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.


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.  


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 constant goal is to remain locally focused, partnering with nearby businesses to source the additional ingredients used in our handcrafted flavoured liqueurs.


The name Junction 56 pays homage to the history of Stratford. The city was originally a railway town and our distillery, located in a former 100-year-old lumber yard, has one main railway line running directly behind it and the other a block in front. The junction of these two major railway lines was built in 1856 and Stratford was built up around this industry. Trains still run by the distillery every day.

Please reload


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!


Great things don't happen without great people.  Meet the J56 team.

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.

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.

Leah McGuire

Retail & Marketing Manager

Leah joined the Junction 56 team in September of 2016 to run the retail operation. She also contributes her many artistic skills to the marketing, social media and merchandising side of the business. If it looks good in here, Leah likely made it!

Brian Leis

Production Associate

Brian Joined Junction 56 in September of 2016 and assists with production activities.  He spends most of his days on the front of our production process milling and mashing the grains that make the products you love.

Please reload

© 2018 by Junction 56 Distillery Ltd. 



Phone:  519 305 5535


Address: 45 Cambria St, Stratford, N5A 1G8



TUE: 10:30AM - 4:30PM

WED: 10:30AM - 4:30PM

THU: 10:30AM - 6:00PM

FRI: 10:30AM - 6:00PM

SAT: 10:30AM - 5:00PM

SUN: 11:00AM - 3:00PM



Tours run every Saturday at 11:00AM and

conclude with a sampling of our products,

because it's 5 o'clock somewhere!

For a tour at a different time contact us in

advance and we'll work it out!