Draft horses to plant grain for Alberta distillery’s craft whisky

Malting barley will be harvested for use in a whisky produced by Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley.

May 12, 2016   by CP STAFF

LONGVIEW, Alta. — A spring planting event May 22 at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site will be the biggest working draft horse operation in Alberta in over half a century, promoters say.

More than 50 draft horses from across the province – representing key breeds including Suffolk Punches, Percherons and Belgians – will plow and seed 10 hectares of land.

The malting barley to be planted will be harvested about 100 days later for use in a whisky produced by Eau Claire Distillery of Turner Valley, Alta.

“The sheer number of horses pulling vintage plows, and the fact that everything is done with antique farm equipment, will make it quite the spectacle,” said Dale Befus of Alberta Carriage Supply, who organized the Victoria Day weekend event.


David Farran, Eau Claire’s founder and president, said Bar U Ranch is “hugely supportive” of preserving traditional farming.

The craft distillery hopes to plow and harvest grain at the Parks Canada-administered site south of Calgary “for many years to come,” Farran said.

“Through horse farming our distillery is connected to the land in the ultimate ‘farm to glass’ experience,” he said in a release.

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