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Michael Goldney came from humble beginnings in Yellowknife, NWT. Originally moving to Saskatchewan to finish med school, Goldney would eventually become the micro-distillery owner of LB (Lucky Bastard) Distillery in Saskatoon. An odd shift in careers for a respected local physician. But the polarizing career shift is just one aspect of LB Distillery’s incredible story.
Though Goldney didn’t have a habit of playing the lottery, seeing a massive jackpot encouraged him to buy a ticket. The next day while working, a nurse poked her head in to let him know that the lottery winner’s location was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Goldney and his wife, Lacey Crocker, won a $14.6 million at Lotto 6/49 jackpot in 2006.
“One day my friend Carey said, “Lets make a distillery.” The very next day we were looking for property.”
With the extremely cold winters and short hot summers, plenty of sunshine, and extremely pure water, Saskatchewan has some of the finest growing conditions in the country for grains. Combined with a hand-hammered copper pot still affectionately named Ginger, Goldney believes he’s making some of the best micro-distilled liquor in the country.
Though the distillery looks relatively high-tech, with plenty of aluminium, copper, and even conveyor belts, the group decided to opt out of automated quality control, instead choosing to inspect everything with watchful eyes and careful tastebuds.
The small still can only produce 250 litres at a time, but the distillery manages to pump out an impressive line of drinks including Lucky Bastard Vodka, Chai Vodka, Horilka, Blushed Vodka, Dill Pickle Vodka, Gambit Gin, Barrel Aged Gin, Haskap liqueurs, Seabuckthorn and Wild Honey liqueurs, bacon bitters, absinthe bitters and more.
Once the distillery tour had finished, we stood at an elaborate bar in a large open room featuring leather couches and chandeliers, taste testing more spirits and liqueurs than we thought humanly possible. Goldney poured us drinks as he told us the story behind the name of the distillery.
“I was buying some expensive bottles to celebrate, and the cashier asked me what the occasion was. I responded, “I won the lottery.” An elderly woman behind me yelled, “lucky bastard!” The rest is history.”
Like this post? Check out How New Brunswick’s Sébastien Roy Produced The Best Gin On The Planet and Make Your Own Gin At Lunenburg’s Spirits Festival, too!