From Grains to Glasses – Coldstream Clear Distillery’s Strawberry Kiwi Vodka Soda

Back in the Fall of last year, we had the opportunity to chat with Olivia and Riley Giffen, co-owners of Coldstream Clear Distillery and feature the business in the September 2020 issue.

Readers may remember that Olivia shared that Coldstream Clear Distillery is truly a family business with each member of the family having their own niche in the business, with very little overlap. Elaine takes care of the accounting logistics, Robert manages production of all spirits, Liam manages ready-to-drink production, and Riley and Olivia are responsible for business development, marketing, and liaising with the liquor boards. This structure has allowed them to be very agile. Olivia explains, “We make a lot happen with less, which has allowed us to become leaders in the market even amongst very large and powerful brands.”  Not too bad for a trio (Olivia, Riley and Liam) that are all under the age of 30, that have found their place and clearly understand how to be successful in the ready-to-drink beverage market.

Something unique to this brand is that the Giffen family grew up on a property that boasts a high-quality spring that is the perfect source of water for distilling. In fact, Robert and Elaine owned and operated a local bottled water business for ten years prior to the opening of the distillery with Olivia, Riley and Liam.

One might assume that the brand is named after the spring however, the name Coldstream Clear was actually the name of the street the family lives on and where the first distillery was located, Coldstream Road. During the infancy of the business, they would label Coldstream Clear on mason jars for identification.  Olivia shares, “The name had a nice ring to it and is special to us. It is universal and will prepare us well for wherever we take the brand in the future.”

It has been a successful business journey for the family seeing the distillery’s doors officially open in September 2015 at the family’s property on Coldstream Road.  However, the brand quickly developed a strong following and the family had to move the production facility to their current and well-known location in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia just off Highway 102.  The company open a second distillery location this past fall in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, just off Highway 104 across from St. Francis Xavier University taking advantage of both of these very    popular through ways in the province.  Not on the highways and byways a lot these days, don’t worry you can get all their amazing products from your local Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) and if you are not from Nova Scotia, well you can order your favorites online at

Like many businesses, Coldstream has faced many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have had to find new and innovative ways to stay operating.  Thankfully, they have managed to weather these tough times and show that they are true champions of versatility.  As other businesses closed, Coldstream continued to operate and even put out new products. The distillery remained open with many precautionary measures in place.  They focused on sustaining business by growing their home delivery option, which offers deliveries throughout Nova Scotia 3 days a week and somedays has up to 5 delivery drivers on the road to keep up with demand as Canadians find themselves spending more time at home with family and friends in their socially distanced bubbles.

What makes Coldstream stand apart from their competitors is their commitment to innovation and being a relevant force in the distilling industry. They were the first company in Nova Scotia to launch ready-to-drink vodka soda beverages with their popular lime vodka soda, which was introduced to the industry in August of 2017 in bottles and then in cans in the spring of 2018.

Coldstream’s offerings have expanded since then to include cranberry vodka soda, lemon iced tea, lemonade, lemon gin soda, peach iced and their Twister (a delicious combo of mango, pineapple, and cherry) which are all available in ready-to-drink cans.

Coldstream’s premium vodka is made from 100 % Canadian grains and pure artesian spring water sourced from the Giffen’s home in rural Nova Scotia.

Coldstream Clear’s latest offering in the better for you ready to drink segment is their ultra-refreshing and flavourful Strawberry Kiwi Vodka Soda.  It is made with Coldstream’s premium vodka which is made from 100% Canadian grains. Their new soda is the perfect blend of natural strawberry juice and balanced kiwi flavour with zero artificial colours or sweeteners making it naturally gluten free with the added plus that it has less than 1 gram of both sugar and carbs with only 123 calories per can.  This is definitely a bonus for consumers who want to partake in beverages that allow them to celebrate without the guilt.

We know that product and quality control are especially important and that is why all of Coldstream Clear’s canning is done in house to ensure you get the perfect beverage every time.  We expect their impressive 15,000 square feet Truro Canning facility will be working overtime to keep up with the demand for the company’s new delicious Strawberry Kiwi Vodka Soda, which we are confident that it will be a strong contender for our Ultimate Craft Cooler this year.

by Lee Ann Atwater