Toronto, ON – Steam Whistle Brewing, maker of Canada’s Premium Pilsner, is celebrating the craft beer revival across Canada with their 2015 edition in-case Retro Opener, aptly named The Magee Churchkey. This collectible opener is now available in both 6 and 12 packs of Steam Whistle Pilsner at Ontario LCBO and Beer Stores, while quantities last.
“We reached into the past and revived a forgotten opener design from
Canada’s craft brewing boom at the turn of the 20th century,” explains Cam Heaps, co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing. “This piece of history honours brewing heritage while also celebrating today’s craft beer revolution and the returned pride for Canada’s world-class brewing.”
The inspiration behind The Magee Churchkey Retro Opener goes back over a century when Canada was home to mostly European immigrants who brought with them traditional brewing craftsmanship and an unbridled optimism for their new homeland. An abundance of beer styles and breweries sprang up across the nation while Canada built its brewing reputation around the globe.
A prominent brewery of this era was owned by Charles Magee, and it was a “churchkey”-style opener issued by this brewery, found by Steam Whistle co-founder Greg from a beer memorabilia collector, that inspired the 2015 Retro Opener design. [A “churchkey” referred to the original bottle openers which resembled the large, old-fashion keys used by monks to open the church, and keep their precious brew safe.] Magee’s brewery marked a special place in Canada’s brewing history, as after this, Magee’s grandson, E.P. Taylor inherited the brewery and changed the national brewing landscape. E.P. Taylor – one of Canada’s renowned business tycoons – went on to acquire 30 more breweries, sparking a massive consolidation of the beer industry that saw the number of breweries in Canada shrink from over 150 to only 5 in the 1950’s. Economies of Scale, industrial efficiency and automation pushed authentic methods aside, and fewer, more homogeneous styles of beer were offered for sale across Canada.