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Old Canadian Sazerac Distillery Brings Whisky Production Back to Downtown Montreal

The Old Montreal Distillery, now owned by spirits giant Sazerac, is a storied piece of spirits making history in Canada. Dating back to 1929, it currently employs more than 100 people and is the bottling facility for Caribou Crossing, a popular Canadian whisky. This facility also has the capacity to produce spirits and, with the recent addition of some new distilling equipment, is said to have returned whisky production back to downtown Montreal for the first time in decades.

For more than a year Sazerac has been putting the elements in place, installing grain mills and a 4,000 gallon mash cooker, converting existing equipment and hooking up fermenters.  Recently a key piece, a brand new still, was added as well, allowing distillers the ability to now distill Canadian whisky onsite and conduct experiments with new whiskies.

Caribou Crossing, bottled at the Old Montreal Distillery, will soon be joined by whisky produced onsite.

“With the long standing connection this city has had with distilling premium Canadian whisky, through the headquarters of the legendary Seagram Company and its patriarch Sam Bronfman, it was always a goal of ours to bring whisky distilling back to Montreal,” said Mark Brown, Sazerac Company president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

“With over 500,000 Canadian whisky barrels in inventory, we’re anxious to get started experimenting here in Montreal similar to what we do at our other distilleries,” added Drew Mayville, Sazerac’s master blender. It is said the Montreal project is particularly special for Mayville, who worked for Seagram’s for 22 years, serving as the fourth and last Master Blender under the Seagram dynasty.

It was not immediately revealed which Canadian whisky or whiskies will be made at the Old Montreal Distillery, and a formal christening of the still, which is 18 inches in diameter and 37 feet tall and was made at Vendome in Louisville, Ky., will be held later this year. It is likely tours will be added as well.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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