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KPU brewery graduate first Canadian contestant on U.S.-based TV show

Contestants turn raw ingrdients into handcrafted spirits on Moonshiners: Master Distiller
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Kristine Hui on the set of ‘Moonshiners: Master Distiller.’ (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Kristine Hui, a graduate of the brewing and brewery operations diploma program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, is the first Canadian contestant on U.S.-based Discovery TV show Moonshiners: Master Distiller.

The show, now in its sixth season, follows America’s top distillers competing against each other to create the best handcrafted spirits to win the title of master distiller.

A year after she had submitted her audition tape, Hui was contacted and directed to be on set in 10 days time.

“It was very interesting because I had never been to Tennessee before. It was a bit of a culture shock actually, but I did learn some interesting backwoods distilling techniques from the other contestants,” she said.

Read the bead, as Hui learned, involves shaking the beverage in a jar. How quickly bubbles disappear is how to gauge alcohol percentage.

“I struggled a lot because professional distillers are actually at a disadvantage in the show. In a professional setting, when you’re measuring the alcohol percentage you use tools like a hydrometer, but they didn’t let us use any tools. They just told me you need to learn to read the bead.”

She brought malted barley on the show and prepared the time-consuming process of extracting liquid from grains.

“Because I did a lot of brewing with malted barley in the KPU brewing program, I got used to using malted barley. So I thought I should stick to what I know and bring malted barley onto the show,” Hui explained.

“But that ended up being a huge mistake because this is a show about backwoods distilling, and the other contestants just brought molasses or table sugar, and all they had to do was add some warm water to it and it was ready to use.”

Hui’s fascination in brewing stems from a childhood interest in making things and enjoying cooking. Her dad suggested she try the KPU brewing program, and it was the first time she started to make alcohol, naturally progressing from brewing to distilling.

“Brewing is the basis for distilling. You have to do a brewing process before you can do the distilling process. So, the KPU brewing program was a really great foundation for me,” Hui said.

Following her distilling interest, Hui ended up working in the United Kingdom for two years, including the Borders Distillery in Scotland and the Shakespeare Distillery in England – at which she won a silver medal at the 2021 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

The show aired on April 9, and although Hui didn’t win the competition she received only kind words from the judges.

“Your skills are to be commended and I’m expecting to see big things out of you in the future,” judge Eric ‘Digger’ Manes said.

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm honoured to focus my career in the growing community of Aldergrove and work with our many local organizations.
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