The Journey Behind Diony Distillery

Met the founder of VDKA 6100, Julian Moss, who ingeniously turns whey from cheese making into alcohol.
Pike Place Marke in Settle

Many people ask how I came to open a whisky distillery in Red Deer County, Alberta, Canada, and it’s a story that starts with a different dream entirely.

Cheese + Vodka = Canadian Whisky

My wife and I were living in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, eager to start a business. We didn’t have a specific venture in mind; we were simply open to inspiration. Our quest took us to Seattle, where, not far from Pike Place Market, we stumbled upon a unique cheese-making shop called Beecher’s.

What caught our eye was their innovative approach: the cheese-making process was on full display behind large windows, captivating passersby. We thought this was a brilliant way to draw people into the store.

Inspired, we conducted a feasibility study to see if we could replicate this model in Alberta. Unfortunately, the numbers didn’t add up. One major hurdle was the byproduct of cheese-making: whey, which can be costly to manage.

While researching, we discovered a distillery in New Zealand transforming whey into vodka, branded as VDKA 6100. This ingenious idea of turning waste into a resource sparked our curiosity.

However, combining cheese production and vodka distillation wasn’t financially viable in Alberta without owning cows or goats. It was time to pivot.

We turned our attention to the distilling industry in Alberta and discovered that regulations were becoming more favorable, allowing distilleries to open tasting rooms.

I reached out to one of the founders of Okanagan Spirits, one of British Columbia’s first micro-distilleries. I asked Frank what he would do if he were starting over. His answer was simple and profound: “Whisky, only whisky, but make it the best.”

Encouraged by his advice, we conducted another feasibility study, this time focusing on whisky. The results were promising. Unlike the manufacture of most products, unsold whisky gains value as it ages in barrels, enhancing the worth of the business over time.

And so, our journey led us to open a whisky distillery, turning a series of unviable ideas into a thriving venture rooted in passion and resilience.

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