Skip to content

Crown Royal distillery is delayed but still coming to St. Clair

There’s nothing but a field of phragmites where Diageo said in 2022 it plans to build a $245-million Crown Royal distillery in St. Clair Township. But officials say it is delayed, not cancelled.

There’s nothing but a field of phragmites where Diageo said in 2022 it plans to build a $245-million Crown Royal distillery in St. Clair Township. But officials say it is delayed, not cancelled.

“We met with Diageo three or four months ago and they said they had to redo the site plan for the distillery,” said St. Clair Mayor Jeff Agar.

“But I have no concerns. I get asked all the time if they are still coming and they are 100% going to do what they said they are going to do,” Agar said.

A Diageo spokesperson responded to an inquiry from The Journal with this written statement: “We continue to work in preparation for the construction phase of our new site. We look forward to sharing additional details about the project timeline at a later date.”

Follow-up questions were not answered.

However, St. Clair CAO John Rodey said he understands from company officials that they intend to begin the project this spring with construction of a 100,000-square-foot warehouse for barrel storage. It will be one of numerous storage facilities on the site near the intersection of Highway 40 and Moore Line.

In March 2022, Diageo announced plans to construct a $245 million distillery in St. Clair Township for its Crown Royal Canadian Whisky brand. 

At the time, Diageo said the new facility would have capacity to produce up to 20 million litres of absolute alcohol (10.5 million proof gallons) annually and would create 50-75 full-time permanent jobs. Construction was expected to start in late 2022 on a carbon neutral facility and provide work for approximately 400 tradespeople, the company said. Initial reports were that the distillery would start production in 2025.

But the Diageo site remains untouched.

No reason for the delay was provided to The Journal. However, behind the scenes, preparations for construction have moved ahead with zoning in place and completion of a severance application. In the winter of 2023, company reps met with provincial officials to discuss a storm water plan for the distillery.

A preliminary site plan was submitted to the township but the final plan has not been received, Rodey said.

“But we are told they could break ground as early as April or May on a warehouse, once they send in the site plan,” he said.

Agar said he remains excited about Diageo coming to St. Clair.

“It is a great thing for the community,” he said. “It’s something different and just a great fit for us.

“Not only will there be jobs at the distillery, there will be spinoffs.”

Crown Royal whisky is the top-selling Canadian whisky brand in the world and Diageo is one of the major producers of spirits in Canada.

The company already has three production facilities across the country in Amherstburg Ontario, Gimli Manitoba, and Valleyfield Quebec. 


[email protected]

Join the Community: Receive Our Daily News Email for Free