ROCHESTER, NY – North American Breweries (NAB), the company that owns the rights to distribute Labatt products in the U.S., has announced that they will soon be contracting Labatt’s main competitor, Molson Coors, to brew such iconic brands as Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light for the American market.
This strange arrangement stems from the 2008 merger of American brewing giant Anheuser-Busch with Labatt’s parent company InBev. As one of the terms of the merger being approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, the company was forced to sell off Labatt USA. NAB purchased the subsidiary in 2009, with the further stipulation that they would move brewing from Labatt to another Canadian brewery within three years.
In a statement, NAB president Rich Lozyniak says that they “analyzed our options, which included buying or building a brewery, and contract brewing. There is a lot of brewing capacity in Canada so we chose to pursue a partnership, which frees up capital that we can invest in our brands.”
Further analysis of the unique situation, including comments from representatives of Labatt and Molson, is provided by Josh Rubin in today’s Toronto Star.