Canadian Beer Excise and All-malt Beer (1870s-1952)

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Earlier this year we posted a discussion on our beer historical blog that showed how the Canadian excise regime from the 1870s until 1952 favoured the brewing of all-malt beer in Canada. In practise that meant most beer was made from a mash of 100% barley malt.

This varied from the contemporary American practise that mostly featured “adjunct” beer, meaning beer fermented from a blend of barley malt and a high-starch, un-malted grain such as corn or rice

At the same time, as discussed in our analysis, quality considerations were likely a factor in the all-malt regime enforced, as traditionally in the U.K. – and still in Germany for its lager beer – beer could be made only from malt, hops, yeast, and water.

The craft brewing phenomenon of the last 40 years has partially restored the older Canadian tradition of all-malt brewing.

By the early 1950s, Canadian excise rules were altered so that brewers had an incentive to mash, along with the traditional barley malt, higher-yielding, un-malted grains, or sugar. From that time our brewing tradition increasingly moved in parallel with that of the United States.

About the Author
Gary Gillman holds undergraduate law degrees in Civil Law and Common Law from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He is a member of the Quebec Bar and has been a member of the Ontario Bar since 1983. He was trained and practiced for many years in nationally-known law firms in Montreal and Toronto, principally in numerous areas of corporate and commercial law. In 1995, he obtained a Master’s Degree (LL.M) with Distinction in European Management and Employment law from the University of Leicester in England. His training in the law of European economic and political integration allows him to help clients understand international business and legal trends, the North American Free Trade Agreement and economic globality. Gary regularly attends and speaks at professional conferences and keeps current on all the legal areas he covers. Gary has authored during his career numerous legal articles and papers for professional or trade journals. Gary co-authors the quarterly Gillman Financial Regulatory Report, a business law and financial law newsletter of our firm.