Upper Canada Brewing Company

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Upper Canada Brewing Company
IndustryAlcoholic drink
HeadquartersGuelph, Ontario, Canada
OwnerSleeman Breweries Ltd.

Upper Canada Brewing Company is a division of Sleeman Breweries in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Founded by Frank Heaps in Toronto, it started brewing beer in 1985[1] and grew to become one of the largest independent breweries in Canada.[2]

While an independent, the brewery's location was at 2 Atlantic Ave. in Toronto[3] and included a "gift shop" that allowed the independent brewer to sell alcohol on Sunday, something that Ontario's licensed outlet Beer Store chain, which had a virtual monopoly on beer sales, was not permitted to do at the time.

The company was sold to private investors in 1995, went public in 1996,[4] and was finally acquired by Sleeman Breweries in 1998.[5]

Sleeman purchased the company for $28 million and reduced the number of Upper Canada products since they were competing with the Sleeman line.[6] The new owners also closed the Toronto brewery and moved the operations to its Guelph, Ontario facility. Two brands are manufactured: Upper Canada Lager, a German-style lager and Upper Canada Dark Ale, "with a robust malty character and a rich chestnut colour".[7]

After the sale to Sleeman, Heaps provided some funding to his son Cameron and his partners Greg Taylor and Greg Cromwell, all formerly employees of Upper Canada, who opened another Toronto-based brewery in 2000, Steam Whistle Brewing.[8][9]


  1. ^ McClure, Matthew (8 August 1985). "Independent brewery gains tenuous hold in Metro market". Toronto Star. p. E1.
  2. ^ Sneath, Allan Winn (2001). Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-Year-Old Brewing Industry. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 228. ISBN 1-55002-373-X.
  3. ^ "Camp brewski (Upper Canada Brewing)". Toronto Life. 30: 37. January 1996.
  4. ^ Saunders, John (7 February 1996). "Upper Canada to go public". Globe and Mail. p. B1.
  5. ^ Papoff, Lawrence (September 1998). "Last call for a crafty rebel". Profit. 17: 31–33.
  6. ^ Hoffman, Andy (17 March 2009). "A Few Too Many". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Brands - Upper Canada". Sleeman Breweries. Sleeman Breweries. 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017. Upper Canada Brewing Company was the first microbrewery in Toronto.
  8. ^ Hoffman, Andy (17 March 2009). "A Few Too Many". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Steam Whistle Brewing Co-Founder Cam Heaps". Steam Whistle. Steam Whistle. 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2017. In 1999 he joined Greg Taylor and Greg Cromwell to write the business plan for Steam Whistle Brewing and successfully raised $4 million in shareholder equity and start-up capital.

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