“My plan was never to just be a small craft brewer operating
out of a garage in Guelph. I wanted to be professional,
have a national brewing company, perhaps No. 3 or 4 in the
country in size and distribution. The original plan was to
build Guelph and other little Guelphs across the country.”
– John Sleeman, Sleeman Breweries
in size and distribution. The original plan was to build Guelph
and other little Guelphs across the country,” he said.
As he thought about expansion, he set his sights on British
Columbia, already known for its robust craft brewing scene.
It was difficult to compete with them, so he looked at how he
could join them.
One of the leading craft brewers in B.C. was Okanagan
Spring. The timing was right: the original German family that
started the brewery was in the process of liquidating some
shares; and that famous family name inserted itself into the success
story once again.
“I got a call from Bill Sleeman from the Okanagan Spring
brewery out of the blue, saying, ‘Hey, cousin.’ I didn’t know who
he was. He wanted to work on a possible merger. I was dreaming
of doing that but didn’t think I’d get an offer. I flew out, saw the
brewery and we started negotiating,” said Sleeman.
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B R E W E RY P R O F I L E
“This was the first significant merger and cemented the
idea of, instead of competing, looking in the market for some
great breweries that want to be part of the Sleeman group.”
Since then, they’ve gone on to partner with regional brewers
Unibroue in Quebec, and Wild Rose Brewery in Alberta.
Sleeman says the criteria for mergers – no hostile takeovers on
his watch – is simple.
“We want the very best regional brewers who come with
very loyal customers. We don’t want to change things. We want
partners that are good enough to stand on their own two feet.”
Sapporo buys Sleeman Breweries, changes nothing
In the early-2000s, Sleeman Breweries was put up for sale.
Sleeman says they were looking for a corporate partner that
would honour their unique business model comprised of a collection
of strong regional breweries with lots of local support.
Call (905) 220-2311
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When only the best Kegs will do!
For more than 275 years, THIELMANN has been producing quality products that are proudly “Made in Spain”.
And now THIELMANN has a brand new manufacturing facility in Mexico, that is using American made 304
stainless steel. All with Micromatic spears.
WINTER 2020 § POURED CANADA § 7