Guy Bryant was somewhat famous for something after all…
Our ginger ale started out in 1896, created by John Henry Bryant in Québec’s Eastern Townships. Mr. Bryant, who was originally a beer brewer with partner Seth Nutter at the Silver Springs Brewery on Abenakis Street in Sherbrooke, found there was too much competition for that type of beverage and so decided to come up with an original drink for his own family business. Inspired by his Irish roots and through much trial and error, he created a rich, Belfast-type ginger ale with an original flavour. His wife, inspired by her husband’s stubborness, suggested he call the drink Bull’s Head and the name stuck.
A 100 year old original recipe. Any company that’s been around for over a century can tell you; you don’t stay in business this long without a great product and outstanding customer service. After Bull’s Head’s regional success, the drink became so popular you could even find it in Québec City’s Château Frontenac between the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Facing tough competition from major soda companies since having lost the Coca-Cola franchise in the 1970’s, Gerry and John finally closed down. Mr. Lucien Lavigne, a Sherbrooke bottler, revived the company when he purchased it. When Mr. Lavigne sold his Pepsi franchise in the early 1990s, he decided to stop producing Bull’s Head ginger ale, all the while keeping the rights to the secret recipe.
Then, in 1993, Dr. Peter O’Donnell, a Townships businessman looking for a challenge that he could also make use of his two sons’ expertise learn the ropes, expressed interest in Bull’s Head. After several attempts, Dr. O’Donnell finally bought the rights to Bull’s Head from Mr. Lavigne. Dr. O’Donnell and his sons are credited with giving Bull’s Head a new lease on life, backed by the Eastern Townships community who were eager to get their hands on their ginger ale. In 2006, the Husk brothers bought Bull’s Head and it’s in November 2009 that the Pearson brothers, Carl and Dominic, with our Sherbrooke partner, Charles Martel bought the rights and recipe for the legendary ginger ale. Absent from the shelves for almost a year, they worked hard to allow everyone to taste and savor Bull’s Head ginger ale. Bull’s Head is now available for everyone to enjoy!
In 2012, Bull’s Head developed a Ginger Beer based on the suggestion of one of their loyal customers. This product is now very popular, especially when making Shandy Gaff, a blend of our ginger beer and a blond beer, which is a very popular golf after-game drink.
In 2014, Bull’s Head innovated again with two new products, a Diet Ginger Ale and a Ginger Spruce Beer. These new products will allow the company to enter new markets in Quebec.
John Henry Bryant married Ida Wearne and they had four children:
James Guy Dixon Bryant 1893–1990
Albert Edward Bryant 1894–1972
Clifford Bryant 1897–1979
Florence Bryant 1901–1993
Guy Bryant followed on his father’s footsteps and had a Coca-Cola franchise also.
This is Guy Bryant again posing for posterity early 1943 with his wife Olive Marion Gunning, Gordon Hill who earned his wings, and farther right Elizabeth and June Bryant, Guy and Olive’s daughters.
Gordon is leaving for Boundary Bay, British Columbia, being posted there with 133 Squadron.
74 years later, Gordon Hill got a gift from Clarence Simonsen…
A four-pack of Bull’s Head.
Guy and Olive had a son:
John Hugh Bryant
After the war, John joined the family soft drink bottling business; J.H. Bryant Inc. He was an active member in both the Sherbrooke Regiment and the Yamaska Valley Power Squadron and was very much a part of the community of the Eastern Townships. John and Joan retired to Victoria and settled in View Royal in 1975 and have been an active part of the community. John continued with the Power Squadron, and participated in the Victoria Wine Maker’s Guild and the View Royal Garden Club. John loved his family and friends; he was passionate and fascinated by anything involving nature, science, and mechanics. He loved gadgets and tools and of course, a clever pun.
Elizabeth (Bryant) Fleet
OBITUARY ELIZABETH FLEET (nee BRYANT)
Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, died peacefully in the arms of her family on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Liz will be greatly missed yet fondly remembered for being ever positive and for her love of nature, art and architecture. Predeceased by her husband Garth Fleet. Survived by sons Gregory (Janine), Toronto, and Ian (Brigitte), Hull; grandchildren Vivian, Owen and Calder; Emma, Jessie and Aidan. The family wishes to thank the staff at St. Mary’s Hospital, Montreal, for their excellent care. In commemoration of Liz, family and friends may make a donation to a charity of choice.