Sleeman Breweries announced Thursday it's closing its facility in Dartmouth, N.S. (CBC)

Sleeman Breweries Ltd. has announced it's closing its Dartmouth brewery, putting 15 people out of work, after failing to find a buyer.

The company, based in Guelph, Ont., said the brewery would close at the end of business Thursday after exhausting its options and failing to come to terms with prospective bidders.

Pierre Ferland, the national vice-president of operations for Sleeman Breweries Ltd., said the brewery offered a reduction in the workforce to accommodate a smaller operator and also offered to have more than 350,000 cases of Sleeman products produced annually in the facility until the new brewer had their own product established. 

"We've had a few bidders that came to try to buy the brewery. We dealt with a first one and then a second one, then unfortunately the economics didn't work out," he told CBC News.

"It's too small for a big brewer but it's a big brewery for a small brewer. The bottom line, they couldn't secure enough volume to be able to make it a profitable option."

Ferland said Sleeman Breweries is disappointed it couldn't find another owner and keep the jobs in Dartmouth.

"It's difficult times for them as well," he said.

"We made the announcement last March that we would either close or sell the brewery but our prime objective was to find a buyer that could operate that brewery and that's where our effort has been all along since."

Last month, the brewery announced it was cutting 14 full and part-time jobs at the plant as it tried to secure a prospective buyer. The company said at the time it was confident it could sign an agreement for a sale.

Sleeman, owned by Sapporo Holdings Ltd. of Japan, is the third-largest brewing company in Canada. Besides its core Sleeman brands, it offers regional brands that include Okanagan Spring in British Columbia and Unibroue in Quebec as well as Old Milwaukee and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The company markets or distributes imported products such as Guinness, Sol, Dos Equis and Tecate.

With files from The Canadian Press