Bottoms Up: A History of Alcohol in Newfoundland and Labrador

Author: Sheilah Roberts Lukins
Genre: Non-Fiction
Format: paperback
Pages: 240
Dimensions: 6 × 9 × 2 in
Weight: 1 kg
Published: September 30, 2020
ISBN: 9781550818017

In 1617, Lord Falkland’s colonists in Newfoundland were instructed to bring, among other things, 20 barrels of caske (ale), 90 bushels of malt, a malt mill, 4500 pounds of hops, 1 firkin of Aqua vitae, 1 firkin of canarie wine, and 1 firkin of methaglyne (mead). And so began the time-honoured tradition of countering the rugged Newfoundland environment with a nip of something stronger. Now, four hundred years later, from our famous kitchen parties to the bars and pubs of George Street, the history of our cultural traditions is intertwined with the history of liquor and beer.

Bottoms Up is the story of alcohol in Newfoundland and Labrador, and reveals how the drink helped shape so much of the province’s culture. What did Newfoundlanders drink 400 years ago? Where were the most popular drinking establishments of the past? Why does one of our streets have the most pubs per square foot in North America? Distilling four centuries of fact and anecdote, Sheilah Roberts Lukins serves up a revealing and often amusing survey of our fascination with good spirits.


  • Gourmand Award winner, Best in the World Food & Drink Culture


“Sheilah Roberts Lukins has worked her way through a rich archive to present a very well researched and documented local history of alcohol that is tough to put down. I learned the origins of the common expressions such as “to give a toast.” I learned why so many women have managed drinking establishments. And I learned the makeup of the notorious “Screech-in” ceremony–Lukin’s writing on the subject was worthy of an episode of The Rick Mercer Report.” – Mala Rai, Atlantic Books Today

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