3 Seagram


:"For the rapper Seagram, see Seagram Miller"Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = Seagram Company Ltd.
slogan =
fate = Broken-up, assets sold
successor = Vivendi, Pernod Ricard
foundation = 1857
defunct = 2000
location = Montreal, Quebec
industry = Alcoholic drinks
key_people = Joseph E. Seagram, Bronfman family
products = Beverages
num_employees =
parent = Private (1857-1972); Warner Communications (1972-1979); Thorn EMI (1979-1988); Pearson PLC (1988-2000); Vivendi Universal (2000)
subsid = PolyGram
Music Corporation of America

The Seagram Company Ltd. was a large corporation headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that was the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world. Toward the end of its independent existence it also controlled various entertainment and other business ventures. The Seagram assets have since been acquired by other companies, notably PepsiCo, Diageo, and Pernod Ricard.

The famous Seagram Building, the company's American headquarters office tower at 375 Park Avenue in New York City, was designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson. The former Seagram headquarters in Montreal now belongs to McGill University, under the name "Martlet House".


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 became known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. Many decades later, Samuel Bronfman founded Distillers Corporation Limited, in Montreal, which enjoyed substantial growth in the 1920s, in part due to Prohibition in the United States.

In 1928, a few years after the death of Joseph E. Seagram (1919), the Distillers Corporation acquired Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, and took over 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 it prospered accordingly. Thus despite its earlier Waterloo history, the Seagram name is most closely associated with the Bronfman family. However, it is not correct to say, as is often done, that Samuel Bronfman founded Seagram, since the Seagram name itself pre-dated the company he founded.

After the death of Samuel Bronfman in 1971, Edgar M. Bronfman was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) until June 1994 when his son, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., was appointed CEO.

In 1981, cash rich and wanting to diversify, Seagram Company Ltd. engineered a takeover of Conoco Inc., a major American oil and gas producing company. Although Seagram acquired a 32.2% stake in Conoco, DuPont was brought in as a white knight by the oil company and entered the bidding war. In the end, Seagram lost out in the Conoco bidding war. But in exchange for its stake in Conoco Inc, it became a 24.3% owner of DuPont. By 1995 Seagram was DuPont's largest single shareholder with four seats on the board of directors.

In 1986, the company started a memorable TV commercial campaign advertising its Golden Wine Cooler products. With rising star Bruce Willis as pitchman, Seagram rose from fifth place among distillers to first in just two years.

In 1987, Seagrams engineered a $1.2 billion takeover of important French cognac maker Martell & Cie.

On April 6, 1995, after being approached by Edgar Bronfman, Jr., DuPont announced a deal whereby the company would buy back its shares from the Seagram company for the amount of $9 billion. Seagram's was heavily criticized by the investment community—the 24.3% stake in DuPont accounted for 70% of Seagram's earnings. Standard & Poor took the unusual step of stating that the sale of the DuPont interest could result in a downgrade of Seagram's more than $4.2 billion of long-term debt.

The rationale for this divestiture was that Edgar Bronfman, Jr., grandson of Samuel Bronfman, wanted Seagram to branch out into the entertainment business. Bronfman, Jr., used the proceeds of the sale to help acquire Universal Studios, MCA, PolyGram, and Deutsche Grammophon. Seagram also gained control of a number of Universal theme parks.

In 1997, the Seagram Museum, formerly the original Seagram distillery in Waterloo, was forced to close due to lack of funds. The building is now the home of the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The two original barrel houses are now the Seagrams Lofts condominiums. There are also almost five acres of land for future development.

In 2000, controlling interest in Seagram's entertainment division was acquired by the Vivendi Group, and the beverage division by Pernod Ricard. By the time Vivendi auctioned off Seagram's drink business, beyond its original high-profile brand names the once renowned operation consisted of around two hundred and fifty drinks brands and brand extensions.

In 2001, The Coca-Cola Company acquired the line of Seagram's mixers (ginger ale, tonic water, club soda and seltzer water) from Pernod Ricard and Diageo, as well as signing a long term agreement to use the Seagram's name from Pernod Ricard.

On April 19, 2006, Pernod Ricard announced that they would be closing the Seagram Lawrenceburg Distillery located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

eagram brands

Noted brand names owned by Seagram included Crown Royal, and VO whiskeys, Captain Morgan rum and Tropicana fruit juice, today owned by Diageo PLC and Pepsico, Inc., respectively. The Seagram brand name lives on in Pernod products such as Chivas Regal "Seagram's Gin" and "Seagram's Coolers," as well as in the Diageo product Seagram's Seven Crown and in The Coca-Cola Company's Seagram's mixers line. The Seagram's Seven Crown line of whiskey has been popularized in American culture through the Seven and Seven drink cocktail.


Dimebag Darrell invented a cocktail, known as the "Black Tooth Grin", named after a lyric in the Megadeth song "Sweating Bullets". The drink consists of one shot of "Seagrams 7" and "Crown royal" whiskey, with a splash of just enough Coca-Cola to darken the whiskey's color

Snoop Dogg notes drinking "Seagram's Gin" in the hit single "Gin and Juice". He laments everyone else having a cup but not chipping in.

Petey Pablo pays tribute to Seagram's gin in his 2004 hit song "Freek A Leek". He says "I have to give a shout-out to Seagram's Gin, cause I drink it, and they payin' me for it".

In 1996 Seagram commissioned South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to create a short comedy film called Your Studio and You which was to be featured at a party celebrating the acquisition Universal Studios and its parent company MCA Corporation. The movie featured a bevy of celebrity appearances which includes Andrew Bergman, James Cameron (shown improving the Universal Studios landscaping), Shaun Cassidy, Robin Cook, Shelley Fabares, Michael J. Fox (sometimes mistaken in the film for Dian Bachar, a longtime Parker-Stone collaborator), Brian Grazer, Heavy D, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Barry Kemp, Angela Lansbury (shown painting the "Psycho" House), Mike Lobel, Traci Lords, Kevin Misher, Demi Moore, Darrin Pfeiffer, John Singleton, Steven Spielberg (shown as a Universal Studios Guide), Sylvester Stallone (in his Rocky Balboa character, and subtitled for comedic effect), Marty Stuart, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker. [ [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6493841613076981287 Your Studio and you] (From Google Video)]


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