This is Franck Sergerie and Simon Bélanger of Vice et Vertu.
Vice et Vertu is a distillery that opened its doors in 2017 and is located in St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, a small town near Québec City.
This whole story started with Franck. Franck is a radiologist that also happens to be passionate about spirits. He had the idea to start a distillery as a retirement project. When he reached out to find partners, the only person that was keen to jump in the adventure with him was his sister, a full-time engineer based in Calgary. Before they opened the distillery, they went on a brother and sister trip to the West coast to learn about distillation. They took a course in the Okanagan valley and in Washington. It was during this trip that they came up with the name of their future distillery: vice representing Franck and vertu representing his sister. When they came back, they found a space and opened their very own distillery, Vice et Vertu.
Like many projects, this one was to come with a lot of unplanned surprises. When they received their permit and just opened the distillery, Franck was working on finding his own gin recipe using a small still he bought for testing. For production, he ordered a column still from the USA that was guaranteed to be delivered in 16 weeks. A year and a half later, Franck was still waiting and had to travel to the States with a lawyer to get what he paid for. In the meanwhile, he found his gin recipe and sent it to the SAQ, who ordered 3000 bottles. But Franck was alone in his project now (his sister had moved on), was still a full-time doctor and had a very small still that allowed him to distill 100 bottles in 16 hours. He spent all his nights and weekends at his distillery and made the first 10 batches by himself with his little still. You can imagine that at that point, he understood that this distillery would take a lot more time than he imagined. He had to step away from his hospital shifts to go part-time doctor and have more time for distilling. Eventually, he ordered a 1200L pot still from Vancouver Island that arrived shortly before his column still was finally delivered and was able to have a much more sustainable production. It was through this process that he met Simon. Simon was referred to him by his plumber when he needed an electrician. It turned out to be a very good match and Simon eventually partnered up with Franck.
What Franck wanted to do when he decided to open his own distillery was to make quality spirits from grain to bottle. Because of all the troubles he went through to have his column still, he started his production with neutral grain spirit from Ontario, but never forgot his first idea. His distillery now produces its own neutral grain spirits from corn, wheat and rye that are all locally sourced. They are also working on a new project to experiment with winter wheat but this is all to be released in the future so we will keep the suspense going. Overall, Vice et Very produces quality spirits using locally sourced ingredients and was the first of its type in Quebec City area. If you travel around there, we highly suggest you stop to see them and taste their delicious products!