Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Atlantic Advocate

I was looking through some old copies of The Atlantic Advocate today and I found some great old advertisements. First, the one I was looking for, is this 1966 advert for the Newfoundland Brewery. Note the stubby bottles and the Molson Canadian beer. This was after the Molson takeover of 1962.

Newfoundland Brewery Advert from The Atlantic Advocate, September 1966 (page 57)

Close up of the 1966 India Pale Ale bottle.

Close up of the 1966 India Beer bottle.

Note that the label on the main page is older than the more contemporary looking version in this advert, which helps with the dating of the label and the more contemporary looking bottle.

More surprising to me was the cover of the June 1958 issue, which features a rainbow over Newfoundland as a “symbol of Newfoundland’s hopes in the Tenth Year of Confederation.” I have no evidence, only speculation, that this has something to do with Rainbow beer. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

The Cover of the June 1958 Atlantic Advocate

The Atlantic Advocate featured content from all of the Atlantic provinces and I found two other pretty interesting beer advertisements from Nova Scotia in the issues I was looking through. The first is this nice Moosehead (who are still independent) advert from the back of the 1958 issue of the Advocate.

A Cape Breton themed Moosehead Advertisement

The other was this much more provocative (read: sexist) advert for Oland’s export. Oland also made a Schooner Lager and is now caught up in the whole Labatt and Alexander Keith branding under Anheuser–Busch InBev. Either way, this advert is pretty visually stunning.

A racy advert for Nova Scotia's Oland's Export, The Atlantic Advocate, September 1966 (page 26)


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Filed under Advertisement, History, Labels, Maritimes, Newfoundland Brewery, Rainbow Beer

Overview: Bison Brewing

This is more of  a note than an overview, however, there was also a brewery in Stephenville under the names of both the Bison Brewing Co. (or Canadian Javelin Limited, 1972) and the Atlantic Brewing Co. (1967) which Labatt’s purchased in 1974. A little more about brewing in Stephenville can be found here.

I have a more detailed post on the Atlantic Brewery here.

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Filed under Atlantic Brewery, History, Other Brewers

Budweiser in Newfoundland

Thus far I have really only been posting about old breweries and beer brands that were brewed in Newfoundland. Of course, that’s not the full story. Many breweries, just as they do now, were brewing big name brands under licence in Newfoundland. Others beers were imported and distributed by local companies (like the Lindberg Beer Company, who distributed Bass and Guinness). This advert, from the June 20, 1914, Evening Telegram (found in the Memorial University of Newfoundland’s digitized collection), is evidence of Budweiser’s early history in Newfoundland as distributed by J.D. Ryan.

Budweiser Advert. Evening telegram (St. John's, NL), June 20, 1914. (From MUN's digitized collection of the Evening Telegram)

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Filed under Advertisement, Microbreweries

Old Black Horse Commercial

No date or information, but this is a really cute old Black Horse commercial:

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Filed under Advertisement, Black Horse

Spruce Beer / Callibogus

A few more notes about Spruce Beer.

First, the good people at Bidgood’s supermarket in the Goulds have published a recipe for making Spruce Beer at home. Click here to go to their page. 

I was also checking out [W J. Kirwin, G.M. Story, and J. D.A. Widdowson (editors)] The Dictionary of Newfoundland English (Toronto, 1990), which is online here (see the entry for spruce and spruce beer here) and I found some interesting usages of Spruce beer. From a savour from scurvy to starting fights and dances which “only the priest” was able to handle, Spruce beer has a distinguished, but often forgotten, role in Newfoundland’s history. Check out the entry for more!

What I found particularly interesting was the recipe for spruce beer from Sir Joseph Banks which appears in Sir Joseph Banks, Joseph Banks in Newfoundland and Labrador 1766: His Diary, Manuscripts and Collections, edited by A.M. Lysaght (University of California Press, 1971), pages 139-140.

Basically, his instructions were to take a 12 gallon copper kettle and “fill it as full of the Boughs of Black spruce as it will hold.” Then press them down, fill with water and boil it until the “rind” of the spruce will easily come off. This, he says, will “waste it about one third take them out.” To this spruce-infused water, he now says to add 1 gallon of molasses (“Melasses”) and boil until disolved. In a half hogshead (google tells me this is around 120 liters, so I’m guessing it’s just a big fermenter) combine 19 gallons of water and the mixture of spruce water and molasses. To finish “work it with Barm & Beergrounds & in Less than a week it is fit to Drink!” Barm is just the foam that forms on top of fermenting beverages, like beer and wine, so that’s the yeast source I’m guessing. That’s it!

He goes on to say (this is from the book, not the dictionary entry) that it’s a pretty weak liquor and that three kinds of “Flip Cald” can be made from it:” “Callibogus, Egg Calli & King Calli.” The term “Calibogus” is actually in Merriam Webster, but spelled with only one “l” (I’ll stick with Sir Joseph’s spelling). Callibogus, he states, is made from adding rum, brandy, or gin to the spruce beer. Egg Calli is made by heating Callibogus with egg and sugar, while King Calli is made by adding “spirit to the contents of the copper as soon as it is ready to put into the cask and drinking it hot.” I’m guessing the last one is just unfermented spruce beer combined with rum, brandy, or gin for those too impatient to wait a week. Can’t beat homemade Callibogus!

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Filed under Callibogus, History, Recipe, Spruce Beer

More Black Horse Labels

The goal of this project is to consolidate as much Newfoundland beer/brewery history into one place as possible. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, at the University of Toronto, has a large collection of old beer labels donated by Lawrence C. Sherk which have been scanned in very high quality. Since they are creative commons licensed for sharing, remixing, or commercializing with the condition that “[y]ou must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work),” here are a few of the older Black Horse ones:

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Filed under Black Horse, History, Labels

United Nations of Beer (Black Horse)

Emily Urquhart has an article on the United Nations of Beer website (check it out here) which discusses the longing many Newfoundlanders (including myself) feel for Black Horse when living away. It’s a great piece which, unlike many of the more critical taste/aroma/colour/mouthfeel reviews (Beer Advocate or Rate Beer) really brings out the sentimental connection many people share with the brand.

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Filed under Black Horse, Culture