Lakeport leaves Hamilton, but is buck-a-beer under threat?
Former Lakeport CEO Teresa Cascioli won’t be getting much support from the 143 soon-to-be-jobless employees of the brewery if she decides to run for mayor of Hamilton. Many of them accused her of selling them out when she sold Lakeport to Labatt in 2007. Cascioli pocketed a cool $43-million in that sale, but workers wondered if Labatt simply wanted to buy out a competitor—an annoying one, at that—and then close the plant. Turns out that’s exactly what happened. Earlier this week, Labatt announced that it’s closing the plant for reasons of efficiency. “This has played out faster than I ever thought it would,” the chief exec of Brick Brewing told the Hamilton Spectator.
Ontario’s long-standing buck-a-beer beer will be shifted to Labatt’s London plant as the company packs up Lakeport’s equipment, a move that city councillor Bob Bratina is calling “draconian,” as it will discourage craft brewers from buying the plant and retaining jobs.
Continuing their tradition of conspiracy theorizing, some employees say that Labatt intends to phase out the buck-a-beer movement completely, but a spokesperson for Labatt told the Spec that Lakeport’s prices will remain the same.
• 143 Lakeport workers casualties of beer wars [Hamilton Spectator]
• Second shoe drops at Lakeport [Hamilton Spectator]
• Labatt will strip Lakeport equipment [Hamilton Spectator]
• Hamilton’s Lakeport Brewery closing, 143 to lose jobs [Toronto Star]