Upon a Brewery: Part 3
continued to guide the company until the age of 74; in 1925, he
disposed of his major holdings in the company to Detroit investors
the change in ownership in 1925, the company invested $500,000 in
capital improvements. A $50,000 bottling line extension was installed-
the most up to date in the province at the time. No human hands
touched the bottle nor its contents until after the bottle had been
filled, capped and sterilized.
capacity was increased to 200,000 barrels, staffed by 140 men, with
an additional 25 bodies during summer months, to handle increased
May 1925, the Ontario Government legalized the sale of 4.4 proof
spirit beer called "Fergies Foam". The Walkerville Brewery shipped
approximately 4,500 cases and 750 eight gallon and 13 gallon kegs
in its first day! Huge crowds paraded the streets and jammed hotel
lobbies and beverage rooms in the Border Cities, anxious to quaff
the new 4.4 beer.
Liquor Control Act of Ontario came into effect on June 1st
1927; pre- prohibition beer was made available to the public, effectively
ending Prohibition in Canada.
the forty-four breweries that operated prior to prohibition only
15 remained; Walkerville Brewery was one of them. Full strength
beer was for home consumption only, and hotels and taverns were
only allowed only to serve 4.4 beer or ale.
1927, the Brewer's Warehousing Company was granted a charter for
the distribution and sale of all brewery products along with the
retail outlets attached to the breweries and a government inspector
at each store.
Detroit newspaper hailed the Motor City as the wettest city in the
United States, despite continuing prohibition in the USA. Though
four separate government agencies were enforcing prohibition laws,
Canadian breweries and distillers were able to creatively move their
product across the border.
1928, a $75,000 office building was built next to the plant. Walkerville
introduced John Bull Ale about this time. With the collapse of the
stock market in October 1929, and the beginning of the Great Depression,
the market for beer also collapsed. Only the export business kept
the company afloat, but with prohibition still in force in the USA,
many breweries operated at less than 20 % capacity.
1934, the Ontario Liberal Government announced the legalization
of full strength beer by the glass, allowing standard hotels to
operate beverage rooms. In Windsor, the first license was issued
to the Norton Palmer Hotel- by 10:30 am on July 24th, beer was flowing
in most of the local hotels and clubs, to great aplomb.
promote the sale of Walkerville beer products, the company resumed
its traditional delivery system using teams of horses hauling old
beerwagons, as in the early days of the brewery.
1939, the brewery entered foreign markets, including Trinidad, British
West Indies, Jamaica and the Barbados. At the start of World
War II, Walkerville's industrial centre generated machinery for
the war effort. With a huge demand for labour, men and women migrated
into the region, generating strong demand for beer and ale; sales
of Walkerville products soared. The brewery was producing well over
100,000 barrels of their "Old Style Lager, Rob Roy Ale" along with
porter and stout. (cont'd)
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Brewing Tradition Returns to Olde Walkerville (April/May 2000)