While Don Livermore may not have dreamed of becoming a master brewer, he has made a name for himself in the role with one of the largest capacity distilleries in North America.

Livermore started with Windsor, Ont., Hiram Walker & Sons as a microbiologist, taking his masters and PhD in brewing and distilling at Heriot-Watt University at Edinburgh, Scotland, through the company. Today, he’s their master blender.

Hiram Walker & Sons makes and bottles brands like JP Wisers, Malibu Rum, Polar Ice Vodka, McGuiness liqueurs and more. It’s the largest “grain to glass” operation in Ontario, and focuses on sourcing grain as locally as possible, which, says Livermore, has a huge economic impact on the economy.

“At the site we bring in 100 000 metric tonnes of corn a year, about 30 000 metric tonnes of rye, and then some smaller grains, like barley and wheat — certainly very important to the economic area of Windsor, Ontario.”

In this episode of the Food Bubble, with host Andrew Campbell, Livermore explains the basics of the business, describes some of the whisky lines he works with, the flexibility of whisky, and the Canadian whisky story.

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