High River, Alberta
2.5 million litres per year
For reference, consider the relative production of Alberta Distillers:
- 6% of Jim Beam's annual capacity
- 31% of Maker's Mark annual capacity
- 21% of Glenfiddich annual capacity
- 29% of Macallan's annual capacity
Favorite bottle Reviewed (93/100):
Highwood was initially built with the help of a German eau-de-vie distiller, and is built to distill wheat primarily. The distillery, in fact, does not even mill their grain, rather cooking the grains whole until they explode in the pressure and heat of the cooker. Though wheat is mostly what is distilled, the distillery also distills rye as flavoring components for their whiskies. The distillery only uses ex-bourbon barrels, and, in fact, does not even distill corn as the distillery is not built to do so.
Interestingly, the distillery uses and releases a lot of corn whisky - often very old. It does this because of stocks of whisky bought from Potter's in 2005, and sources any other corn whisky that they continue to use. The distillery releases a number of well-received flavored whiskies and premium mixing whiskies, including white owl - a rye heavy whisky about 10 years old which is filtered through charcoal, much like vodka, to strip away some flavour and colour, resulting in a buttery and spicy premium whisky designed not for sipping, but for cocktails.
For more information on the history and operation of Highwood, I highly recommend Davin De Kergommeaux's book Canadian Whisky.
It should be noted that Highwood does not distill corn, yet they release whiskies with corn in them - either fully or partially sourced. As Highwood manages the aging and releases the whiskies, all Highwood produced whiskies I have reviewed are listed here.