M930.50.5.485 | Commercial label of Lager Beer, G. Reinhardt & Sons

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Commercial label of Lager Beer, G. Reinhardt & Sons
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
6.3 x 8.3 cm
Gift from David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Miscellaneous (671) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

Hops, spruce and ginger beers were favourite drinks in Canada and also served as remedies for specific ailments. Excellent tonics, appetite stimulants and digestive aids, they were used in poultices as well. For certain types of abscess, the treatment was a slice of bread soaked in cold beer and wrapped in a cloth.

Some people were not satisfied with the natural benefits of these beverages and laced them with narcotics. The ideal cure for melancholy, for instance, was said to be a few drops of opium in a glass of chilled beer.

Traité élémentaire de matière médicale et guide pratique des soeurs de charité de l'Asile de la Providence (Montreal: Imprimerie de la Providence, 1890), 1493 p.

D. Goulet, F. Hudon and O. Keel, Histoire de l'Hôpital Notre-Dame de Montréal 1880-1980, (Montreal: Éditions VLB, "Études québécoises" series 1993), pp. 221-222.

  • What

    Commercial beer label; engraving by John Henry Walker. Beer was favoured for its nutritive and tonic qualities.

  • Where

    Beer was sometimes prescribed in Canadian hospitals and asylums. It was believed to accelerate post-operative convalescence and calm fits of delirium.

  • When

    The medicinal properties of beer have been recognized for over a thousand years. This label was for a lager, or light beer, brewed in Montreal.

  • Who

    The beer advertised here was brewed by G. Reinhardt & Sons. As a therapeutic agent, beer was used mainly to help convalescents recover more quickly.