Is Windsor ready for spirits on grocery store shelves? Council says yes

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Windsor city council is supporting a proposed pilot project to have some spirits available in grocery stores, after Spirits Canada president and CEO Jan Westcott contacted Mayor Drew Dilkens with the idea.

“We make spirits in Windsor — we’ve been making them there for longer than Canada has been a country,” Westcott says.

“It’s great that you’re selling beer from Mexico and the United States and wine from Chile… why can’t spirits made in Ontario by Ontario workers get the same opportunity?”

Westcott says Spirits Canada has been pressing the province on this in the years since beer and wine became available for purchase in grocery stores across the province.

“I don’t want to say that they’ve been unhelpful, they’ve been very helpful,” he says.

“But what they’ve said to us is it would be great if we could do something that garnered more information.”

This, he says, was raised in a conversation with government ahead of the 2023 provincial budget — giving him the idea to see if Windsor would raise its hand to host a hypothetical pilot of the sales.

“Spirits Canada is saying, we want our piece of the pie here,” Mayor Dilkens said in an interview on AM800’s The Morning Drive Tuesday.

“If they can get this pilot project off the ground and see if it makes sense … council last night said we want to be part of it.”

Westcott says he approached the city because of its storied history with the distilling industry.

He says council’s support does help, but whether or not the pilot becomes a reality is up to the provincial government.

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