Book Review: The Story of Canadian Whisky

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Book Review: The Story of Canadian Whisky

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Nov 08, 2004 7:59 pm

The Story of Canadian Whisky: 200 years of Tradition, by Lorraine Brown. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1994. Contents, Notes, Bibliography, Index, Illustrated, Pp. 149.

This book was copyrighted by the Seagram Museum. It was paid for by the big Canadian distillers. With that said up front, the book is still a nice little history of Canadian Whisky distilling. Little is the key word here. There are only 149 pages and most pages are filled with illustrations. The history given has to be considered only a brief survey of 200 years of distilling.

The history starts with some of the earliest distilleries and focuses mostly on Seagram, Hiram Walker and Gooderham and Worts. The other distilleries are more afterthought then anything. The book's charm is also its weakness. There are many interesting illustrations and photographs. They dominate the book and it would have been nice if Brown had expanded the text a little in some subjects, even if that meant dropping some illustrations and photgraphs.

Why is a book on Canadian Whisky a must for a Bourbon Library? The answer is simply that bourbon did not grow in a vacuum and the Canadian whisky industry did effect the American whiskey industry. The most most obvious case is Hiram Walker and the Canadian Club brand. Hiram Walker really created the idea of "Brand Identity" for American whiskey and it is important to know his story to understand what was going on in the bourbon industry at the same time.

Mike Veach
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