First of all, beverage alcohol, no matter whether it's beer, wine, or spirits, is a global industry. Canada is part of that global industry and has a proud history of being one of the dominant manufacturers and suppliers and developers. As Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Wiser's Canadian whisky is celebrating its 160th anniversary of continuous sale and production. Canadian Club celebrates its 160th next year. We've been here a long time and doing lots of things, but it's a global business.
We're very fortunate in Canada that we have a product that is unique to Canada. We're also very fortunate that our product has seen tremendous success. That's Canadian whisky. We have been the beneficiaries of some circumstances south of the border in the United States—the Civil War being one, as well as prohibition to a certain extent—that have opened doors for us to introduce our products to Americans. Americans have appreciated that. For almost 100 years, we were the largest-selling whisky, bar none, in the United States. In fact, in Texas today, more Texans drink Canadian whisky than any other whisky.
Can we make it? Absolutely. Have we been able to sell it? You bet. The question is, how do we do that?
It's a global business. The same guys who own the best whisky in the world, according to Jim Murray at the Whisky Bible, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, also own Johnny Walker Black, Bulleit Bourbon, and Bushmills Irish Whiskey. As they're sitting at their global capex table deciding where investment should go from their company, with a fiduciary responsibility to make sure every dollar that gets invested is going to get the best return, Canada doesn't come out so well on that. That's simply because tax levels in Canada are literally the highest in the world.
What that translates into is much lower gross margins than those of our competitors in the United States, or in the U.K. in particular, and increasingly in Japan and a number of other countries that are coming on as whisky producers. There's no question that those are challenges.
I have been in the spirits business for 16 years—I was in the wine business before and in the beer business prior to that—and I would say that attracting that investment into Canada, into the Canadian business, and into the Canadian whisky category is becoming increasingly challenging. Frankly, some of our presidents talk about going to their global capex meetings, presenting very good cases for investment in the category or in the business here, and not being very successful versus their colleagues in Britain.
As I said, it's a global business. Those challenges are there. The tax measures in the last budget, as we made a point of telling people, are not helpful. At the same time, we're seeing the emergence of many new small distillers in Canada, just as we did in the beer industry and the wine industry.
We happened to be meeting with one of them shortly after the budget came out. That person, who is in Vaughan, makes an award-winning couple of whiskies. It's the Still Waters company. It makes Stalk and Barrel, which has won a number of awards. He basically said that they're small guys and they don't have a lot of economies of scale. That little bit of profit that they had forecast just as they were to go out and start looking for more a more senior level of investment was going to be taken up by the excise increases.
There's no question that there are a lot of challenges. I think I would say two things. We have demonstrated both tremendous confidence and tremendous success in maximizing our ability to deliver products that consumers around the world want, as well as developing supply chains, certainly with Mexico and especially with the United States, that allow us to do that. I made the point earlier that one of the things that NAFTA does for us is that it allows North American businesses—Canadian, American, and Mexican—to compete more effectively with other similar businesses around the world. That's critically important, particularly for a relatively small country like Canada.