Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry

Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry

Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry

Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry

Synopsis

The Canadian brewing industry predates Confederation by two hundred years; Canada boasts the oldest, continuously operating brewery in North America. Canadian brewers have survived the persecution of the Temperance Movement and Prohibition, the Great Depression, two World Wars and the challenge of Free Trade. Today, brewing in Canada is a 10 billion dollar business whose one constant is change.

From its colonial past to the microbrewery renaissance, Brewed in Canadais a passionate narrative of individual power, colourful characters, family rivalries and foreign ownership. Individual stories tell of personal success and failure, bankruptcies, takeovers, consolidation and rationalization. As men of influence, these brewers made significant contributions to their local communities and the country. Beyond the day-to-day operation of their brewing business, some would make their mark in politics, while others built churches, hospitals and helped establish universities. A commitment to community service - and to brewing excellence - continues today.

Excerpt

In 1982, an unassuming English immigrant in his fifties established a small brewery in British Columbia that would spark a quiet revolution in this country’s three-hundred-year-old brewing industry. It was a modest beginning, but John Mitchell’s business venture gave birth to an idea that in time would challenge the very foundation of Canada’s brewing establishment.

Slight in stature, with the demeanour of a prep school teacher, John was outspoken about the homogenization of the beer being produced at that time. He was the first to produce cask-conditioned “real” ale in North America, and clearly pioneered the way for others to follow. In reflection, I’m sure John was not motivated by the idea of starting a brewing renaissance, but if credit goes to anyone for inspiring the microbrewery movement in this country, it must go to him.

John came to Canada in 1954 from England, where he had trained at London’s Westminster Technical Institute and had worked as a chef at the Mayfair Hotel. He’ll be the first to admit his main interest in beer in those days was drinking it. After settling in Vancouver, he worked for the next twenty years in the hotel business as a bar manager. It was during this period that neighbourhood pubs began to appear in the city, a . . .

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