Canadian Club

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This article is about the brand of whisky. For the club in Toronto, see Canadian Club of Toronto.
Canadian Club
Canadian Club Whisky logo.svg
Canadian Club.jpg
Canadian Club
Type Canadian whisky
Manufacturer

Beam Suntory (2011-present)

Country of origin Canada
Introduced 1854
Proof 80

Canadian Club is a brand of whisky from Canada. Popularly known as C.C., Canadian Club began production in 1858. It was created by Gooderham and Worts based in Toronto. G&W merged with Hiram Walker and the new entity was known as Hiram Walker-Gooderham & Worts, Ltd.. The brand is now produced by Beam Suntory.

History[edit]

Walker founded his distillery in 1858 in Detroit. He first learned how to distill cider vinegar in his grocery store in the 1830s before moving on to whisky and producing his first barrels in 1854. However, with the prohibition movement gathering momentum and Michigan already becoming "dry", Walker decided to move his distillery across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario. From here, he was able to export his whisky and start to develop Walkerville, a community that Walker financed and sourced most of his employees from.

Walker's whisky was particularly popular in the late 19th century gentlemen's clubs of the U.S. and Canada; hence it became known as "Club Whisky". Walker originally positioned his Club Whisky as a premium liquor, pitching it not only on its smoothness and purity but also the length of the aging process (Walker’s whisky was aged in oak barrels for a minimum of five years). This was revolutionary at the time, as all of the U.S. bourbons and whiskies were aged for less than a year.

Club Whisky became very popular and American distillers petitioned for the inclusion of the word “Canada” on the bottle to distinguish it from their competing whiskies, thinking it would halt the popularity of Walker’s. This backfired, only making Club Whisky more exclusive. Walker saw this and changed the label again in 1889 adding the word “Canadian” to the top of the label, distinguishing Walker’s recipe for his whisky from the other processes of the time (Scotch, Irish and U.S.). In 1890, the word “Canadian” was moved down from the top of the label and incorporated into the name of the whisky.

Walker's distillery went to his sons upon his death in 1899. At one point, the Walkers employed almost the entire population of Walkerville, where they built police and fire stations, brought in running water and installed street lights. In 1890, the Canadian government acknowledged Walkerville as a legal town. It was incorporated into Windsor in 1935.

During the years of Prohibition, one of the distillery’s most important clients was Chicago gangster Al Capone. He smuggled in thousands of cases of Canadian Club via a route from Windsor to Detroit.

Canadian Club has received the royal warrants of Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, George VI, and Elizabeth II. Hiram Walker & Sons was the only North American distiller to have been granted a royal warrant.[1]

The Walker distillery remains in production in Windsor. Canadian Club is now part of the Jim Beam portfolio. It is its No. 4-selling alcoholic product, behind Jim Beam bourbon whiskey, Sauza tequila and DeKuyper cordials.

Advertising[edit]

In 1967, Hiram Walker & Sons launched their "Hide A Case" advertising campaign that involved enticing drinkers to seek out cases of Canadian Club that had been hidden at exotic locations throughout the world. Locations included Mount Kilimanjaro, Angel Falls, Mount St. Helens, and the Swiss Alps. The Mount Kilimanjaro case was not discovered until a Dutch journalist happened upon it in the mid-1970s. A small number of cases, such as one hidden above the Arctic Circle, were never found.

The first "Hide A Case" campaign officially ended in 1971, and a second was started in 1975. This campaign used cases hidden in locations intended to be easier to access, such as in Death Valley and on top of a skyscraper in New York City. This second advertising campaign ended in 1981; between it and the first effort, a total of 22 cases were hidden and at least 16 recovered.[2]

The "Hide A Case" campaign was revived in 2010. According to the contest website,[3] there is a $100,000 grand prize, among other prizes, for the contest's latest incarnation.

Types[edit]

Bottles of Canadian Club Whisky for sale at a liquor store in Iizaka, Fukushima, Japan

Canadian Club comes in seven varieties. All are 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume), unless otherwise noted.

  • Canadian Club 6 Year Old / Canadian Club Premium

This is the most popular of the Canadian Club range, a basic brand. Often used as a mixer, the whisky typically matures for, as the name suggests, six years. It is sold in more than 150 countries. The product sold in Australia and New Zealand is 74 proof (37% abv).

  • Canadian Club Reserve

The reserve line is matured for a decade, to give it a richer flavor.

  • Canadian Club Classic

A 12-year-old whisky.

  • Canadian Club 100 Proof

Matured for six years and bottled at 100 proof (50% abv), to give it a stronger, richer flavor.

  • Canadian Club Sherry Cask

Double matured, first in white oak barrels for at least eight years, then casks from the Sherry wine region (Spain). It is 82.6-proof (41.3% abv).

  • Canadian Club Dry

Launched in Australia in April 2001, this ready-to-drink beverage is a pre-mixed blend of six-year old Canadian Club and ginger ale. It is 10 -proof (5% abv) and is sold in a 330ml bottle. This beverage is also available in New Zealand, also coming pre-mixed with cola.

Canadian Club is also produced in limited quantities in older agings (15 years and up) for special markets. For the whisky's 150th anniversary in 2008, a 30-year-old version has been released in a very limited bottling.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chris Edwards (2007-05-10). "Getting The Royal Treatment". Walkervilletimes.com. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  2. ^ "In those old Canadian Club ads, did anyone find the hidden cases of whiskey?". Straightdope.com. 1979-02-02. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  3. ^ "Canadian Club". Hide A Case. Retrieved 2011-05-07.