Updated at: 18-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Welcome to the wonderful world of Canadian beer! As a country known for its love of cold brews, it’s no surprise that Canada offers an impressive selection of diverse and delicious beers.

With over 2.1 billion liters sold in 2022 alone, beer accounts for more than 45% of alcoholic beverage sales nationwide.

In this exciting blog post, we’ll dive into the rich history and unique flavors behind some of the most popular beers in Canada – from bestselling brands like Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue to regional favorites and booming craft breweries.

Key Takeaways

  1. Canadian beer industry is thriving with over 2.1 billion liters of beer sold in 2022 alone, accounting for more than 45% of alcoholic beverage sales nationwide.
  2. Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue continue to dominate the market, but there are also unique regional variations such as Alexander Keith’s IPA and Sleeman Original Draught.
  3. The craft beer scene has exploded in Canada with microbreweries popping up across the country, offering consumers a diverse selection of high-quality brews to choose from.
  4. Beer culture is deeply embedded in Canadian traditions and festivals, making it an integral part of their social fabric, with each iconic brand having a rich history behind them that continues to inspire new creations even today.

Top Beer Brands In Canada

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Molson Canadian, Labatt Blue, Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, Sleeman Original Draught and Rickard’s Red are among the top beer brands in Canada.

Labatt Blue

Labatt Blue, the best-selling Canadian beer in the world, has a proud legacy of satisfying beer drinkers across the globe. Known for its clean and refreshing taste with a distinct hops aroma, Labatt Blue appeals to a wide range of alcohol enthusiasts looking for high-quality brews.

As part of Canada’s largest brewery which produces over 60 brands, Labatt continues to stay ahead in the market by blending tradition with innovation.

Many alcoholics may find solace in this classic and delicious beer option while exploring their path towards recovery or seeking ways to moderate consumption responsibly.

Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale

Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale (IPA) stands as the most popular beer in Nova Scotia, a testament to its long-standing tradition and exceptional taste. Established in 1820, this Halifax-based brewery has become an enduring symbol of pride for Nova Scotians, with the IPA leading their selection of North American-style beers.

In 2023, Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale experienced a resurgence in popularity amongst Canadian beer enthusiasts and was featured on the list of top 18 popular Canadian beers.

Sleeman Original Draught

Sleeman Original Draught is one of the top beer brands in Canada, highly popular among Canadians. This American Lager-style beer is brewed by Sleeman Breweries Ltd., one of Canada’s top brewers and distributors of premium beer.

With its light body and smooth taste, it’s no wonder that this beverage has become a favorite across the country. Notably, Sleeman Clear 2.0 has been recognized as the fastest-growing light beer in Canada, making it an exciting new addition to Sleeman Breweries’ range of beers.

Rickard’s Red

Rickard’s Red is a popular Canadian beer brand that has become a household name in the country, particularly among fans of American Amber style beers. This medium-bodied red ale is brewed by Molson Coors Canada at their Toronto facility and has gained popularity for its unique blend of sweetness and bitterness.

What sets Rickard’s Red apart from other Canadian beers on this list is its caramel malt sweetness, which balances out the bitterness of the Pacific Northwest hops used in brewing.

The result is a rich, full-flavored red ale that offers a satisfying taste experience. Whether you’re drinking it with friends or enjoying it alone, Rickard’s Red is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you feeling refreshed.

History And Background Of Popular Canadian Beers

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Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue both have roots dating back to the 18th century, with Molson being one of Canada’s oldest breweries and Labatt originally producing a Pilsner-style beer in London, Ontario.

Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale has a legendary backstory involving its founder, who began brewing beer in Nova Scotia in 1820 and focused on creating distinct bitterness and sweetness in his brews.

Sleeman Original Draught had humble beginnings but managed to thrive despite prohibition; it was eventually sold to Sapporo Brewing Company of Japan.

Origins Of Molson Canadian And Labatt Blue

Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue are two of the most popular beers in Canada, enjoyed by many across the country. The history behind these iconic brands dates back to the origins of Canadian brewing history.

