A local man is planning to launch a distillery in Perth, but it will take a lot of time and community support to put the small town back on the whisky map.


McLaren's Whisky was a popular brand of Canadian whisky made in Perth, Ont. (CBC)

The last of Perth's distilleries shut down in 1916. Jamie Snasdell-Taylor hopes his Waverley Spirits brand of whisky will be available 100 years later, in 2016. That's also the town's 200th anniversary.

But Snasdell-Taylor doesn't yet have a licence, so he's relying on distilleries in the United States to accommodate him.

It has already taken months for Snasdell-Taylor and his lawyer, John Chalmers, to navigate provincial liquor and federal excise laws. And if the Perth brand does get the green light, the whisky will have to age in wooden barrels for three years before it can be legally labelled Canadian whisky.

"We have a four-year plan. … Ideally we will build a full-board distillery here within the next five years, and we will be producing whisky at a decent scale, as well as some vodka," Snasdell-Taylor said.

Hoping to capture U.S. attention


Jamie Snasdell-Taylor hopes to have some of his Waverley Spirits brand of whisky available by 2016. (CBC)

He thinks there's enough of a market to make it work.

"The United States has experienced a tremendous growth in the number of craft distillers in the past five years, and there are so many products on the shelves down there that really capture a local flavour and a local essence," he said.

"I think we could definitely become part of that. I think some of the northern states really have a taste for Canadian whisky, and if we represent our product well I think that it would be a good seller down there."

Snasdell-Taylor will be co-hosting a symposium in Perth from Feb. 8-9 to get like-minded entrepreneurs interested in craft distilling in Eastern Ontario.