Monday, February 05, 2007

Say It Ain't So Teresa!

I was rather disturbed to hear the news late last week that brewing giant Labatt (which used to be a Canadian company but is now owned by a Belgium company called InBev) offered 201.4 million dollars to buy out Lakeport Brewing.

It figures. A couple of years ago Labatt introduced their own version of Lakeports very successful "honey" beer, in an attempt to reclaim some of the market. It didn't seem to work so they followed the old methodology of "if you can't beat them, buy them." (Kind of a revisit to what happened with Chapters and Indigo back in 2001)

Lakeport has been a Hamilton success story since CEO Teresa Cascioli rescued the near bankrupt brewery and brought it into the top 3 selling beers in Ontario by a bold move, offering a decent beer for a very good price. She almost single-handedly pioneered the discount beer movement (24 for $24) in Canada.

Don't get me wrong, I think Cascioli deserves every single penny of the 40 million that she'll walk away with when the Labatt takeover is complete. She earned it. And I still think of her as a local hero. I'm just a little ticked that this brewery will no longer be a Hamilton institution, never mind no longer Canadian owned. Part of the reason I bought Lakeport beer was because I was supporting a local brewery (the other reason was it tasted good and you couldn't argue with the price). I'm hoping that the workers at the brewery don't get shafted if Labatt closes the local brewery and relocates the operation to one of their other locations. And regardless of whether or not they discontinue the discount beer offering, I don't think they'll be able to put a stop to the momentum that Lakeport has been able to generate.

As for spending my money on local or Canadian brewe3Fortunately, there are still other relatively local breweries to support, like Sleeman, Brick, Steamwhistle and (not as local to Hamilton, but still Canadian owned) Moosehead.


lime said...

well, i'm not abeer drinker, but i sure do hate any time a local institution is bought out or ended. it's a sad thing.

gregrob said...

Wasn't Sleeman sold last year to a Japaneese company?

gregrob said...

Sleeman Breweries Moves Forward With New Ownership
-- John Sleeman to remain CEO; Business continues as usual with launch of new
Sleeman Light --
Toronto, October 18, 2006 – With the announcement yesterday that Sapporo
Breweries Ltd. (“Sapporo”), through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Silver 2501
Canada Inc., completed its acquisition of Sleeman Breweries Ltd. (“Sleeman”),
Sleeman today discussed how it intends to move forward under the new
ownership structure.

Mark Leslie said...

No, Greg, no! My Canadian beer world is crumbling down around my feet! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!