In 1786, John Molson founded what is now known as the Molson Brewery, which was one of North America’s oldest breweries and remains a prominent force within the beer industry today.

The European influence on Canadian beer is evident from its early beginnings. In particular, lagers have become synonymous with Canadian beer culture over time. Pilsener Lager became popular after it was first brewed in Bohemia (now Czech Republic) during the mid-19th century before crossing over to other parts of Europe and eventually finding its way to Canada.

With such rich backgrounds behind them both Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue have cemented themselves as staples within Canadian drinking culture offering an alternative option outside wine or spirits bringing people together sharing moments accompanied by friends’ cheers!

The Story Behind Alexander Keith’s IPA

Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, commonly referred to as Alexander Keith’s IPA, is a beer with a rich history and tradition. The brand was founded by the Scottish immigrant Alexander Keith in 1820 when he opened his brewery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The story behind Alexander Keith’s IPA is fascinating and dates back over two centuries. As a brewer, Alexander Keith quickly gained popularity for his top-quality beers that appealed to many locals in the area.

Today, visitors can still visit the historic waterfront brewery where it all began over 200 years ago.

In conclusion, while much has changed since its founding over two centuries ago thanks to technology advancements and shifting consumer preferences towards other brands like Molson Canadian or Labatt Blue; what remains constant about Alexander Keith’s IPA is that it remains an important part not only of Canadian brewing traditions but also central components within beer culture around North America and indeed globally – famous for its unique blend of hops imported from England which gives it such a uniquely refreshing flavour!

Sleeman’s Journey From Prohibition To Success

During the Prohibition era in Canada, alcohol consumption and distribution came to a sudden halt. Sleeman’s Brewery, which had been producing beer since the 1800s, was badly affected by this change.

The company’s founder, John Warren Sleeman, faced prosecution for his involvement in bootlegging and spent time in jail.

Despite several changes in ownership over the years, the Sleeman brand has remained popular among Canadian beer lovers. Today it is owned by Japanese company Sapporo Breweries and is one of Canada’s largest brewing companies.

Sleeman’s journey from being on the wrong side of law during prohibition to becoming a leading brewer and distributor of premium beer today serves as an inspiration for anyone facing setbacks or challenges along their own path to success.

The Creation Of Rickard’s Red By Molson Coors

Rickard’s Red, a popular Canadian beer brand, was created by Molson Coors in the 1980s. It is brewed with three different malted barleys, hops from the Pacific Northwest, and Brewer’s yeast to give it its unique flavor profile.

Molson Coors has been brewing beer for over two centuries and is currently the second oldest company in Canada. The brewery behind Rickard’s Red is based in Toronto, Ontario and draws on this rich history to create their signature beer.

Overall, Rickard’s Red is an excellent example of how Canadian brewers are producing innovative new beers that are both unique and delicious.

Regional Variations In Popular Beer Types

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In addition to pale lagers, there are regional variations in popular beer types across Canada. From the lager-like beers of Quebec and the Maritimes to other unique styles found throughout the country, discover how Canadian beer reflects its diverse culture and history.

Pale Lagers In Most Of Canada

Pale lagers are the most popular beer type in most of Canada, with brands like Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue being the go-to choice for many beer drinkers.

These beers are classified as light beers, containing between 2.6% to 4% ABV, making them a refreshing and easy drink option. Pale lagers dominate the Canadian beer market due to their crisp taste and versatility; they pair well with most foods and appeal to a wide range of drinkers.

Although different regions in Canada have variations in popular beer types like Quebec and the Maritimes preferring lager-like beers, pale lagers remain an all-time favorite for Canadians nationwide.

Lager-like Beers In Quebec And The Maritimes

In Quebec and the Maritimes regions of Canada, lager-like ales are more popular than traditional pale lagers. Molson Export and Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale are two such examples of these beers that are brewed in these areas.

