Calgary couple who sold whisky Advent calendars arrested in Idaho for illegal liquor sales

The couple behind a Calgary company that sells scotch whisky Advent calendars have been arrested in the U.S. and charged with illegally selling liquor.

Jonathan and Cynthia Bray were arrested on the 3500 block of Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene by Idaho State Patrol on the afternoon of Feb. 24.

They’re accused of trying to sell liquor without a licence, according to the Kootenai County Jail, where they remain on $100,000 bonds. 

Their company, Secret Spirits, was founded in Calgary in 2014. They sell a yearly Advent calendar filled with small bottles of scotch whisky, and import other spirits into Canada. 

A video posted to the company’s social media page in November shows the Brays hand-packing Advent calendars for shipment at a Coeur d’Alene storage unit located on the same block where they were arrested in February.

A video posted to Secret Spirits social media shows the pair in Idaho in November, packing whisky advent calendars for delivery. The storage unit is located on the same block where Jonathan and Cynthia Bray were arrested last month. (SecretSpiritsCo/Buffer)

According to a profile by local liquor store Vine Styles, the Brays have been married for more than three decades — Jonathan said he selects the liquors while Cynthia (who goes by “Cindy”) handles the design and logistics.

“The entrepreneur package certainly comes with struggles (a lot of them) but it also brings so much fulfilment and purpose I’m surprised more people don’t take the risk and follow their dreams,” he said in the 2016 interview.

In a video posted just two weeks ago, the pair said they were planning to release mystery packs of mini scotch bottles soon — as hundreds of bottles from past editions of their Advent calendar were “collecting dust” in what they said was a Scottish warehouse.

Previously, the Brays were involved with Purple Valley Imports, which imported wines and spirits into Canada and the U.S.

Selling liquor without a licence is a felony charge and could lead to years of jail time. 

The pair are scheduled to appear in Coeur d’Alene’s First District Court 8:30 a.m. Friday.

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