GUELPH, ON, March 28, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - A few kegs'-worth of Canadian
and local heritage have come to the University of Guelph for
The University has acquired the Sleeman Collection, chronicling the
history of one of the country's oldest breweries, for its archival and
special collections at the McLaughlin Library.
The collection includes photographs, business records, newspapers,
correspondence and other materials showing the brewing dynasty's impact
on Canada in the past 150 years, from industry advancement to
infrastructure to politics.
"For many years, we have been accumulating my family's historical
artifacts," said John W. Sleeman, company founder and chairman and
great-great-grandson of the original brewmaster, John H. Sleeman.
"I have always hoped that we could somehow preserve them for the future
but also make them available for the public to see and enjoy. I'm
delighted to say that, with the University of Guelph's wonderful
archival facilities, this has now been made possible."
The University will unveil the collection at an event April 3 during
Archives Awareness Week.
Sleeman will speak along with Ian Bowering, a beer historian and author,
and Rebecca Graham, the University's chief information officer and
chief librarian. The library will display portions of the collection
and launch a new collection website that day.
The event will take place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Academic Town
Square, located on the first floor of the library with a reception to
"This is an important contribution to our regional history collection,"
said Kathryn Harvey, head of archival and special collections.
"The Sleeman family has a long and rich history in this area, playing a
role not just in the brewing business but in the very fabric of Guelph
society. They were involved in early transportation, sports and
community growth, and contributed to political and social life."
The University has acquired the material in phases over recent years. U
of G hopes to have the collection designated as Canadian cultural
property. Under four main categories - biographies, breweries, regional
history, and sports and social clubs - the website highlights the
company's history from its founder's arrival in Upper Canada through
Prohibition to today's brewing operation. More extensive records on
these and other areas are available for study in the collection itself.
Sleeman history highlights:
John H. Sleeman first opened the Stamford Spring Brewery on the Niagara
River. He relocated to Guelph, where he established Silver Creek
Brewery in 1851.
After taking over in 1867, Sleeman's son, George, doubled production and
established outlets in 15 cities.
George became the first mayor of the new City of Guelph, and helped
introduce hydroelectric power and pay for streetcar service.
Debts incurred after George single-handedly funded construction of the
Guelph Railway Co. prompted a bank takeover of Silver Creek Brewery in
George and his wife, Sarah, opened rival Spring Bank Beverages in the
same year. In 1906, he bought back Silver Creek Brewery and merged both
businesses under management of his son Henry.
During Prohibition, Henry and his brothers smuggled alcohol for more
than a decade. They were charged with smuggling and tax evasion in
1933. The family's brewing licence was suspended and the family barred
from brewing for 50 years.
Nearly 50 years later, John W. Sleeman's Aunt Florian shared his
grandfather's recipe book and family history and encouraged him to
start brewing. Sleeman Brewing and Malting Co. Ltd. opened with the
original recipes, bottles and trademarks in 1988.
The company has grown and acquired several firms over the years and is
now a national company with breweries and other facilities from coast
In 2006 Sapporo Brewery of Japan acquired Sleeman.
John Sleeman remains involved with the company on a daily basis and is
the company's chairman.
Image with caption: "U of G to Preserve Sleeman Family History (CNW Group/University of Guelph)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130328_C9382_PHOTO_EN_24924.jpg
SOURCE: University of Guelph
For further information:
For media enquiries, contact: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, firstname.lastname@example.org , or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, email@example.com at the University of Guelph. For Sleeman enquires contact Karen Herchel, 519-826-5480, firstname.lastname@example.org.