The name for T-Rex Distillery was born out of a family trip to Alberta’s Badlands, but the idea came after the Irnich family founded DaVinci Gelato in 2015.
“As the business grew, we always had this idea that we wanted to make boozy ice cream, like real boozy ice cream, not just a flavour, but something you might get a little buzz from,” says Felix Irnich, a Top 40 Under 40 alumnus and vice president and director of international sales for T-Rex Distillery.
It took the family three years to get approvals from the government, but, in order to create boozy gelato, they had to make their own alcohol. DaVinci Gelato’s Happy Hour gelato line includes Red Wine Gelato and Apple Pie Moonshine Gelato, but the family felt like they could do more. So, they created a vodka.
“Demand was instantly through the roof,” says Irnich. “We could not keep up every week, we were working above capacities and then we brought in new machines to try to make more. Then we had the capacity again, so we were just catching up orders after orders and we’re still kind of in that boat.”
T-Rex Distillery was founded in 2018 after the Irnich family took a trip to Drumheller and visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum. They wanted the name of their distillery to be Alberta-based and were awestruck by the Black Beauty T-Rex fossil that they saw. The distillery sells alcohol products like the Sabertooth Rye, T-Rex Vodka and Herbivore Gin. There’s also a collection of Raptor Rum, which includes European White Rum and Boldly Spiced Rum. T-Rex Distillery exports its products across Canada and the United States, and is looking at opportunities to export abroad.
T-Rex Distillery also creates products you might not find at just any liquor store, like the T-Rex Garlic Pickle Vodka.
“To our surprise, that one has been taking off like crazy because people are using it to mix Caesars and such, and bars are loving it,” says Irnich. “At the moment, it’s one of our bestsellers.”
In conjunction with the garlic pickle vodka, T-Rex Distillery launched vodka garlic pickles in a jar, which were also a hit with customers. The Irnich family is hoping to expand that collection with boozy fresh fruit in the summer.