If Cole Miller has his way, his name will replace Avril Lavigne as Napanee’s most famous resident.
Not for his singing ability – the jury is still out on that – but for being the youngest person in Ontario, if not Canada, to sell liquor through his Twelve Barrels Canadian Whiskey.
And it all started last year when Cole, now 22, was a student at Carleton University, studying for a degree in cognitive science.
Dragon’s Den producers were visiting the national capital, so the story goes, and were captured by Cole’s brash pitch. After all, he only had a name and an idea borne out of an early passion for making his own drink (he started by making grape juice wine under his bed at 16.)
Even so, despite having no whiskey to sample, no marketing or even labels, the Dragons invited him on to the show.
“They said come back in two or three months when I had product,” he says. “And that’s what I did.”
Although the deal he landed on air fell through due to delays getting his blends into the LCBO, he still has big plans.
Currently buying already-distilled and aged whiskey to create Twelve Barrels, Cole has plans to open a distillery in Napanee, together with a store front and warehouse.
“I graduated this past spring and I’m using my degree,” he laughs, “but not in the way it was intended.”
Visit Cole Miller on the Tasting Floor at this year’s Ottawa Wine and Food Festival. Sampling tickets are $1; sample prices vary.