Initiated by Riversedge Developments, the Brewery Block
team is exploring the viability of salvaging the historic Soo Fall’s Brewery and reintegrating the landmark as a vibrant part of the community.
Original image provided by the Sault Ste. Marie Museum
Northern entrepreneurs, Andrew J. Short and Casimir Kocat establish the Soo Falls Brewing Company in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
Built in 1899, the brewery commences operation early in 1900. The plant produces lager and porter with a capacity of 15,000 barrels.
The Doran, Mackey and Fee interests acquire all outstanding shares of the Soo Falls Brewing Co. and continue operations under the existing name of Soo Falls. In the early years most beer sold was in wooden cooperage, bottling was done by hand.
Employees of Doran's Northern Ontario Breweries purchase the Company back from Canadian Breweries becoming the first employee owned brewing company in North America.
Independence leads to a new corporate name, Northern Breweries Ltd. Begins to market outside of Northern Ontario.
Southern Ontario brewers make plans to sell draught beer in Northern Ontario threatening hundreds of jobs in the North. Mr. Arthur A. Wishart, Q.C., former Minister of Justice and Attorney General is appointed to investigate and recommend on the problem.
Recommends Brewers in Northern Ontario sell in the North and that no brewer in Southern Ontario can ship to Northern Ontario. The report notes the loss of jobs would be a burden since the industry received no Government subsidies while contributing over two million dollars a year to Provincial and Federal Coffers.
Purchased by an investment group, the company announces a major rebranding effort, retiring many of its old products in favour of more modern brews.
Brewery Proper & Office Building
Drawing by: A.B. Antalfy
End of an Era
Justus Veldman, CEO of Riversedge Developments purchases the historical brewery building with the assistance of partners to explore the viability of salvaging a regional landmark.
Ontario Temperance Act introduced. All three plants in the Doran’s group, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Fort William (Thunder Bay) are hard pressed to keep going. Some difficulties circumvented by establishing ordering offices in Michigan, Quebec and Minnesota.
Soo Falls Brewing Co. survives by developing its own soft drink brands, later to be replaced by contracts to bottle Coca-Cola (until 1932) then Pepsi Cola, followed by Crush, Seven-Up, and Canada Dry. Soft drink operations keep brewery personnel employed and plants ready for operation when prohibition is lifted.
Labatt manager Hugh Mackenzie hires J. Walter Thompson Co. to position beer as an established part of Canadian life. Canadian breweries make strides through amalgamation and re-organization of existing plants.
In Northern Ontario, mechanized bottling shops are installed at each Doran’s group location and continue operation throughout the war years.
Soo Falls Brewing Co. begins quota production and rationing under the War Time Prices and Trades Board Order of 1942. Employees enlist. Canadian breweries contribute to the war effort by collectively supplying beer to troops overseas.
Acquired by E.P. Taylor’s Canadian Breweries Ltd. The Company maintains it’s identity by operating under the name of Doran's Northern Ontario Breweries.
The operations of Soo Falls Brewing Co. Ltd., Sudbury Brewing & Malting Co. Ltd., the Port Arthur Beverage Co., the Kakabeka Falls Brewing Co. Ltd. and Doran's Brewery Limited in Timmins relinquish their names and are consolidated as Doran's Northern Ontario Breweries Ltd.
Northern Breweries, an integral part of life in Northern Ontario since it’s inception as Soo Falls Brewing Co. in 1900, closes it’s doors.
BREAK TIME AT SOO FALLS
From the left, Charles McAllister, Alex Patton, others unknown.
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