During the 1880's, J.J. Doran owned a hotel in North Bay. He, along with the Doran, Mackey and Fee families began to brew beer in 1907. The families built a brewery in Sudbury and named it the Sudbury Brewing and Malting Company.
Four years later they bought out the Soo Falls Brewing Company (est. 1899) out of Sault Ste Marie. In 1913 they also purchased the Kakabeka Falls Brewing Company (est. 1906) in Fort William.
With their new operations being quite successful, they opened an additional plant in 1919 out of Timmins under the name of Doran's Brewery.
In 1948 the families bought out the Port Arthur Beverage Company (est. 1876).
These individual companies were consolodated under one management in 1960. The companies became part of the new Doran's Northern Ontario Breweries.
Their Brewery/Retail store in Timmins which was located on Algonquin Blvd beside Bon Air Motel was torn down. The land remains vacant as of 2007.
In late 2004 the company was purchased by Toronto businessman Leo Schotte on behalf of an investment group. Schotte hired William Sharpe, former head of Lakeport Brewing, as president and CEO of Northern Breweries.
In 2005, the company announced a five-year business plan. This included a major rebranding effort, retiring many of its old products in favour of more modern brews and brand identities.
The cities of Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie extended tax benefits to Northern Breweries, who were heavily in debt. One of the conditions of the benefits was that new employees were to be hired. In June of 2006, Mr. Sharpe appeared before Sault Ste. Marie's city council and cited poor sales and lack of investor interest as reasons for the company not being able to sustain itself.
Unfortunately Mr. Sharpe resigned in July of 2006 after an 18-month, unpaid stint.
With the brewery in debt to the amount of $7 million, the Sudbury facility has also closed.
As of July 2009, heavy industrial equipment belonging to Priestly Demolition was moved onto the Sudbury property. According to Priestly, they are storing equipment on site but no demolition is taking place.
In late August 2010, Priestly workers began removing contents of the building. The business has since been sold to a bus company.