Thursday, 18 December 2008

Brewed in Canada

From the Publisher:
Today, brewing in Canada is a $10 billion business. From the colonial past to the microbrewery renaissance, Brewed In Canada is a passionate narrative of individual power, colourful characters, family rivalries and foreign ownership.

About the Author
Allen Winn Sneath knows his subject matter well. As an ad agency executive for over 25 years, he developed some of the Canadian beer industry''s most memorable ad campaigns and was a founding partner in the Algonquin Brewing Company.

Brewed in Canada tells the story of the Canadian beer industry from the original small town breweries that sprung up in Canada, as early as 1646 when Jesuits constructed the first brewery at Sillery in Quebec, to 2001 when the book was written and published. Even though much has happened since this book is still an interesting, well written and informative read.

The stories are entertainingly told of brewing empires built by John Molson who built North Americas longest existing brewery, John Kinder Labatt, Alexander Keith, the Oland family rivalry (Moosehead) and E.P Taylors Canadian Breweries Empire which became Carling-O'Keefe.

The book is a very complete story of many of the colourful characters who created breweries which either went under or were absorbed by the mega breweries. I especially enjoyed the story of "Uncle" Ben Ginter, brewery owner and promoter.

It tells of the shrinking of the Canadian beer industry into 3 mega breweries, then 2, the invasion of American branding on Canadian brewed beer, the impact of the free trade agreement on the Canadian brewery scene, the revival of the small regional craft breweries and their fight for survival.

The book even told of the beer bottle and it's development. Originally every brewery had their own bottle. In the 1960s, the brewers agreed to standardize to one bottle for all, the mighty stubby (I still miss it). Then in the 1980s they broke away from that to again all having their own bottles and in the 1990s again agreed to standardize but this time to the long neck American-style bottle.

Click the stubby link above which will take you to a great website on the Canadian stubby.

It was an very enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good brew. It is available at the Toronto Public Library and is currently 80% off at Chapters-Indigo.

1 comment:

Trish said...

Hey Gord - The book looks really cool and I'm going to check it out. I'm going to be reading another one soon - A history of the world in 6 glasses - if you haven't come across it, I'll let you know about it.