Industry News

Sleeman Breweries Purchases Calgary’s Wild Rose Brewery

Wild Rose Brewery is being purchased by the third-largest brewing company in Canada, Sleeman Breweries, and it’s the first time an Alberta craft brewery has been sold to a large multinational company. Continue reading to learn more about why Wild Rose went through with the deal and what we can expect from one of Calgary’s most beloved breweries; Wild Rose.

Sleeman Breweries Purchases Calgary’s Wild Rose Brewery

Wild Rose Brewery’s shareholders have accepted a deal from Sleeman Breweries

A deal between Wild Rose Brewery and Sleeman Breweries was announced today after the companies were in negotiations for almost a whole year. The shareholders of the Calgary-based brewery have voted, unanimously, in favour of accepting an offer by Sleeman Breweries. What will become official by the end of the month is the first time a craft brewery in Alberta has been bought by a international brewing company, like Sleeman.

The value and other terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

 

Why did Wild Rose Brewery sell to Sleeman Breweries?

It’s official. Wild Rose Brewery will now be owned by Sleeman, which is part of Sapporo Holding Ltd. of Japan. Many Albertans are unsure of what to think about their favourite Alberta brewery and has a lot of Calgary locals wondering “why?”.

Both Sleeman and Wild Rose have said that this deal is providing an opportunity to accelerate their growth in Alberta. Sleeman stated that it’s market share in the province of Alberta is growing and nearing its national average.

“Sleeman’s approach going forward is to find great partners that we can partner with, invest with and ideally, grow the business with. So it was just a really good match for both sides.” — Peter Bodenham, Sleeman Breweries Vice-President of Marketing

 

What’s next for Wild Rose Brewery & their beers?

Wild Rose CEO, Bill McKenzie, wants to assure beer-lovers that while Wild Rose will not be an independent brewery any longer, they intend to keep using the same ingredients and recipes and their beer will not be changing. Peter Bodenham, of Sleeman Breweries, believes that it would be silly of them to make any changes to the Wild Rose brand or their beer.

Peter Johnstron-Berresford, an instructor in brewery operations and management at Olds College, believes that big beer companies know not to try and change the beers to make them more “Big Beer-y”. He says, “the idea is you’ve got these great big companies that are buying smaller breweries and ostensibly just including them as part of their portfolio.”

As of right now, Wild Rose beers will still only be available for purchase in Alberta and Sleeman and Wild Rose are working together to grow the brand’s distribution and presence in the Alberta market. Sleeman has announced that sales outside of Alberta will be looked into further in the future.

“They have a similar culture as we do at Wild Rose. We’re going to fit in together just fine.” — Bill McKenzie, Wild Rose Brewery CEO

The Wild Rose taproom, bar and eatery, located in Currie Barracks, Calgary, will remain open.

 

Will Sleeman be purchasing more Canadian breweries?

Sleeman actually has already bought 2 other Canadian breweries. This includes British Columbia’s Okanagan Spring and Quebec’s Unibroue. After being acquired by Sleeman, these Canadian brewers were still operating independently and many experts in the beer industry believe that Wild Rose Brewery will be doing the same.

The CEO of Wild Rose Brewery expects more deals similar to this will come to the craft brewers of Canada.

 

About Wild Rose Brewery Ltd.

Wild Rose Brewery is an award-winning, Albertan brewery that has been at the forefront of the province’s brewing industry since 1996. The brewery has an evolving arsenal of innovative yet approachable products and a well-established, bustling Taproom in the Currie Barracks of Calgary. Wild Rose has become a household name in Alberta thanks to their meticulous quality control procedures, production of consistently well-received products and their fun work environment, deemed “Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers”.

Brad Krusty, a Wild Rose board member, says it has been an emotional roller coaster making the decision to sell off a company that has grown locally and been embraced by local customers for more than 20 years.

 

About Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Sleeman Breweries Ltd. is the third largest brewing company nationwide. The company has built an impressive portfolio of beer brands in Canada that includes well-loved Canadian brands such as Sleeman, Okanagan Spring and Unibroue, along with world-class beers including Sapporo and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Sapporo Breweries Ltd., known for its rigorous Japanese brewing standards, acquired Sleeman in 2006. The company now markets and/or distributes world-class domestic and imported products and is home to 1,000 employees nationwide.


Click here for the official press release from Wild Rose Brewery and Sleeman Breweries.

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