Patent 5, a small batch distillery in the Exchange District makes purple blossom gin, barrel aged tin, vodka. And, earlier this spring – they produced hand sanitizer, too. It is an unexpected twist in the story of this innovative distillery that opened at 108 Alexander Avenue in early 2019.
The right location
Brock Coutts, founder and co-owner said he and his partners searched for five years for the right place for the distillery, named for patent for the fifth patent issued by the Dominion of Canada in 1869.
Patent 5, issued in 1869:
“A certain new and useful art of distilling whiskey by means of which a great increase in quantity is obtained from a given quantity of grain.”
The partners knew they wanted to be in the Exchange, “but we had just about given up,” he said. The location on Alexander Ave had the bones they were looking for and converting the warehouse space to the beautiful tap room it is today was time-consuming. The warehouse was refitted to include fixtures salvaged from the former St. Regis Hotel, transforming what was once a stable with elegant woodwork that looks like it was always there.
Coutts, like many businesses during the early days of the pandemic made the decision to close the tasting room in March. Soon after, the distillery found themselves in a unique opportunity to help the local community.
Coutts follows a number or other distilleries on social media and learned of their efforts making hand sanitizer – something that was in short supply in Winnipeg, too. Patent 5 decided to put their equipment to work to make it, following Health Canada guidelines and a formula from the World Health Organization. Patent 5 Co-owner, Dinah Santos, a pharmacist, was a knowledgeable resource and was able to secure access to glycerin, a critical ingredient also in short supply.
Patent 5 distributed 300L of the hand sanitizer for free to social agencies and not-for-profits.
Back to business
Like many Exchange District businesses the taproom reopened in June when COVID restrictions permitted. Perfect timing as they were recently buoyed by their ranking on Canada’s 50 Best Bars List. Patent 5 is happy to be open again serving their signature cocktails up in their historic tap room as well as offering cocktails to go for you to make at home or at the lake during the long lazy days of summer.
Strong business community
While navigating through a pandemic was not on anyone’s business plan, Coutts is thankful for the networking they have had with other businesses in the neighbourhood, including Cibo and Nonsuch, who supported each other through a pandemic. Adapting and innovating to the world of 2020, the addition of to-go cocktails and punch are products they wouldn’t likely have considered before.
“We’re thankful for the support we’ve had and hope that local companies will be people’s first choice.”