In the early days brewing was a domestic art practiced by people in their own homes for personal enjoyment and special occasions. However, by the 1870s commercial brewing had come into its own with brewers establishing businesses in villages, towns, and cities across the country. Born in Cornwall, England in 1815, Joseph Luke began his business in 1866 in Tillsonburg as a tanner. By 1870 he had turned his attention to brewing and produced a light draught beer for sale. In December 1883, the business was known as Luke & Sons with his sons, Cornish (1850-1926) and Sidney (1857 – 1924), taking part in the daily operations. The business was a success and they were able to employ Frank Bilz, a professional brew master, to assist with production. On January 11, 1895, Joseph passed away in his 81st year and the business was passed on to his sons. By the early 1900s, the business was known by the name Luke Bros, though by 1915 the business seems to have ceased operations, with Sidney switching his interests to coal and wood.
Photograph courtesy of Annadale N.H.S. & Museum.
Photograph of Cornish Luke (right) [courtesy of Annandale N.H.S. & Museum].
J. Luke & Sons malt house [courtesy of Annandale N.H.S. & Museum]