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Seagram

From Academic Kids

The Seagram Company Ltd. was a large corporation headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was the world's largest producer of distilled alcoholic beverages, and towards the end of its independent existence also controlled various entertainment and other business ventures. The Seagram assets have since been acquired by other companies.

History

In 1857, a distillery was founded in Waterloo, Ontario. Joseph E. Seagram became a partner in 1869 and sole owner in 1883, and the company was known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. Many decades later, Samuel Bronfman founded Distillers Corp., Ltd., in Montreal, which enjoyed substantial growth in the 1920s, in part due to Prohibition in the United States of America.

In 1928 the Distillers Corporation acquired Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, and took the Seagram name. The company was well prepared for the end of Prohibition in 1933 with an ample stock of aged whiskeys ready to sell to the newly opened American market, and prospered accordingly.

Thus despite its earlier Waterloo history, the Seagram name is most closely associated with the Bronfman family. However, it is not strictly correct to say, as is often done, that Sam Bronfman founded Seagram, since the Seagram name itself pre-dated the company he founded.

At the initiative of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., grandson of Samuel Bronfman, Seagram branched out into the entertainment business in the 1990s with aggressive purchases including Universal Studios, MCA, PolyGram Records, and Deutsche Grammophon. Seagram also controlled a number of Universal theme parks.

In 2000 controlling interest in Seagram's entertainment division was acquired by the Vivendi Group, and the beverage division by Pernod Ricard.

Brands

Noted brand names owned by Seagram included Chivas Regal whisky and Tropicana fruit juice, today owned by Pernod Ricard and Pepsico, Inc., respectively. The Seagram brand name lives on in Pernod products such as "Seagram's Gin" and "Seagram's Coolers" and in Diageo product Seagram Seven Crown.

Miscellaneous

The former Seagram headquarters in Montreal now belongs to McGill University, under the name "Martlet House".

The original Seagram distillery in Waterloo existed for several years as the Seagram Museum before being forced to close in 1997 for lack of funds. The building is now the home of the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

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