Head to Head: Whiskytown a welcome fest


Windsor Eats is launching a new event, a celebration and festival staking a claim of Windsor beinging the home of whiskey in Canada.

Is this just another festival in a sea of local festivals or does this one stand out as something more?

Whiskytown. What a great concept.

It hits home, it’s who we are, it’s where we come from, and it’s certainly something to celebrate. I love the concept, inception, its historical roots, and what I assume to be its logical aims. This is exactly the kind of event deserving of municipal and provincial funding, and hell, dare I say, federal funding too? Yes.

This is an event which celebrates our past and our culture, this is literally who we are, whether we like it or not. We are incredibly lucky to have such an amazing community partner like Windsor Eats guiding this proverbial ship; they’ve proven to be an invaluable community, cultural, food, drink, and all around, essential asset.

Windsor Eats quite frankly is doing the work of TWEPI, SWOTC, the City of Windsor, and most of the organizations in Windsor Essex with a mandate to promote the region, for far less funding, with a far greater impact. Adriano and Pina get it. They love this city, but they’re not blind or assholes, and that’s actually more important than you’d think. There are far too many assholes trading on the “Windsor Essex” brand because it’s easy to do. Such is not the case in this situation. They get what works, and they absolutely get what doesn’t work. They’ve travelled place to place across the world and brought back, with due diligence, what should be adopted locally.

It’s up to us to listen. Lord knows the city won’t. Let’s tune in to what those who tune in tuned in to. Whiskey Town builds upon our roots, history, past, present, and future. You don’t have to love where we come from, but if you love where you live, you should support those who support you.

Jon Liedtke is the co-owner of Higher Limits cannabis lounge, a managing partner of the Windsor Independent newspaper, a member of Windsor punk-ska band The Nefidovs, and appears on AM800 News Thursdays at 4:20 p.m. to rant weekly.

Whiskytown is the brainchild of Adriano and Pina Ciotoli of Windsor Eats, who have been some of the most effective promoters of local food and drink in our region. Celebrating and bringing recognition to some of the renowned whiskies being produced in Windsor/Essex can only raise everyone’s game in the food and beverage industry.

Whisky is something that is close to my heart. I have worked for most of my career in the beverage industry, but I have always had an affinity for the brown liquors. In my time in Alberta, I personally curated one of the largest single malt whisky selections in Canada. For a long time and for good reason, I really didn’t respect Canadian Whisky. Generally, it was a low quality product made to be mixed and not enjoyed on its own merits. However, over the past five years that has changed. With the great work of Don Livermore and his team at Wisers and with craft upstarts like Wolfhead Distillery, Canadian distilleries have been focusing on creating unique spirits and experimenting with innovative techniques such as Livermore’s smashingly delicious opus Wiser’s Dissertation, and segment stretching flavors like Wolfhead’s Coffee Whiskey.

Windsor Essex as a whole has made great strides to become a culinary tourism success story. Along with the great programming coming out of larger organizations like EPIC Wineries and TWEPI, or smaller groups like the Brew Gals, Flight Club and We Trolley Tours, Whisky Town! is another way we can further encourage regional progress, as well as showcase the newly branded Walkerville Distillery District.

I cannot wait to celebrate our whisky making history and future and I will leave my flask at home and raise a glass to all of the hard work and love that goes into making Windsor, Whiskytown Canada!

Nicholas Nedin is an entrepreneur, author and former managing partner at Beacon Ale House. His food blog Braised Blue was adapted into the memoir and cookbook Braised Blue: Year One. He is currently the President of Xtract Biotech Inc. a research and development consultancy operating in the medical cannabis sector.