Mas­ter dis­tiller at Wayne Gret­zky Win­ery & Dis­tillery

Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine - - Contents - By BRYEN DUNN – TORONTO, ON

Wayne Gret­zky Es­tates Win­ery & Dis­tillery opened in the heart of Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake, On­tario in the spring of 2017. The 23,000 square foot fa­cil­ity is the first of its kind in the re­gion, fea­tur­ing both wine and dis­till­ing pro­duc­tion, and tast­ing rooms. Along with some great tast­ing wines, the fa­cil­ity also pro­duces two core whisky brands (Red Cask and Ice Cask), along with spe­cial re­leases such as Ninety-Nine Proof, which is bot­tled at 49.5% ABV, and the sea­sonal Cana­dian Cream.

Mas­ter dis­tiller, Joshua Beach, has long been a lover of spir­its, and after uni­ver­sity he de­cided to pur­sue his pas­sion. He stud­ied at He­riot Watt in Scot­land, where he com­pleted his MSc in Brew­ing and Dis­till­ing at one of the best schools in the world. He then gained ex­pe­ri­ence with brew­ing and dis­till­ing in Europe be­fore re­turn­ing to Canada to start Odd So­ci­ety Spir­its. Lo­cated in Van­cou­ver, he op­er­ated with a busi­ness part­ner be­tween Oct 2013 and Apr 2016, be­fore re­turn­ing to his home prov­ince of On­tario to be­gin his dream ca­reer.

The orig­i­nal No. 99 Red Cask Cana­dian Whisky is made in small batches from grain (rye, malted rye, and corn) that has been in­di­vid­u­ally mashed, fer­mented, and dis­tilled. After ag­ing, the whisky is fin­ished with red wine casks from the Wayne Gret­zky win­ery. "What makes us stand out is that each of th­ese bar­rels has a story and they all bring to­gether this unique and con­sis­tent taste pro­file with aro­mas of caramel, toasted oak and a hint of all­spice for a truly el­e­gant and rich taste,” said Beach.

Gret­zky added, “I have al­ways en­joyed a good whisky and was thrilled to work with Joshua to cre­ate a new fab­u­lous Cana­dian whisky. What’s truly ex­cit­ing is we are us­ing oak wine bar­rels from our red wines to fin­ish the whisky for a re­ally smooth and re­fined taste.” No. 99 Red Cask can be en­joyed neat, on the rocks or in pre­mium cock­tails in­clud­ing: “Top Shelf,” “The 99,” and “The Great Old Fash­ioned,” all listed on the com­pany web­site.

The No. 99 Ice Cask is fin­ished in Vi­dal Blanc Icewine bar­rels, while the pre­mium Ninety Nine Proof is aged a min­i­mum three years in once-used Bour­bon bar­rels and more than 100 days in Wayne Gret­zky Cabernet Sauvi­gnon bar­rels. The new­est ad­di­tion to the prod­uct line, the sea­sonal Cana­dian Cream, of­fers the aro­mas and flavours of al­mond, cream, dark biscuit, nut­meg and toasted wafer. It’s ex­cel­lent with cof­fee.

Vis­i­tors to the dis­tillery can learn the art of mak­ing whisky by tak­ing one of the avail­able classes that are of­fered daily. The Whisky Bar­tender: Cock­tails 101, lets guests learn how to make their favourite whisky cock­tails, while The Great Cana­dian Whisky Tour of­fers guests the op­por­tu­nity to learn about the his­tory of Cana­dian whisky, dis­till­ing and blend­ing, and of course sam­pling.

Wayne Gret­zky whiskies are avail­able at the LCBO here in On­tario, or on­line at gret­

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