Samuel Bronfman (February 27, 1891-July 10, 1971) was the founder of Seagrams. He was the father of Edgar Bronfman, Sr. and the grandfather of Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
Bronfman was born in Soroki, Bessarabia. His parents were refugees who immigrated to western Canada in 1889. The family began a hotel business in Manitoba, and Samuel, noting that much of the profit was in alcoholic beverages, set up shop as a distributor, founding the Distillers Corporation in Montreal in 1924. He built an empire based on the appeal of brand names, including Calvert, Dewars, and Seven Crown, to higher level consumers, and merged with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons of Waterloo, Ontario in 1928.
His sales were boosted during the United States' abortive experiment with prohibition, and he was apparently able to do so while staying within the confines of both Canadian and American law, while dealing with unsavory characters and Chicago bootleggers.
His company, Seagram Co. Ltd., became an international distributor of alcoholic beverages, and is now a diversified conglomerate which includes an entertainment branch.
Samuel Bronfman became president of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 1939 to 1962.
The Bronfman Building at McGill University houses the School of Management.