Startup Distillery Incubator


Looking to start a spirits brand, but avoid the capital and time expense of starting a distillery? Check out our contract distilling page instead.


Starting a distillery is an expensive and risky proposition. The capital costs involved are scary enough, without factoring in having to pay overhead at your facility while you wait for your license to come through from CRA – up to 18 months in some cases – and not being able to make anything – even test batches – until your licenses come through.

We can help. We’ve incubated several distillery startups through those dicey early days, and watch with pride as they grow, expand, and move out on their own.

We’ve encountered two main needs:

  1. Those needing a location to get licensed, test recipes, and develop sales networks during the licensing process; and
  2. Those wishing for facilities, mentorship, and technical expertise during the early stages of their business.

We cater to both.

“Last Straw was a fantastic distillery to work with. During our startup phase they were flexible with what we needed and wanted to achieve and offered guidance on the production methods and how to navigate the very confusing alcohol industry effectively. Anyone who is looking to produce while in the startup phase will do well to reach out to Last Straw and work with them, an excellent business to work with!”

– Josh Cormier, Founder
Pepprell Distilling


The CRA requires you to have a properly zoned facility to which the license is attached before they will process your application. They take up to 18 months to process applications. It’s also illegal to distill spirits without a license. This could mean you’re paying rent and overhead costs for a facility you can’t use… like we did. We can help you avoid that.

Our customizable services include:

  • Use of our already-licensed and inspected, properly zoned distillery for your licensing application;
  • Holding your controlled equipment – stills, measuring instruments, etc;
  • Recipe development and consulting;
  • Use of our distillery by the half-day;
  • Supporting your spirits sales through our retail store, export, online ordering within Canada, and direct-to-licensee (bar & restaurant); and
  • Transfer of bulk spirits to your licenses once received.


Once your CRA license comes through, things get a bit more complicated on the sales side, however we have developed a system where you can operate your fully-licensed distillery at our location, and secure your distillery retail store authorization from the Ontario government allowing you to sell.

Our services include:

  • Use of our distillery by the half-day;
  • Holding your controlled equipment;
  • Consulting services;
  • Procurement of bulk spirits;
  • Space for your excise warehouse storage of bulk spirits; and
  • Support in securing Provincial sales licenses.

Startup Distillery Incubator

Whether we’ve helped you to make your recipe, or it’s one you brought to us, we can produce it to your specifications on a batch-by-batch basis. Our customizable services include:
  • Mashing
  • Fermenting
  • Stripping
  • Finishing
  • Flavour infusion
  • Cutting heads & tails
  • Barrel aging
  • Blending (spirits and juices)
  • Dilution
  • Bottling, labeling, and boxing
  • Storage in our bonded excise warehouse
  • Label and packaging legal review
  • LCBO lab testing
  • Packing and shipping of bulk & consumer orders
Depending on your needs, we can offer the spirits for sale through our distillery retail store, support your direct-to-consumer online sales, assist with LCBO listing applications, and support your direct-to-licensee (bar and restaurant) sales.

Email [email protected] to start the conversation.