Reinhardts at Lagerheads

In the last three essays, we’ve seen how Gottlieb Reinhardt’s Montreal lager brewery, whose roots went back to 1852, had to meet competition from namesake Reinhardts in Toronto who were not related. They sent their Salvador lager to Montreal to compete with his, and finally (1900) set up a brewery just a hop and skip from his.

Some would consider that unfair dealing, but there was never a lawsuit, to our knowledge. Two Reinhardt-branded beers in Montreal had to share a rather small market to begin with: lager vs. ale or porter.

Both breweries ended by being absorbed into National Breweries Limited in 1909. This ended Gottlieb’s brewery and his lager of apparently high repute. The Toronto Reinhardt brewery continued on for some years.

If it wasn’t strange enough that unrelated Reinhardts competed to sell the same type of beer in Montreal, the same thing occurred in Ontario. Gottlieb, with his son Edward Victor, set up a brewery there as noted in an 1889 Montreal business directory.

They did that not in Toronto, where Lothar Reinhardt, Sr. started his brewery, but in Berlin – Berlin, Ontario – which is about 60 miles from Toronto. (The city is now called Kitchener, a change instituted during WW I).

Which side of the equation was aggrieved? In other words, who first sold his beer in the other’s Province?

I can’t answer this definitively as I have not been able to tell when in particular the Toronto Reinhardts started shipping beer to Montreal agents. They were doing so at least in 1886, the year Gottlieb and son Charles (increasingly running the business) noted in an ad in the Montreal Gazette that their business was unrelated to the Toronto brewery.

After working for the Walz brewery in Toronto Lothar Reinhardt, Sr. went into business for himself in 1880-1881, according to an early Toronto and area history.

The agent Montreuil in Montreal, from at least 1893, advertised Reinhardt Salvador together with Dominion White Label and Labatt IPA. Initially, as seen here in 1893, the ads did not state the Reinhardt name in connection with Salvador, but later, e.g., here in 1894 and after, they did. The change seems rather unfair to us, but again there was no lawsuit.

Regarding Gottlieb and Charles’ foray into Ontario, Waterloo Region Generations states that younger son Edward owned a small brewery on Queen Street in Berlin. The brewery is also noted in the 1988 The Art and Mystery of Brewing in Ontario by Ian Bowering, at p. 61. The years during which it operated are not stated, just the approximate period.

However, it seems the brewery started in 1886 and ran until about 1890. Edward was probably selling mostly just draft beer locally. The production was quite small, 10 barrels per day; the Toronto Reinhardt brewery was much larger by comparison.

This biographical entry on Edward in Industries of Canada: Historical and Commercial Sketches (1886), adds more information. An 1888 Waterloo County business directory also contains this listing for Edward as brewer in Berlin.

On August 31, 1889, a box ad for the brewery, about 2″x 2″, appeared in Toronto’s The Globe & Mail (institutional access or paywall). The brewery was called Berlin Brewery, with a statement that “E.V. Reinhardt, Prop.”, was “manufacturer of the celebrated Berlin lager” on Queen Street. The ad was in a group of ads from town merchants that accompanied a multi-page feature on Berlin life and industry. Seemingly the business was on a good footing at this time.

One imagines that the Toronto Reinhardts were not thrilled to read this over breakfast in their home city. True, it was small beer in relation to them, but as an outpost of an older, well-established Montreal brewery, they probably experienced disquiet over it, apart from seeing “their” name used by someone else.

We think it probable the Toronto Reinhardts entered the Montreal market before Edward starting brewing in Berlin, but cannot be 100% sure. Whatever the explanation, we doubt Lothar, Sr. would take an incursion into Ontario by another Reinhardt lightly, even in a small-volume market (if it was).

Indeed, late-1890s notices in Waterloo County trade directories (not paginated, see under General Index) show that Lothar’s agent F.C. Brandt was marketing Salvador and Export lager in Berlin. That probably occurred as soon as Edward started brewing on Queen Street. Brandt’s work may have hastened Edward’s departure from Berlin, and it’s an interesting question whether Brandt was touting Reinhardt beers from Toronto even earlier.*

Edward, born in 1860 – see the Waterloo Region Generations reference above – may have been Gottlieb’s youngest child as in that year Gottlieb, born in 1812 in Germany, was 48. By mid-1890, Edward is in Stuttgart, Germany where on July 23 he met an early demise, at only 30 (see ditto reference).**

Why did he leave Berlin? What explained his youthful passing, and a decamping far away to Germany, albeit Wurttemberg the province of his father’s birth? I hope to find out more soon.

Note re image: image was sourced from this page of the Toronto Reference Library. Used for educational and historical purposes. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the sole owner, as applicable. All feedback welcome.

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*While not strictly relevant here, Lothar, Sr. operated from the East End Brewery on River Street in Toronto prior to establishing, c.1887, his Salvador Brewery on nearby Mark Street.

** While it states Edward was born in Montana, this is almost certainly a transcription error, and Montana should read Montreal. The Montreal Reinhardts had no apparent links with Montana, as far as we know.