In the 1940s the Northern Brewery building on Lorne St. was considered one of the "showplaces of the north." The brewery, which dates back 1903, was rebuilt and re-equipped for the Sudbury Brewery and Malting Company's 37th anniversary. It was equipped with nickel or nickel alloy equipment, which was considered revolutionary at the time.  As part of Northern Life's efforts to make citizens aware of heritage properties, the following article is reprinted in part with permission from the September/October 1940 edition of The Canadian Beverage  Review.
Celebrating its 37th anniversary this year, Sudbury Brewing
and Malting Company Ltd.,  owes its inception and its
progress to as staunch a band of pioneers and loyal believers
in the great north country as one could hope to find anywhere.
J. J. Mackey, president of the company, was born in Pembroke
in 1863 and has lived in the north country all his life. He was
a member of the first survey party which located the Canadian
Pacific Railway line east and west of North Bay in 1879, and
was selected for this party on account of his unrivalled
knowledge of and faith in the country through which the line
must pass.  To "outsiders" a cold, rugged and stern
country: to Mackey and many of his friends who have been born
there, a country full of romance, a hard task-mistress, but a
bounteous provider for those who had the "essential guts" to
tackle her and to study her carefully in her many moods.
At the beginning of the "Gay Nineties," Mackey became
interested in the brewing industry and joined hands with J. J.
Doran to found the present company. Doran was one of the early
residents of North Bay. He too, had - and has - unbound faith
in the great future of the north country, and their names are
written large in the pages of its history.
Besides the Sudbury Brewery plant, and later the Soo Falls
Brewery at Sault Ste. Marie, the Kakabeka Falls Brewery at Fort
William, and the Gold Belt Brewery at Timmins, these gentlemen
have large interests in some of the most important mines of the
north, in real estate, in hotels and in many other enterprises.
But they are interested only in Northern Ontario. They have
intense faith in its as yet untouched and immense resources.
Incidentally, Mackey is also president of the Sudbury and
Copper Cliff Electric Railway and was one of the promoters of
that important transportation link which has helped to open up
the Copper Cliff district.
When the Sudbury brewery project was first mooted by Mackey and Doran, there was need for an enterprising and skillful master brewer, one who besides knowing beer and how to brew it to the liking of the public, must be also resourceful and enterprising in overcoming the many difficulties which surround production of an important food and beverage such as beer in the outskirts of civilization, where transportation of materials and machinery from larger centres was slow, skilled labour scarce and means of construction limited.
Their choice for the important job was John C. Clemens, who
came from Detroit, Michigan, where he served his apprenticeship
in the industry some 30 odd years ago. Much of the success of
the company is due to his production of quality beers and his
keen study of the needs of the district and the brewery.
Clemens too was a keen booster of the north and its
products; he had for years studied metals, alloys and
equipment. He dreamt of an ultra-modern brewing plant which
should be equipped throughout with vats and machinery
constructed entirely of nickel, Monel metal, other nickel
alloys and stainless steel, according to the needs of the
equipment. When the final decision to expand and re-build was
made, the directors completely endorsed Clemens' plans and
handed the project over to him. Clemens had also ardent support
for his ideas and plans from the research and construction
engineers of the International Nickel Co. Ltd.
So today there is yet another monument in Sudbury to the
initiative and progressive policy of these pioneers of the
north. And it is a particularly appropriate monument too.
It is fabricated almost entirely from the main metal
produced from the ground of that district, its design and
construction were aided by the knowledge of the men who have
pioneered in discovering the uses and application of this
But while this is undoubtedly the pioneer plant in the
widest actual use of nickel and nickel alloys throughout, the
metal itself is well-known in all food and beverage industries,
and has already been thoroughly proved in practice as one of
the ideal metals of construction in such industrial plants.
Nickel and its alloys have been used to quite a large extent
in breweries throughout the world, but this is probably the
first and only instance in which it has been specified
throughout the plant and adapted to so many uses. From pure
nickel to nickel-clad steel, and finally in alloys as Monel
metal and similar admixtures, it has served for the
brew-kettle, the mash tun, the adjustable rakes and sparger,
the Pfaff and Grant, the wort cooler, the pipes for the wort
and beer, the pumps for the liquor and brews, the hop strainer,
and so on.
A  visitor (to the brewery) sees a symphony in gleaming white metal, and although the plant has been completed but a comparatively few months, as it is situated on a main highway, and one much frequented by tourists in the summer, many hundreds of visitors have stopped to go through the plant and to admire its splendid, hospital-like cleanliness.
The exterior of the Sudbury Brewing Company's plant is very
striking. The new main entrance and the tower above it are
constructed almost entirely of glass bricks; large windows give
a fine view of the gleaming nickel equipment inside. At night
this picture is accentuated by the vari-coloured lighting
showing through the glass building bricks and the neon-outlined
"Silver Foam Beer" sign towering above the building.
Inside, a splendid job of re-construction has been
accomplished. In the brew-house, above the main floor, there
are no other floors, tiled galleries give access to different
pieces of equipment at various levels, leaving the splendid
proportions of the brewing plant to be admired in the capacious
section reaching to the high roof.
Mention must also be made of the part played by the late R. A. Fee, who for so long ably occupied the position of manager at Sudbury. His death last year made the first break in the ranks of these pioneer businessmen.
A. J. Samson, who has occupied the position of chief
accountant since 1908 is yet another long-service associate.
Not only has he carried on the arduous duties of comptroller,
but he has found time to give generously of his services to the
community. Samson was mayor of Sudbury in 1926-7 and has been a
keen supporter of sports organization as well as serving on
various education, welfare and similar community boards.
The youngest executive represents the second generation of
the Doran family to become industrial leaders in the north. He
is W. J. Doran, son of  J. J. Doran, and he is responsible
for the general supervision of all the plants.
Few people in "Old Ontario" realize the vast growth of the north country in the past few decades. To many brewers in southern Ontario, the fact there are these four thriving breweries in full production would probably come as a surprise. The additional fact that one of these represents probably the greatest innovation in brewing house equipment that has ever been made in the past 10 years will cause even greater surprise. Perhaps the truth is that the north country has been too modest in its demands for recognition, and those who have so splendidly pioneered and developed its resources have been too busy  to find time to talk or write about it.
Editor's note:  In 1960 Sudbury Brewing and Malting Company became part of Doran's Northern Ontario Breweries. In 1971, the company was purchased by Canadian Breweries. In 1977 employees purchased the company and it was renamed Northern Breweries Ltd. This was the first employee-owned brewery in North America. In 2004, the company was purchased by a group headed by William R. Sharpe.