Once Upon A Brewery
and Compiled by William L. Marentette C.B.S. #194
has always been famous for two things: Hiram Walker and Canadian
Club whisky. But did you know that this community was renowned for
the quality of a premium beer brewed right here from 1885-1956,
and then reborn in 1998?
Walker was a man who never rested on his laurels. Having lived through
two bankruptcies, the Civil War in the USA, a depression to rival
the Great Depression of 1929, he was constantly innovating his businesses
and expanding his empire. In 1885, he embarked into the field of
proposed to brew the finest and purest lager beer ever made in Canada
from the choicest Canadian malts and hops. Like his whisky business,
Walker accepted no compromise with any venture he entered into-
nothing but the finest ingredients and equipment would do.
the entire wealth of Walker's empire backing the Walkerville Brewing
Company, the most modern brewing equipment of the day was obtained.
A magnificent building was unveiled on Fifth St. (now Walker Road)
at Wyandotte, at a cost of $180,000. Walker boasted that his brewing
process, using a vacuum fermenting system pioneered by a young German
named C. Pfaudler, would completely revolutionize the brewing industry.
Walkerville beer would become as famous among beer drinkers of Canada
as Walkers "Club" and Imperial Rye was amongst whisky drinkers in
the Dominion of Canada.
five story brewery had quarry stone foundation and cement mortar
8 feet deep; the building's face was Detroit red brick shipped by
the Walkerville ferry (one of many Walker owned enterprise). As
described in the "Walkerville Mercury" on the opening of the brewery
in August, 1890, a 12 x 30 office was located on the second
floor, the brew house contained a brewing kettle with a capacity
of 2,300 gallons and a room where hops shipped from Hiram Walkers
farms and the United States were kept at a temperature of 30 to
40 degrees Fahrenheit.
brewery featured two 45 horse power steel boilers, along with various
pumps and brine tanks, condensers for racking off beer and an ice
machine that took first prize at the 1889 Paris, France World Exposition,
beating over 36 other machines of its kind. The main advantage with
this brewing system was that aging and storage was greatly reduced-
beer could be turned out in 28 to 35 days from brew kettle to market.
two story bottling plant was soon built, along with offices for
the company, two barns each with 5 stalls for the company's horses
that helped deliver kegs. A spur line from the Lake Erie, Essex
and Detroit River Railroad (a Walker owned railroad) was connected
to the plant, enabling the company to ship beer to all parts of
Hiram Walker remained only 2 years as president of the Walkerville
Brewery before turning it over to his son Edward Chandler Walker
in 1892, he guided the brewery with the same enthusiasm as all his
August 1890, the Walkerville Brewing Company produced their first
brew, soon to become their famous lager- the first batch consisted
of 70 barrels holding 32 gallons. By October, 1890 the brewery was
receiving lager orders faster than they could meet demand. In October,
an Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition was held in nearby Windsor-
the brewery had an impressive exhibit of their already famous lager
brew both in bottles and casks.
brewery soon established agencies in London, Sarnia, Toronto and
east to Montreal, where their vacuum lager was well received. In
November, the shipments began to Goderich, Kincardine, Palmerston
December 1890, the company registered their trade mark, which consisted
of a series of crosses, procured from the Department of Agriculture
in Ottawa; this was used until 1945 on all their products, buildings,
trucks and advertising items. It may be that the Walkerville registration
was Canada's first beer trade mark! (cont'd)
here to go to:
Brewing Tradition Returns to Olde Walkerville (April/May 2000)