Moosehead Breweries

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Moosehead Breweries Limited
IndustryAlcoholic beverage
FounderSusannah Oland and family
OwnerOland family
Moosehead truck

Moosehead Breweries Limited is Canada's oldest independent brewery, located in Saint John, New Brunswick. The brewery was founded in 1867 and is still privately owned and operated by the Oland family.[1] Now in the sixth generation of family ownership.

In 2003, Moosehead Lager won a Gold award at the World Beer Cup, and earned another at Monde Selection in 2005.[2] However, Monde Selection awards are non-competitive and only products that pay to enter are judged. In 2015, Moosehead won a single Gold award in the Canadian Brewing Awards where most of the winners are craft beers. In 2016, two of the company's products won a Gold and a Silver award, respectively.[3]

This company had an estimated 4 percent share of the Canadian domestic market in 2018.[4] Since all major competitors are owned by multi-nationals, Moosehead is now the largest fully Canadian-owned brewer. This is a private company that is not required to release financial information, but the IBISWorld Industry Report on Breweries in Canada stated the company was expected to generate $263.8 million in revenue over 2016.[5]


Statue given by Moosehead Breweries to the people of Saint John, New Brunswick

In 1865, Susannah Oland moved from England to Nova Scotia, Canada. With her husband John and nine other employees, Susannah opened The Army and Navy Brewery in 1867, a name that came after their most appreciative customers.[6] After John Oland's untimely death in 1870, the brewery changed its name to S. Oland, Sons and Co. Over the next eight years, the brewery faced two fires, but recovered after each. In 1886, Susannah Oland died, and the company went to her two sons, Conrad and George. With the approach of the 20th century, the company changed its name to the Maritime Brewing & Malting Co. It faced hard times once again when the Halifax Explosion of 1917 killed Conrad Oland and destroyed the brewery. A year later, George Oland and his sons moved to Halifax and bought another brewery. In 1928, George bought a second, larger brewery in the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, site of the present day facility.

In 1931, the symbol of the moose came into existence as George launched Moosehead Pale Ale. After the success of its Pale Ale, the Oland-owned brewery changed its name to Moosehead Breweries Ltd. in 1947. Thirty-one years later, in 1978, the brewery president Philip Oland expanded the brand and launched Moosehead Lager in the United States. In 1982, Derek Oland, then the president of the company (after succeeding his father P.W. Oland), expanded the company worldwide.

In his autobiography Lucky Man, Michael J. Fox relayed how he told Jay Leno as a guest on The Tonight Show, that he did not like American beer, describing it as 'too watery' and that he instead would drink Moosehead Ale. Not long afterwards, a huge truckload of Moosehead Ale made its way to Fox's house as a free gift from the company.[7]

Once a popular premium import beer in the United States that was distributed by RJR Nabisco,[8] Moosehead lost vast market share in the 1980s when it lowered its price in an attempt to compete with larger US brewers on price instead of quality and prestige.[original research?][citation needed]

Today,[when?] Derek Oland's sons Andrew, Patrick and Matthew are the sixth generation of Olands to own and work for the family brewery.[9] Andrew is the current president, Matthew is a Vice President and Patrick is the CFO. Moosehead sells its beer throughout Canada, in many US locations, and in 15 countries around the world. Moosehead USA has recently become its own importer, replacing its importing partner Gambrinus. Moosehead wholly owns the Niagara Falls Brewing Company in Ontario.

In 2005, Moosehead Lager won Gold at the prestigious Monde Selection; the company had also won Gold medals at the World Beer Cup and 2003 Canadian Brewing Awards.[10]

In 2008, Moosehead sold its minority interest in McAuslan Brewing to Les Brasseurs RJ. McAuslan will continue to brew and distribute Moosehead beer in the province of Quebec. In the same year, Derek Oland's son Andrew assumed the role of President.[11]

The annual Canadian Brewing Awards recognizes the best beers in Canada using blind taste tests.[12] Most of the 2015 and 2016 winners were craft beers. However, some were made by larger brewers, including Moosehead; this company won a Gold in 2015 for their Pale ale and a Gold and Silver, respectively for their Alpine Lager and Cracked Canoe in 2016.[13][14] For the 2017 competition, new rules allow for entries only from fully Canadian-owned breweries (and that includes Moosehead) for the 55 categories of beer.[15]

In June 2016, the company announced plans to build a small-batch brewery. In January 2017 however, Moosehead announced that the plan had been cancelled because it could not be achieved within the intended budget.[16]

In addition to overwhelming success, the Oland dynasty has also experienced tragedy with the Murder of Richard Oland who had been a Vice President of Moosehead until 1981. (Richard Oland had vied with his brother Derek for the control of Moosehead. Their father, P.W. Oland, decided to select Derek to succeed him as president; Richard subsequently left the company.)[17] On July 7, 2011, the body of 69-year-old Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office at the investment firm Far End Corp. Oland had been bludgeoned to death. His son Dennis Oland, a financial planner, was charged in 2015 with second degree murder. Throughout the high-profile court case, intimate details about the private lives of the entire family were revealed.[18] On conviction in December 2015, Dennis Oland was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 10 years.[19]

