Crown Royal expected to begin building in August

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St. Clair Township Mayor Jeff Agar says construction on a $245 million carbon neutral distillery should begin in August.

Distillery giant Diageo announced March 9, 2022 it purchased 400 acres in St. Clair Township at the corner of Highway 40 and Moore Line near Nova Chemicals to build the plant which will produce up to 20 million litres of alcohol annually. It includes a distillery as well as blending and warehousing operations.

The company began looking at the area three years before making the announcement. 

Diageo’s St. Clair Distillery will join the company’s existing Canadian manufacturing operations in Amherstburg, Ontario, Gimli, Manitoba, and Valleyfield, Quebec.

The St. Clair plant is expected to take three years to build as the company pushes for a carbon-neutral facility.

Construction was anticipated to begin in the second half of 2022 with the distillery could be operational in 2025. But Agar, speaking to The Independent after the  Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce’s State of Lambton County event, said the company is still in the planning stages and likely will be ready to turn the sod of St. Clair in August.

Agar said the township met with the company last week to discuss their site plan. It will come before council before construction can begin.

Agar says the construction of the plant is expected to employ 400 people. 

The plant itself may have as many as 300 employees, he added. 

When the build was first announced officials estimated employment around 80 people.

Agar is hopeful the construction of the state of the art plant will be a driver for St. Clair’s, drawing more industry beyond petrochemical companies to some of the only industrial land available in Ontario.