A Proud History of World-Class Beers,
Brewed Right Here in Ontario

Click here for 'Ontario's Brewing Heritage' an interactive history of the province's favourite brewFrom its inception, the foundation of the Ontario economy was built on the supply and demand of a few basic commodities: fur, lumber and beer.

Our early beer industry started with small brewers-craftsmen who applied their Old World skills to brewing unique, personal beers. It was a regional business, producing regional beers to satisfy regional tastes.

With the arrival of the 20th century, Prohibition, the Depression and two world wars many small brewers were forced to close down or consolidate. The number of breweries was reduced to an all-time low. Advanced technology gave rise to large breweries and mass production.

The Brewing Renaissance in Canada

In the 1980's, after decades of flat sales, a resurgence of Canadian independent brewing began. The passion and commitment of these entrepreneurs helped expand the market. This 'flavour revolution' created a renewed interest in beer among a new generation of consumers.

In 1984, Jim Brickman was the first craft brewery to start up in Ontario, and is credited with pioneering the present day craft brewing renaissance in Canada. Soon after, several other independent breweries joined the movement with a focus on hand-crafted beers. These audacious brewers were determined to prove that Canadian beer drinkers were ready for something that had been missing for over 60 years: better taste and variety.

The so-called "Renaissance of craft-brewing" has spawned a concentration of small breweries rivaling some of the great brewing areas of Europe!"
Oliver Dawson, Respected Beer Historian

The Pride Continues

In 2003, many of the new-generation brewers joined forces under the name Ontario Craft Brewers. The formation of this group heralded a rebirth of our once proud regional brewing heritage. What was considered a 'passing fad' put the "craft" back in brewing.

As they did in colonial days, Ontario's craft brewers play a key role in the local economy through their community involvement.

Today, the OCB is proud to continue the tradition of delivering a portfolio of beers that offer the discerning beer drinker a choice of unique styles and taste.

A Look to the Future

"The one constant in the brewing business is change. The test our craft brewers face is meeting the challenges of an ever-changing market without compromising their product and service."
Allen Sneath, author of Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry

"Ontario craft brewers are involved in a long term strategic plan that will change the face of the Ontario beer industry forever. We have 30 diverse breweries, that have joined together to embrace this plan and build on their passion for brewing great tasting beer."
Gary McMullen, Chairman, Ontario Craft Brewers

Equal parts art and science, the making of craft beer can lead to obsessive behaviour. Click here.