Corbyville, located just north of Belleville, began around 1790 as a small milling centre. In 1855, Henry Corby, a former baker and grain merchant, purchased the mill. He set up a small distillery as a sideline business. Henry quickly developed a reputation as a superb whiskey maker. Within a few short years, the distillery had grown to eclipse the mill.
A small company town, known as Corby’s Mills, began to grow around the distillery. At first it consisted of a general store and a few houses. Corbyville became the name for the new post office, which opened in 1882.
The village continued to thrive. Over time it boasted a carpenter, blacksmith, cabinetmaker, shoemaker and a hotel. In addition to the trades, the community also boasted a school, a Methodist Church and a customs building. Later industries included a flour mill and cheese factory. At its height, Corbyville claimed a population of around 200.
The H. Corby Distillery Company continues to remain prosperous. Unfortunately for Corbyville, changing times led to the closure of the old distillery in 1991. After the old plant closed, production moved to newer facilities. Toronto became the new home for the head office.
A number of old plant buildings were still standing in the early 21st century. Most are now gone. New housing developments are beginning to pop up in the area.
The customs office is now a craft brewery. Corby’s now owns or controls numerous top selling brands including Wisers’s, Polar Ice Vodka, Lamb’s Rum and the McGuinness Liqueur Family. Learn more