Forklifts & Vodka

Raymi the Minx on a Masterlift forklift at Maverick Distillery

Forklifts and vodka don’t mix, except at Maverick Distillery where a propane-powered Masterlift forklift moves crates full of spirit in their warehouse.

In October 2018, I put on a couple different cocktail dresses and posed on a forklift for some fellas making a print calendar filled with pretty faces.  We shot the scene in the warehouse foyer between the factory and the loading dock.  I had choice and could wear Maverick’s uniform or my own smock. Now I look at these pictures and wonder, what month I will be?

Raymi Minx photo shoot Maverick Distillery, Masterlift forklift

Every model is the cover story for thirty days in Masterlift’s 2019 print calendar; every photo hopes to show an interesting person doing curious things on or near their heavy equipment.  Here I am backing up their big ass forklift.

Most forklifts are made with heavy rear-ends as a counter balance.  Lead weights at the rear of the truck counter the load on the forks which is so the rig doesn’t tip forward when you go bumping through the warehouse. This truck has a tall loader – you can raise the forks up over sixteen feet, and it can lift over 4500 lbs of stuff on a single pallet.  It has lights, a backup beeper alarm, and lots of handy mirrors in which forklift drivers can check their appearance anytime, even when they are driving.

Raymi on Masterlift forklift at Maverick vodka distillery in Etobicoke

We shot during business hours, and there were people working for real all around us.  Warehouse staff were getting ready for a shipment going out at noon.  They were packing bottles into cases and then Saran wrapping the stack to make cubes for truck n trailer transport.  They used the lift to make a pallet train on the locking dock. Stacked in columns over twelve feet tall, these square pillars of alcohol are Maverick Distillery’s stash, perilous towers of corn mash, tall pillars of cash, one wrong move and smash. Did you know that having more than five drinks in one sitting is considered binge drinking?

At Maverick there’s a hard line between being a professional forklift operator and an experienced forklift driver. Did you read the safety manual? Did you do a circle check?

Which is more popular in Ontario LCBO Stores, Whiskey or Vodka?

Now some little known facts about whisky and vodka in Ontario (courtesy of the LCBO 2016 /17). Whisky is the largest percentage of spirits sold at LCBO (31 per cent of sales) which equals approximately $703.4 million dollars worth across the province.  Vodka is the second-largest segment (23 per cent of sales) at $514.4 million.

Maverick makes vodka from Ontario corn, and has already won top awards for its product at tastings and spirit competitions around the world.  Showing up and winning acclaim at their beverage award shows was how Maverick Distillery expanded to sell vodka in countries like Columbia, Australia and Japan.  And the journey to get there starts here in this loading dock, with this forklift.

Burt Reynolds on a forklift in Smokey and the Bandit

And then it was over. Raymi left the building.

Raymi the Minx at Maverick Distillery for Masterlift calendar

On that day Maverick vodka was served shaken and stirred.