The the Canadian Club Brand Heritage Centre and site of the whiskey company’s original headquarters in Windsor is slated to close this year, according to the Windsor Star. Parent company Beam Suntory, announced on February 8 that it would begin winding down tours at the Albert Kahn-design facility at the end of March and shut down the centre completely at the close of 2017. The distillery will continue to operate in Windsor.
Canadian Club played a major role in the trafficking of illicit Prohibition-era booze across the Detroit River in the early 20th Century and the Heritage Centre is home to many historical artifacts, art pieces, and other iconic material. Beam Suntory rents the building and has stated that it plans to preserve these items. In a statement the international spirits company says closing the centre is part of an effort in “refocusing our investments to better cultivate the brand both locally and around the world.”
News of the closure, however, has met resistance from booze lovers and has spurred criticism from Windsor’s mayor Drew Dilkens:
“To see a company come in and say, ‘We’re going to close the brand centre, that history is not that important to us,’ that bothers me,” Dilkens said Thursday. “Everyone here knows how important that history is to our community.”
Dilkins has since met with Beam Suntory executives in Chicago to address his concerns and expressed some optimism following the discussion. “Their goal is not to take that stuff out of Windsor,” he tells the Windsor Star. “They recognize there’s a strong connection to our local history.”
The Detroit Free Press reports that fans have begun organizing Facebook groups in an effort to save the landmark. Public tours, which feature whiskey tastings and historical information, are expected to end on March 31.
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