Molson Brewery

The Molson Brewery was formed in 1786 in Montreal by the Molson family. In 2005, Molson merged with US-based Coors to form Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world's seventh-largest brewery at that time. Molson Coors Canada Inc. is the name of the Canadian subsidiary of Molson Coors Brewing Company. Molson's first brewery was located on the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal, where the company continues to maintain its operations today.

Molson Coors Canada Inc.
IndustryAlcoholic drink
Founded1786 in Montreal
FounderJohn Molson
Key people
Mark Hunter (CEO)
Number of employees
ParentMolson Coors Brewing Company


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]

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.[3] 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,[3] 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 the 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.

The Molson family were pioneers in steamships, hospitality, assisted with the Montreal General Hospital, patrons of McGill University and the arts, and until 1925, involved in banking through Molson Bank which merged with the Bank of Montreal.

Molson Brewery considerably expanded the breadth of its 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 into lager and inaugurate a new brewery in Toronto (near the Canadian National Exhibition) in 1955.[4] The Crown and Anchor (beer) brand dates from this time.[4] Two years later in 1957, the family (not the firm) 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, giving Molson a nationwide presence. In 1989, the company consolidated market share in Quebec through a merger with Carling O'Keefe (acquiring Carling's Toronto brewery in Etobicoke). As a result, Molson became the largest brewery in Canada and the fifth largest in the world.

Molson was once the owner of home improvement chains Beaver Lumber and Aikenhead's Home Improvement Warehouse. In February 1994, Molson sold a 75% interest in Aikenhead's to Home Depot Inc for $150 million with the option to buy the rest in 1999;[5] in the event, they agreed on a price of $262 million.[6] In 1997, Molson sold for CAD$147 million their interest in Reno-Depot to Castorama.[7] In 1999 they sold Beaver Lumber to Home Hardware.

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 Molson continue to be active in company affairs as members of the corporate Board of Directors.[8] On October 11, 2016, SABMiller in the U.S. sold its interests (from the joint venture formed in the United States and Puerto Rico) in MillerCoors to Molson Coors, who had been its partner in the joint venture, for around US$12 billion. Molson Coors gained full ownership of the Miller brand portfolio outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and retained the rights to all of the brands that were in the MillerCoors portfolio for the U.S. and Puerto Rico.[9]

In 2018, the company brewed and marketed 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 beer brands, including Coors Light, Corona, Miller Genuine Draft (ending in 2015[10]), 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.


Molson Coors is dual-headquartered, with head offices located in Denver, Colorado, and Montreal, Quebec. The Canadian operational headquarters is located in Toronto (in addition to several breweries across Canada). The 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 April 22, 2005.[11] 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 owned 58% of the unit, which operated in the U.S. and Puerto Rico but not Canada, where Molson Coors is strongest. Molson Coors owned 42%, but the parties had equal voting power.[2]

Molson breweries in Canada are in:


Molson-Coors brands in Canada and the United States include Molson Canadian (lager), Molson Canadian Light, Molson Canadian 67, Coors Original, Coors Light, Molson M, Molson Ice, Molson Golden, Molson Export (ale), Molson Dry, Molson XXX, Stock Ale, Rickard's, Black Horse, India, 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 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.

On June 20, 2009, brothers Geoff Molson, Andrew Molson, and their father 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 and last won the Stanley Cup in 1993. 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.

In the second decade of the 21st century, Molson and/or Coors had exclusive right to sell their beverages at the home arenas of the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings, and their beverages could be purchased at other sports venues, such as the home of the Buffalo Sabres, the KeyBank Center, the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center and Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators.


Molson brands include Carling Black Label and Molson Canadian.

See also


  1. "Beer Brewing | Drinking Beer". Molson Coors. Archived from the original on June 2, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  2. Jae-kyoung, Kim (May 14, 2008). "Centennial Firms Dry up in Korea". Korea Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  3. Martin, Joseph E. (2017). "Titans". Canada's History. 97 (5): 47–53. ISSN 1920-9894.
  4. Denison 1955, p. 371
  5. "COMPANY NEWS; Home Depot Buys Chain In Canada". The New York Times Company. February 9, 1994.
  6. "COMPANY NEWS; HOME DEPOT TO BUY MOLSON'S 25% STAKE IN CHAIN". The New York Times. April 30, 1998.
  7. "CASTORAMA TO BUY RENO-DEPOT AFTER HOME DEPOT PASSES". The New York Times Company. March 11, 1997.
  8. Molson internal publications
  9. "Molson Coors Completes Acquisition of Full Ownership of MillerCoors and Global Miller Brand Portfolio". October 11, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2017. Becomes World's Third Largest Brewer by Enterprise Value and Strengthens Position in Highly Attractive U.S. Beer Market
  11. "". April 22, 2005. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
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