he close connection between the Seagram company and the city of Waterloo dates to 1857, when William Hespeler and George Randall established the Granite Mills and Waterloo Distillery at the corner of Erb and Caroline streets, next to Beaver (Laurel) Creek, the water source for the production of the company’s flour and whisky. In 1883, Joseph E. Seagram obtained sole ownership of the company and began concentrating on distilling and exporting quality whiskies. The distillery continued to operate in the heart of Waterloo, at its original location, until 1992.
Following the distillery’s closure, the company kept its corporate museum open for another five years, but in 1997, the Seagram Museum closed and the company’s collection of artifacts and records were dispersed to a number of institutions. The City of Waterloo acquired more than 6,000 artifacts that relate to the Seagram family and the Seagram distillery.
The cocktail shakers shown here represent just a small “taste” of this unique and comprehensive collection at the City of Waterloo Museum.
Excerpted from Spring/Summer 2013 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.
Karen VandenBrink is curator of the City of Waterloo Museum.
Lorraine Johnson is Associate Editor of Ornamentum.
American, circa 1930s
Photographs by Andrew Leyerle/Lorraine Johnson, from the City of Waterloo Museum collection