Bottoms Up

A History of Alcohol in Newfoundland and Labrador

Reviewed by Austin Quagleini

Posted January 21, 2022

In Bottoms Up, Newfoundland and Labrador author Sheilah Roberts Lukins presents a detailed history of alcohol production and consumption and the related cultural implications within her home province.

Opening during the age of exploration, the book continues beyond the prohibition years into the 1950s. Readers learn how early settlers acquired alcohol, their preferred drinks, their recipes for beverages, the impacts on local Indigenous peoples, and the sheer amount of booze that was consumed daily and yearly.

The second half of the book drops the chronological structure and takes readers through a tour of the pubs and breweries of St. John’s, N.L., focusing on establishments that have been open for at least a few decades, as well as some that have closed. Here Lukins’s narration takes on a more personal style, allowing readers to get to know each of these watering holes. If in St. John’s, a reader could use Bottoms Up as a guide for visiting some of the establishments she describes.

Bottoms Up is a comprehensive look into Newfoundland and Labrador’s history with one of society’s most divisive substances. Among other topics, Lukins highlights alcohol’s effect on St. John’s and shows how it shaped much of the city’s culture.

Buy this book at Chapters-Indigo

This article originally appeared in the February-March 2022 issue of Canada’s History.

Related to Books