History of Beer in Quebec City
That beverage appreciated around the world
since the dawn of civilization, beer was an important fixture of life from the
earliest days of the French colony in Quebec City. In those days, the consumption
of beer was above all motivated by a desire to remedy a diet whose shortcomings
led to scurvy. The first batches of beer were brewed in private residences and
In Quebec City, Louis Hébert's family was
in possession of a large brewing cauldron as early as 1627. It serves to brew
the beer that the family needs, and perhaps also for settlers in the vicinity.
It is probably this very cauldron that Champlain uses in 1633 in order to amuse
his Huron friends.
The Jesuits build their own brewery in Sillery as early
as 1646 in order to furnish their community with the beer it needed, while during
the same period the Récollets in Notre-Dame-des-Anges start a craft brewery.
The Brasserie de l'Habitation produces beer for the residents of Quebec,
who nonetheless prefer brandy and wine, which they import in large quantities
In 1668, the Intendant Talon has the Brasserie du Roi constructed.
By offering a beverage that is healthy, safe and affordable, he hopes to halt
the public disorderliness that can be attributed to the excessive use of hard
liquor, while at the time assuring that more money will be spent in the colony.
In Montreal, the Brasserie de Montréal is sufficient for the needs
of settlers from 1650 to 1670, at which date a second brewery opens in Longueuil.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the Charron brotherhood adds a brewery to
their facilities, in order to be able to provide beer to the poor lodged there.
activity gradually disappears during the French Regime, reappearing with the arrival
of the Loyalists from the American colonies, who import beer from England. It
is at this moment that true brewers arrive from England.
Industry in Quebec City
The brewing industry develops rapidly in Quebec's
lower city during the 19th century. The majority of establishments are held by
British brewers and shareholders.
St. Roc Brewery (1791-1842)
a distillery, then a spruce beer brewery, the St. Roc Brewery was also known by
the name Quebec and Halifax Company Brewery.
Cape Diamond Brewery (1800-
Founded by Robert Lester, this brewery would change hands often. In 1816,
Peter Bréhaut buys it from Thomas Dunn. By 1830, it belongs to John Racey.
Tremain (circa 1824)
Thomas Wilson (1821-1828)
Rémi Quirouet (1821-1828)
Around 1820, four new breweries are founded in the
vicinity of the St. Roc Brewery. By the end of the decade, the only remaining
one, Racey's Brewery, is sold to J. K. Boswell in 1843.
Duncan McCallum builds a new brewery across from the St. Roc
Brewery. It becomes the leading brewery in Quebec City and is sold to Thomas Lloyd
and Paul Lepper (1845), the Molson brothers of Montreal (1857), and then William
St. Charles Brewery (1842-1870)
Formerly the St.
Roc Brewery, it is also known by the name Lloyd and Lepper Brewery.
Brewery (circa 1840)
Located in the Ilot Saint-Nicolas sector, this brewery
is the property of Henry Joseph Jameson.
Fox-Head Brewery (1895- )
by Mr. Amyot and Mr. Gauvin, the brewery starts production at 58 quarts per day.
and Carignan (1891-1910)
At the end of the 19th century, this new brewery
occupies the site of the former St. Roch Brewery.
Champlain Brewery (1911-1952)
its inception, it produces 125 barrels of beer a day and employs 50 people.
J. K. Boswell moves his brewery from Saint-Paul street
to occupy the ruins of the Intendant's palace. Production of Boswell beer ceases
in 1952, making way for Dow beer.
Dow Brewery (1952-1968)
beer is brewed in the facilities formerly occupied by the Boswell Brewery. The
Dow Brewery was the last of the industrial breweries in Quebec City to close its
The golden age of the brewing industry in Quebec's lower city can
be realistically situated between 1820 and 1850, at which time small breweries
Industrial Brewers, Micro-Breweries, Craft Brewers and
In 1909, the National Breweries consortium is born, of which
the majority of industrial brewers are members. Only the Molson and Frontenac
breweries in Montreal and the Champlain Brewery in Quebec City resist the trend
towards a monopoly.
In 1950, there is once again a consolidation among breweries,
the larger ones absorbing the smaller. The first micro breweries are established
in the latter part of the 1980's. Small establishments that brew, bottle and market
new beers on a limited scale, they offer products distinct from the wares of industrial
Parallel to this, craft brewers gradually open their own establishments:
brew pubs. The particular vocation of craft brewers is to continually experiment,
perfecting new varieties of beer. The end result of this effort is only available
for consumption on the brewing premises.
L'INOX Continues a 300
L'INOX came into being in 1987, following the association
of three individuals sharing a common passion for beer: Pierre Turgeon, André
Jean, and Roger Roy. In addition to experimenting with beer, their seek to have
direct contact with those that will consume their brew.
They set up shop
in an old warehouse (which they renovate), at the very heart of a neighbourhood
that has a long brewing tradition.
Their first batch, an amber ale, is started
on November 20th, 1987, and served several weeks later on December 12th. Over
the years, the three master brewers keep certain recipes that have proved their
worth, all the while putting new ones to the test in order to offer their clientele,
always keen for new discoveries, beers that are both remarkable and unique