The Sleeman Revival: Up to the Present Day


John W. Sleeman seated in front of a wall of Sleeman beer cases 2010-99 (Box 20)
John W. Sleeman seated in front of a wall of Sleeman beer cases 2010-99 (Box 20)

Over fifty years after the criminal and smuggling charges, only one Sleeman descendent – John W. Sleeman – entered the beer industry albeit not initially as a brewery manager. The great-great grandson of John H. Sleeman was already a successful entrepreneur and businessman in the beer import business when his Aunt Florian introduced him to his family heritage through his grandfather’s recipe book and a vintage Sleeman beer bottle. In 1985 John W. officially incorporated Sleeman Brewing and Malting Co. Ltd. and, using the original family recipes, bottles, and trademark, the Sleeman brewing legacy was reborn. After selling their first pints of Sleeman Cream Ale in 1988, the company quickly became one of the fastest growing businesses in Canada. Sleeman Brewing and Malting Co. Ltd. would go on to acquire several microbreweries across Canada including Upper Canada Brewing Company, The Maritime Beer Company, Shaftebury Brewing Co., and Unibroue Inc. In 1994, the Sleeman Brewing and Malting Co. Ltd. merged with Okanagan Springs Brewery to become Sleeman Breweries Ltd. Then in 2006, Sleeman Breweries Ltd. was purchased by Sapporo for $400 million - still operated by John W. Sleeman.