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Black Creek Historic Brewery and the Quest for a "One-Mile Beer"

Sep 29, 2011

Toronto: September 29, 2011... Black Creek Historic Brewery has embarked on a quest to brew its first, and possibly Canada's only, One-Mile Beer - made from ingredients grown on site at Black Creek Pioneer Village, and brewed with the same equipment and techniques that were used by early Ontario settlers in the 19th century. If successful, 30 to 35 "Growlers" (two liter jugs) of the handcrafted ale will be ready in late-October for purchase.

"Ultimately, the goal is to create a self-sufficient production process for truly local beer," said Chris Bagley, general manager of Black Creek Pioneer Village.) "It's a fascinating experiment, not only because it teaches us about the past, but also as a laboratory for learning about sustainability and local agriculture in our time."

The notion of the "100-Mile Diet" from the book of same name by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, has become increasingly popular in recent years as people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, while supporting local farmers and sustainable development. However, crafting a truly local beer has proven a difficult challenge for microbreweries.

"Estate ales, as they were called, were once quite common, with ingredients typically grown very close to the brewery," said Ed Koren, brewmaster at the Black Creek Historic Brewery. "With the modernization of brewing, the local aspect of beer-making has been lost. We're doing our part to bring it back."

Two years ago, Black Creek Pioneer Village started a hops garden and earlier this spring planted half an acre of barley. In August the barley crop was harvested, dried and threshed - all by hand. The barley will be malted and roasted off-site and then returned to the Black Creek for brewing in October. In the coming years the Black Creek Historic Brewery plans to expand the barley crop, and do its own malting, roasting and milling in the Village.

"What the Black Creek Brewery is doing is not easy," said Brett Joyce, president of Rogue Ales, a craft brewery in Oregon which owns several hops and barley farms. "Growing your own ingredients requires patience, willingness to absorb risk and capital investment. But there are big benefits if you succeed. People like to know where their food comes from. Raising your own ingredients teaches you a lot, and beer is worth learning about. Barley and hops are just as interesting, and important, as grapes are for wine."

Meanwhile the Black Creek Historic Brewery continues to brew new batches of its other beers weekly, including porter, brown ale, IPA and stout. Lively tours of the brewery are offered daily at Black Creek Pioneer Village. The tours include samples of beer drawn straight from the barrels. Visitors can also buy returnable two-litre growlers of Black Creek ale to enjoy at home.

Black Creek Pioneer Village is located at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto (one block east of Jane St., south off Steeles Avenue, right next to York University). The Village is south east of Hwy 7 and Hwy 400. Parking is available on site. For more information on the Black Creek Historic Brewery, visit, or call (416) 736-1733.


Media contacts:
Eric Philpott
philpott | communications
(905) 773-6651

Rowena Calpito
Toronto and Region Conservation
(416) 661-6600 ext 5632

About Black Creek Historic Brewery

Located in Black Creek Pioneer Village, the Black Creek Historic Brewery is a working recreation of a 19th century brewery, an era when beer was both a popular beverage and a staple food. Using only period equipment and no electricity, the Brewery handcrafts the same ale and porter varieties enjoyed in Ontario before Confederation. Open daily to the public, visitors can chat with Brewmasters in costume or join guided tours and taste samples drawn from oak barrels. The beer can be enjoyed on the premises at the Black Creek Historic Brewery Restaurant and Pub, or brought home in returnable "growlers." Public events are held throughout the year at the Brewery; the facility is also available for corporate and private functions. The Brewery is operated by Black Creek Pioneer Village in partnership with Pioneer Breweries Limited. For more information, visit

About Black Creek Pioneer Village

Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto's premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore heritage homes and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit


Black Creek Pioneer Village acknowledges support from the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto, and the public.


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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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