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Single malt from Vancouver Island: Discover Shelter Point with its President Stephen Goodridge

We caught up with Stephen Goodridge, President of Shelter Point and former Distillery Manager of renowned rum distillery Foursquare, to learn more about their remote Canadian distillery, their future plans and their already impressive list of achievements.

1. What’s your role at Shelter Point, and how did you get involved?

I am the President and General Manager. I got involved at the start of 2022 under new ownership and investment. I’ve been in the industry since 1989 and they were looking for experienced leadership. I’ve worked for large companies like AB InBev, started my own distillery, led innovation and quality at VP level in Canada and was the first Distillery Manager at Foursquare in Barbados when we started it in 1996. My training is in engineering and brewing & distilling from Birmingham in the UK and in finance as a CPA in Canada.

2. Why is it called Shelter Point?

It’s the name of the point of land upon which we sit jutting out into the sea.

3. How does your local environment help shape Shelter Point’s whisky?

We’re located right on the shore of the Salish Sea, the body of water between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada, north of the 50th parallel. Our climate is temperate year round, hovering around zero during the winter and low 20’s during the summer. The whisky thus experiences a typical northern temperate cycle. The fall and spring are wet. The whisky warehouses are a few hundred yards from the beach. The breeze off the sea is quite marine and laden with salt.

4. Why did Shelter Point choose to focus on single malt?

For several reasons: sitting on close to 400 acres of farmland we had the option to grow whatever we wanted to. Our founder wanted to maximise the value add by choosing the premium end of the whisky market and because single malt was a personal preference of his.

5. How do you think the distillery is contributing to the overall reputation and landscape of Canadian whisky?

We’re changing it for sure and demonstrating that single malt whisky of a very high quality can also be distilled and bottled in Canada.

6. Is the UK an important market for Shelter Point?

We hope that it will become an important market for us. Single Malt is obviously well understood and enjoyed in this market and we hope that drinkers looking to broaden their repertoire will find Shelter Point an enjoyable change-up. We feel that that the quality is on par and hopefully will pleasantly surprise all who try our whisky.

7. How did it feel to be the first Canadian whisky bottled by the SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society)?

We were quite chuffed and humbled at the same time. The reception, feedback and recognition that comes with such a prestigious bottling has been amazing.

8. What about being awarded the Double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year?

Surprised, proud and pleased at the same time. We honestly felt that we had a good liquid in the solera, but we were still a little taken a back when each member of the panel judged it to be of gold standard.

9. What plans do you have for the future?

To steadily keep laying down whisky and increasing the age of our releases. We are excited to be bottling our first 12 year old single malt this fall.

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