150 Years of Canadian Beer Labels

By (author): Lawrence C. Sherk
Foreword by: Ian Coutts
ISBN 9781771511926
Hardcover | Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Book Dimensions: 8.5 in x 7.5 in
320 Pages

About the Book

Shortlisted for the 2017 Taste Canada Food Writing Awards

In celebration of Canada’s 150 birthday, one of the country’s most avid collectors of breweriana showcases a stunning selection of beer labels dating from the late 1870s to the present day.

What’s more Canadian than beer? Craft brewing has exploded across Canada, reinvigorating the country’s love and appreciation for its favourite beverage. But Canadians have always treasured beer—a fact evidenced by these 150 vintage labels that showcase both stunning skills in typography and a true passion for the brewski.

In addition to the earliest vintage labels from iconic breweries like Dow and Labatt, discover an eye-opening cross-section of the country’s beer-brewing history through the artwork of ales, porters, lagers, and malts from brewers east to west, many of which are long forgotten.

About the Author(s)

Lawrence C. Sherk was one of Canada’s foremost collectors of beer memorabilia, and at one point held the second-largest collection of beer labels in Canada. In 2011, he donated nearly 3000 of his labels, most of them dating from before 1945, to the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto, where they can be viewed as part of the library's paper-ephemera collection. Before retiring in 2001, Sherk was a renowned horticulturist, though history was his first love. He passed away in 2021.


“Craft [beer] fans will certainly find many of their modern-day heroes represented in the book . . . [it] will appeal to those who have a keen eye for historic commercial art, Canadiana, or who just love to collect coffee table books with impressively-laid-out imagery . . . As the author says, “The story of beer is the story of Canada”, and we have to agree that along with books on hockey and politics, a history of Canadian brewing is a great way to get a sense of how our country has evolved.” —What’s Brewing

“A coffee-table-worthy picture book that contains the collection of a serious breweriana collector. . . . Sherk guides us through trends, design improvements and a history lesson on what is often the last tangible reminder of what a beer was and how it was received.” –John Holl, All About Beer

“A great addition to any home library or coffee table. Beer historians will reminisce over the old breweries, long closed. Graphic design fans will appreciate the transition over the years from simple to elaborate art. Non-beer-lovers will love the kitsch pictures and slices of life from Canada past.” —Daily Beer blog

“This book is amazing. . . An art book, with its art being beer bottle labels . . . Just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday, you can see its history. In beer labels.” —Tales from the Beer Truck blog

“Searching for the perfect gift for the beer fan on your list? Art, beer, and history intersect in a new tome from a guy who was likely the first to see and appreciate the artistic merit of Canadian beer labels . . . a fascinating celebration of beer and art published to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.” —London Free Press

“Hit that beer lover in your life with a book of beer nostalgia . . . A very interesting coffee table book written by Lawrence C. Sherk to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday.” —Toronto Beer Fest blog

“The perfect gift for brew lovers . . . Beer historians will appreciate the labels dating back to the late 1870s, and the history of breweries east to west—many of which have been forgotten. Anyone who is excited to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday will be pleased to have this beautiful book to add to their collection.” —Taps