Open main menu

Founded in 1820, Alexander Keith's is a brewery in Halifax, Canada. It is among the oldest commercial breweries in North America. (The oldest surviving brewing enterprise in Canada was established by John Molson in Montreal in 1786 while the oldest in the US, Yuengling, originally called Eagle Brewing, was founded in 1829 in Pottsville, PA.)[1][2]

Alexander Keith's
HeadquartersHalifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
OwnerAnheuser–Busch InBev

Keith's was founded by Alexander Keith who emigrated from Scotland in 1817. Keith moved the facility to its final location, a three-storey building on Hollis Street at Lower Water in the downtown area, in 1820. Keith had trained as a brewer in Edinburgh and London. His early product included ale, porter, ginger wine, table and spruce beers. Alexander Keith was mayor in 1843 and in 1853-54 and president of the Legislative Council from 1867 to his death in 1873.[3]

Alexander Keith Brewery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, c. 1865-1870.

Keith's was sold to Oland Breweries in 1928 and to Labatt in 1971. Today, the brewery is under the control of this subsidiary of Anheuser–Busch InBev which took the brand national in 1990's. Keith's also produces Oland Brewery beers, distributed in Eastern Canada.[4]

In April 2011, Anheuser–Busch InBev began selling Alexander Keith's beer in the United States after nearly two centuries of being available only in Canada.[5]

AB InBev produces Keith's India Pale Ale, currently the most popular product in this line,[6] as well as Keith's Red Amber Ale, Keith's Premium White, and Keith's Light Ale.[7] Products sold in the United States are labelled Keith's Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale, Keith's Nova Scotia Style Lager, and Keith's Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale.[8] Seasonal products have included Keith's Ambrosia Blonde, Keith's Harvest Ale, and Keith's Tartan Ale. Although Alexander Keith products were originally produced in the Halifax brewery only for sale in the Maritimes, they are now national products, mass produced at AB InBev plants across Canada and in Baldwinsville, New York[5][nb 1]



Alexander Keith's career as a politician, and the brewery's and Nova Scotia's Scottish heritage are used to market the beer. In 2002, the mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Peter Kelly, included an invitation to visit Halifax in each case of beer.

In the mid-2000s, Keiths ran a series of television advertisements showing a beer-obsessed Scotsman, sporting mutton-chops and wearing a thick grey wool sweater and kilt. This character warned other bar patrons in an exaggerated Scottish brogue that they should not spill a drop of their Alexander Keith's ale. The ads were subsequently pulled when Robert Smith, the actor who portrayed the Scotsman, was charged with possession of child pornography[9] in 2006 (convicted in 2008).[10]


Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale


Archived recipes for beer made by the Alexander Keith's Brewery in the early years of the 20th century show high levels of hopping, with large all-malt grain bills and no use of corn, typical for beers of the time.[11] In contrast, the modern beer marketed as Alexander Keith's IPA is only 5% abv and lightly hopped. Purists and craft brewers point out that it does not meet the accepted criteria for an IPA.[12] At the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards, Alexander Keith's IPA won Bronze (third place), not in the IPA category, but in the "North American Style Blonde or Golden Ale" category.[13][14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Although products and advertising in the U.S. are marked as originating from "A. Keith's Brewing, St. Louis, MO", this only refers to the company's nominal U.S. head office (co-located with Anheuser-Busch), not its production location.


  1. ^ Dan Gentile (August 17, 2014). "THESE ARE THE 11 OLDEST OPERATING BREWERIES IN THE US". Thrillist. Thrillist Media Inc. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  2. ^ Koch, Phil (May 2009). "Beer Wars - Canadians have enjoyed suds for centuries". Canada's History. Canada's History. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017. When Jacques Cartier arrived in North America, he and his crew were shown how to make the spruce beer Canada's First Nations were already brewing. Many early settlers brewed beer in their homes
  3. ^ "Keith Hall and Brewery". Historic Places. Parks Canada. 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  4. ^ Haynes, Megan (December 11, 2015). "How to turn 195, the Alexander Keith's way". Strategy Online. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved January 27, 2017. For the last two centuries, the Labatt-owned beer brand has been reflecting Maritime values back to its fanatical drinkers.
  5. ^ a b Alexander Keith's (February 3, 2011). "Alexander Keith's Fine Beers Grows South of the Border". Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  6. ^ "Alexander Keith's". Archived from the original on August 26, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "Alexander Keith's".
  8. ^ Ramsay, Reid (2011-06-14), "Alexander Keith's Hits 22 States", Beer Street Journal, retrieved 2018-09-13
  9. ^ Blatchford, Christie (2008-05-06). "Child-porn guilty plea ends Charter challenge". Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  10. ^ Kyonka, Nick (2008-08-26). "Keith's beer ad actor jailed for child porn". Toronto Star. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  11. ^ Pinhey, Craig (2010-03-11), "Craig Pinhey digs through the records and discovers that Keith's Ale was once brewed with no corn and five times the hops", The Coast, 17 (42)
  12. ^ Doherty, Mike (2011-08-05), "Canadians' love affair with India Pale Ale: Why so many Canadian brewers are making IPAs", MacLean's, retrieved 2018-09-13
  13. ^ "OCB MEMBERS TAKE 38 MEDALS AT 2016 CANADIAN BREWING AWARDS". OCB. Ontario Craft Brewers. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  14. ^ The Province (29 May 2016). "Winners announced for 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards". OBN. OBN. Retrieved 16 January 2017.

External linksEdit