfill our next spirit; the one the produce premium, world class spirits.
Some of the best things are grown right here at home. And while oftentimes overlooked, the Canadian Shield is a gold mine of natural resources we proudly take advantage of. With a spirit to produce world class spirits, we look to ingredients grown in our own backyard to help create products that are 100% Canadian. From the water we use, the grains we source and the ingredients we put in — the hope is to remind all of us that we’re capable of creating great quality products at home.
Of all our spirits, perhaps the most important one is our last, because it’s the true life blood that inspires us to continue doing what we do every single day. Our last and final spirit is the spirit of community and the importance to support it. While Spirit of York grows and perfects its craft, we look to support the community around us too, in an effort to help them reach new heights strengthen local communities, especially within the arts and culture scene.
“We thought about Toronto, the greater Toronto area and the Golden Horseshoe and what makes us unique is all the social and cultural groups that exist, that all individually contribute to the collective that is Toronto,” says Guitor. “Toronto is a sum of all these great organizations and our idea is that we wanted to give back, especially to those who actually contribute positively to our way of life.”
In an effort to support that commitment and help other local groups achieve their goals, Spirit of York dedicates 10% of profits to local and social cultural groups in the city including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, The 519, The Power Plant and many more.
“We’re a part of this community and we want to give back to this community,” says Guitor, emphasizing this to be the backbone of a lot of what the distillery does and strives to be — a community leader.
Spirit of York takes pride in giving back to the spirits that helped inspire theirs, and will only continue to do so. As we grow and get bigger, the hope is others will too.
Toronto Life, Sept. 7, 2017
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