It’s one of this nation’s favourite alcoholic beverages, but this particular one is quintessentially Canadian. Its flavour is black cherrywood finished with a dash of maple syrup.
And it’s brewed in Edinburgh, Scotland, of all places.
Yes, those brewers of fine Scottish ale, Innis and Gunn, have released yet another Canadian celebratory brew. But what is also Canadian is the artwork that will soon be on all of its packaging for the company’s fifth annual brew in honour of its loyal Canadian following.
After a nationwide call for artwork, Shuswap artist Tatianna O’Donnell won the opportunity to have her oil painting, Forest Spectrum, featured on packaging for Innis and Gunn’s Canadian Cherrywood Finish Scotch ale.
O’Donnell, who currently resides on the Grandview Bench in between Enderby and Salmon Arm, is a member of the Enderby Artists Initiative, which recently opened the new Courtyard Art Gallery in Enderby, and is an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA).
“For the past few years, Innis and Gunn have called for work from the SCA artists for their Canadian limited edition beer in the spring,” said O’Donnell, when contacted by The Morning Star.
“This beer is targeted at young active men between the ages of 25 and 45, so I chose a work that represents an active area of Canada. This is a painting of the Rockies. Young people like to go to the Rockies for all sorts of activities. When I was hiking there a few years ago, I collected sketches and photographs of the area for future reference for paintings.”
This is also not the first time the brewing company has supported Canadian artists, and in particular here in the B.C. Interior.
O’Donnell follows in the footsteps of Cherryville’s Gary Whitley, whose painting, Emblems, was used on the packaging of Innis and Gunn’s limited edition Canada Day 2012 Scottish beer.
Innis and Gunn chose O’Donnell’s painting from the selected work that was sent in to them for jurying, and says the piece captured the spiritual and cultural heart of Canada.
“The entries for this year’s competition were really strong, so many had answered the brief with great submissions,” said Innis and Gunn’s international brand manager Nic Rennie. “We chose Tatianna’s painting because of the rich colour palette and sweeping strokes. The overall effect is quite dramatic on the carton.”
The Canadian Cherrywood Finish is a purely Canadian connection, marking the first time in the company’s 10-year history to mature its annual brew using a wood other than oak. It also features the addition of maple syrup, which gives the beer a sweet, toasty twist. This year also marks the company’s third consecutive year working with the SCA to find original artwork for its limited edition beer packaging.
“It feels a little odd to have my painting associated with a beer. I never thought that I would get this much publicity from something like this,” said O’Donnell. “What is nice is that my name, and information about myself is being publicized on each package. And I have discovered that it is a very popular beer, especially among the young men I have met.”
On Friday, June 21, between 2 and 5 p.m., O’Donnell will be doing a “beer signing” at the Salmon Arm government liquor store, 111 Lakeshore Dr, next to Askew’s Foods. Those who purchase a box of Innis and Gunn Cherrywood Finish Beer can get it signed by the artist.