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Local Business Crown Royal


Great things are made in Manitoba By Tania Moffat


The Gimli distillery where Crown Royal is made. M


any things are synonymous with Canadian tradition. A nation of passionate people, we especially take pride in home-grown brands, including Crown Royal Canadian whisky, a


distinctly Canadian brand with a historical legacy all its own and Manitoba roots. Owned by Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business with a portfolio of global brands, the story of Crown Royal’s journey is a unique window into the history of our nation. In 1939, the Royal Couple, King George VI and Queen


Elizabeth, made history when they became the first reign- ing monarchs to journey across North America, travelling the vast distance by train. Te event captured the hearts and spirit of Canadians from coast to coast; Canada now had the respect and recognition of the Monarchy as being a signifi- cant part of the Commonwealth. Upon hearing the historic news, a Canadian entrepreneur, Samuel Bronfman, set out to craft a whisky suited for the pair. With perfection on his mind, Bronfman sampled over 600 blends and reviewed hundreds of different types of glass, la- bels and caps, before cloaking the final product in a purple bag to represent the purple robe of royalty and, fittingly, call- ing the whisky blend, Crown Royal. Te train carrying the couple was stocked with 10 cases


of the exquisite blend. Rumours of the unrivaled Canadian whisky quickly spread and Crown Royal was officially born. Te whisky was an immediate success. Historically, distilleries were located across Canada in-


cluding the renowned Amherstburg and Waterloo locations in Ontario as well as operations at Beaupre and Lasalle in Quebec. Te decision to centralize operations in 1968 at the newer Gimli location, situated on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg, made sense for streamlining production.


34 • Winter 2015 Crown Royal Canadian whisky has Manitoba roots. Its central location and proximity to the U.S. border, one


of Crown Royal’s greatest markets, made Gimli the best site geographically, but it’s access to the natural resources that are key to making Crown Royal sealed the deal. Te under- ground aquifer that supplies Diageo with nearly half a mil- lion litres of water per day is an essential ingredient. In their efforts to maintain a clean environment, Diageo thoroughly treats its waste waters and discharges the clean water into Lake Winnipeg maintaining the integrity of the Interlake’s waterways. Tis Prairie location also provided proximity to local grain


producers. An excess of 250 tonnes of grain (corn, rye and barley malt) are used per day in a continuous 24 hour cycle. Rye and barley malt are purchased from Manitoba and Sas- katchewan farmers, while Manitoba farms provide 80 per cent of their corn requirement. Diageo always encourages Manitoba farmers to grow grains and corn in hopes that 100 per cent of their requirements can one day be sourced locally. Te smooth and complex taste of Crown Royal involves


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