Carling O'Keefe

Carling O'Keefe

Carling O'Keefe originated as Canadian Breweries Limited which was the first brewing conglomerate in Canada and is now owned by Molson Coors Brewing Company.


In 1840 Thomas Carling began a small brewing operation in London, Ontario selling beer to soldiers at the local military camp. When he died, his sons William and John took over, naming it the W & J Carling Brewing Co. John Carling became a prominent figure in Canadian business and politics and was later knighted in 1893. Sir John Carling died in 1911 and in 1930 the company was sold to Canadian Breweries Limited.

In 1862, Eugene O'Keefe created the O'Keefe Breweries.

Carling and Rothman Breweries merged in 1969 and resulted in a new brewer called Carling O'Keefe in 1973.

Carling O'Keefe was bought by Elders IXL of Australia in 1987 and later merged with Molson to form Molson Breweries Canada in 1989.

Carling brands are currently owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company. In South Africa it is distributed by SABMiller.


Carling's Toronto location on Carlingview Drive (named for the brewery) is now a Molson brewery.


Carling sponsored Orteig Prize contenders Capt. Terry Tully, and Lieut. James Medcalf in their plane the "Sir John Carling". They took off on August 28, 1927 from London, Ontario, headed for London, England (United Kingdom), but they never returned.

From 1993 to 2001 Carling was the sponsor of the FA Premier League, one of the top sporting leagues in the world, as well as Celtic Football Club and Rangers Football Club, the two largest Scottish teams. Carling is also known for sponsoring various live music venues in the United Kingdom, including Carling Academies in Brixton, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Islington, Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne; the Shepherd's Bush Empire; the Manchester Apollo and the Carling weekend music festivals which takes place at the end of August each year over two venues- Leeds and Reading.

Carling O'Keefe was a major supporter of Langley Speedway, a 3/8th mile paved stock car oval, in Langley, British Columbia. They often sponsored races and season points championships. For example, Tom Berrow was the 1976 Carling O'Keefe Super Stock Points Champion. Their Company name was painted on the front stretch of the track and was part of the "Winner's Circle" celebration. Carling O'Keefe also held ownership of the NHL's Quebec Nordiques and the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, before selling the franchises in 1988 due to the impending merger with Molson. The company, however, maintained promotional interests in both teams.


*"Carling Black Label" is the best selling beer in the United Kingdom.
*"Carling Premier" a stronger version of Carling Black Label, with an alcohol percentage of 4.7%. In cans it is sold with a widget.


* [ Molson merges with Carling - CBC News: National, Broadcast Date: Jan. 18, 1989; reporter Tom Kennedy]
* [ Falstaff Brewing — History of Carling]
* [ University of Western Ontario - Partial essay on the History of Carling]
* [ Museum London — Carling]
* [ Glenbow Museum — The Molson Papers]

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