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Getting The Royal Treatment

A Royal Warrant is the coat of arms of the reigning monarch of England. It is granted by the Sovereign and gives the holder the privilege of using the Royal Arms in connection with his or her trade or business.

In order to receive the Warrant, firms must have supplied goods direct to the Royal Household Departments for a minimum of three years. Warrants become void on the death of the reigning monarch and had to be reapplied for with each new monarch.

Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. was granted the Warrant of Queen Victoria on September 17, 1898. Queen Victoria’s coat of arms appeared on Canadian Club labels soon after.

On the Queen’s death, Hiram Walker applied for and received the Warrants of subsequent Monarch, Edwards VII, George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

During the later years of Queen Victoria’s life, Hiram Walker also held the Warrant for the Prince of Wales. Canadian Club labels with both the Arms of Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales are quite rare.

After holding the Royal Warrant for Queen Elizabeth for 10 years, the Warrant was reviewed and withdrawn. The action was probably political — the Queen no doubt wished to endorse whiskies made in Great Britain rather than a "foreign" country.

Hiram Walker & Sons was the only North American distiller to have been granted a Royal Warrant.

Queen Victoria Goes Canadian

The events leading up to Queen Victoria drinking Canadian Club and Hiram Walker receiving the Royal Warrant are rather interesting.

Queen Victoria’s physician, Sir William Jenner, ordered her to cease drinking claret and champagne; he prescribed as a digestive Canadian Club Whisky and mineral water, in the proportions of four parts of water to one of whisky.

The Prince of Wales tried the prescription, liked it, and it was soon adopted as the favourite tipple in the Prince’s "set."

"The drink now in vogue in the clubs of the metropolis of the Empire is Walker’s Canadian Club Rye… Sir William Jenner’s prescription has the endorsement of physicians as well as the pleasant tingle of aerated waters."

"The enormous increase in the consumption of Walker’s Canadian Club has been largely due to the desire of the public for a mild spirit, which makes a most beneficial beverage with cool mineral waters."

from a newspaper article c. 1900

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