History Byte – O’Keefe & Co.’s Brewery

O'Keefe's Brewery Late 19th Century

In 1862, Eugene O’Keefe purchased the old Victoria Brewery on Gould Street in Toronto and immediately set out updating the brewery.  Prior to the renovations, the brewery could turn out no more than 2 000 gallons a week.  By 1867, the new Victoria brewery was churning out 7 000 gallons per week and was capable of storing up to 60 000 gallons in their vast underground vaults.  Additionally, the two onsite malt houses could produce some 35 000 bushels of malt a season.  To ensure a quality product, O’Keefe imported coal for his malt kilns from Wales, as it was claimed that it burnt much cleaner than other coals.  Though locally grown hops were also used, it was a point of pride for O’Keefe that he purchased and imported hops from England to flavour his ale.

Check out Eugene O’Keefe’s bibliography here

3 thoughts on “History Byte – O’Keefe & Co.’s Brewery

    1. I think the building you’re referring to is the one at Yonge and Gould Street. It is an old building, but not part of the O’Keefe plant. O’Keefe’s was located a bit down the road at Victoria and Gould. The building that burnt down was the old Empress Hotel, built in 1888. The site of O’Keefe’s is now occupied by the Ryerson Bookstore, Future Shop, AMC and a parking garage!

  1. I just moved into a an old Toronto house where I had to tear out a door frame to get a couch inside. Long story short, I found buried in the plaster an O’Keefes beer bottle cap with a cork. Lining on the I side. Thanks for the story behind the find.

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