Molson Brewery

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Molson-Coors Canada, Inc.
Subsidiary of Molson Coors Brewing Company
Industry Beverages
Founded 1786 in Montreal, Quebec
Founder John Molson
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Dave Perkins (CEO) and Kelly Brown (CLO)
Products Beer
Owner Molson Coors Brewing Company
Number of employees

The Molson Brewery was formed in Montreal in 1786. It is the second oldest company in Canada after the Hudson's Bay Company.[citation needed] In 2005 Molson merged with US-based Coors to form Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world's seventh-largest brewing company at that time. The Canadian division of the Molson Coors Brewing Company is Molson-Coors Canada Inc.. Molson's first brewery was located on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal where the Molson family continues to maintain its operations today.


1924 advertisement; "Fifty six years ago when Sir John A. Macdonald/ was first premier of the Dominion of Canada/ in 1867, MOLSON'S ALE was then 81 years old!"

Founded in Montreal in 1786, the Molson Brewery is the oldest brewery in North America and continues to produce beer on the site of the original brewery.[1][2] The company brews and markets a number of the most popular brands of beer in Canada. Domestic labels include Molson Canadian, Molson M, Molson Export, Molson Dry, Molson Exel De-Alcoholized beer, Old Style Pilsner, Rickard’s, Creemore Springs and Granville Island Brewing. Through partnerships with other major brewers, Molson Coors Canada also offers a diverse portfolio of beer brands, including Coors Light, Corona, Miller Genuine Draft (ending in 2015[3]), Heineken, Foster's Lager and Tiger. Molson employs 3,000 people in Canada and operates five breweries in locations across the country (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Moncton and St. John's), as well as the Creemore micro-brewery in Ontario and Granville Island Brewing in British Columbia. Molson Coors Canada is part of the Molson Coors Brewing Company.

The Montreal facility is the oldest brewery in North America, with operations ongoing on the site of the original brewery since the time of founding. Although the plant has undergone numerous transformations, the cellars once used to store beer are still intact beneath the current building.[citation needed]

Molson Brewery

On May 2, 1782, at the age of 18, John Molson left England for Canada, landing in Montreal on June 26. Shortly after his arrival, he began working at the Thomas Loyd brewery. He went on to purchase it in an auction in 1784. Not long after his arrival in Montreal in 1782, Molson sensed the market potential for beer in the then British colony. Prices for wine, rum and port were rising and an influx of English and Irish immigrants were particularly partial to beer. When he came of legal age, Molson used the money inherited from his parents to acquire a small brewery housed in a wooden building on the shores of the St Lawrence, just outside the fortifications of the burgeoning City of Montreal.

In 1785 he temporarily closed his business to cross the Atlantic in search of the modern equipment and ingredients. Upon his return, he offered the seeds free of charge to neighbouring Montreal farmers who agreed to grow them to satisfy the brewery's need for malt. Molson delivered his first brew, an ale in 1786, only six weeks after taking the helm. Priced at five cents a bottle, his brew sold well.

Molson took advantage of the many business opportunities of the time. He quickly diversified his investments, opened a lumber yard and began issuing loans to local Montreal merchants. In 1816, the family enterprise began to take shape when founder John Molson entered into an association with his three sons, John junior, Thomas and William.

Although brewing proved to be Molson's most sustainable field of endeavour, other activities were added down through the company's lengthy history. Molson was the first company to own and operate a fleet of steamboats which were used to transport people and goods between Quebec and Ontario. John Molson and his sons also founded the Molson Bank which later merged with Bank of Montreal.

In 1816 John Molson formed a partnership with his three sons – John, Thomas and William. It was Thomas who would eventually follow in his father’s footsteps by continuing the Molson brewing tradition and upholding the high standards of quality. In 1903, inspired by the popularity of imported beers, Herbert Molson, Thomas’ grandson, and brew master John Hyde created Molson Export, an authentic Ale brewed in the classic style developed by John Molson.

Molson Brewery considerably expanded the breadth of corporate activities throughout the 20th century. In 1945 the family decided to transform the company into a public, limited liability enterprise. It then became possible to acquire an ownership in the company without being a member of the Molson family. This made it possible for the company to expand and inaugurate a new brewery in Toronto in 1955. Two years later in 1957, the family acquired the Montreal Forum and the Montreal Canadiens. The company continued to develop and, in 1958, acquired six breweries which included five establishments in Western Canada, lending Molson nationwide presence. In 1989, the company consolidated market share in Quebec through a merger with Carling O'Keefe. As a result, Molson became the largest brewery in Canada and the fifth largest in the world.

