Victor's Story

Victor Chrapko

He had a vision to leave the world a better place from the time he started working on his parents’ century-old farm.

By adopting organic growing practices, advancing farm innovation, taking risks when others said it could not be done, and recognizing how environmental change would provide positive outcomes for generations to come, Victor paved the way for a brighter future.

Brosseau, Alberta offers some of the best conditions for growing the finest wheat, barley, and rye, which are used to produce outstanding whiskey, vodka, and dry gin. With these fine ingredients, meticulously crafted and distilled with care, Victor’s legacy lives on.

Today, we continue to embody the same care, craftsmanship, and vision that Victor had, allowing us to bring you award-winning Victor Signature spirits. Victor’s legacy lives on, and we are proud to share it with you.

Timeline

1928

Victor’s parents start homesteading land in Two Hills, Alberta, Canada

1942

Victor Chrapko was born September 1942, Victor grew up in a Ukrainian family of five, as the middle child (#3)

1961

Victor began his own farm, on his own property, at a very young age. His personal style, at age 19, was passionate, big hearted, and unapologetic

1963

Victor married the object of his desire, a public health nurse named Elizabeth, after eight months of courtship. Victor and Elizabeth had four children within the first five years of their marriage: Evan, Tonia, Shane, and Xina

1964

After a crop failure, the family could not afford conventional chemical inputs for their grain operation. Eschewing chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Victor turned to age old, proven practices that included crop rotation

1974

Victor’s father passed away, and he and Elizabeth moved to the original homestead. They expanded, modernized and committed to keeping the farm as an organic pursuit

 1999

The farm was certified organic in 1999 by the international Organic Crop Improvement Association (“OCIA”.) The crops they grew and produced included organic hay, fruit, berries, and honey.  With the vision of adding value to the fruits in their orchard, Victor approached the provincial  government to modify legislation to permit small-scale production of alcohol for public consumption

2005

The Cottage Winery Act is finally passed.
Birds & Bees gets its license. Victor becomes Alberta’s first organic winemaker under the new regulations

2007

The Government of Alberta awards Victor with the Ag Choices Award to recognize and honor him as the one with the vision to start this new industry

 

2008

Awarded the International Organic Farmer of The Year from OCIA.
OCIA creates the Victor Chrapko Scholarship
The Chrapko family gets regulations changed to be allowed to sell alcohol at farmers’ markets, fulfilling another part of Victor’s original vision

2010

The farm is featured on PBS TV’s “Endless Feast” in the U.S., becomes Alberta’s most famous wine

2011

Victor’s 1999 vision comes to pass thanks to the small, young industry’s lobbying to be allowed to sell organic wines directly to liquor stores and restaurants

2013

Now being run by Victor’s third child (and 2nd son), Shane, the farm began growing certified organic hemp well before this crop was very well known or appreciated

2016

For the next three years the winery continues entering competitions and winning numerous awards for Birds & Bees wines. Alberta Beverage Awards, World Mead Challenge, All Canadian Wine Championships and Northwest Wine Summit

2019

Shane expanded the brand to include premium spirits. The enterprise becomes rebranded to Birds & Bees Wines and Spirits.

2020

The global pandemic gives Birds & Bees Wines and Spirits a social mission, shifting to manufacturing and distributing high quality hand sanitizer during the height of pandemic.

2021

Birds and Bees releases its first line of vodka spirits under the brand name Knock’in Boots. Added an organic vodka line and ready-to-drink flavoured vodkas by year’s end

2022

Expanded the spirits line to include rye whiskey, dry gin, rum, and spiced rum to the Knock’in Boots spirits line.

2023

Shane introduced a premium 8-year-old Canadian Rye Whiskey under the brand name Victor Signature in honour of his father, and the farm’s founder and visionary. The Victor line includes premium vodkas and dry gin, with rum and spiced rum coming soon