(To view our March/April 2019 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

The chances are slim, but there may be a possibility John Hall and I are twins separated at birth.

No, not literally, but we sure think alike.

Having had the opportunity to speak with John many times over the years, I always learn something new and I listen keenly for his little anecdotes tucked into the fabric of his stories. That truly is the good stuff.

Creativity, focus, customer first, branding and, above all, providing a quality product to back up all those areas of strategic planning – in reading this edition of ClubWest Magazine’s lead feature you will gain some insight into how John did this.

In some small way, I would like to think I have followed this blueprint. It will be nine years in May in an industry with a 95 per cent mortality rate for start-ups in the first year and I have done that twice now, so I’ll take that.

While John does provide an excellent road map to success, a proven, tried and true formula to develop a great company with dedicated employees and a loyal customer base, few – if any – could aspire to the level of success he has managed to achieve.

Yes, he sold his company for an incredible sum, more than $185 million, but it was what he did for an entire world wide industry and Canada’s position on that stage which is staggering.

There is no need to rehash the content of the story but to say John and his team moved the needle for the Canadian whisky category would me a major understatement.

There are many thousands if not millions of successful businesses in the world, but few actually change mindsets, generate exponential growth and restore vibrancy to a dying sector.

That is the stuff of Hollywood scripts.

How many of you have seen the 40 Creek Distillery ads on during a Maple Leafs game?

Campari, as John notes, has done very well by Grimsby and their business by shining such a classy light on the legacy of their product line. Having a story to tell and exploiting that heritage are two key marketing points in promoting alcohol. Think of the story told of Appleton Rum, also a Campari product. Unique stories stick in the minds of consumers.

With 40 Creek, John’s efforts will be the story which drives the company for decades into the future and that is something for which he can be proud and the whole community can take pride in as well.

Few people get into any Hall of Fame, let alone have a Hall of Fame created just to accommodate them…yes, I embellish slightly, but John Hall deserves it!

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft