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Distiller’s Perspective: Black Fox Grows Its Flavor on the Farm

This Saskatchewan farm and distillery is making its whiskeys from home-grown triticale and exposing its barrels to the extreme local climate, all while telling its unique story to the world.

Don Tse Jan 8, 2024 - 9 min read

Distiller’s Perspective: Black Fox Grows Its Flavor on the Farm  Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Black Fox Farm and Distillery/Instagram @blackfox_farm

The city of Saskatoon is home to about 273,000 people in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It’s surrounded in all directions by rich farmland. Agriculture is such a fundamental part of Saskatoon’s economy and culture that the University of Saskatchewan has a research farm within its city limits. Saskatonians appreciate the fruits of the land.

Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote and John Cote knew that making something tied to the land and sold directly by them would resonate with local consumers in Saskatoon. A distillery was something of a leap for the married couple—both of them professional agrologists, they owned a farm farther north. As professionals who had worked with other farmers and seen farming around the world, they were attuned to agriculture as a business. They knew that for their own business to survive, they either had to get much larger or do something completely different.

So, they did something that many consider sacrilege: They sold the family farm.

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Don Tse is an internationally recognized beer writer and beer judge, working from his home base in the middle of North America’s barley belt.