John H Sleeman


Tintype portrait of John H. Sleeman (seated) and his son George (ca. 1860s) XR1 MS A801 (Box 6, File 14)
Tintype portrait of John H. Sleeman (seated) and his son George (ca. 1860s) XR1 MS A801 (Box 6, File 14)

John H. Sleeman, a young brewer and maltster from Cornwall, England, immigrated to Upper Canada in 1834 to escape the restricting class structure of England. By 1836, Sleeman had settled in St. David’s and established the Stamford Spring Brewery. Although the brewery was successful, the heavy industrialization along the Niagara River began to pollute the local water source and affect his product. In 1847, Sleeman sold the Stamford Spring Brewery and moved his business to the town of Guelph to capitalize on their fresh water source and abundant farmlands. For the next three years, Sleeman leased and operated Hodgert’s Brewery on Bedford Street. In 1850, he purchased land on Waterloo Avenue and constructed a 24’ x 40’ building that would become the location of the Silver Creek Brewery. The Silver Creek Brewery officially opened in 1851 and became one of the most successful breweries in the region. After his retirement in 1867, his son George Sleeman became the sole owner and operator of the family business.