Member Profile – Compass Distillers

Located in the heart on Halifax’s North End, Compass Distillers produce premium spirits using local ingredients, where possible. Famous for their gin, they also produce rum, vodka, whiskey, and bitters. Compass is housed in a bespoke tower, and their facility also boasts an intimate cocktail bar and patio. They even have a cosy Airbnb tucked away on the top two floors of the Compass Tower!

We caught up with Alex Wrathell, general manager at Compass Distillers, to learn more about the business, their products and why they support local.

Tell us about your business: 

Compass is a small craft distillery founded in 2017, situated in Halifax’s North End.  We are primarily known for making wonderful Gins, but we also produce Vodka, Whisky, Rum and a selection of other unique spirits, bitters and RTDs. Compass focuses on producing our spirits authentically through the use of as many local products and ingredients as possible.

What are some of your favourite reviews or comments you’ve received?

We’ve received lots of wonderful comments and compliments about our spirits over the last 6 years, and seeing reviews from people who have acquired bottles in the US, Europe and Africa has been very surprising and lovely to see.  It’s hard to pinpoint specific comments that are meaningful, but we always love to hear from people who appreciate the quality of what we make.  We care a lot about what we put into each bottle, and it’s rewarding to know people are enjoying it.

Why is supporting local so important?

Supporting local is important because of the chain of effect it can have for people who live and work in our province.  When you buy Compass spirits for example, you’re also supporting local  farmers, foragers, graphic designers, photographers, label makers, packaging companies and distributors that all have a part in getting our spirits into your glass.

Outside of being a small business owner, what are some of your favourite ways to support local in your personal life?

I’m a big fan of supporting other local producers and businesses – from the wide selection of wineries, spirit producers, brewers, cideries, local farmers and independent businesses. It’s so easy to support local in NS, we have so much to choose from!

In your opinion, what are the benefits of being a small, local business in Nova Scotia?

One of the greatest benefits of being a small local business in Nova Scotia is the overall community support of other local businesses.  The amount of bars, restaurants, and event spaces that are interested in using locally produced spirits always seems to be increasing, which is great to see.  There are also exciting opportunities to collaborate with other local producers, which can inspire some interesting and new ideas.

What inspires you about Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has a wide variety of agricultural products, both farmed and wild, which can be very exciting from the perspective of a distiller.  We have a great selection of fermentable products and botanicals that can be turned into whiskies, brandies, vodka or gins. I find all of this inspiring, as there are countless ways the farmed and wild produce found in this province can be used.

What is your favourite product that you offer?

I tend to become attached to whatever product we’re currently working on, and right now it is definitely our Rum.  We’ve been working on refining our process and experimenting with rum production every year, and I feel like our rums are always becoming more interesting and delightful. However, an all time favourite is always going to be our Gin Royal.  This gin is a really fun product that is super flavourful, complex and versatile.  We’ve expanded this product into our first canned cocktail called Fizzy Bee, which is a blend of the Gin Royal, lemon, honey and chamomile.  It’s very tasty and fun.

What’s coming up next for your business?

We’re always working on new products and are very excited to bring back a few old classics and also some new types of spirits that we’ve never made before.  We have a mailing list that we use to announce new releases to our subscribers- keep an eye if you want to know what’s coming up next!

Check out Compass Distiller’s website to see a full product list, sign up for their mailing list, and to shop online!

Compass Distillers Gin Royal

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