Labatt’s Garden

  • Labatt’s Garden in Saskatoon © Goethe-Institut Montreal
    Labatt’s Garden in Saskatoon
  • Labatt’s Garden in Saskatoon © Goethe-Institut Montreal
    Labatt’s Garden in Saskatoon

Labatt’s Garden

It all started when John Hoeschen and several other businessmen formed the German-American Land Company. They bought land 70 miles east of Saskatoon in 1902 to sell as homesteads.

The Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and the Grand Trunk railways all met in Saskatoon and at that point in time there were no breweries in the province, which meant it was a great business opportunity for a land developer such as Hoeschen. He and other investors came together and raised $100,000 to build a brewery in Canada. But the question was where to build the brewery. This is why a party of four men went on an expedition and found that Saskatoon was the perfect location for their new endeavor. On October 6, 1904 the Weekly Phoenix reported: “They liked Saskatoon, the land required was a reasonable price, and the railroads had promised a siding.”

The land for the brewery was bought for $4,500 and was located on the South Saskatchewan River. “We have plenty of land, excellent drainage, and an unlimited supply of water. Besides, we are conveniently located for a railway siding” Hoeschen said after the contact had been signed. Work on the brewery started immediately and was completed in the fall of 1907, with the official opening in March 1908 after several setbacks with the equipment. The official name of the brewery was Hoeschen-Wentzler Brewing Company Ltd.

Even though Horschen was the acting president of the brewery, his friend Fred Wentzler and Hoeschen’s son Ben took on running the Brewery. Wentzler was born in Germany in 1866 and received his education in brewing in the United States, where his family operated a brewery.

By 1912 the name had changed to the Saskatoon Brewing Company and by 1973 it had been taken over by the Labatt's Brewing Company. The brewery ceased production in May, 1993 and the building was demolished later that year. All that remains now is the “Labatt’s Garden”, where the brewery once stood.