Lallemand was founded in Montreal, Canada at the end of the 19th century by Fred A. Schurer, a young immigrant from Alsace, France. His German-sounding family name earned him the nickname “l’Allemand” or “the German” among the local population. He quickly embraced this moniker, going so far as to share it with his newly-founded company, and even changing his last name to Lallemand.
The company was initially focused on providing raw materials for the baking industry. Years later, in 1915, Fred Lallemand built a production plant on Préfontaine Street, which remains standing to this day as a testament to our company’s long history and deep roots in Montreal. In 1923, the Préfontaine plant began producing bakers yeast, which marked a pivotal moment in our company’s history: the start of our journey as a yeast manufacturer.
Forever a family-owned company, Roland Chagnon acquired the Lallemand business in 1952 and from that point forward the Chagnon family has maintained ownership of the company.
In the decades to follow, Lallemand continued to produce and market ingredients for the baking industry – most importantly, it remained a key producer of bakers yeast in Canada. In the 1970s, Lallemand started exploring other markets by gradually initiating the production and sale of distillers’ and wine yeasts. The 70s also witnessed the internationalization of the company’s business as Lallemand started exporting yeast to the northeastern United States and the Caribbean.
The 1980s were a decade of corporate expansion that pointed Lallemand in a direction it has continued to follow to this day. During this time, Lallemand acquired companies in France, Switzerland, and the United States, further cementing its foothold in the wine industry and the North American market.
As of 1993, the company started expanding its bakers yeast operations into Europe and Africa by buying, consolidating, and expanding yeast plants in Estonia, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, South Africa, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. The 1990s also saw Lallemand’s initial steps into the animal nutrition market with the development of the Levucell line. During this period, Lallemand’s geographic reach also grew considerably as the company established branches and offices in South America, South Africa, Australia, and Asia.
On the cusp of the new millennium, Lallemand continued venturing into new markets and industries with the acquisition of the Rosell Institute in Montreal. This acquisition, coupled with others that had occurred in the previous decade, cemented Lallemand as a research, production, and marketing expert in the field of bacteria for human and animal nutrition, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry.
In the early 2000s, Lallemand kept its focus on searching for new markets and products. The company consolidated its role in the beer and fuel ethanol industries with the acquisition of the Siebel Institute in Chicago (US), AB Vickers in Burton-upon-Trent (England), and the establishment of the Ethanol Technology business unit and its renowned Alcohol School. Around that same time, Lallemand also acquired companies in Denmark, England, and the United States, which reinforced its presence in the human and animal nutrition sectors.
A few years later, in the mid-2000s, the company continued to seek out new markets that could benefit from Lallemand’s solutions. Its next move was to enter the plant care sector via a joint venture in France and the acquisition of Verdera in Finland.
Over the last 10 years, Lallemand has steadily increased its global reach and continued to set its sights on new markets. The company is forever looking for new ways to bring value to its partners and customers, and has solidified its presence in the plant care sector by acquiring companies in Brazil, Uruguay, and Canada.
All of these strategic acquisitions were accompanied by ongoing product innovation and investments in production plants, either to modernize existing structures or pivot to new priorities. As a result, Lallemand was able to build a fully-owned global network of commercial offices, laboratories, research centres, and production plants for yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
Today, Lallemand has production plants, distribution centres, and offices located in over 50 countries across 5 continents.
The company is still held by the Chagnon family and is currently led by Antoine Chagnon, marking their third generation of proud ownership.