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Issue 112 - A wave of innovation

Whisky Magazine Issue 112
June 2013

 

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A wave of innovation

Our man visits this venerable Canadian distillery that has a few tricks up its sleeve

Visit Collingwood, Ontario late in July, and you will find a tourist town swarming with vintage automobiles and, if you pick the right day, hundreds of Elvis impersonators. People up here have fun. In summer, the sun-catching beaches of Lake Huron draw thousands of vacationers from Toronto, a mere two hours to the south. In winter, all the boats in storage and the lake frozen as far as the eye can see, visitors come for another reason. Nearby Blue Mountain is the largest ski resort in the area. If, in January you happen to wander into Collingwood you might find yourself in the middle of Whiskeylicious, a monthlong celebration of Canadian Mist.

For decades this local distillery produced one whisky: Canadian Mist. A couple of years ago it introduced a new sipping whisky, Collingwood, named after this pretty town of 20,000. “We've had absolutely tremendous support from the whole community,” distillery manager, David Dobbin, tells me.

“People line up at the local liquor store for us to engrave their bottle.” During Whiskeylicious, restaurants serve dishes featuring Collingwood whisky as an ingredient. Local chefs get competitive and bartenders vie to outdo each other with Collingwood-based cocktails. Besides the excellent food and drink there's also a large ice sculpture downtown: a giant bottle of Collingwood whisky.

The brand has taken some flak from whisky fans for the bottle design because of its unusual flask-like shape. But when broadcaster, and Collingwood afici...

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