Fets Whisky Kitchen

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Southern Inspired. Whisky Infused.

September 1, 2022

Allura & Eric are resigning!
It’s been a while since we updated everyone on what’s going on down at The Kitchen and there’s a lot to talk about.
After 36 years Allura and Eric have submitted their resignation!
This past Monday we called our staff together and presented them with our letter of resignation, our last dinner service will be on Friday December 23 of this year. We held the Whisky Dinner invitation back as we wanted our team to be fully informed before the rest of the world. This last dinner service will mark over 36 years of continuous operation, well except for that little Covid thingy a couple years back. 
Our lease is up early next year, and we have decided not to renew. We feel it’s best to resign while we are on top of our game and will proudly work with our staff to make everyone’s final visits as memorable as their first. We are planning to host many whisky dinners prior to closing. 
We have a whisky pairing dinner coming up on Sunday September 11 with Mark Reynier the owner of Ireland’s Waterford distillery. If Mark’s name rings a bell, he along with Jim McEwan resurrected Bruichladdich back in 2000. Mark also owned the independent bottler, Murray McDavid. More information is below.
We started back in 1986 as Fettucini’s Café at 1179 Commercial Drive and moved to our current location February 6, 1996, opening as Fets Bar & Grill and rebranding to Fets Whisky Kitchen in 2013. With the help of all our staff and guests we have created Vancouver’s Premier Whisky Bar.
It’s been a heck of a ride! We have had the pleasure of working with many amazing people over the past 36 years. We have forged many great relationships over the years, and we will miss seeing everyone on a regular basis. Too many memories have been made here to count but we have cherished our time operating one of Vancouver’s longest continuously family owned and operated restaurants.
We sincerely thank everyone for supporting our business over the past 36 years!
We’ll miss you

On the Whisky Raid front we went before The Honourable Mr. Juctice N. Smith last December and received his ruling in March. In his ruling he stated that we were denied procedural fairness and that the government is required to hand over all documents related to the investigation, raid along with subsiquent correspondence post raid. All the government has done to date is to unredact the majoirty of the 297 pages they originally provided. In these documents are refrences to emails and correspondence that the government has yet to provide. We have asked the government to produce these additional documents and may have to go back in front of Juctice Smith inorder to have them produced. So just what are they hiding?

Mark Reynier is the founder and CEO of Waterford Distillery and will be here at The Kitchen on Sunday September 11 to host our first Whisky Pairing dinner since January 2020. Our Kitchen team will be pairing 5 Waterford Whiskies with 5 unique dishes prepaired for these whiskies.
Mark grew up in the wine business and in 1996 he established Murray McDavid Independent Bottlers, we still have some of his bottles on the shelves and more in storage. The Murray McDavid team purchased the mothballed Bruichladdich distillery on Islay in 2000.
With Mark’s background in wine he learned much about terroir and the science behind wine making. He believed that terroir wasn’t just indicative to grape growing and the wine industry. Whilst at the helm of Bruichladdich he set out to prove that the soil where the barley was grown was as important as the soil for grape production. Bruichladdich still has terrior specific releases. In 2012 Remy Cointreau purchased Bruichladdich and Mark went searching for a new distillery location where he could grow the best barley. When the opportunity to purchase an old Guinness brewery in Southern Ireland presented itself, he jumped at the chance and Waterford was born.
Mark’s goal was to take his decades of expertise and “break the norms” by creating whisky with a focus on terroir. By using new technologies, avoiding shortcuts in the distillation process, and working directly with Irish farmers, Waterford is able to produce purer flavours. With their single farm origin whiskies, you can truly taste the flavours or Ireland in a unique way.

We are located at: 1230 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC


Fets Whisky Kitchen Map

Southern Inspired. Whisky Infused.

We’re still fighting the government for the release of the 242 bottles of extremely rare whisky that was unlawfully seized by the government last year but we still have more than 1,000 on our our shelves!

