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Hiram Walker Announces Major Investment in Windsor Facility

Facility Upgrade Supports Job Growth and Product Innovation

WINDSOR, ON, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Hiram Walker & Sons Limited today announced a further investment in its Windsor production and bottling facility, as part of its $8 million investment in the site this year. The investment, which includes a significant contribution from the Ontario Government's Rural Economic Development Program (RED), will allow the facility to produce new product lines and increase production by 230,000 cases.  With today's announcement, Hiram Walker & Sons will have invested more than $80 million in the last 10 years.

With more than 280 employees, the Hiram Walker facility is one of Windsor's largest employers and the only "grain to glass" operation in Ontario. It also serves as a North American centre for innovation and new product development, information technology, procurement and purchasing. Hiram Walker has been producing spirits in Canada since the 1850s and is the largest producer of bulk spirits in Canada.  Hiram Walker is wholly owned by Pernod-Ricard S.A. of Paris, the worldwide co-leader of wine and spirits.

"We have been a strong part of the Windsor manufacturing community for over 150 years, and this investment is part of our continued commitment to the growth of the company and the region," said Patrick O'Driscoll, President of Hiram Walker & Sons. "The new production volume will benefit our workforce as we smooth out the variability in seasonal peaks to offer more stable employment, and result in enhanced partnership opportunities for our customers. We want to thank the Government of Ontario for their contribution and our UNIFOR union partners for their support of this exciting milestone in our company's history."

The investment in its bottling and blending facilities includes a $1 million RED grant. The grant was announced today by Hon. Teresa Piruzza, MPP, at a press conference at the Windsor Hiram Walker facility on behalf of Ontario's Premier Kathleen Wynne. The Ontario Ministry of Rural Affairs' RED Program is designed to strengthen and diversify rural economies to enable Ontario to build strong, vibrant communities and regions. Hiram Walker & Sons currently supports the Essex and Kent Counties' agriculture industry by purchasing 4.2 million bushels of local grain annually.

"Today's announcement is exciting news for our city and region," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "The Hiram Walker facility is a landmark in Windsor, both for its longstanding role as an employer and its contributions to this community.  This investment will not only allow for much needed job stability in our city, but it will help Hiram Walker attract new production opportunities and expand its product innovation."

With this investment, Corby Spirit and Wine, which is majority owned by Hiram Walker & Sons Limited, will transfer the production of some of its brands, including McGuinness® and Meaghers® liqueurs, to the Hiram Walker facility. That transfer is expected to begin in the fall of 2014. New equipment will also allow the plant to manufacture smaller quantities of brands, allowing greater flexibility for new product innovation.

About Hiram Walker

Established over 150 years ago, Hiram Walker & Sons Limited's tradition of blending quality ingredients, processes and highly skilled people continues at the Windsor, Ontario based production facility. Hiram Walker is a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard S.A., a leading global spirits and wine company with premium international brands such as ABSOLUT® vodka, Chivas Regal®, The Glenlivet® and Ballantine's® Scotch whiskies, Jameson® Irish whiskey, Beefeater® gin, Malibu® rum, Kahlúa® liqueur, Mumm® champagne, and Jacob's Creek® and, Wyndham Estate® Stoneleigh®, Campo Viejo® and Graffigna® wines. Hiram Walker produces brands such as, Wiser's®, Lot 40®, and Pike Creek® Canadian whiskies, Polar Ice® vodka, Malibu® and Lamb's® rums, and Criollo® liqueurs for Canadian distribution by its affiliate, Corby Spirit and Wine Limited.

SOURCE Hiram Walker & Sons Limited

Image with caption: "Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. facility in Windsor, Ontario. (CNW Group/Hiram Walker & Sons Limited)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140228_C8264_PHOTO_EN_37352.jpg

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