An exciting new addition to the Calgary Barley Belt might look a little bit different than what regular patrons are used to seeing, or drinking. Skunkworks Distillery, a locally owned and operated micro-distillery, is bringing premium engineered moonshine to the craft beer party!
Originating in 2015 as an after-work-over-drinks project idea, the concept of Skunkworks Distillery was in the works for a few years before it began to take shape with Faye Warrington and Marty Lastiwka at the helm. Skunk Works is an engineering term coined at Lockheed Martin, referring to the Advanced Development Department, which focuses on innovative and unconventional approaches to new science and technology. “Skunk Works is a department that operates outside the mainstream of their company working on weird little side science projects or on new tech stuff,” says Faye, “for Marty and I, this is our Skunk Works. This is our science project.”
Located on the Barley Belt, southeast Calgary’s signature walking distance collection of craft breweries, Skunkworks distills smooth, small batch premium engineered moonshine that is as good over ice as it is in one of their many cocktails. Made from sugar beets refined in Taber, Alberta, Skunkworks offers three unique products: the original Skunkworks Moonshine, Hypersonic and Moonwater. With Skunkworks, Faye and Marty are committed to challenging the mason jar mentality that associates moonshine with a bootleg burn.
“Moonshine is a good way to bring people together. We all have a moonshine story,” Marty laughs, “It’s something people can always talk about, for better or for worse.”
The tasting room, much of which Faye and Marty built themselves, combines industrial space race vibes with a Mad Max steampunk flare that can’t be found anywhere else. Sip your Skunktail (Skunkworks cocktail) from a science lab beaker and enjoy some light snacks on a replica plane wing turned coffee table, while listening to live music from the in-house studio.
After countless hours of planning, searching and building, the taproom officially opened in November of 2019. Launching amidst the upheaval of a global pandemic and ensuing economic crash has made Skunkworks an operation well versed in thinking on their feet. “None of the normal rules for growing a business apply right now,” says Marty, “So we’re just adapting, we’re pivoting every day.”
Like a number of other breweries and distilleries around the city, Skunkworks transitioned to the production of hand sanitizer to help fill the gap during the height of the pandemic. The public response, according to Marty, was far more than they ever could have anticipated. “Everyone was just so desperate for it,” he says, “we were making it just to give away, and suddenly people were lined up around the block for it.”
While this wasn’t how they exactly envisioned their first few months in operation, it turned out to be a great way for the distillery to begin connecting with the community while helping out people in need. Given the uncertain circumstances and difficulties of the last several months, Faye says the support of the community and other local distilleries has been invaluable.
As things settle down, Faye and Marty are looking forward to being able to host live music again and are even exploring the idea of an outdoor concert on their (dog-friendly!) patio. Above all, the two are excited for the upcoming release of their latest product, a seasonal feature that is like “nothing you’ve ever tasted!” coming very soon.
To learn more about Skunkworks Distillery and what the Calgary Barley Belt has to offer, visit https://www.skunkworksdistillery.com
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Alberta declares outbreaks at university in Edmonton, hospital in Calgary
EDMONTON — COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at a hospital in Calgary and a university in Edmonton.
Alberta Health Services says 10 patients and two staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Foothills Medical Centre.
All at-risk patients in the three affected units are being offered testing, and contact tracing is ongoing.
Visitors may not visit patients on the units except in end-of-life situations.
In Edmonton, an outbreak at a student residence on the main University of Alberta campus means no varsity athletics for the next two weeks.
The university says in a statement that five members of the men’s residence at St. Joseph’s College have tested positive for COVID-19.
They are isolating, along with 14 other men living at the residence, and the university says it is sanitizing and deep-cleaning areas the five may have been in.
The website for the residence says, along with spiritual direction and daily mass, it is also a leader of the university’s intramural sports program.
The university says it doesn’t know which sports may have been affected, but is shutting down in-person varsity athletics for the next two weeks.
It says individuals who may have been exposed will be contacted by health officials.
The statement says all other residences at the University of Alberta are considered safe and at low risk of exposure.
Alberta’s last COVID-19 update on Thursday reported 1,424 active cases and 255 deaths.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020
The Canadian Press
Obsidian Energy formalizes share swap bid for Calgary rival Bonterra Energy
CALGARY — Obsidian Energy Ltd. is formalizing its hostile takeover bid for rival Bonterra Energy Corp.
It says it will offer two Obsidian shares for each Bonterra share until Jan. 4.
The share-swap offer is the same as the proposal in a declaration of intent made in late August, despite Bonterra shares continuing to trade for more double those of Obsidian.
On Friday, Bonterra stock closed at $1.22 per share, about 2.1 times the value of Obsidian stock at 57 cents.
In a news release, Obsidian says the takeover would create a “Cardium champion” by combining the two companies’ assets in the region, while providing financial strength to add to that base by buying other Cardium lands.
It says the merged company have production of 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, three times the size of Bonterra in the second quarter.
“Since we publicly announced our interest in a combination with Bonterra, we have received encouraging feedback from a significant number of shareholders of both companies and other interested parties that reinforces our view that the combination of Obsidian Energy and Bonterra is in the best interests of both companies and their respective stakeholders,” interim Obsidian CEO Stephen Loukas said.
Bonterra didn’t formally respond to the initial Obsidian approach, but said it would continue to pursue financing from the Business Development Bank of Canada, in co-operation with its existing syndicate of lenders, that would allow it to restart its suspended capital program and allow it to bring production back to last year’s levels.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:BNE, TSX:OBE)
The Canadian Press
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