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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 1, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 18 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, October 1, 1974 A t Palliser Distillers God's good grain makes By RIG SWIHART Herald Staff Writer Three million gallons of anything is a lot. When it is liquor, it seems like even more. But that is the designed annual capacity of Lethbridge's Palliser Distillers Ltd. in the Industrial Park which began production on a five day week in October, 1973. It should be in full production by January, 1975, says plant manager David Hyde. When the plant begins seven day per week work schedule it will produce 4 3 million gallons of spirits annually. While Southern Alberta will be the marketplace for some of the 2 3 million cases of spirits produced annually, it is agricultural Southern Alberta which can be the big winner This is because the distilling in- dustry relies completely on three mam agricultural products for its liquor corn or an equivalent, rye and malt barley. To produce that much liquor, the local plant will have a yearly re- quirement of bushels of grain when in full production. Mr Hyde said of the total gram requirements, bushels will be corn If corn becomes too high priced or unavailable, the distillery can turn to other crops, such as millet, milo or sorgum, which have a high starch content and lots of carbohydrates. Mr Hyde says he wants to get as much of the grain requirements for the local distillery from Southern Alberta as possible. Besides the obvious reason that the distillery will have ready product at its doorstep, Mr. Hyde says the approximate million spent now for United States corn could be spent right here in the South. Grain corn has been encouraged in Southern Alberta for several years now but the largest amount grown reached only acres in 1973. This year, about acres will be harvested as grain corn. With an average yield of about 60 bushels per acre expected for grain corn crops in this area this year, the distillery would require acres of grain corn to meet its needs. Since the cost of landing grain corn in Lethbridge from the U.S. is about per bushel today, farmers are losing out on nearly million in income. With crops which, meet the needs of the distillery able to be grown here, farmers seem to have an assured market. Mr. Hyde is interested in en- courageing farmers to grow other crops if they feel unsatisfied with grain corn to get his requirements from this area Protection This would protect the distillery from shortages in other countries that could lead to import quotas. The local plant produces gins, vodkas, whiskeys and blends various rums imported from the West Indies Under the Palliser label, the plant sells four rye whiskeys, one rum, one vodka and one gin Under the Gilbey label, the plant sells five rye whiskeys, four rums, one vodka, one gin and three flavored gins The first bottle of gin and vodka produced at the Lethbridge plant was sold shortly after production began because there is no aging factor with these liquors. But the first bottle of whiskey won't leave the local warehouses until 1977. Mr Hyde said bulk liquor will leave Lethbridge starting in 1976. Most of it will go to the U.S. via stainless steel train tankers or truck tankers to be bottled. The actual distilling process begins with the arrival of the grain, usually about one hopper train car of to bushels per day. The grain is raised into storage silos at the plant to be drained out ;