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September 13, 2014

Distilling In Canada

Moonshine Still Canada

Canadian Moonshine

We want to give a shoutout to our moonshine neighbors to the north. If you think moonshine is only an American pastime you are dead wrong. Distilled spirits have has been around since 12th century and have been made all over the world, including Canada. Many Canadians make homemade alcohol, which is often called: shine, screech, home-brew or swish. During the American prohibition American bootleggers and moonshiners were not the only ones supplying illegal booze to thirsty customers. Canadian whisky played a major role in the illegal liquor trade. Canadian whisky was transported from Hiram Walker's Distillery in Windsor Ontario, across the Detroit River using small, fast smuggling boats. Today when Canadian liquor is mentioned the first thought that usually comes to mind is Canadian whisky, or rye whisky.

Canadian Rye Whisky


 Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky

  • (i) be a potable alcoholic distillate, or a mixture of potable alcoholic distillates, obtained from a mash of cereal grain or cereal grain products saccharified by the diastase of malt or by other enzymes and fermented by the action of yeast or a mixture of yeast and other micro-organisms,

    • (ii) be aged in small wood for not less than three years,

    • (iii) possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky,

    • (iv) be manufactured in accordance with the requirements of the Excise Act and the regulations made thereunder,

    • (v) be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada, and

    • (vi) contain not less than 40 per cent alcohol by volume; and

    • (b) may contain caramel and flavouring.

  • (2) Subject to subsection (3), no person shall make any claim with respect to the age of Canadian whisky, other than for the period during which the whisky has been held in small wood.

  • (3) Where Canadian whisky has been aged in small wood for a period of at least three years, any period not exceeding six months during which that whisky was held in other containers may be claimed as age.

Canadian whisky is often referred to as rye whisky since historically much of the content was from rye. Today there is no legal requirement for rye to be used to make whiskies with the names of Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky, and Rye Whisky. Most Canadian whiskies are blended multi-grain liquors containing a large percentage of corn spirits, the finished product is usually lighter and smoother than other whisky styles.  All spirits used in making a Canadian whisky must be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels and the final whisky must contain at least 40 percent ABV. No distinction is made between new or used and charred or uncharred  barrels which are used for aging. The Canadian Food and Drugs Act requires that whisky labeled as Canadian Whisky be mashed, distilled, and aged three years in Canada. To improve color and flavor it may contain caramel and flavoring, in addition to the distilled mash spirits.

Today most Canadian whisky is blended to achieve the Canadian whisky character. This is usually achieved by adding a flavoring whisky made from a rye with a lower proof, to a high-proof base whisky which is made typical from corn and sometimes wheat. Today most Canadian whisky contain only a fraction of rye, with the exception of Alberta Premium which is one of the few remaining 100% rye grain Rye Whiskies produced in Canada.

In the United States the definition of rye whisky prevents low rye content whiskey from being labeled rye.  The U.S. also requires that if whisky is blended or contains coloring, flavoring or distillates with 95% or greater alcohol content, this must be acknowledged on the label by including the term blended in the description on the label. Canadian law does not have this requirement. Moreover, U.S. law requires at least 20% of the content of a blended whiskey to be straight whiskey rather than neutral spirits which is not required under Canadian law.

Canadian Ordering

You don't need to live in Canada to make rye whiskey but you do need to live in Canada to make Canadian rye whisky. We do sell our 100% copper moonshine still kits to Canada,  we recommend that our Canadian friends make some true Canadian whisky. All of our Canadian orders ship via USPS and they are marked as copper parts for customs. The next time you make a whiskey mash try adding a bit rye which will add some good complex flavor. Start with our corn whiskey recipe and add 1 pound of rye, it will make the end product a bit more complex and it will add that spicy character that rye is known for. If you live in Canada and want to make some good old fashioned screech look no further than a moonshine still kit from Clawhammer Supply.

  • NewFIes is not a derogatory word. Jenna is probably just as quick to call all other Canadians “Mainlanders”. Newfie born and Newfie Raised and It dont bother me to be called Newf one bit while on the mainland or anywhere else. Such foolishness ye be at.

    Posted by Ryan FitzGerald on August 30, 2017
  • still(pun intended)making in this neck of the woods EH!

    Posted by corby on August 29, 2017
  • Well Screech is from Newfoundland and it’s actually rum .also we are not newfies we are Newfoundlanders .Newfies is a derogatory term to use.

    Posted by Jeana on February 23, 2017

    Before liquor CONTROL boards were created, Jamaican rum was a popular part of a Newfoundlander’s diet, when salt fish was traded in exchange for rum. When the Government took control of the liquor business, it began selling the rum in unlabelled bottles. The product remained nameless until American servicemen came to the Island during World War II.

    The story goes like this: The commanding officer of the original detachment was having his first taste. The Newfoundlander downed his drink in one gulp, so the American did the same.. The American’s blood-curdling scream attracted alot of attention. An American sargeant who heard the sound from outside pounded his fist on the door and demanded to know, “What the cripes was that ungodly screech?”

    The Newfoundlander replied in true Newfie form, “Da Screech? ’Tis the rum, me son.”

    As all embarassing moments do, the incident spread, and the soldiers were determined to try this mysterious “Screech” to see what all of the fuss was about. The drink was soon their favorite.

    The Newfoundland Liquor Board soon adopted the name and began labeling the dark rum Newfoundland Screech

    Posted by Sandy on January 17, 2017
  • Hello guys
    Thanks so much for the shout out to Canada. what you said up top is vey true. We canucks love our shine/hooch (actual screech is just a Newfie thing though)
    Loving the site, and loving your products, any time I have. Friend who is looking for stills, or spice kits I always point them your way.

    Thanks for an awesome site

    Toasty mcspud

    Posted by TOasty mcSpud on October 30, 2016
  • Just ordered the 5 gallon
    it’s wine making season and can’t wait to try and make the traditional northern Italian spirit grappa.
    both my late grandfather’s made it back in Italy and let me see if I can keep the tradition alive!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Andre on September 23, 2015
  • Hello

    I am going to be purchasing a still in the very near future, if I get a still from your company what do I require in full and what will it cost to have it shipped to Nova Scotia ?? As will I would like to be able to make different flavours is this possible with your product

    Thanks Chris

    Posted by Chris on May 29, 2015
  • I’d like to buy a moonshine still kit. I need to know what is included and your price. I wanted a 2 gal but probably can only afford a 1 gal. thanks

    Posted by Erika Reynolds on December 28, 2014
  • I love whiskey! I have a dozen friends that would love to make some!!!

    Posted by Jeff Dewael on September 17, 2014

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