At Unibroue, we create unique-tasting craft beers using traditional brewing methods. Our beers are unlike any other product on the market, and no two are alike. Each one has a distinctive character defined by taste, color, texture, and density.
To craft our beers, we draw inspiration from the great brewing traditions developed over the last two centuries by Trappist monks in Europe—particularly in Belgium. Our beers preserve all their protein and part of their yeast, making them truly worth savoring.
All Unibroue products are made using a combination of the same basic ingredients: water, malted barley, malted wheat, wheat, yeast, hops, sugar, fruit, and spices. Our products are brewed using a traditional bottle fermentation method in which fresh yeast and pure sugar are added just before bottling. They are only partially filtered, which is what gives them their distinct appearance and natural cloudiness. This brewing method results in strong, intensely flavored and highly effervescent beers. It is almost exactly the same process used to make champagne. The only difference is that while the lees is extracted from champagne using a local cooling process, it is left to settle at the bottom of our bottles once the natural fermentation and saturation (carbonation) process is complete. This process requires strict quality controls because the addition of chemical additives or preservatives would kill the yeast. It is this method that produces the distinctive Unibroue flavor
"I tell people I make "flavorful beers"—that’s the category I brew. For me, the important thing is to express myself through the beer. I brew with passion and I hope that people take as much pleasure to taste my beer as I have to create them!"
- Jerry Vietz
I’ve been with Unibroue since 2003. When I started, it was still owned by André Dion, who founded the brewery.
I would describe myself as a real fanatic of fermentation. I studied pure sciences for two years—biochemistry, physical and microbiology—and then spent three years studying food processing—biochemistry. That’s when I decided to concentrate on fermentation. Since then, I’ve worked in the wine and cider industry, and of course now I’m in beer. I’ve also brewed and made my own wine at home for 12 years. I stopped recently—with three kids, I’ve run out of space as well as time!
I’m very passionate about fermentation in general. I’m not afraid to mix all kinds of stuff, to try new things. I’ve had the chance to experiment with a wide range of raw materials. I really believe that anything that contains carbohydrates can turn into something very interesting when it goes through the fermentation process, depending on the way you manage it. Each cereal, fruit, or sugar has a different profile and they need to be processed and managed differently in order to get a liquid with the desired characteristics.
The Unibroue adventure began in 1990, when André Dion and Serge Racine decided to vie for a share of the fast-growing craft beer market. Mindful of the competition, their goal was to create a different product with strong consumer appeal. They became majority shareholders of La Brasserie Massawippi, a financially troubled Lennoxville brewery.
André Dion and Serge Racine finalized their acquisition of La Brasserie Massawippi in late 1991 and merged with Unibroue in early 1992. The new company immediately established itself as a specialty brewer. Mr. Dion became the President and CEO, and Mr. Racine sat on the Board of Directors.
Unibroue partnered with a Belgian brewer specializing in beer on lees and made history with the launch of Blanche de Chambly—North America’s first abbey beer. That same year, Quebec singer-songwriter Robert Charlebois became one of Unibroue’s major partners.
Unibroue moved to a new, cutting-edge microbrewery in Chambly, Quebec. The brewery gradually started to build its export capacity by developing a distribution network throughout Quebec and across Canada.
Unibroue began exporting its products to the international market by opening subsidiaries in the U.S. and Europe.
In 1995 and 1996, major investments allowed Unibroue to increase production and expand its facilities. Its products became increasingly popular, capturing markets in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and several American states as well as France, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Unibroue consolidated its reputation as a brewer of distinction by opening Le Fourquet-Fourchette, an innovative concept-based restaurant-museum on the shores of the Richelieu River that celebrates the fine art of drinking.
At this point, Unibroue also became a public corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Between 1998 and 2000, Unibroue responded to strong consumer demand for lager by introducing a new line of bottom fermented products, the refreshing and thirst-quenching U Blonde, U Rousse, U Miel, and La Bolduc.
Brewmaster Paul Arnott joined the company in 1999. Trained in Belgium’s great monastic brewing tradition, he helped breathe new life into the company’s classic products and expanded the Unibroue family with new vintage beers and the Éphémère series of fruit-based beers.
In 2004 the Sleeman Brewery became interested in the Quebec company’s ultra-modern facilities and highly qualified labor force. After purchasing Unibroue, Sleeman renamed itself Sleeman Unibroue Inc. The merger gave the brewery a powerful presence right across Canada. Today iconic Quebec beers like Blanche de Chambly, La Maudite, and La Fin du Monde are readily available right across Canada.
Another chapter in the story of the little Chambly-based brewery was written in October 2006 when Japan’s oldest commercial brewer, Sapporo International, purchased Sleeman Unibroue. With their profound respect for art, tradition, and culture, the Japanese recognized Unibroue as a Canadian treasure to be cherished and shared with the entire world.
About the legend
From the very beginning, Unibroue has carved out a special niche in the beer world with top quality products and a brand rooted deep in Quebec culture. It made history by becoming the first North American beer maker to use a brewing method inspired by the two-centuries-old tradition developed by Trappist monks in Europe—particularly in Belgium. Over the years, Unibroue has remained faithful to its origins even as it has grown to become an icon of the brewing world. Unibroue products take you on a journey filled with legends and fabulous tales.