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Press Release: March 6, 2013

John Sleeman
John Sleeman

John Sleeman


Born in Toronto and raised in Ottawa, John Sleeman spent his early adulthood somewhat oblivious to his family's brewing history; his father was an executive for Bell Canada and their family brewing history was rarely discussed.

At 16 John left school and his home in Ottawa to work. Despite his upbringing, John's life path was destined to include good brew.

After getting married in England, he and his wife returned to Canada to open their own English pub stocked with authentic English beers. Soon after, the two of them went into business with his wife's father to bring beer from around the world to Canada under the name Imported Beer Co.

After a few years in the business, John was paid a visit by his Aunt Florian, who came armed with an historic Sleeman bottle and the words, 'It's time you found out about your heritage.' An empire was then on its way to being reborn.

Sleeman Brewery has come a long way and grown a great deal under the enthusiastic guidance of John Sleeman - which just goes to show how far the will to take a risk, hard work, and a family brewing history can take you.

Our History


With a lineage that extends over five generations, John takes particular pride in his heritage. In fact, when it comes to beer tradition, his grandfather George A. Sleeman wrote the book on it - literally.

John's family's brewing tradition in Canada extends back to 1834 when John H. Sleeman arrived in Ontario from Cornwall, England. By 1851, he started the first Sleeman brewery to be located in Guelph, Ontario, brewing small 100-barrel batches.

The passion that drove John's great-great-grandfather to begin his renowned Canadian brewing tradition is the same passion that runs through John's veins today - and we look forward to passing on the tradition to many more generations to come.

Brewing Process


An art as much as a science, beer making depends equally on the talent of the brewmaster and the quality of the ingredients.

Premium brewing employs a time-honoured process in which natural ingredients are blended in myriad combinations and brewed in small batches to produce beers that range from contemporary light brews to 'Old World' dark stouts.