The story of the Jasper Sliverlakes Wine Company is the story of a small business.
For years, the small-scale winery was a place for people to gather and have a good time.
Now, more than two decades later, it’s the scene of a new, high-tech winery and a community-based food and wine-distribution program that’s drawing people to the city.
“The whole purpose of the program is to support our community,” said Mike Bracken, the co-founder and president of the Sliverlake winery.
“It’s a good way for us to support the people that are there, to support them in their everyday life.”
The program is called Sustain, a partnership between the Jasper City Council and the Food Bank of Western Canada (FBCW).
The two organizations are working together to create an innovative new food and beverage service in the city, which will provide food to people living in low-income neighbourhoods.
“I’m happy that this is happening because there is a lot of poverty in the region,” said Brackan.
“It’s really a great opportunity for people in this community to come together and eat and drink and have fun.”
The Food Bank partnered with the city in 2016 to help improve the quality of food available in the neighbourhood.
It’s now working with a number of local food distributors to introduce a menu that is locally sourced and tastes great, said FBCW’s executive director, Kim Raine.
“What we’re trying to do is create an environment where people can come to the community, have their food, and enjoy it,” said Raine, who is also the cofounder of the local food distributor, Saffron.
“This will be a really positive community-wide impact for the community.”
The city is also partnering with the Jasper Food Bank and the Jasper Farmers Market to develop a new food truck program.
This year, the city also launched a community program to give free food to low- and moderate-income residents.
“We are really proud of our partners here in the community and how we’re working with them to create this really positive environment,” said City of Jasper Mayor Chris Hinton.
“With all these great partners, it really is a great success for the city of Jasper,” he said.
“Our goal is to build a relationship with them that’s really meaningful for them, so we can continue to be part of this city and we’ll do our best to help them along.”
For the first time in decades, the company will be hosting events that benefit the community.
Brackens says this is the first year the company has held an event where it was not an event benefiting the community or the city’s social programs.
“You have to be able to share with the community that you’re a part of something and that you have something positive to say about it,” he added.
“To me, that’s the most meaningful thing that’s happening.
It means you are a part and you are making a difference.”
In 2017, the Sliverslake Wine Company received the Gold Award for the Best Local Wine and Craft Beverage, presented by the United Wine Merchants of Canada.
The award recognizes the highest levels of excellence in local winery production and the efforts of the business community to improve quality of life for the people living within a 10-kilometre radius of the site.
For more information on the Slivenlakes winery, visit www.sliverlakings.ca.