Proprietor (Chief Taster)
Eighth-generation Canadian Robert Simpson is a serial entrepreneur, visionary, lover of oenology and zymology. The writer and wine and spirits aficionado was born and raised in Vancouver with family roots originating in Scotland, so it comes as no surprise that Robert discovered at a very early age he had a love and passion for wine and spirits. A photographic and discerning tasting palate has made Robert a much sought-after tasting expert and evaluator. He has been a Presenter at the Annual Aspen Food and Wine Classic for more than 20 consecutive years, consults for cellar owners, assembles wine lists for award-winning restaurants and is a member of several domestic and international tasting & judging panels. After assessing and tasting professionally for more than 35 years, Robert determined in 2008 it was time to turn his dream into reality. Concepts and ideas began to distill in his mind and in 2010, together with his wife Lisa, The Liberty Distillery was established... and so their spirit journey began!
LISA SIMPSON, MBA
Director of Operations (Master of Everything)
Mixology is synonymous with Lisa’s zany mixed up personality. She is a former culinary/pastry chef turned corporate finance guru… turned business coach/management consultant. Playing, creating and having FUN are all musts for Lisa and with curiosity as a driving value, she decided it was time to pursue her appetite for adventure. What better way to do this than join forces with her husband Robert to become a “spirit-preneur” and future Master Distiller. After co-founding The Liberty Distillery, Lisa pursued a year of zymology study: reading, researching, visiting distilleries across the USA, and attending courses and workshops offered through the American Distilling Institute, Michigan State University, and the Seibel Institute. When not acting as Director of Operations or reworking the financials, you will find her climbing up ladders and working on the floor side-by-side with Liberty’s Master Distiller.
Ray’s passion for wine and spirits started in 2003 while completing his Biochemistry Diploma at the University of British Columbia. He concluded shortly after graduation his love for fine wine, food, and travel was better 'paired' with the study of oenology than other forms of cell structure. Ray departed Canada soon after to pursue his Bachelor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide and was involved in all aspects of winemaking thereafter working for several prestigious wine houses in Australia, South Africa, France, Germany, Chile, and Canada. His love for travel, soccer, baseball, tennis and golf; along with speaking German, French, and Spanish have served him well during his pursuits living abroad. In 2013, he turned his knowledge in a slightly different direction when he became interested in the art of distillation and turned his attention to the fine art of spirits. An exceptional team member, Ray volunteered his time continuously in the early days and helped to assemble Liberty’s stills. It was not long thereafter that Ray affectionately became known as the 'Happy Hugging Distiller of Granville Island.'
HES Engineer and Master Distiller
Laurent is a native of France with a passion for fine cuisine, wine and spirits. So it is no surprise he is an award-winning distiller, master blender, researcher, and oenologist with a background in biochemistry, biotechnology, and agri-biological analysis.
Dedicated to both art and science, Laurent completed his Master Distiller and Winemaker Engineer degree at the prestigious Ecole d’Ingénieurs HES de Changins, Nyon Switzerland. Prior to these accomplishments, Laurent achieved his Biotechnology and Agri-biological degree at Ecole Nationale de Formation Agrononomique in Toulouse France, and his Baccalaureate in Biochemsitry at Lycée La Borde-Basse, Castres France.He is both an accomplished academic and distiller, with published scientific papers have received special recognition from the Federal Administration of Alcohols and his spirit creations have won numerous Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in Vienna, West Indies, and at the prestigious Spirits World Competition in San Francisco.
ANDREW CHRISTIE, FWS
Tasting Room Manager, Spirit Sales
Andrew is a talented individual with a diverse background in sales, wood manufacturing, and the beverage/hospitality industry. He completed his studies in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Algonquin College, and since then has completed numerous training programs in bartending, wine and spirits. He is currently pursuing his Certificate in Spirit Specialization and most recently completed with distinction WSET’s Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits. Curious and enthusiastic to explore, Andrew pursued the bar and nightlife industry while travelling abroad in Australia and the United Kingdom. During his tenure, he was exposed to multi-cultural tastes which honed his ability to create appealing cocktails. An avid food enthusiast and connoisseur of fine spirits and cocktails, it was a natural fit for Andrew to join the Liberty ‘spirit-preneur’ team in 2014. When not found with a cocktail shaker in hand, assisting visitors, or a team member; Andrew enjoys riding his motorcycle, renovating his condo, sailing, or sipping a Liberty Negroni.