Brew­ing‘ Al­berta’s Pride’

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS | COMMUNITY NEWS -

The be­gin­nings: Noel’s Brew­ery was Leth­bridge’s ear­li­est brew­ery and pro­duced “hop beer,” a mild, four per cent brew that sold for $1.50 per dozen.

Hop beer can be fer­mented in 10 days; the beer was prob­a­bly bot­tled and sold as soon as a batch was made. It was not aged, sed­i­ment free or pas­teur­ized. Noel’s Brew­ery was in the river bot­tom, just south of to­day’s WhoopUp Bridge.

The next step: Fritz Sick came from Ger­many. He mar­ried Louise Frank in 1889 and the cou­ple had five chil­dren: Louise, Fred, Emil, He­lene and Leo. Fritz learned the brew­ing trade in brew­eries in Cincin­nati, Cal­i­for­nia and Wash­ing­ton. He owned or worked in brew­eries in Trail, Fort Steele and Fernie be­fore com­ing to Leth­bridge in 1901.

Fritz Sick ar­rived in Leth­bridge with $8,000 and started the Al­berta Brew­ery. The brew­ery’s first brew was a lager called Al­berta’s Pride. This “beer with­out a peer” was ad­ver­tised as “con­cen­trated liq­uid food” and fam­i­lies were en­cour­aged to serve the bev­er­age at meals to help main­tain strong di­ges­tive or­gans and en­cour­age the ap­petite. In 1905, the brew­ery be­gan to make malt beer and changed its name to Leth­bridge Brew­ing and Malt­ing Co. In 1918, the brew­ery be­came Leth­bridge Brew­eries Lim­ited.

Fritz and his son Emil formed the As­so­ci­ated Brew­eries of Canada in 1928. This new com­pany was an amal­ga­ma­tion of Leth­bridge Brew­eries Ltd., the Prince Al­bert Brew­eries Ltd., the Regina Brew­ing Co. Ltd. and the New Ed­mon­ton Brew­eries Ltd. At the time, this was the largest brew­ing com­pany amal­ga­ma­tion in the his­tory of West­ern Canada, and re­sulted in the sec­ond-largest brew­ing com­pany in Canada. The amal­ga­ma­tion brought “greater economies and meth­ods of ef­fi­ciency.”

This hold­ing com­pany be­came Sick’s Brew­eries Lim­ited in 1944.

Fritz Sick left a last­ing legacy in Leth­bridge be­yond his brew­eries. In 1943, he do­nated $100,000 to the City of Leth­bridge for a com­mu­nity cen­tre and mod­ern swim­ming pool. The funds pro­vided the core fa­cil­i­ties for the Civic Sports Cen­tre and Fritz Sick Memo­rial Swim­ming Pool al­though war re­stric­tions pre­vented com­ple­tion of the project be­fore April 1950.

Your old pho­tos, doc­u­ments, and ar­ti­facts might have his­tor­i­cal value. Please con­tact Galt Mu­seum & Ar­chives for ad­vice be­fore de­stroy­ing them.

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