Growing up as an ambitious youth, I always knew my dream job was to own a business. I wanted to share my creative ideas and take charge. At the age of 18 I realized the Distillery Business was the perfect fit for my dreams and goals. Owning a business where I really connected to customers and set a lifestyle for consumption inspired me; I wanted to reach a diverse customer base who wanted to enjoy a premium quality product responsibly. Although the Distillery idea was a fairly new idea for me in the business world, it felt right.
I grew up in a family where socializing and responsible drinking was important. My father, in particular, set great rules and led by example, and he’d worked for over 30 years in the regulatory side of the liquor industry. Throughout my life, family and friends got together to have a great time socializing and telling stories. One thing never changed. There was a special family recipe we held. As long as I can remember, older family members and friends loved its unique, light sessional taste; its non-alcoholic version was also quite good and enjoyed by many as well. What better way is there, than to take a famous family recipe my family and friends loved, and share it with many others.
In my final year of high school at Charles P. Allen in my hometown of Bedford, NS, I was fortunate to go on a humanity trip to Consuelo, Dominican Republic. Through this incredible experience, I worked with children, families and built houses, and I was lucky to get an inside look into the making of rum, all the way from processing sugar cane in the fields to bottling the final product. The process of staking sugar cane in the fields all morning for the local franchise distillery with my group, fascinated me. As we moved from the fields to the warehouse, the steps taken to distill and produce alcohol was inspiring and it fuelled my passion to start my own company. The respect I gained for these workers in the Dominican Republic was much more than I had ever imagined. This led to my ultimate goal of connecting to only certified free trade sugar cane suppliers and spirit manufacturers.
The professors and students in the Dalhousie University with the Kenneth C. Rowe School of Business Commerce Co-op program encouraged me to pursue my entrepreneurial goals. I attended a MyCareer Services panel talk where third and fourth year students discussed their experiences in Co-op terms and one individual’s entrepreneurship experience was life changing for me. Inspired by his story, I saw the great entrepreneurship support Dalhousie offered. Another rewarding opportunity came from drafting my business plan. Moving forward, I am excited for the future of Black Harbour Distillery, while I continue my Commerce Degree at Dalhousie University.