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Junction 56 was established in 2015 in Stratford, Canada | From tasting whisky to making it, the journey from concept to distillery is truly one of passion and you can taste the passion in all of our products.

The Lightbulb Moment In the summer of 2012 Mike Heisz attended a whisky tasting event in his local town of Stratford, Ontario. After he was 5 samples deep, he leaned over to his friend and said, “We should make a barrel of whisky in my garage!” And with that, the idea for the distillery was born.

From Dream to Reality Mike soon realized distilling whisky in his garage would be illegal, dangerous and time consuming. But his passion persisted and research lead him to discover the booming craft distilling industry in the States. He soon started taking courses, visiting distilleries and learning as much as he could about distilling. Taking a leap of faith, Mike left his 14-year-long career as an engineer to pursue his passion full-time. Junction 56 Distillery officially opened its doors in September 2015.  

KEEPING IT LOCAL

All of our spirits start with 100% Ontario grown grains. The corn for our moonshine and wheat for our vodka and gin come from Mike’s cousin’s farm. We mill all of our grain on-site so we know exactly what is going in to our products. Our goal is to remain locally focused, partnering with nearby businesses to source the additional ingredients used in our handcrafted flavoured liqueurs.

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Teamwork makes the dream work

Mike Heisz

Owner/Lead Distiller

Mike was born and raised on Southwestern Ontario and has a strong connection to the local communities.  He understands the pride in homegrown products and is excited to start offering locally made liquor options within the area.


Being tied closely with the history of the area and the traditions therein is very important to Mike. Junction 56 is focused on adding additional benefits to the larger community and becoming a partner with other businesses in the area.


Mike has an engineering background as well as experience working in a brewery which he plans to use to produce innovative products. While having the standard fairs, Whisky, Gin, Vodka, Mike is also interested in working with local partners and customers to create unique and personalised spirits. 

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James Donnelly

General Manager

James was raised on a farm in southwestern Ontario (Pinkerton to be exact). He worked with Mike at the Formosa Brewery just after high school and they learned there that they were a good team when working together.


Before joining Junction 56, James held several different roles at BlackBerry over a span of 15 years. He credits that company with giving the opportunity to learn many different areas of a business which he can apply to his work at the distillery. James joined Junction 56 in January of 2016 as the General Manager.