Marc Dupré, the singer-songwriter, adds a string to his bow since he is now an artisan co-producer and manufacturer of spirits, developed and manufactured here in Quebec and which can be purchased on the shelves of branches of the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) as well as in nearly 1500 convenience stores and grocery stores.
The reasons behind the Cherry River adventure
“The reason why I decided to go ahead with our microdistillery project is quite simple. For me Cherry River brings together, as for music, my greatest passions, my deep desire to create and celebrate life, to bring together the people I love: my family, my friends, my colleagues around products that I take a great pleasure in designing. I wanted to highlight the resources and know-how here. I'm proud to produce here… It's part of me. —Marc Dupre
Cherry River was born from a long-standing friendship, an alliance based on respect and perseverance. In fact, the partners who govern it together make much more than spirits – Marc Dupré, the artist, is associated with its manager, Francis Delage. Besides music, the friends also share other passions, those of enjoying life, drinking well and eating well. So, by dint of dreaming about it, they let themselves be inspired by all the diversity that was offered to them, and the pleasures of tasting products from various origins germinated the idea of founding their microdistillery. A universe of flavors and processes presented itself which, over time, allowed them to acquire a certain experience and to identify the nature of the products they wished to create and manufacture.
Marc, why did you choose the village of Cherry River and Mont-Orford, what drew you to the Eastern Townships region or this village in particular?
“We've been researching for more than 5 years to succeed in creating a perfect product, because we knew that, to produce a very good quality vodka, the quality of the water was really a decisive ingredient. We also knew that Quebec is very rich in water, so we hoped to succeed in finding the best possible water in a region that we found dynamic and inspiring and where it would be possible to establish our artisanal microdistillery. Coincidentally, there were members of our group who hailed from the village of Cherry River, renowned for its water quality, so we collected samples to see what we could get out of it. A nice surprise, it was really exciting because the results were more than conclusive and exceeded all our expectations. This is how the pure, crystalline water that comes from the underground springs of the small village of Cherry River, water of incomparable quality, became the one that would allow us to shape our new vodka. »
Since when exactly did you discover a passion for microdistillery and Quebec spirits?
“Over the past few years, my manager and his son introduced me to the world of spirits. They communicated their passion to me by explaining to me the basics of the trade or rather of this art and all its possibilities. During the development of the products, I had the chance to participate in the meetings and contribute to the discussions by giving my opinion in all the creative process involved in the distillation of spirits. I had the sting and it made me want to get involved for real. It's very exciting because it's a booming industry, for which the public is at the rendezvous in a philosophy that aspires that we drink less, but better. Recently, we decided to try out and taste wonderful products that are produced by other artisans in the province. It was so inspiring and then it increased my desire to create and participate in the birth of our small business. Now, since the start of the adventure, we haven't stopped working on by-products, vodka remaining the leading element in ranges of local products that will soon see the light of day... In fact, it's a start and it's really exciting. »
Can you give a taste of what's to come in terms of the new products that will be made from Cherry River vodka and that will soon be available to the public?
“Without telling all our little secrets, the Cherry River Microdistillery will soon have a new spirit on the shelves of the SAQ, namely a vodka made from authentic maple syrup from producers in the region. It is a fine vodka with a subtle taste that is worth tasting. It is designed with premium natural ingredients, it has already been approved and ordered by the SAQ. In principle, it should appear in branches towards the end of July. Other Cherry River vodka-based products will also be unveiled in the near future, but I'll hold back and keep the surprise for you to keep lovers of this kind of product in suspense. »
What do spirits mean to you, Marc; and how are they part of your life?
“You know, I love surrounding myself and taking care of the people I love, spoiling them. For me and a majority of Quebecers, I believe, taking the time to receive people at home, sip a little drink with them, make them laugh and prepare a good meal for them are some of the things we like to do and that make them happy. I have the impression that here, in Quebec, we have a great sense of hospitality. Life is short, we must enjoy our family, our friends and fully savor the present moment. Spirits offer us a great way to do that, in good company, we have fun creating according to the taste of the people, the season or the event, there are so many possibilities.
That's kind of the idea we had in mind when we offered our new range of products, we wanted to allow people to be inspired by "bartending", to be daring and to concoct good little cocktails with products from first quality. For us, it was a very simple way to please the people we love. »