From Vancouver's Wreck Beach to Squamish

Local businesswoman's Wreck Beach Spirits found locally, around B.C. and soon in the U.S.

Squamish's Alana Thomson could write a book about her journey from being a Wreck Beach alcoholic 'freezie' bootlegger to businesswoman whose product is in 140 private liquor stores in B.C.

But she is likely too busy to write a book.

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The founder of Wreck Beach Spirits, alcoholic cocktails and Boozie Freezies, will be appearing on the CBC show Dragon's Den in the fall, though due to the show's restrictions around media, she can't say too much about her company's appearance until the episode airs in September or October.

The short version of her journey is that, originally, Thomson — who has a business degree — invented and sold a frozen alcoholic treat on nudist hangout Wreck Beach for six years — until a knock on her door from the RCMP brought that all to an end.

Five years later, it was time to jump back into the alcoholic sales pool, this time as a legit businesswoman, she recalls.

"The summer before last, a good friend was in town and he has always been a good supporter and he said, 'You need to do this. You can do this.'"

And so she did.

"One thing led to another and I got led to a consultant who was a food scientist and had connections with sourcing ingredients and doing the packaging... so basically held my hand," she said.

Currently, her Wreck Beach cocktails are "selling like hotcakes," at the 140 B.C. liquor stores that sell it. They can also be found at an increasing number of bars and restaurants locally, such as Brackendale's The Watershed Grill.

"We are really getting momentum," she said, acknowledging with a laugh how no one told her how much stress is involved in operating a bigger business as opposed to selling on Vancouver's Wreck Beach.

Over the Aug. 9 to 11 weekend, Wreck Beach Spirits are on offer at four events: the Squamish Motorcycle Festival, the Hot on Your Heels after party, the Squamish Street Market and at The Locavore Bar & Grill's Summer Beer Garden.

She can't legally market the Boozie Freezie's in B.C., but they will be sold in Florida and California "imminently."

An avid rock climber, trail runner, and dog lover, Thomson moved to Squamish three years ago.

"I moved to Squamish for Squamish," she said, adding while she still loves her former home of Vancouver, she wakes up every day in Squamish with the feeling of being on a weekend vacation. 

Watch for the Dragon's Den episode at www.cbc.ca/dragonsden.

For more information on Wreck Beach Spirits, go to www.wreckbeachspirits.com.

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