Best of the Best in Good Spirits

Lethbridge has such a rich history of entrepreneurship and spirits that dates back to the 1860s, and is also alive and well today.

George “Daddy” Houk, a sheriff from Montana, came to southern Alberta in 1864. He married Victoria, a Niitsitapii (Blackfoot) woman. Settling in the Oldman River Valley, he engaged in mining, ranching, hunting buffalo and trading liquor for buffalo robes. He played a key role helping to build Fort Whoop-Up. Houk operated a legal liquor business, George Houk and Co. Wholesale Liquor, from 1902-1906.

Another venture that supported this tradition was C.C.Pagnuelo's Wine and Spirit Company located at 407-2nd Avenue South in what was known as the Post Office Block, which was established in 1907. The interior displayed, advertisement and shelves of bottles and thrived for a spell but closed in 1915 due to prohibition laws.

But not all spirits were dampened by prohibition. After operating several breweries in British Columbia which proved unsuccessful, Fritz Sick moved to Lethbridge and founded what would eventually be called Lethbridge Breweries Limited. When prohibition was introduced in 1916, Sick's business survived by making soft drinks, beer for export and a 1.2% "near beer."

If you’re up for a special event and Galt museum fundraiser, the Galt Museum’s Best of the Best Wine Tasting will place you in the middle of southern Alberta’s living history on Thursday June 16 from 7 to 9pm.

Tickets are $60/person (+GST) and with this purchase comes a $30 tax receipt. Guests must be 18+ and tickets available at the Galt Museum Store and online. This unique experience in one of the city’s most celebrated locations invites the community to explore a variety of spirits while overlooking the picturesque valley. Come enjoy over 40 varieties of wine (and beer), and enjoy different cheese and fruit parings. Our patio will also be open to enjoy the summer sunset. A special take-home glass and exhibit admission is also included.