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Feb. 18, 1981: Beer drinkers toast end of 7-month brewery strike

Beer drinkers and brewery workers toasted the return of Canadian-made suds as the seven-month long brewery strike ended.

Brewery workers to make $13.72 per hour under a new contract that ended the strike

On Feb. 18, 1981, brewery workers headed back to work after a seven-month strike giving fans of Canadian beer something to celebrate. 1:28

Thirty-seven years ago beer drinkers in Alberta endured a brewery strike that lasted seven months and forced many to turn to drinking American-made suds.

The province's four brewers and six unions reached a settlement on a three-year contract on Feb. 18, 1981, after brewery workers walked out in July 1980.
Bar customers, like these playing shuffleboard, would soon be able to get their local brew. (CBC)

The newly-signed deal would give workers a wage of $13.72 an hour by the end of the deal.

Liquor stores and bars stockpiled Canadian beer, but as the strike dragged on, supplies ran out, resulting in "No Beer Available" signs in liquor store windows.

It took a few days after the strike ended for local beer to begin flowing again.
Beer supplies ran low during the brewery strike prompting signs in liquor store windows. (CBC)

For some beer drinkers the imported American beer, brought in to wet their whistles after Canadian suds ran out, wouldn't be missed.

"It's kind of nice to have the good old Albertan beer back really," said one bar patron.

"Canadian beer's the best. Back at it," said another.

In the video, CBC's Don Newman talks with bar patrons about the end of the strike.

About the Author

John Zazula

Associate Producer

John Zazula is an associate producer at CBC and has been with the Corp. for more than 15 years. As a lifelong Edmontonian, John brings that experience to the job.