SFR Distillery & Cocktail Lounge: A Spirited Experience

Whiskey, gin, vodka, and liqueurs.

These are the specialties of master distiller Adam Brierley, whose watchful eye converts the bounteous grain crops of the Ottawa Valley into the smoothest small-batch, handcrafted spirits recreational and refined drinkers from Kanata and the core have ever tasted.

Brierley’s domain is the SFR Distillery and Lounge, an intimate, speakeasy-style venue that is both inviting and exotic.

There, at 23-767 Silver Seven Rd., both the connoisseurs and the curious settle in to sample the impressively diverse range of meticulously fashioned spirits, every one of them professionally processed on-site. Fermentation, distillation, and bottling are all performed in-house, adding a personal touch to intimate gatherings, corporate functions, or familial celebrations for up to forty-five guests in their intimate 1,700 sq. foot venue.   

Small wonder that SFR, aside from being the largest distillery in the City of Ottawa, is also one of the most recognized – winning over a dozen medals at Canadian and International events in the last two years.

SFR’s product line includes such savory, subtle offerings as its fiery chili liqueur, its light, buttery vodka, its bright, citrusy gin, and its foxy, chocolate-orange whiskey. Then, there’s Brierley’s personal pick: his Ogham Original Moonshine. A legacy drink from the original distillery Brierley started in Kanata, it was also the first spirit produced using SFR’s new equipment. A modern twist on a traditional recipe, Brierley calls the creation “an excellent bridge between the old and the new.”

In case you’re wondering about the origins of “Ogham,” it means “Alphabet.” In the original Irish alphabet, each character was named after a different tree that grew on the island. Similarly inspired by his natural surroundings—in this case, the robust grain and other ingredients of the verdant Ottawa Valley—Brierley pays homage to the practice by acknowledging it in many of his recipes.

It’s a gesture as charmingly unconventional as his distillery—not to mention the equally offbeat route he took to get here. With his family roots in Perth, Ontario, Brierley attended Carleton University and worked as a professional engineer for a decade until the nagging notion to try his hand as a Distiller claimed him entirely. Training in both Canada and the US, Brierley opened the doors to the distillery now known as SFR in 2021.

Master Distiller Adam Brierley’s line of locally-inspired spirits.

The SFR Group group has an ethos of adventure, reconnecting the human soul to nature and exploring the world around us, offering a unique experience for all by providing the best equestrian, adventure, and relaxation lifestyle services. The group of companies diversified its portfolio of lifestyle offerings in 2023, when the company acquired and renovated a longstanding distillery 28 kilometers to the north of its home base in North Gower. The former storefront was classily converted into Kanata’s premier cocktail destination.

As for its star distiller, using a perfectly fitting equestrian analogy, he admits, “It’s been quite the ride!”

SFR is in the process of a significant, and necessary, expansion. It’s taking on new team members, who will help to develop and serve an exciting array of innovative recipes. A signature whiskey is being aged on-site, and will be available in a few years; a milestone that SFR is anticipating by releasing a special potable each year between now and the big ribbon cutting. By that time, a second location will have opened.

The addition of an ancillary venue will enable SFR to accommodate larger private bookings. SFR regularly works with celebrants of all kinds, from corporation and community organizations to families and couples, personally tailored to the nature of the occasion. The accommodating SFR staff is as adept at mixing people as it is at mixing drinks.

Lucky locals and those from across the greater Ottawa area are treated to a steady flow of new cocktails and menu items continually innovated by SFR’s personable bartender, Rachel. She’ll happily help you and your party enjoy the growing list of delectable cocktails that the Lounge has to offer—barring that, she’d be just as enthusiastic to create a custom cocktail from scratch.

After all, at SFR, that’s what they do.

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