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Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Ltd.

In 1857 William Hespeler, a merchant, and George Randall, a contractor, built what was known as Granite Mills in Waterloo, Ontario. A subsidiary to the mill was a small distillery known as the Waterloo Distillery. The business also included a dry goods store near the corner of King and Erb St. in Waterloo.

In 1863 Hespeler and Randall took in William Roos, and in 1864 William Hespeler hired young Joseph Emm Seagram. By 1870 Seagram had bought out Hespeler's interests and the company name became "George Randall and Company." In 1878 Seagram bought out Randall, and Seagram and Roos operated as "Randall and Company" until 1881 when they changed the name to "Seagram and Roos."

In 1883 Seagram bought out Roos and became the sole proprietor, using the names "Joseph Seagram Flour Mill and Distillery Company" and "Joseph E. Seagram, Miller, Distiller". Seagram incorporated the company in 1911, changing the name to "Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Limited." By 1919 when Seagram died, he had built his Waterloo distillery into a major exporting company and his brand names were widely known. In 1928 the Bronfman family acquired the distillery and amalgamated it with their company, Distillers Corporation Limited.

From: 200 Years of Tradition: The Story of Canadian Whisky / Lorraine Brown. Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, c1994: 27-29, and History of Seagram's / Joseph Edward Frowde Seagram (Speech notes, 1960).

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