Hiram Walker Distillery

Information

Founded

1858

Location

Windsor, Ontario. Formerly in Walkerville, a town founded by Hiram Walker around the distillery.

Stills

Continuous and pot stills.

Production Capacity

55 million litres per year (yes, it's the biggest in North America), and expanding

For reference, consider the relative production of Hiram Walker:

  • 138% of Jim Beam's annual capacity
  • 688% of Maker's Mark annual capacity
  • 458% of Glenfiddich annual capacity
  • 629% of Macallan's annual capacity

I had the opportunity to tour the distillery with master blender Don Livermore in 2017 - you can read about it here.


Favorite bottle Reviewed (92/100):


Overview

Hiram Walker distillery, currently the oldest and largest in Canada, was founded by Hiram Walker, an American grocer and merchant who established Hiram Walker Distillery in 1858. Its most famous product early on (and perhaps also today) was the establishment of Canadian Club in the late 1800s - at that time a 7 year old whisky. The popularity of Canadian Club grew due to its quality - even leading some American brands to falsely put "Canadian" on their labels as an indicator of quality.

The distillery was well suited to supply product for prohibition consumption due to its capacity and location, (being right on the border) though prohibition overall hurt the distillery. Since prohibition, the distillery has changed ownership a number of times, moving from a family business to changing ownership a number of times until today, where it is owned by Pernod Ricard, operated by Corby distillers. Hiram Walker produces a number of brands, including Canadian Club, Wiser's, and has started the production of Gibson's after the brand shifted production over from the Valleyfield distillery in 2002. They also produce rum and mixers like McGuinness.

For more information on the history and operation of Hiram Walker, I highly recommend Davin De Kergommeaux's book Canadian Whisky.