In 2005 Molson merged with US-based Coors to form Molson Coors Brewing Company. This was followed in 2007 by the opening of a new brewery in Moncton, New Brunswick. Sixth generation family member Eric Molson retired in 2009; however, his sons Andrew and Geoff continue to be active in company affairs as members of the corporate Board of Directors.[4]


Molson Coors is dual headquartered, with head offices located in Denver, Colorado, & Montreal, Quebec. The Canadian operational headquarters is located in Toronto (in addition to several breweries across Canada). United Kingdom headquarters is in Burton upon Trent.

Molson Coors Canada is part-owner of The Beer Store in Ontario Brewers Retail Inc., operating as a beer distribution and retail chain, which (protected by legislation) has an over 85% market share of total Ontario industry beer sales. Molson Coors Canada owns 50% of Brewers Distribution Limited in Western Canada.

Molson Coors bought Creemore Springs Brewery on 22 April 2005.[5]

The operations of Molson Coors in Brazil were sold to the Mexican group FEMSA in 2006, and the beer operations of FEMSA was acquired by Heineken International in 2010.

On October 9, 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors agreed to combine their U.S. operations in a joint venture called Miller Coors. SABMiller is to own 58% of the unit, which is to operate in the U.S. and Puerto Rico but not Canada, where Molson Coors is strongest. Molson Coors is to own 42%, but the parties are to have equal voting power.[2]


Molson-Coors brands in Canada and the United States include Molson Canadian (lager), Molson Canadian Light, Molson Canadian 67, Coors Light, Coors Light Iced T, Molson M, Molson Ice, Molson Golden, Molson Export (ale), Molson Dry, Molson XXX, Stock Ale, Rickard's, Old Style Pilsner, Carling, Keystone Lager, Keystone Light, Bohemian, and Calgary Export. In Brazil, Molson owns partial stakes in the Brazilian brands Bavaria and Kaiser (which is now owned by Heineken), after acquisitions and disposals in 2000, 2002 and 2006. Molson Coors Canada has the marketing and selling rights for Corona brands, marketing and selling rights for Heineken in Canada, and marketing and selling rights for Miller brands in Canada. Beginning in 2007, Molson Coors announced a joint venture with Miller's parent to create MillerCoors, which handles production and distribution for both companies' American brands in the US market.

Molson factory in Old Montreal

On June 20, 2009, the brothers Geoff Molson, Andrew Molson, and Eric Molson announced the purchase of 80.1% of the Montreal Canadiens from Colorado businessman George Gillett. The Canadiens have historically been the NHL's most successful hockey team. Along with the current majority ownership that the Molson brothers have of the team, the Molson company has owned all or portions of the Montreal Canadiens. In June 2009, the consortium led by the Molson brothers acquired the remaining 19.9% of the team that had been held by the company. Among many sports sponsorships, Molson and/or Coors also have deals with the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings, and their beverages can be purchased at other sports venues, such as the home of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center and the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center


In the 1980s and 1990s, the company sponsored auto racing and motorsports events. When the CART Indycar Series and the NHRA Drag Racing Series sanctioned events in Canada, Molson would sponsor many of those events.

On 19 July 1995, Molson announced the release of its "I am Online" strategy, which was centred on its "I am Canadian" advertising campaign and would focus on music, entertainment and hockey with an emphasis on Canadian content.[6] The company purposely avoided making the website "corporate" and static, and instead "decided its site had to be continuously updated and rely on interaction with users".[6]

In early October 1995, what would become a popular fantasy hockey component was released; it allowed website visitors to register accounts and participate in nine-team leagues in which the visitor would be the general manager for one of those teams.[7] The general manager would draft a team from a pool of NHL players, and could later negotiate trades with other teams in the league.[7] Disputes would be arbitrated by a commissioner by email.[7] The site included daily updates of NHL statistics, and also featured content from the Hockey Hall of Fame.[7] On 24 May 1996, Molson Breweries won the International Digital Media Award for best website of 1995.[8] "I am Online" was an advertising success, and Molson Canadian sales "grew significantly with entry level drinkers, particularly the college educated segment".[9] By 1996, its market share in Ontario had grown 12% compared to 1994, and by 8% in English-speaking Canada.[9]

