Instructor: Professor Matthew Bellamy

Course Description:

StreamlinerDid you ever wonder why we are in the midst of a craft beer revolution? And why it is called a “revolution”? For one, what were the craft brewers rebelling against? Are you curious to learn how Canadians came to drink so much beer? Look closely at a Molson Canadian bottle (“established in 1789”) or a bottle of Labatt Blue (“since 1847”): these beer companies were around before Confederation.  Can you imagine what type of individuals started the historic breweries and managed to survive through the decades? Do you know what was the status of these entrepreneurs in Canadian society? Have you ever seen the archaeological remains of factories and pubs?  Do you know why there was not always as many international beer brands available in bars and restaurants before as there are now? Why is the best-selling beer in Canada today American? How important have the making and purchasing of beer been in the Canadian economy as a whole? The answers to all of these intoxicating questions are historical and will be explored in this class on the Canadian brewing industry.

In the course we will travel back in time to the founding of Canada’s first commercial brewery in 1670 and then follow the development of the industry through the decades to the present. We will examine the birth of the Canadian brewing industry; the effect of technology on the early evolution of the industry; brewing and the spirit of Canadian capitalism; the causes of the rise of teetotalism and the response of the brewers of the nation; the effect of wars, economic depressions and free trade on brewing and beer drinking; prohibition, bootlegging, and the role of the brewers in creating a beer-drinking nation; beer advertising and marketing; the making of national brands like Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue during the 1960s; the relationship between the brewing industry and sport; the globalization of the Canadian brewing; and the craft-beer revolution.

The Pioneer BreweryIn the process, we will learn the rudiments of all business history, from the multimedia documents and archives used to investigate enterprises, to the methods, the approaches, and their  main themes such as entrepreneurship, innovation, globalization, state-intervention, branding and marketing, corporate social responsibility, and technology.

Your mark in the course will be made up of a series of small in-class and take home assignments, several on topics of your own choice, and a two-hour final exam.

I look forward to exploring this topic with you. If any further information is requested, please do not hesitate to contact me at or drop by my office at 449 Paterson Hall.