The Palmerston Brewery was owned by L. H. Clarke, Brewer & Maltster and located on Norman St. The company is listed in an 1882 directory and was awarded first prize in September of 1884 at a Dominion Exhibition in Montreal. It consisted of a two-storey brick building and a frame Malt House.

According to the author of an article about the brewery in the Palmerston Observer Centennial publication (1975), the malt house was quite a height and had 10 floors with low ceiling clearance. It was designed to provide as much floor space as possible. The barley was spread on the floor, wetted down and allowed to sprout, thus creating the basis for the malt.

The malt house was destroyed by fire (late 1890’s?), despite the efforts of the volunteer fire brigade. A member of that old brigade was Jake Schaefer. Mr. Schaefer was quite active when I first knew him, some 35 years ago (1940), and he enjoyed reminiscing about the earlier days of the town. The malt house fire was one of them. In fighting the fire, Jake had a misguided hose thoroughly soak him. He went home to change into dry clothes, as he lived a few hundred yards from the blaze. Arriving back at the fire he learned that his buddies on the brigade were searching the blazing building for one of their members, presumably overcome by the smoke. Jake joined in the search and made several trips into the building before he realized that he was the object of the search.

With the destruction of the malt house, the brewery failed and the building was used in the manufacture of carriages, buggies, democrats, cutters, etc. under the name of the Palmerston Carriage Co. This was around 1901. It employed approximately 40 men, including David Cox, Val Wells, Harry and Jack Steele. The company had a difficult time competing in wages with the newly unionized railway workers and in 1904 a group of Mount Forest citizens combined to finance a move by the carriage company to a new building in Mount Forest. This factory in Mount Forest still existed in 1975 and was producing baskets.

The brewery building was also used for the manufacture of trunks and baggage. This artist rendering is of the Kreutzigers Trunk and Bag Factory, and is dated 1915. Following W.W.1, the brewery building was used by a woodenware company, turning out games, principally croquet balls and mallets and later a firm making steamer trunks took over the place.