For generations, the pink candy known as Chicken Bones has been a Christmas gift in the Maritimes, and now a new drink that inspires the distinctive taste of candy is in great demand this holiday season.
Moonshine Creek Distillery in Waterville, New York, partnered with St. Stephen's candy maker Ganong to produce chicken bone liquor – combining cinnamon with chocolate candy and corn brandy.
Limited supply has quickly sold out for people willing to line up outside New Brunswick liquor stores on a few occasions this month.
"We have never been successful with a product like this before," said Jeremiah Clark, who started the distillery in 2018 with his brother Joshua. "We never expected it to take off like this."
Clark said the idea came from a workshop they held last holiday season to show people how to make liqueurs with their moonshine products, and one used item was Chicken Bones.
"This recipe was popular and we received a lot of positive comments. We decided to approach Ganong to see if they would be interested in collaborating with us and they really liked the idea," said Clark.
To make the liqueur, the sweet Chicken Bones is melted in a syrup that is mixed with corn brandy.
Clark said they will produce 10,000 bottles this season and already plan to triple that amount next year. They only managed to sell it in New Brunswick this year, but hope to get approved for sale in other provinces for next Christmas.
Sweet Chicken Bones has been produced by Ganong since 1885.
Bryana Ganong, the company's president and CEO, says many people send the candy to friends and relatives nationwide each year, and she thinks many people will do the same with the liqueur.
"It has been a great experience working with these workers and seeing them bring this product to market," Ganong said on Wednesday.
Ganong said he was surprised to see the long lines at liquor stores on Tuesday when the second batch of liquor went on sale.
She and her brother Nick went to Waterville last week to help with the bottling process.
Clark said many families in the Maritimes have an emotional connection to Chicken Bones as part of their Christmas traditions, and he expects it to include their liquor now.
"I think they are sending out assistance packages for displaced maritimers around the world," he said.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 11, 2019.