During the 1830s, Hiram Walker began distilling cider vinegar in his grocery store and laid down his first barrel of whisky in 1854. Four years later, Hiram established a distillery in Detroit, though with the advent of prohibition in the area, he moved his operations to Windsor in Ontario. It was here that he developed Walkerville, a township with a diversified economy and one that saw the conception of several industries. The whisky became very popular and a back bar favourite at many a gentlemen’s club in the US and Canada, thus the name ‘Club Whisky’ was born.
The whisky was always marketed as a high end product, smooth and well-aged. Indeed, Hiram aged his whisky for five years which was, at the time, unheard of. To try and thwart the rapidly increasing competition presented by Hiram Walker, the American distillers petitioned for the word ‘Canadian’ to be included on the bottle. They had their way, but it posed little hindrance. In 1890, the whisky was officially labeled ‘Canadian Club Whisky’. Four years later, the American government passed the ‘bottled in bond’ law. Whiskies now had to bear their age and further improved Canadian Club’s fortunes. The distillery was passed down to Hiram Walker’s son following his death in 1899. During Prohibition, Al Capone smuggled many cases of Canadian Club. Today, the distillery is under the watchful eye of Jim Beam and is their fourth best selling product.