The lengthy Liquor Control and Licensing investigation, code named “Operation Barley Malt”, culminated with the January 2018 whisky raid here at The Whisky Kitchen. We have received a ruling from our May 2019 enforcement hearing relating to the raid and the seizure of 242 bottles of some of the world’s rarest whiskies, and it isn’t in our favor. Read the 64 page ruling here

We will be appealing the ruling by requesting a “reconsideration”. The Reconsideration will be conducted by another adjudicator who also works for the same government agency that conducted the investigation, the raid and that ruled against us. Due to the relationship of the parties involved our lawyer, Dan Coles, is not confident that it will be overturned. We are required to appeal the ruling if we want to see this through and get it heard in The Supreme Court. The question here is: Should the Provincial Government and its agents be required to follow their own rules, regulations and policies as well as The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? We believe they should.

The overturning of this ruling is paramount to our industry’s future, we are all aware of what’s on the shelves of the bars and restaurants all across our province. There are literally thousands of cocktails that are illegal to be made, served and sold in this province as we are not allowed to have the ingredients on our shelves. In other words, the government wants us to all sell the same cocktails, wines, spirits and the same beer because our government does not believe in choice or competition. The ruling goes deeper than this, this ruling sets a dangerous precedent whereby the government declares their right to ignore The Canadian Charter and the Rule of Law. The Government is supposed to be the people and for the people and we are tired of the power and control this regime yields over us in this regard. For a delegate of our government to state that; “A licensee does not have the same expectation of freedom from search and seizure as a private citizen in other contexts may have – because of the very nature of the liquor control and licensing regime” is, frankly, quite disturbing.

Re: Fets Whisky Kitchen, Case EH18-003: Why it matters to you

On the morning of January 18, 2018 three liquor inspectors attended Fets in a rented Uhaul van, filled with empty boxes. They entered the premises, requested the attendance of the Vancouver Police Department, and after briefly interviewing one of the owners of the establishment, they seized (over a period of several hours) 242 bottles of Scotch whisky. They did so without a search warrant, and they did not advise the owner that Fets was being investigated for an offence, for which she could be jailed if convicted.

Earlier this summer, on June 6, 2019 a delegate of the General Manager issued a 64 page written decision confirming that the actions of the liquor inspectors were lawful, and ordered a monetary penalty against Fets in the amount of $3,000. Fets has applied, under the Act, to have the decision reconsidered.

The General Manager’s decision, if not varied or rescinded, will set a dangerous precedent for all liquor licensees in British Columbia. In summary, the decision confirms as acceptable the following practices of the Branch and liquor inspectors:

• When a licensee is faced with enforcement action, the Branch only needs to disclose to it the documents that help it prove the contravention. It is not required to produce any other documents from its files that may assist the licensee in avoiding the contravention;
• The General Manager’s delegate is not required to maintain an “open mind” during an enforcement hearing. It is acceptable for he or she to make up their mind at the very outset of the hearing, before evidence and submissions are made;
• Liquor inspectors who observe liquor that in their opinion is kept contrary to the Act, can return at any time without a search warrant to seize it;
• The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees individuals the right to be free from unreasonable (warrantless) searches and the right to be informed of their jeopardy when detained by officers of the state, does not apply to the enforcement of British Columbia’s liquor licensing regime; and
• Liquor inspectors can rely on the “mandatory cooperation” powers contained in s.42 of the Act to conscript evidence from licensees that may be used in a prosecution of an offence for which imprisonment is a potential penalty.

All licensees should take notice of this dangerous and potentially precedent setting decision. Although currently it is only Fets dealing with the fallout, soon it will be other bars, restaurants and LRS’s who may face warrantless searches of their premises, and procedurally unfair hearings. British Columbians deserve better.

If you wish to better understand how the decision could impact your establishment, or are interested in participating or assisting in a potential judicial review of the decision please contact our lawyer Dan Coles at bcliquorlaw.com

Mark Gillespie from WhiskyCast.com has been following this story from the beginning and has written an article regarding the ruling, it can be found here: Fets Whisky Kitchen loses SMWS Legal Battle with British Columbia Regulators

Allura and Eric thank everyone for their continued support through this ordeal.

We are located at: 1230 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC


Fets Whisky Kitchen Map