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When Nathan Flim gets home from work he sometimes likes to have a cocktail.

Since Flim is the owner of the Fort Distillery in Fort Saskatchewan, it’s not hard for him to find the necessary ingredients for an old fashioned, but the process of making one can sometimes be tedious.

Which is why he decided to start Tumbler & Rocks, a spirit forward, ready-to-drink cocktail company. Opting out from the standard canned vodka soda trend, Flim instead offers fancier choices: daiquiris, old fashioneds, Manhattans, cosmos, and especially the Shaft. Launching in the summer of 2020, Tumbler & Rocks is already a major homegrown success with distribution across Western Canada and three American states.

“A lot of people don’t really know how to make a cocktail, or they don’t have all the necessary ingredients or equipment,” says Flim. “So if we do all the heavy lifting on our end then that solves a problem.”

Bottled daiquiri cocktails at Tumbler & Rocks, a ready-to-drink cocktail company in Fort Saskatchewan.
Bottled daiquiri cocktails at Tumbler & Rocks, a ready-to-drink cocktail company in Fort Saskatchewan. PHOTO BY LARRY WONG /Postmedia

You can already find Tumbler & Rocks cocktails at various local liquor stores, cafes and restaurants, notably Color de Vino, Cartago and Little Brick. Flim is thinking past that, however, towards airlines, stadiums and golf courses, anywhere a pre-mixed drink would make life easier for a server. He’s especially pleased about the surprising success of the Shaft, a Calgary-born cocktail made from local honey and roasted coffee that’s quickly grabbing adherents a long way from the city.  

“Before we were even a thing I would make a weekly overnight trip to Calgary to sell Fort Distillery products,” Flim says. “Almost every restaurant or cafe I went into had the Shaft on the menu, so I tried it and it was delicious. It’s basically coffee and booze, what’s not to love? When we started Tumbler & Rocks I felt it would be a perfect addition. It’s unique, and kind of our tribute to Alberta. When we started distributing in the States I thought it would do the worst down there, but it’s actually been a bestseller.”  

Flim is keeping with the core six cocktails for the moment, but he doesn’t rule out new flavours down the road if the opportunity arises.  

“It’s very tempting to try lots of stuff, but it’s important to remain focused,” he says. “That being said, our plan is to launch a limited edition a couple of times a year, say 10,000 bottles of something super unique, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. We haven’t made plans for this year because we’re still establishing ourselves, but the goal in 2022 is to do something like that.” 

Source: Local distillery has craft cocktails at the ready | Edmonton Journal