About Us

Take a journey through time and explore the history of Formosa Springs Brewery ­– one of the oldest operating breweries in Canada.

1800

1870

Young German-Canadians Andreas and Barbara Rau produce their first brew in Formosa.

1884

The brewery is purchased by local entrepreneurs FX and Anthony Messner. While drilling for coal oil, an artesian spring is discovered instead. Bad news for the coal-oil investors – great news for beer brewers.

1867

Canadian Confederation established.

1870

Young German-Canadians Andreas and Barbara Rau produce their first brew in Formosa.

1874-1881

The Raus’ dreams disappear in flames – a common danger for breweries of the day. The brewery is sold at public auction and rebuilt only to be destroyed again by fire. The rebuilt brewery undergoes a series of ownership changes involving a myriad of mortgages and foreclosures.

1884

The brewery is purchased by local entrepreneurs FX and Anthony Messner. While drilling for coal oil, an artesian spring is discovered instead. Bad news for the coal-oil investors – great news for beer brewers.

1899

December 27th 1899, Brewmaster Lawrence Heisz buys the brewery for $6,000. The sale includes: stables, ice houses, and two dwelling houses including all "beer [plus] puncheons, tubs, vats, beer kegs and cases. The Heisz family continue to be connected to the brewery in various ways for the next 70 years.

1867

Canadian Confederation established.

1874-1881

The Raus’ dreams disappear in flames – a common danger for breweries of the day. The brewery is sold at public auction and rebuilt only to be destroyed again by fire. The rebuilt brewery undergoes a series of ownership changes involving a myriad of mortgages and foreclosures.

1899

December 27th 1899, Brewmaster Lawrence Heisz buys the brewery for $6,000. The sale includes: stables, ice houses, and two dwelling houses including all "beer [plus] puncheons, tubs, vats, beer kegs and cases. The Heisz family continue to be connected to the brewery in various ways for the next 70 years.

1900

1910

Launched their first bottled product, a highly malted lager called "Maltosea,".

1922

After years of pinched finances, the brewery closes.

1942

Women work in the plant for first time.

1968

Formosa Springs is again the only operating Southern Ontario brewery, and the Ontario Motor League is swamped with calls for directions to find Formosa. On arrival, beer lovers are faced with line-ups at the brewery's retail outlet that last for hours and have a one case limit.

1970

The brewery is sold to a tobacco company. A victim of its popularity, demand exceeds the plant’s capabilities and it moves to Barrie to expand. Brewmaster Paul Heisz samples one of the last brews in 1971.

1978

The old plant endures a decade of uncertainty, bottling water, and even housing a fish farm.

1988

Start-up Algonquin Brewery, purchases the Formosa plant. A year of intensive renovation and modernization ensues. The brewery is designated a historic site by the Ontario Historical Society.

1992-1994

Formosa Springs Draft wins gold medals at the annual International Monde Selection an internationally recognized consortium of the very best specialists along with the brewing department of the Institute Meurice.

1997

Kitchener based brewery purchases Formosa Springs Brewery plant.

1910

Launched their first bottled product, a highly malted lager called "Maltosea,".

1916

September 17, the Ontario Temperance Act ends the sale of alcoholic beverages. Formosa Springs Brewery keeps its head above water by exporting and selling its brews via mail order. They also brew a low-alcohol "near beer”.

1922

After years of pinched finances, the brewery closes.

1927

June 1st 1927, Prohibition is repealed. Formosa is selling legal beer before the end of the month.

Formosa Springs Brewery is sold to O.V. Craig, whose family owns Copland Brewing Co. In Toronto. The Heisz family continue to work the brewery.

1942

Women work in the plant for first time.

1958

August 7, 1958 As a non-union brewery, Formosa Springs is the only brewery still operating in Southern Ontario throughout the Brewers Warehousing (Brewers Retail) strike. During the strike 500 to 600 visitors are drawn to Formosa per day.

1968

Formosa Springs is again the only operating Southern Ontario brewery, and the Ontario Motor League is swamped with calls for directions to find Formosa. On arrival, beer lovers are faced with line-ups at the brewery's retail outlet that last for hours and have a one case limit.

1969

Formosa Springs inks a deal giving the brewery the trademark and exclusive rights to sell beer in the German Clubs during Waterloo’s Octoberfest.

1970

The brewery is sold to a tobacco company. A victim of its popularity, demand exceeds the plant’s capabilities and it moves to Barrie to expand. Brewmaster Paul Heisz samples one of the last brews in 1971.

1974

A large Canadian brewer purchases the brewery "retiring" the existing brands.

1978

The old plant endures a decade of uncertainty, bottling water, and even housing a fish farm.

1986

Red Baron (a blonde light lager) launches.

1988

Start-up Algonquin Brewery, purchases the Formosa plant. A year of intensive renovation and modernization ensues. The brewery is designated a historic site by the Ontario Historical Society.

1990

Formosa Springs Cold Filtered Draft launches – the first cold filtered draft in Canada.

1992-1994

Formosa Springs Draft wins gold medals at the annual International Monde Selection an internationally recognized consortium of the very best specialists along with the brewing department of the Institute Meurice.

1996

Red Baron wins Gold at the World Beer Cup.

1997

Kitchener based brewery purchases Formosa Springs Brewery plant.

1916

September 17, the Ontario Temperance Act ends the sale of alcoholic beverages. Formosa Springs Brewery keeps its head above water by exporting and selling its brews via mail order. They also brew a low-alcohol "near beer”.

1927

June 1st 1927, Prohibition is repealed. Formosa is selling legal beer before the end of the month.

Formosa Springs Brewery is sold to O.V. Craig, whose family owns Copland Brewing Co. In Toronto. The Heisz family continue to work the brewery.

1958

August 7, 1958 As a non-union brewery, Formosa Springs is the only brewery still operating in Southern Ontario throughout the Brewers Warehousing (Brewers Retail) strike. During the strike 500 to 600 visitors are drawn to Formosa per day.

1969

Formosa Springs inks a deal giving the brewery the trademark and exclusive rights to sell beer in the German Clubs during Waterloo’s Octoberfest.

1974

A large Canadian brewer purchases the brewery "retiring" the existing brands.

1986

Red Baron (a blonde light lager) launches.

1990

Formosa Springs Cold Filtered Draft launches – the first cold filtered draft in Canada.

1996

Red Baron wins Gold at the World Beer Cup.

2000

2010

Red Baron Platinum Light launches. A 60 calorie single carb craft lager.

2018

Under new ownership, Formosa Springs Brewery re-launches, brewing Formosa Springs Draft and Red Baron brands in Formosa.

2009

Red Baron Lime launches.

2010

Red Baron Platinum Light launches. A 60 calorie single carb craft lager.

2017

Kitchener based brewery moves Formosa operations to Kitchener.

2018

Under new ownership, Formosa Springs Brewery re-launches, brewing Formosa Springs Draft and Red Baron brands in Formosa.

2020

Formosa Springs Brewery celebrates 150 years of brewing heritage – party details to follow!

2009

Red Baron Lime launches.

2017

Kitchener based brewery moves Formosa operations to Kitchener.

2020

Formosa Springs Brewery celebrates 150 years of brewing heritage – party details to follow!