LOCAL HISTORY

Brantford has a great brewing history. We can proudly say we had as many as 3 local Breweries operating as early as 1845! Local farmers took locally grown Barley to maltsters so they could produce fresh malt to supply to the Breweries. Brantford also had perfect conditions for local hop growers and every late summer the town smelled of the beautiful fragrant hops during picking season.

Hugh and Thomas Spencer started the Spencer Brewing and Malting Company in 1845. It was located in West Brantford at the bottom of Strawberry Hill. In 1855 they built the West Brantford Brewery which was later occupied by the Brantford Brewing and Malting Company. The company changed hands several times through the years and one of the owners was Humphrey Davis who owned a hop farm nearby.
Fred Westbrook and Charles Hacker took over the brewery in 1903 and changed the name to the Westbrook and Hacker Brewing Company. Prior to taking over the brewery they had made names for themselves as trick bicyclists, going on a 60-week tour with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The brewery was destroyed by fire in July 1910 and it was not rebuilt.
The Bixel Brewing and Malting Company was started in Strathroy, Ontario in 1859 andin 1888, the Bixel brothers, Cyrus, Oscar, and Arthur, moved the business to Alfred Street in Brantford. In March 1898 the malt house was damaged and much of the half malted barley was destroyed by fire. We don’t know the full story and many rumours do exist, but one day in September 1923 during a hunting trip Oscar Bixel was killed when his gun accidentally discharged. Luckily, Frederick and Matthew Bixel took over the Bixel Brewing and Malting Company in August 1929 until March 7, 1944.

The Spring Bank brewery, started in 1850, was owned first by William Spencer and then by Mr. Lafferty. George White, one of the company’s brewers, took over the business in 1856. Lager was the only variety of beer produced here. In 1863 Mr. White sold the business and the new owners converted the building into a tannery. The building was destroyed by fire in the 1870s. In 1880 George White rebuilt on the same site and resumed the brewery business until his death in July 1902.

Brewery Pic

Brantford got its nickname “Bell City” because of the eminent scientist, inventor, and engineer who made his home in Brantford.

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Bell speaks to the President of the United States

Brantford’s most famous resident, Alexander Graham Bell’s, began is long journey to Brantford from Scotland aboard the sturdy steamer named the SS Nestorian. Travelling by train, his family finally made their home on a farm on Tutela Heights in Brantford Ontario. It’s there he converted the old carriage house to his first workshop. In March 1876 A.G. Bell was granted a patent for the telephone. The first long distance call was made on August 3, 1876 from the telegraph office in Mount Pleasant to Bell’s workshop in Brantford, Ontario five miles (8 km) away. By 1915, A.G. Bell ceremonially inaugurated the first U.S. coast-to-coast long-distance telephone between New York and San Francisco, California.

 

“I am glad to have the opportunity of talking to you, Mr. President, over the first transcontinental telephone line.”

 

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