The Hiram Walker distillery in Ontario

Hiram Walker & Sons is the largest distillery in North America and one of the only "grain-to-glass" operations in Ontario. The company is a leader in innovation, providing R&D for its Canadian products and for The Absolut Company's liqueur brands (e.g., Kahlua, Malibu). Established in Ontario for over 150 years, the company continues to build on its legacy, innovating and investing in advanced manufacturing and technology to serve its customers in North America and around the world.

The Challenge

Hiram Walker & Sons, like many Ontario companies, has a manufacturing legacy. Its advanced bottling line at its Walkerville facility had traditionally been set up for mainly high-volume, high-speed runs. However, it lacked a flexible production line that could quickly deliver small runs for the high-end, niche products that consumers demand today – and to support the company ambition to be a leader in innovation. For proprietary reasons, outsourcing was not an option.

Background

Hiram Walker & Sons has been in Ontario for over 150 years. It is older than Canada itself. It attributes its longevity in Ontario to four key factors: its people; its long heritage, its superior location and history of producing quality brands, and its commitment to continually innovating and investing in the business. It is the largest distillery in North America and is one of the only "grain to glass" operations in Ontario. In fact, Hiram Walker buys 4.2 million bushels/113,400 metric of local Ontario grain annually. The company is a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary of French-owned Pernod Ricard.

The Solution

To position the company to readily serve the growing demands for its products in Canada and the large U.S. market that's right next door, Hiram Walker reinvested in upgrades to its Ontario facilities – with support from the Government of Ontario. The upgrades give the company the flexibility and speed to develop and deliver high-end, niche products to consumers. The new, fully automated production line expands the company's bottling capabilities for 13 new bottle formats. The new automated line handles everything from scheduling to materials required, to downtime tracking and quality management. Now, Hiram Walker can offer a full suite of distillation, maturation, blending and bottling for many types of packages, and at a competitive price. This investment ensures the company continues to be a leader in innovation and job creation, now in and in the future.

Hiram Walker's new production line

Why Ontario?

Ontario is the place for food and beverage companies that, like Hiram Walker, focus on advanced manufacturing and technology, requiring a reliable supply of abundant raw ingredients and natural resources to produce quality brands. In the heart of North America and with a superb infrastructure, Ontario gives Hiram Walker rapid access to a marketplace of over 11.8 million people in southern Ontario and nearly 32 million U.S. consumers.

Hiram Walker is a leader in Ontario's environment of innovation. Groundbreaking research in Ontario helps companies like Hiram Walker stay competitive. When Hiram Walker wanted to reinvest and expand in Ontario – Canada's largest food and beverage processing jurisdiction – our business consultants gave the company "one-window" access to all the information, contacts and resources it needed.

July 13, 2015

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