Lallemand was founded in Montreal at the end of the 19th century by a young immigrant from Alsace, Fred “Lallemand”. The plant on Préfontaine Street was built in 1915, and production of bakers yeast started there in 1923. Roland Chagnon acquired the Lallemand business in 1952, and the Chagnon family is still the current owner.
Lallemand’s bakers yeast activities expanded beyond Canada in the early 1970’s with exports to the northern US. This was followed by the acquisition of yeast plants in the US (American Yeast 1989 and GB USA in 1995) along with their markets including a base in Mexico. A mix plant in Mexico (1997) and a new yeast plant in Memphis (2003) were added later. Starting in 1993 the company expanded its bakers yeast operations to Europe and Africa, buying, consolidating and expanding yeast plants in Estonia, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, South Africa, Finland, Denmark, Portugal and the UK.
Lallemand’s specialty yeast activities began during the 1970’s with the production of distillers’ and wine yeasts. In the early 1980’s, Lallemand established a European branch, followed by branches in the US, South America, South Africa, Australia and Asia. Starting in early 2000, a new emphasis was given to the development of markets and new products related to the beer and fuel ethanol industries, leading to the acquisition of the Siebel Institute in Chicago, AB Vickers in Burton-upon-Trent, and the establishment of the Ethanol Technology business with its renowned Alcohol School.
In 1985, Lallemand started to market bacteria for the malolactic fermentation of wines. This led to the 1988 acquisition of a bacteria plant in Aurillac, France, followed by the acquisitions of the Laporte Biochem plant in Milwaukee, and the Rosell Institute in Montreal, some 10 years later. Lallemand built a solid research, production and marketing activity in the bacteria field for human and animal nutrition, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2007 it launched its activities in the plant care sector through the establishment of a joint venture (ITHEC) in France followed by the acquisition in 2008 of Verdera in Finland.
All these acquisitions were accompanied by on-going product innovations and investments in plants to modernize the existing structures or to transform their priorities.
Today, Lallemand is present through plants, distribution centers or representation offices on all 5 continents and 36 countries.