Less than a year later, in October 2016, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal threw out his conviction based on errors made by the trial judge, and ordered a new trial.[20] The Crown attorneys said they would ask the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the lower court ruling; the defense said it might request a full acquittal from the Supreme Court.[21]

In 2018, the company decided to redesign the labeling of its products for a "fresh and modern look and to attract millennial consumers while not alienating an older demographic", starting in April. At the time, Moosehead products had a 4% market share in Canada, and 5% in the province of Ontario.[22]

In 2019, the Canadian Premier League announced that Moosehead would be the official domestic brewery for the league.[23]

Corporate executives[edit]

Currently, Derek Oland is the Executive Chairman of the Company.[24] The executive team at Moosehead consists of the following people:[25][26]

  • Andrew Oland, President and CEO
  • Patrick Oland, CFO
  • Matthew Oland, Vice President Supply Chain
  • Trevor Grant, Vice President Sales & Marketing
  • Patrick Parent, Vice President Operations
  • Matt Graham, Director of International Contract Sales

Stolen batch[edit]

In August 2004 a truck driver transporting over 50,000 cans of Moosehead beer to Mexico for a Mexican supermarket chain disappeared with the beer, leaving the nearly empty transport truck abandoned in a parking lot in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Easily identified by the Spanish writing on the labels (which is not distributed in English and French speaking Canada) the beer was slowly tracked.[27]

The first signs of the missing beer showed up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, with two empty cans; another report of two cans were reported later in northern New Brunswick. Police working on a tip eventually found the truck driver in Ontario; earlier in the same week, police discovered nearly 8,000 cans of the stolen beer in a trailer that went off the road near Woodstock, New Brunswick.

With most of the beer recovered and the driver in custody,[28] the police in the New Brunswick area began to look in wooded areas for the remaining beer. Knowing the area in which the police were looking, many civilians took up the search as well. Because of the media attention on the story almost all of the beer was quickly found by civilians and police, and most of it was returned to Moosehead Breweries.

The final piece of the story occurred in October 2004 when 200 cans of the stolen beer were found at a marijuana growing operation in the forest near Doaktown, New Brunswick about 100 kilometres northeast of Fredericton.[29] "Six of the cans were discovered with bite marks in them indicating a bear had, at one point, been into the beer," the RCMP said in a news release. The release said there was no sign of either the animal or the people who had stashed the beer.[30] Eventually, after a lengthy investigation, a total of 14,000 cans were recovered. Wade Haines, a New Brunswick truck driver, was found guilty of stealing the shipment and was sentenced to 19½ months in jail.[31]

The unique and quirky nature of this crime story made international headlines and resulted in publicity for Moosehead; it has also been the basis of a book.

Second stolen batch[edit]

In September 2007, two tractor trailers carrying 77,000 cans and 44,000 bottles with a reported retail value of $200,000 were stolen from a transport company in Mississauga, Ontario. Peel Region police arrested a man from Vaughan, Ontario during the first week of October 2007 and charged him with possession of stolen property.[32] Police believe he is responsible for the theft and of selling the beer to bars and after-hours clubs and that he may not have worked alone.


Moosehead, its subsidiary The Premium Beer Company, and the McAuslan Brewery brew/market the following beverages:

