Hansen Distillery Makes History as Edmonton’s First Whisky Producer
Local Craft Distillery Releases Northern Eyes Whisky – the first Canadian Whisky to Come from Edmonton

February 11, 2020 (Edmonton, Alberta) – They say good things come to those who wait. For Shayna Hansen and her husband, Kris Sustrik, of Edmonton’s Hansen Distillery, this saying could not ring more true. They have been patiently waiting for the required three years to bottle and release their Northern Eyes Whisky, the first authentic, single-barrel Canadian whisky to be produced and distributed from Edmonton.

In the whisky world, a three-year-aged spirit is considered young. However, in Alberta’s new craft distilling industry it is not only a momentous milestone; it’s historic.

“When we put our first batch of clear rye spirit in those barrels to begin the aging process in January of 2017, we had no idea we would be the first whisky producers in Edmonton,” said Shayna Hansen, co-owner of Hansen Distillery. “When we confirmed we were the first, it was not only exciting for us, but also gave us a sense of great responsibility to make sure we offered a quality product that Edmonton could be proud of.”

The first bottle of Northern Eyes Whisky was gifted to the City of Edmonton on February 11 for archiving purposes. During a special presentation held at the distillery, Hansen and Sustrik presented “Barrel 1 / Bottle 001” to Mayor Don Iveson prior to releasing the approximately 500 remaining bottles of whisky to the public.

Bottle one from barrel one holds significance in the whisky world, and is often highly coveted by collectors.

“We tried to think of the best way we could thank everyone in Edmonton who has supported our young distillery over the last three years, and we thought the least we could do is give the very first bottle from the very first barrel to the City of Edmonton,” says Hansen. “Maybe one day decades from now, this bottle will hold the same significance to Edmonton as the first bottles of Scotch made in Scotland centuries ago.”

Sustrik, who earned the informal title of “fourth generation moonshiner” by the Hansen family, is excited to add a new title to his repertoire.

“I’m proud to be a fourth generation moonshiner, but I’m grinning ear-to-ear to now be able to call myself a whisky-maker too,” says Sustrik.

Sustrik first got the bug to distill his own spirits while watching his wife’s family produce their own small batch sugar (moon)shine. The Hansen family moonshine recipe became the inspiration behind many of Hansen’s most popular spirits today, and what helped them to become one of Alberta’s top craft distilleries.

While waiting for the whisky to hit that three-year aged mark, Hansen Distillery became locally famous for their wide offering of craft spirits including Trouble Gin, Purple Cow Saskatoon Berry Cream Liqueur, as well as their monthly offering of flavoured seasonal spirits such as Root Beer Moonshine, Spiced Peach Moonshine, and the holiday favourite–Mulled Cranberry Moonshine.

“We are still moonshiners at heart, and we will continue to honour the Hansen family legacy by making some of the best damn moonshine to come from Canada, but we are thrilled to finally be able to add some whisky to our product lineup,” says Sustrik.

Hansen Distillery’s whisky program launched February 11, 2020 with their three-year-aged Northern Eyes Whisky, however Sustrik is currently aging 5, 7, 10 and 18 year whisky.

“Probably the most exciting part of this whole whisky program is the day I got to fill two barrels in my son’s name,” says Sustrik. “When he turns 18, he not only gets the barrels of whisky, but also hopefully becomes the second generation whisky maker in the family who can carry on a legacy for Hansen’s whisky for years to come.”


Handcrafted in Edmonton, Alberta by head distiller Kris Sustrik using 100% Alberta rye, and aged for three years in a single American oak barrel.

The spirit is proofed down from an ideal 65% ABV for aging to 43% ABV using spring water from Claymore Springs and chill filtered before being bottled by hand.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: pear, leather, and tobacco
Palate: savoury and spicy with notes of dark caramel, mild vanilla, black pepper, and caramelized banana
Finish: crisp with spiced pear while the barrel char and mild tobacco notes linger long afterwards

Price: $69 plus applicable taxes
Bottle Availability: The first approximately 500 bottles will be available exclusively at Hansen Distillery. Following this, the next series of bottles will be open to liquor retailers and online sales across Canada through



Step under the “Moonshine Mobile” and take a walk through time to learn all about four generations of Hansen family moonshiners at Edmonton’s own Hansen Distillery. When the Hansen family first came to Alberta during the Prohibition era, they made moonshine to help make ends meet. Today, Shayna Hansen and her husband Kris Sustrik are the first generation to be making moonshine legally. They started making moonshine right here in Edmonton in 2016, but have since expanded their product line to include vodka, gin, rye, cream liqueurs and many other seasonal spirits that have become fan favourites. In addition to distribution across Alberta, Hansen hit a major milestone when they successfully exported their Trouble Gin and Barreled Trouble Gin to Japan. They make everything at the distillery using locally sourced ingredients, and you can visit them for an amazing tour and tasting at their distillery, which is located just off 174th street and 111 avenue on the west end of Edmonton.

For photos, videos or interview requests, please contact:

Natalie Harper | | 780-909-2281