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After 25 years of successfully leading Spirits Canada, a national trade association and a leading voice for the spirits industry across the country, Jan Westcott, president and CEO, announced his retirement in December 2023.

It would be no surprise that some may find him a familiar face and name, because for almost 40 years, Westcott has played a critical role as a relentless and passionate policy and public affairs leader within the beverage alcohol industry. His leadership has spanned from serving as the president and CEO of the Canadian Wine Institute in 1984 to then becoming the founding CEO of the Brewers of Ontario, a provincial body representing both licensed brewers and their distribution channel, Brewers Retail Inc. (The Beer Store), in 1989.

“I am eternally grateful to have had this opportunity; it has been the experience of a lifetime.”

Jan Westcott, Spirits Canada

Over the years, Westcott has forged strong relationships with industry and government partners from all over the world, emphasizing the importance of the spirits sector as a wealth creator contributing to strong and continuous economic growth across Canada for those involved in the “grain to glass” process.

Westcott’s thought leadership in the public affairs space did not go unnoticed. In October 2023, he received the Award of Distinction from the Public Affairs Association of Canada (PAAC). PAAC presents the Award of Distinction to a member of the public affairs community who, over their career, has made a significant contribution to public affairs in Canada.

Jan Westcott giving presentation
Photo courtesy of Diana Martin

“At Spirits Canada, I’ve had the privilege of working with fantastic people across the spirits industry, all while representing great companies alongside incredible world-renowned brands,” said Westcott. “I must also thank my talented Spirits Canada colleagues who, over the decades, contributed hugely to what the association achieved. I am eternally grateful to have had this opportunity; it has been the experience of a lifetime.”

Spirits Canada welcomes Cal Bricker, incoming president and CEO

The board underwent a diligent and extensive search, and was delighted to announce Cal Bricker’s appointment as incoming president and CEO of Spirits Canada on Jan. 1, 2024.

“I am honoured to lead Spirits Canada and contribute to the continued success of Canada’s distilled spirits industry,” said Bricker. “I look forward to working collaboratively with our members, stakeholders and government partners.”

He is no stranger to the beverage alcohol industry, having worked in the beer industry for over 13 years as director and VP of public affairs for large Canadian brewers.

Bricker brings with him a wealth of knowledge and has held prior positions in regulated industries as former CEO of Ontario Cannabis Stores and former senior vice president of horse racing at Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. He is also a senior fellow at the Munk School for Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, serves as a captain (naval) in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve, and sits on the boards of the Royal Canadian Navy Benevolent Fund and the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy.

His experiences and leadership over the years make him a uniquely qualified leader for Spirits Canada.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we are tremendously grateful for [Westcott’s] contributions to Spirits Canada over the years,” said Nicolas Krantz, president and CEO, Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. and president of the board of directors, Spirits Canada. “His work has led him to become one of the most respected public affairs leaders in the beverage alcohol space, and we thank him for his institutional knowledge that places Spirits Canada on a path for growth and innovation for the years to come. We thank [Westcott] for everything that he has helped us achieve and wish him the very best in his retirement.

“I am delighted to welcome [Bricker] as our new CEO. His diverse background and proven executive leadership make him the ideal choice to guide our industry into its next chapter of growth and innovation.”

With this organizational change, the staff at Spirits Canada kick off a new year with the same passion to advocate for grain farmers, distillers, liquor boards and government agencies to promote the economic growth of the industry, and to encourage moderate and responsible consumption of alcohol.

Bill Ashburn, Forty Creek’s master blender

Forty Creek Distillery

Josée GulayetsJosée GulayetsMay 8, 2024