Bottoms up: Whiskytown Festival comes to Walkerville this weekend

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Adriano Ciotoli, owner of WindsorEats, holds up a glass of whisky at the J.P. Wiser’s tasting room, in this file photo from Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

Dax Melmer / Windsor Star

Nevermind the Automotive Capital of Canada or the City of Roses — Windsor is Whiskytown.

The second annual Whiskytown Festival happens on Saturday in the church that whisky built, St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Walkerville.

With a surge in demand for whisky and whisky-related experiences over the last few years, WindsorEats owner Adriano Ciotoli said Windsor has the ability to become a tourism destination rivalling Kentucky’s famous Bourbon Trail.

“Our goal is to not only develop quality whisky experiences ourselves, but also help other hospitality and tourism businesses create and get ready for an influx in whisky-based tourism,” said Ciotoli, whose company is hosting the event. “It’s creating a solid tourism foundation that plays off our strengths and is uniquely Windsor.”

Ciotoli said people from across Ontario and Michigan have already bought tickets.

Patrons will have the chance to sample a wide variety of domestic and international whiskies and cocktails.

Ciotoli said the festival has secured the only bottles of Woodford Reserve Cherry Wood Smoked Barley currently available Ontario, as well as the Canadian Club 41-year-old.

WindsorEats, Maiden Lane Wine & Spirits and Walkerville Eatery will also be serving craft whisky cocktails.

“The event is a great opportunity to sample entry level and higher price point whiskies you may not feel comfortable spending $300 on a bottle for,” he said. “This means the festival is perfect for those just being introduced to whisky as well as connoisseurs.”

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There will also be beer on tap, with a whisky twist. The Grove Brew House has brewed a whisky-infused imperial stout specifically for the festival.

Representatives of six distilleries will be on hand, including Canadian Club global ambassador Tish Harcus and Dr. Don Livermore, master blender for J.P. Wiser’s.

Other distillery representatives will include The Balvenie brand ambassador Jamie Johnson, Old Forester’s national premium whiskey ambassador Taylor Corrigan, Joshua Groom, North American brand ambassador for Gibson’s Finest, and Matt Jones, World Whiskey ambassador to Canada.

They will all be mingling with festivalgoers and discussing whisky.


The festival will take place in Walkerville, the original company town created by Canadian Club founder Hiram Walker, in the church his son built with money made from their whisky empire.

Edward Walker paid for the construction of the church, which is named after his mother Mary.

Tickets are $30 per person. Each one comes with five tokens for food or drinks. You can buy them at



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