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Ottawa: unleashing new possibilities in agribusiness

Ottawa, Canada’s capital, has a reputation for being a smart city—and for good reason. The city has more engineers, scientists and PhDs per capita than any other in Canada and the highest concentration of tech talent in North America. So, it should come as no surprise that its thought leaders are driving innovations across a range of economic sectors, including agribusiness. 

Dairy Distillery is one of the many companies disrupting how things are done. Founded in 2018 in Almonte, Ontario (a short drive from Ottawa), Dairy Distillery makes liquors and other spirits from a rarely used sugar known as milk sugar. The result is a spirit that not only tastes smoother, but is also better for the environment and farmers. 

“The idea came after my cousin Neal McCarten (who is now a partner and operations director) came back from his uncle’s dairy farm and noticed that milk sugar was being discarded,” says Omid McDonald, the company’s founder. “We soon realized that millions of gallons were going to waste—resulting in environmental problems, as well as economic challenges for farmers. That’s when we came up with the idea to make alcohol out of it.” 

Dairy Distillery partnered with the University of Ottawa’s biology department to perfect the process of converting excess milk sugar into spirits. Since then, Dairy Distillery has launched a range of superior spirits made from the sugar, including a carbon neutral vodka called Vodkow and a cream liquor called Vodkow Cream, which are both lactose and gluten-free. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the company diversified its offerings to also include hand sanitizer.  

“We’re really proud of what we’ve produced. Our products are good for the environment, benefit dairy farmers and taste fantastic.”

Omid McDonald, Founder, Dairy Distillery

World-leading expertise 

Ottawa and its surrounding areas are a prime home base for innovative startups like Dairy Distillery. That’s because the city is home to vast research & development expertise, world-renowned universities and colleges and an impressive talent pool—which help companies flourish. What’s more, the total business tax costs in Canada are the lowest in the G7, providing a competitive edge. 

Ottawa is also the only large city in Canada with a substantial agriculture sector: more than 1,000 farms are inside the city boundary and 5,700 hectares of agricultural resource lands are within the federally owned Greenbelt.   

Enriching business events 

With brilliant minds, deep expertise and strong infrastructure, it’s easy for event organizers to create memorable, inspiring agriculture business events in Ottawa. By augmenting speakers’ series with passionate industry innovators and enriching programming with localized tours, business event organizers can attract delegates, increase revenues and inspire future generations.    

“We call that 'meeting with purpose’,” says Stephanie Seguin of Ottawa Tourism, pointing out that Ottawa is poised to show off its agriculture ecosystems and industry leaders driving new advancements in the sector.    

Easy to access  

Global meeting organizers are also drawn in by the city’s easy access, walkability and unique attractions that punctuate their networking events.  

Ottawa’s International Airport provides direct flights from all major Canadian cities, major US hubs, as well as London and Frankfurt. The airport is a 15-minute drive to downtown—and will soon be connected to the city via light rail transit.   

In addition, Ottawa is home to several state-of-the-art convention venues for larger gatherings, including the Shaw Centre that’s within walking distance of over 6,000 hotel rooms. Between keynotes and workshops, delegates can discover the city’s award-winning cultural attractions like the Rideau Canal in its pedestrian-friendly downtown core. Add in year-round outdoor recreation options, and you’ve got the perfect combination to drive attendance and transform business events into an invigorating experience. 

Plan your meeting in Ottawa HERE.