In 2000 Molson attracted a great deal of media attention with its "I am Canadian" advertising campaign. The original sixty second commercial of Joe Canada tried to define what it means to be Canadian based on many light-hearted and stereotypical images of Canada. This campaign generated much publicity and national pride. The ad campaign received a Bronze Lion award at the international advertising awards in Cannes, France. Since then, Molson has transitioned from their old advertising agency, Bensimon Byrne, in favour of another Toronto based shop, Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Molson Canadian advertising in the United States is handled by Taxi New York, an advertising firm with Canadian roots.

After the Molson Inc. merger with the American Coors company, on 14 March 2005, the Molson Coors Brewing Company announced that it was retiring its "I Am Canadian" advertising slogan for the new tagline "It Starts Here".[10] Shortly after, a Molson TV advertising campaign started, with Canadian actor Jason Jones portraying an American spokesperson who played upon the stereotypes of American ignorance of Canadian culture. Molson Canadian went through a significant re-staging during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games where Molson Canadian Hockey House became "the" venue outside of competition venues. The new "made from Canada" advertising caught the hearts, minds and stomachs of Canadians and the brand saw share growth in early 2010. Molson Canadian remains a core strategic brand in the portfolio in Canada.

Molson Coors has launched the world’s only microcarbonated lager in November 2009, calling it Molson M. In order to keep the secret of this injection of CO2 carbonation that results in conserving the taste of the hops better and the flavours generated by the yeast during fermentation, Molson has decided to apply for a patent on the microcarbonation process involved in making the beer.

Molson Coors Canada was also named to the 2011 list of top employers in Canada, as well as in the Greater Toronto Area. In 2010 Molson Coors Canada was recognized by "I Love Rewards" as one of the top 50 most engaged companies in Canada. Molson Coors Canada was also one of the top ten "regional winners" in pursuit of the top ten most admired cultures in Canada, as determined by Waterhouse Human Capital. Molson Coors Canada was also one of the finalists for Marketer of the Year by Marketing Magazine. In Quebec Molson Coors Canada is seen as one of the most philanthropic companies in 2010. Molson Coors Canada's commitment to community has been evidenced for over 224 years.


My beer has been universally well-liked beyond my most sanguine expectations. - John Molson, 1786

"We are all members of a larger community which depends on everyone playing a part," John Molson speaking to employees in 1825

"An honest brew makes its own friends," John Molson, and displayed on Molson Canadian packaging today


Main article: Molson Coors brands

Molson brands include Carling Black Label and Molson Canadian.


Other ventures[edit]

Main article: Molson family

Outside of beer and ice hockey, the Molson family were pioneers in steamships, hospitality, assisting with the building of the Montreal Hospital, patrons of the arts, and until 1925, involved in banking too, through Molson Bank which merged with The Bank of Montreal. Molson was once the owner of home improvement chains Beaver Lumber and Aikenhead's Home Improvement Warehouse. In February 1994, Molson sold 75% interest in Aikenhead's to Home Depot Inc for $150 million [1] and later Beaver Lumber to Home Hardware in 1999.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beer Brewing | Drinking Beer". Molson Coors. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  2. ^ Jae-kyoung, Kim (2008-05-14). "Centennial Firms Dry up in Korea". Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Molson internal publications
  5. ^ "". 2005-04-22. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  6. ^ a b McHutchion, John (20 July 1995). "Molson uncaps Internet site aimed at young adults". Toronto Star (Toronto Star Newspapers). 
  7. ^ a b c d Summerfield, Patti (16 October 1995). "Hockey Net in Canada: Molson scores with fantasy league". strategy (Brunico Communications). Retrieved 2003-03-27. 
  8. ^ "Int’l. Digital Media Awards". Playback Staff. Playback (Brunico Communications). 3 June 1996. Retrieved 2003-03-27. 
  9. ^ a b Durnan, Bill; Fitzgerald, Mark; Davis, Rick (1997). "Canadian Advertising Success Stories" (PDF). Canadian Congress of Advertising. MacLaren McCann. Retrieved 2003-03-27. 
  10. ^ Molson | News Room | News Room |[dead link]

External links[edit]