These regional variations not only reflect different tastes and preferences but also highlight the unique brewing history and culture in those regions. For example, the Maritime provinces have a long tradition of brewing beer with molasses, resulting in darker, richer brews like Garrison Brewing Company’s Martello Stout or Pump House Brewery’s Blueberry Ale.

Other Popular Regional Beer Types

There are several other popular regional beer types in Canada beyond pale lagers. Here are a few examples:

  1. Kolsch: Originally from Cologne, Germany, it is a light-colored and crisp beer that is easy to drink.
  2. Pale ale: A beer with a fruity or hoppy taste that comes in various strengths and colors.
  3. Dubbel: A Belgian-style beer known for its deep amber color, malty sweetness, and notes of dark fruit.
  4. Dunkel: A German-style dark lager that has a rich, roasted flavor and pairs well with hearty foods.
  5. Lambic: A type of beer from Belgium that is fermented using wild yeast and often aged with fruit to create unique flavors.
  6. Weissbier: Also known as wheat beer, it is a refreshing style of beer made with wheat malt and usually has hints of banana or clove.
  7. Barley Wine: A strong, malty beer that can have up to 15% alcohol by volume (ABV), making it more like a wine than a typical beer.

In various regions of Canada, domestic microbreweries have started offering such types of craft beers which are growing daily in popularity among Canadian alcohol consumers.

The Growth Of Craft Beer In Canada

Craft beer has been on the rise in Canada, with small breweries popping up all over the country and catering to a growing demand for unique and flavorful options. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, craft brewers are pushing the boundaries of traditional beer styles and creating new experiences for Canadian drinkers.

The Rise Of Microbreweries

The craft beer revolution has given rise to a new age of microbreweries in Canada, offering consumers unique and distinct beers made with locally sourced ingredients and experimental brewing techniques.

This movement towards artisanal brewing marks a significant shift in the industry as small batch breweries challenge large-scale producers for market share.

For alcoholics seeking alternatives to traditional beer options, this growing diversity offers an opportunity to explore new tastes and experiences while supporting local businesses.

The emergence of beer tourism highlights this trend as enthusiasts travel across Canada to visit popular microbreweries such as Propeller Brewing Company or CRAFT Beer Market Toronto.

Canadian Craft Beer On The Global Market

Canadian craft beer has been making a name for itself on the global market, with its unique flavors and high quality becoming increasingly popular. The growth of microbreweries in Canada has contributed greatly to this trend, as they have created innovative beers that appeal to consumers looking for something different.

Canadian craft beer brands such as Steam Whistle Brewing and Muskoka Brewery have gained attention internationally, with their products being sold in countries like the United States and Japan.

In addition, the export of Canadian barley is central to many regional breweries around the world who need a consistent supply of quality ingredients.

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Popular Canadian Craft Beer Brands

Craft beer has become a popular choice for many Canadians as they seek out unique and flavorful options. Here are some of the most popular Canadian craft beer brands to check out:

  1. Steam Whistle Brewing – Known for their signature pilsner, this Toronto-based brewery has won multiple awards for their high-quality brews.
  2. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company – Based in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, this certified organic brewery offers a wide variety of creative and delicious beers.
  3. Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. – This Victoria-based brewery is known for their experimental and unconventional beers, like their Blue Buck Ale and Electric Unicorn IPA.
  4. Propeller Brewing Company – Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this award-winning brewery offers classic styles like IPAs and stouts, as well as unique creations like their Cranberry Wheat Ale.
  5. Muskoka Brewery – This Bracebridge-based brewery has gained a loyal following with its refreshing Cream Ale and hoppy Mad Tom IPA.

Overall, the growth of craft beer in Canada has led to an exciting array of options for those looking to explore the world of artisanal brews.


In conclusion, the popularity of beer in Canada is evident by its high consumption rate and thriving industry. Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue continue to dominate the market, but there are also unique regional variations such as Alexander Keith’s IPA and Sleeman Honey Brown Lager.

The craft beer scene has also exploded with microbreweries popping up across the country. Beer culture is deeply embedded in Canadian traditions and festivities, making it an integral part of their social fabric.