The Distilleries of Vancouver Island

The Distilleries of Vancouver Island—a Guided Tour of West Coast Craft and Artisan Spirits

In 2020, I had great fun connecting with 21 distilleries on Vancouver- and the Gulf Islands and their enterprising, innovative owners, who produce their vodka, gin, whiskies and liqueurs with panache and inventiveness, using a wide range of grains, fruit, honey, botanicals, peat smoke, seaweed and spices.

The book’s introduction describes the long history of distilling and the methods used to make our favourite tipples. You will then find the histories of our local distillers—each with a chapter describing how they produce their wide-ranging spirits.

The Distilleries of Vancouver Island was endorsed by spirit experts Jim Murray and David de Kergommeaux. This is what they said:

A painstakingly researched, invaluable and delightful insight into one of the most fascinating— and largely undiscovered—distilling regions of the world. Marianne Scott’s superb guide is also of great historical significance.
Jim Murray, author of the bestselling annual Whisky Bible

Marianne Scott’s in-depth portrayal of her visits to Vancouver Island distilleries, their people and their spirit reveals why these tempting elixirs are so sought after by connoisseur and locavore alike.
Davin de Kergommeaux, author of The Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries

Published by Touchwood Editions, 2021.

Before I Forget . . . a Memoir

Ben’s memoir traces his life’s long journey—from war-torn Holland, through teenage apprenticeships, to his arrival in Vancouver with a mere $52, to becoming Canada’s largest luxury yacht builder. It’s a fascinating tale of grit, hard work, luck and faith. Ben’s stories are intriguing, honest and funny.

In this absorbing book, Ben Vermeulen relates his intimate experiences as a youngster surviving the German occupation in his native Holland, overcoming the trials of dyslexia, and immigrating to Canada to find his fortune. From steel fabrication, he plunged into the risky boat-building world. With his wife Leidy and the next Vermeulen generation, his West Bay SonShip yard has built nearly 250 vessels, including 165 luxury yachts. In Before I Forget, Ben regales us with tales of his eventful life with wit, humour and candour.

I listened to Ben’s tales, fashioned them into chapters, added much historical data, and published his story of rags-to-riches.

To order Before I Forget (CDN$ 19.95 plus shipping and handling),
visit, email
or call (604) 946-6226, X115.

Naturally Salty — Coastal Characters of the Pacific Northwest

I often wonder if people whose lives are linked to the sea are more interesting than those who inhabit landlocked places, or if it just seems that way. Maybe life on, or at the edges of, salt water attracts those who are more adventurous, daring or curious. What I know for sure is that the individuals whom I have had the privilege to interview up and down the coasts of British Columbia and Washington lead a varied, fascinating and fulfilling existence.

Many of my nautical people profiles are featured in my book, Naturally Salty — Coastal Characters of the Pacific Northwest

Published by Touchwood Editions, 2003.

Below are three samples of the characters featured in the book.


Meet Flo Anderson, lighthouse keeper and bluewater sailor.

Flo Anderson was 37 when she left her commodious Vancouver home for Lennard Island light station, a desolate rock near Tofino on Vancouver Island’s storm-tossed west coast. Her husband, Trevor, had been appointed Lennard’s junior lighthouse keeper — his second career — after serving 20 years as radio operator and radar fighter controller in the Air Force.

Flo Anderson died in 2017 at 93 years of age.


Meet Sven Johansson, an adventurous ship’s captain, reindeer specialist, bush pilot and the first person to navigate the Northwest Passage in a yacht from west to east.

Sven Johansson died in 2019 at 95 years of age.


Meet Edith Iglauer

Edith Iglauer wasn’t an easy person to interview. While The New Yorker writer and best-selling author of Fishing with John graciously welcomed me into her home on Garden Bay in north Pender Harbour, her more than 60 years of journalistic investigation compelled her to ask rather than answer questions. With laser beam inquisitiveness she asked me the who, what, when and how. Repeatedly, I reminded her she was the subject—not I.

Edith Iglauer died in 2019 just short of her 102nd birthday.

cover of Ocean Alexander by Marianne ScottOcean Alexander,
the First 25 Years

After writing about Ocean Alexander’s president, Johnny Chueh (left), in Northwest Yachting, he asked me to author a coffee-table book to document the company’s evolution. To write Ocean Alexander, the First 25 Years, I travelled to Kaohsiung  to interview the company’s founder and many of the long-term staff. As well as detailing the history of the Taiwanese boatbuilding company, I described its naval architect Ed Monk, Jr., its engineers and interior designer. I also included the stories of dozens of Ocean Alexander owners from around the world. Here is Chapter Seven.