  • Moosehead Lager
  • Moosehead Breweries Anniversary Ale
  • Moosehead Pale Ale
  • Cracked Canoe
  • Moose Light Lager
  • Moose Light Radler
  • Moose Light Radler Raspberry
  • Moose Light Radler Watermelon
  • Moosehead Premium Dry
  • Moosehead Dry Ice
  • Moosehead Dry Light
  • Moosehead Dry Lager
  • Alpine Lager
  • Sam Adams' Boston Lager
  • Sam Adams' Octoberfest
  • Sam Adams' Summer Ale
  • Sam Adams' Winter Lager
  • Sam Adams' Rebel IPA
  • Sam Adams' Fresh as Helles
  • Twisted Tea Original, Half & Half and Raspberry
  • Coney Island Root Beer
  • Coney Island Orange Cream
  • Coney Island Lemon Lime
  • Estrella Damm
  • Daura Damm
  • Inedit
  • Truly Spiked & Sparkling
  • Angry Orchard Hard Cider
  • Hop City Brewing Co.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Petrillo, Nick (August 2016). "IBIS World Industry Report 31212CA Breweries in Canada". IBIS World. IBIS. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  2. ^ "History - Once Upon A Moose". Moosehead. Moosehead. 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  3. ^ The Province (May 29, 2016). "Winners announced for 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards". OBN. OBN. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  4. ^ "Moosehead aligns its brands The beer co. has repackaged its four product lines to create more consistent branding". Strategy Online. The beer co. has repackaged its four product lines to create more consistent branding. line feed character in |title= at position 28 (help)
  5. ^ "IBISWorld Industry Report 31212CA - Breweries in Canada pdf file". IBISWorld. IBISWorld. August 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2017. privately owned and operated by the Oland family since its inception, and therefore does not publicly disclose its financial information
  6. ^ "Moosehead Breweries Limited". Beer Canada.
  7. ^ Michael J. Fox (April 9, 2003). Lucky Man: A Memoir. Hyperion. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-4013-9779-1. Once, on the Tonight show, Jay Leno asked me how I liked living in the States, "It's great. Except for the beer. American beer's a little watery," I confided. "So I drink Moosehead Ale, imported from Canada." A week later, sitting at my kitchen table, I heard the grinding of a large vehicle laboring up my driveway. Drawing aside the curtain, I peered out the window to see a green beer delivery truck with the giant Moosehead logo painted on the side. "There's lots more where this came from," the delivery guy said, handing me a business card. "Just give us a call when you run out."
  8. ^ "Beer Accounts Flow at McCann". January 10, 1986.
  9. ^ "HOW CEO ANDREW OLAND STEPPED BACK INTO A FAMILY BREWING DYNASTY". TEC Canada. TEC Canada. November 17, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2017. Mr. Oland was appointed president of the New Brunswick brewery in 2008 and became CEO in 2013, continuing a family chain that stretches back to Susannah Oland, who began brewing beer in 1867. Two of his brothers, Matthew and Patrick, are, respectively, Moosehead’s Vice President of Supply Chain and Chief Financial Officer.
  10. ^ "History - Once Upon A Moose". Moosehead. Moosehead. 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  11. ^ "Our Company". Moosehead. Moosehead. 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  12. ^ Suits, Mark (June 3, 2016). "Alberta breweries win big at Canadian Brewing Awards". Edmonton Journal. Edmonton. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "OCB MEMBERS TAKE 38 MEDALS AT 2016 CANADIAN BREWING AWARDS". OCB. Ontario Craft Brewers. May 28, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017. OCB members had their best year ever at the CBAs, almost doubling last year's medal haul. They took home 38 medals, including 16 golds, and Brewery of the Year
  14. ^ The Province (May 29, 2016). "Winners announced for 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards". OBN. OBN. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "Call for Entry: 2017 Canadian Brewing Awards". Mom and Hopps. OBN. January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  16. ^ The Canadian Press (January 3, 2017). "Moosehead backs away from opening small-batch brewery in Saint John". CTV News. Bell Media. Retrieved January 16, 2017. The intention of our proposed brewery was for Moosehead to expand its small-batch brewing capability and to have a place to show our passion for beer. That goal has not been lost.
  17. ^ Köhler, Nicholas (November 13, 2013). "Murder and a Maritime dynasty: The Dick Oland case". Macleans. Rogers Media. Retrieved January 23, 2017. "The younger one wanted to be president and he hadn’t the experience," P.W. once told the Financial Post Magazine coolly.
  18. ^ "Dennis Oland's mother, Connie, shares 'living hell'". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  19. ^ MacKinnon, Bobbi-Jean (February 11, 2016). "Dennis Oland gets life in prison for killing father, Richard Oland". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  20. ^ MacKinnon, Bobbi-Jean (January 3, 2017). "Dennis Oland's new murder trial date could be set today". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved January 23, 2017. Scheduling was adjourned last month as parties waited for Court of Appeal's written ruling quashing conviction
  21. ^ Bisset, Kevin (January 3, 2017). "N.B. Crown to appeal ruling overturning Dennis Oland's murder conviction". National News Watch. National Newswatch Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2017. he was surprised the Crown is filing an appeal to the Supreme Court. My understanding is that the other side could then ... appeal on some of the grounds they were denied on in the Court of Appeal in Fredericton
  22. ^ "Moosehead aligns its brands The beer co. has repackaged its four product lines to create more consistent branding". Strategy Online. The beer co. has repackaged its four product lines to create more consistent branding. line feed character in |title= at position 28 (help)
  23. ^ "Canadian Premier League Partners With Moosehead Breweries". Northern Tribune.
  24. ^ Bissett, Kevin (October 24, 2016). "Dennis Oland to be tried a second time for murder in 2011 death of wealthy New Brunswick father". National Post. Toronto. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  25. ^ "Moosehead Breweries Limited". Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  26. ^ "Our Company". Moosehead. Moosehead. 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  27. ^ "N.B. residents scour countryside for stolen beer". CBC News. August 31, 2004.
  28. ^ "Police find missing beer truck driver". CBC News. August 25, 2004.
  29. ^ About Us. The Village of Doaktown.
  30. ^ "Bear breaks into stolen beer cache". CBC News. October 22, 2004.
  31. ^ Rudolfs, Harry (April 1, 2005). "East Coast trucker sentenced for stealing Moosehead beer". Truck News. Newcom Media. Retrieved January 23, 2017. Haines claimed to have parked the trailer at his employer’s yard in Fredericton and to have driven the tractor to the Trans-Canada where he abandoned it by the side of the highway with the keys in it. He said he then hitchhiked to Ontario.
  32. ^ "Man arrested in Moosehead beer theft". CBC News. October 5, 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°58′41.26″N 65°24′40.47″W / 44.9781278°N 65.4112417°W / 44.9781278; -65.4112417