Marc Dupré, the singer-songwriter, added another string to his bow, as he is now a co-producer craftsman and artisan distiller. His spirits and other products are developed and made right here in Quebec and can be found on the shelves at the SAQ (Société des Alcools du Québec) stores as well as in nearly 1500 convenience stores or grocery stores.
The reasons underlying the Cherry River adventure
“The reason why I decided to go ahead with our micro-distillery project is quite simple. For me Cherry River brings together, as with music, my greatest passions, a deep desire to create and celebrate life, and to bring together those I love: my family, my friends, and my colleagues, around products that I take great pleasure in conceiving. I was determined to showcase both the local resources and know-how. I’m proud to be producing locally… It’s a part of who I am.” — Marc Dupré
Partners with a passion
Cherry River was born out of a long-lasting friendship, an alliance founded on perseverance and respect. Indeed, the people who run it do more than just make spirits together – Marc Dupré, the artist, is partnered with his manager, Francis Delage. Aside from music, they also share other passions – living life to the fullest as well as enjoying fine dining and drinking. So, in the midst of their dreams, they let themselves get inspired by the diversity that was offered to them, and from the pleasures of tasting products from various origins, the idea of founding their microdistillery was born. A universe of flavours and processes presented itself, and over time it allowed them to gain experience and to define the essence of the products each of them was seeking to create and produce.
Marc, why did you choose the Village of Cherry River and Mount Orford, what made you choose the Eastern Townships?
“It’ had already been more than 5 years that we had been trying to create the ideal product, because we knew that, to produce a high-quality vodka, the quality of the water was truly a crucial. We also knew that Quebec is really wealthy as regards to its water, so we were hoping to find the best possible water in a region that we found dynamic and inspiring and where it would be possible to establish our artisanal micro-distillery. Coincidentally, members of our group came from Cherry River, a village known for the quality of its water, so we collected samples to see what we could get out of it. A lovely and exciting surprise, because the results were more than conclusive and surpassed all our expectations. So that’s how the pure and pristine water from the underground springs of Cherry River, a water of unparalleled quality, became the water that would allow us to make our new vodka.”
When did you discover your passion for microdistillery and Quebec spirits?
“Over the past few years, my manager and his son introduced me to the world of spirits. They shared with me their passion, explaining and teaching me the rudiments of the craft, or should I say the art, and all its possibilities. While products were getting developed, I had the chance to participate to meetings and give my opinion during the whole creative process involved when distilling spirits. I was completely hooked and it made me want to get involved more seriously. It’s very exhilarating because it is an effervescent field, where consumers aspire to a philosophy based on a desire to drink less, but to drink smarter and better. Recently, we decided to sample the amazing products produced and offered by other artisans across the province. It was really inspiring, it just added to my desire to create and be a part of the creation of our small enterprise. And now, since the adventure began, we haven’t stopped working on related products, with vodka remaining the front-runner of the local product lines that will soon be launched… It’s a great start, and it’ s really exciting.”
Can you give us a taste of what’s in store for us in terms of new products made from Cherry River vodka that will be available to the public soon?
“Without revealing all of our little secrets, Cherry River will soon have a new spirit on the SAQ shelves, it’s a vodka made from authentic maple syrup supplied by local producers. It is exquisite vodka with a delicate and subtle taste of maple definitely worth tasting. It is made with natural ingredients of the finest quality and has already been approved and ordered by the SAQ. It is expected to be available for purchase by the end of July. Other Cherry River vodka-based products will also be unveiled in the near future, but I am holding back and saving you the surprise to keep the fans of such products in suspense.”
What do spirits mean to you, Marc, and how are they a part of your life?
“As you know, I love to be surrounded by and take care of the people I love, pampering them. For me and I believe for the majority of people here in Quebec, taking time out to have people over, sipping a drink with them, making them laugh and cooking them a nice meal, are among the things we really love and enjoy. I get the impression that here, in Québec; we have a strong sense of hospitality. Life is short; we must take advantage of our family and friends and fully appreciate the moment. Spirits offer us a great way to do just that, in good company, we can have fun creating according to the taste, the season or the event; so many possibilities await us. That’s the idea we had in mind when we launched our new line of products, we wanted to allow people to be inspired, to become bartenders and dare to prepare amazing cocktails with quality products. For us, it was a simple way to please the people we love.”