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Canadian Breweries Limited

Canadian Breweries Limited

Canadian Breweries Limited was an Ontario based holding company in the brewery industry. Originally named Brewing Corporation of Ontario, E. P. Taylor created the company in 1930 by merging Bradings Breweries Limited and Capital Brewing of Ottawa and Kuntz Brewery of Waterloo, Ontario. Soon afterward, Taylor acquired British American Brewing Company, a Windsor, Ontario brewery founded in 1882 and Carling Brewing Co., founded in London, Ontario in 1840.

Even when Canadian provinces prohibited alcohol consumption, federal law did not affect production for export. For some breweries, particularly those close to the U.S. border, a period of prosperity existed during Prohibition in the United States. E.P. Taylor also served as Vice President of Burmuda Export Co., a brewery industry company that aimed to control prices and exports of beer. Okeefe Brewery was added to Taylor's brewery interests in 1934.

Taylor's expansion was aggressive and, during the 1930s and 1940s, his holding company acquired about thirty Canadian brewers. The company changed its name to the Brewing Corporation of Canada and then to Canadian Breweries Limited in 1937. The company became part of the Argus Corporation when that company was founded by Taylor and others in 1945. Canadian Breweries Limited was named for its two largest subsidiaries and became Carling O'Keefe. Later, the company was controlled by Elders IXL, then merged with Molson to become part of Molson Coors Brewing Company.

During the mid 20th century, Canadian prosecutors charged Canadian Breweries with being part of an illegal combine by its participation in a series of mergers that were a detriment to the public by lessening price competition. The company's successful defence argued that rules did not apply to liquor sales, a business sector where prices were already regulated through legislation. A Canadian federal commission on corporate concentration also held that while Canadian Breweries had used questionable tactics to reduce competition, the concurrent growth of Molson and Labatt maintained adequate competition in the brewing industry.

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