Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Breweriana Invades Dominion on Queen Pub

The Dominion on Queen welcomed a number of beer collectors into their pub on Tuesday night to take part in a 1.5 hour long presentation of old Ontario beer labels and photographs of the Dominion Brewery.

At 8pm, local and well known breweriana collector, Larry Sherk, ushered people from the bar to the Dominion's private room in the back of the pub and started the projector which he had filled with images of beer labels. Sherk introduced himself to some of the new faces in the crowd, but the people in attendance were mostly from the beer collecting world and were all familiar with each other. He introduced Sean Duranovich, owner of the Dominion on Queen and collector of old breweriana himself, before he got underway with his presentation.

He showed us images of beer labels from a number of old Ontario breweries, mostly those of Carling, but some from the breweries of Kuntz, O'Keefe, Bradings, and more. Bocks, Oktoberfests, 1% beers from prohibition, Porters, crisp lagers, and many many more, all dating back to the early 1900's and up to the 1960's. The attention to detail that each label featured is a stark contrast to labels we see today. More propaganda, more illustrations, more information, and the ones sold through the LCBO featured the LCBO acronym on the neck label, which was required at the time.

The second half of the presentation, which took place after a beer break (pints of Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale) focused on old photographs from Duranovich's collection. They featured the old Dominion brewery, which stills stands today at the same location (attached to the pub), in full operation, and those with the knowledge of the period figured most of the brewery photo's dated back to before the 1900's. The most fascinating picture was one that showed hundreds and hundreds of wooden casks lined up in the courtyard behind the brewery, ready to be loaded onto the horse drawn wagons for delivery to local taverns (it's said that Robert Davies, the founder/owner of the brewery, once owned over 140 taverns in Toronto).

I have a fascination with history, and beer history is very exciting to me. To see those pictures, taken by brewery workers, while the brewery was in full operation, was very interesting. Not only were the label images and photographs cool, but the chatter that took place while the presentation was happening was quite educational and well worth the free admission. And Sherk knows his stuff, and he's pretty passionate about collecting. In fact, it's rumoured that he has one of the largest breweriana collections in Canada with everything from labels, to trays, to beer books, posters, and openers.

I myself have a small collection of breweriana that will be neat to look back on in fifty years or so. I like the growlers, bottle openers, enamel ashtrays, and glassware. I have well over 100 different glasses in my collection, everything from the big breweries to the small local breweries and those from other countries, in all different shapes and sizes. My growler collection is still in its infancy with eleven in my possession, and my bottle opener stash is slowly growing in size. It's something I never thought I'd get into, but after attending a breweriana show two years ago I caught the bug and so far it's been a fun ride.

**There is going to be a Brewery Collectables Buy/Sell/Trade Show taking place on Saturday April 10th at Toronto's Amsterdam Brewery between 11am and 2pm. If you are a collector and are interested in getting a table for the show, you can contact Sherk at

No comments:

Web Analytics

Winter Ale