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E.P. Taylor on the future of brewing

The Story

It's 1961 and E.P. Taylor, legendary Canadian businessman, has just opened "Ontario's largest brewery" in Toronto. The CBC wants his opinion on the future of Canada's brewing industry. The future is very bright, he believes - as the population increases, so do the number of beer drinkers. "I think [the industry] will continue to expand as the country grows," says Taylor, owner of the Canadian Brewing Corporation. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television Special
Broadcast Date: June 6, 1961
Guest: E.P. Taylor
Duration: 1:05

Did You know?

• Unlike many Canadian brewing industry pioneers, E.P. Taylor wasn't actually a brewer. His strength was in his business philosophies - he believed in the power of consolidating breweries for maximum efficiency and profit. There were so many unsuccessful breweries in Ontario, he thought, that their only chance of staying in business was through consolidation.

• In the late 1920s, the young entrepreneur presented his ideas to Brading Breweries as a member of their board of directors. With their help, he set out to implement what he called his "Grand Design" for consolidating the beer industry. He started by purchasing the nearly bankrupt Kuntz Brewery in Waterloo, Ont. Next he bought the Canadian Brewing Corporation in 1930, which already controlled Toronto's Dominion Brewery, two small Hamilton, Ont., breweries and two Manitoba breweries.

• In 1930, he also purchased London's Carling Breweries Ltd., which was considered Ontario's most modern plant. That same year, he changed his corporation's name to Brewing Corporation of Canada Ltd. Over the next few years, he went on to buy nine more breweries, including Toronto's O'Keefe Brewing Company.
• By 1937, he had changed the name again to Canadian Brewing Corporation. The company would go by this name for almost 40 years, until it changed to Carling O'Keefe in the 1970s.

• Taylor's Canadian Brewing Corporation owned approximately 60 per cent of the Ontario brewing business by 1939.
• There wasn't much growth in Canadian brewing during the Second World War. But in the postwar decade, E.P Taylor was on the move again. Among his many transactions in the '50s and '60s, he bought Quebec's National Breweries in 1951, reorganizing it and naming it Dow Brewery Ltd. He also made an overseas partnership with a British Brewery called Hope & Anchor Brewery.

• During the 1950s and 1960s, Labatt and Molson followed Taylor's lead and started aggressively expanding across the country. Labatt purchased several Manitoba breweries, expanded its main plant in London, Ont., opened a state-of-the-art brewery outside of Montreal, and purchased a brewery in British Columbia in the 1950s, with several purchases following in the '60s. The Montreal-based Molson made its move into Ontario in 1955 with a new, $11-million plant in Toronto. Molson went on to purchase breweries in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Manitoba.

• E.P Taylor is credited with having "cleared the playing field," allowing Molson and Labatt to enter positions of market dominance.
• By the mid-1960s, the number of breweries in Canada had been reduced to only 52, all thanks to the consolidation methods of E.P. Taylor. The majority were controlled by the "big three" - Molson, Labatt, and Taylor's Canadian Breweries (later to be known as Carling O'Keefe).

• E.P. Taylor was known for much more than just his impact on the beer industry. In the 1950s, he came up with the idea for the development of the unprecedented "planned community" of Don Mills, just outside of Toronto; Canada's first planned community. He was also involved in pulp and paper, broadcasting, agricultural implements, mining and the food industry. He was a horse owner and breeder as well; in 1964, his horse Northern Dancer became the first Canadian-bred winner of the Kentucky Derby.



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