Rob and Laura Bradley are the founders of King’s Lock Craft Distillery, named after King’s Lock built near the rapids at Johnstown enabling early travel along the St Lawrence. They are located in Johnstown near Prescott and Fort Wellington just along the river from the Battle of the Windmill historic site at a narrow stretch of the St Lawrence right across from Ogdensburg, New York, where you can almost see the Frederick Remington Art Museum (makes for a great day visit). This is also a favourite scuba diving site where we used to take our students for their ‘check-out’ dives, their practical exam before certification, where divers from shore can explore the wreck of ‘The Rothesay’ a 19th Century wooden twin side wheeler!
The Bradley’s created the company on the basis that double-distilling spirits in small batches in a pot still creates a spirit that has more body and flavor, and their team has over a decade experience distilling spirits. They also believe in sustainable processes and green energy using methods that conserve power, water and gas.
King’s Lock won 4 medals at the 2018 Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition and 2 at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirit Competition! Their products are available at LCBO but call your local retailer to be sure. Here are their product descriptions in their own words:
VON SCHOULTZ VODKA – made from local organic corn this spirit is gluten free! Double distilling makes this nicely smooth with a velvety mouth feel. This vodka has a small hint of the corn giving it a gentle aroma and sweetness in the tail. BRONZE medal – 2018 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition
CONESTOGA GIN – using our double distilled vodka is the base and thus it is gluten free as well! Our gin is a simple six botanical recipe bringing the spice cardamom forward. There is a delightful juniper aroma with the cardamom forward notes – this is the gin for everyone, not just gin lovers!
PRESCOTT WHITE RYE – our double distilled local organic rye is snappy and spicy. This grain forward spirit is an unaged whisky which is smooth and warm. Incredible for mixing in traditional rye cocktails or creating your own! SILVER medal – 2018 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition
CANADA’S WHISKYJACK RYE – we take our white rye and age it on oak! This spirit is pleasant and like traditional whisky tones with strong oak and vanilla notes. GOLD medal – 2018 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition; BRONZE Medal San Francisco World Spirit Competition
LIGHTHOUSE SHINE – we take a beautiful light organic sugar cane extract and double distill it just right! Sugar means it is gluten free again. This is a lovely white spirit that is great for mixing.
1000 ISLANDS MOONSHINE – also gluten free, we age our double distilled sugar cane on oak and create a delicate sweet cane spirit (rum like). Sweet caramel notes in this spirit make it delightful on ice or neat! BRONZE Medal, 2017 International Spirit Challenge, SILVER medal – 2018 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition, SILVER Medal 2018 San Francisco World Spirit Challenge
SMUGGLERS GOLD RUM – Take 1000 Islands Moonshine and let it age in a bourbon barrel for one year to legally call it “rum” in Canada. This spirit is smooth with incredible oaky and light char notes – just a hint of apple, vanilla with sweet finish – incredible.
WINTER GIN – Seasonal – This is a more traditional juniper, angelica, anise, cinnamon recipe compared to Conestoga Gin. Then to make it even more unique – we aged it! That’s right, this is gently oaked to add some of those oak and vanilla notes. Unbelievable flavour – martinis will never be the same!! Quantity Limited
What I particularly like about this distillery, and in fact many of the newer craft breweries and distilleries in Ontario, is that they are being named after local sites of historical significance which gives you that sense of your own place. Reading the labels informs you about local history and of our predecessors on this land. That’s what I pondered when I tried their 1000 ISLANDS MOONSHINE. Pale golden colour with a lovely, approachable sweet aroma that didn’t give the nose a big alcohol hit, followed by a rounded mouth-coating texture and a light to medium sweetness that was not cloying as some Caribbean rums can be. It had a nice balance of sweet to cleansing tang hinting of spice with a clean finish. I can hardly wait to try their Smugglers Gold Rum!
They are located at 5 Newport Drive in Johnstown and can be contacted at ‘email@example.com‘ or call (613) 704-2529.