Labatt expands into rapidly growing ready-to-drink spirits-based beverage alcohol segments

Mike's Hard Lemonade, Okanagan Cider, and Palm Bay brands add
new dimension to portfolio

TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Labatt Breweries of Canada today announced it will be expanding its portfolio with a range of primarily ready-to-drink, spirits-based beverages and cider brands for the Canadian market owned by the Mark Anthony Group of Companies. The additions include recognized and innovative brands such as Mike's Hard Lemonade, Palm Bay, Okanagan Cider, as well as the Turning Point Brewery in British Columbia, which brews the Stanley Park family of brands.

Labatt President Jan Craps, said, "We're excited about the agreement to acquire a highly creative portfolio of brands in the fast growing ready-to-drink and cider segments.  Equally important, we will benefit from the experience and leadership of the people behind the success of such trailblazing brands, who will continue to manage the acquired portfolio and operate the Turning Point Brewery on an autonomous basis."

"I am extremely proud of our legacy in creating such amazing and enduring brands and our role in creating the flavoured cider and spirit cooler categories in Canada over the past +30 years," said Mark Anthony Group Founder, Chairman & CEO, Anthony von Mandl. "We've built a legacy that speaks for itself, and that legacy will continue to grow with the widening distribution and increasing channels for brands that so powerfully resonate with consumers."

"Moving forward, we will focus on further building Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits, a leading national fine wine, spirits and beer importer and distributor across Canada," continued von Mandl. "In the United States where Mark Anthony retains full ownership of its market leading ready-to-drink business we see exponential growth ahead with our portfolio of brands that include Mike's Hard Lemonade."

To pursue the growth of the acquired brands and make them available to more consumers, Labatt is committed to fostering the creativity, innovation and craftsmanship that have led to the brands' success.  As such, the brands and brewery will be managed on an independent basis and all brands will continue to be made with the same authentic recipes and quality ingredients.

Labatt intends to dedicate its resources to help further help build brand equity and is also planning capital investments in the Turning Point Brewery.  The acquired brands will give Labatt an important base from which to expand in the ready-to-drink and cider segments, both of which are growing quickly and where Labatt has not previously concentrated its efforts. 

"Labatt's portfolio has had a strong reputation for quality for almost 170 years.  These dynamic and distinctive brands are a perfect fit for our portfolio," said Mr. Craps.  "We're always open to great opportunities – in beer and beyond – as our business continues to develop and change in Canada."

In a separate transaction, Mark Anthony Group is selling certain non-U.S. and non-Canadian trademark rights and other intellectual property to Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Mark Anthony Group will retain full ownership of its U.S. business, as well as the Canadian wine, spirits and beer import and distribution business.

About the Mark Anthony Group of Companies
The Mark Anthony Group of Companies is one of North America's most diversified and successful private beverage companies focused on the alcohol beverage sector. Founded in 1972, the Company grew organically from a one man wine importing business to a producer and distributor of fine wine, spirits, premium beer and today is the largest Flavored Malt Beverage (FMB) Company in North America, and the 4th largest Ready to Drink (RTD) company in the world. The Company's Founder, Chairman & CEO is also the Proprietor of VMF Estates, a collection of prestigious wineries and estate vineyards in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. In addition, Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits proudly represents many of the world's leading wine, spirits and beer brands, providing seamless services from producer to consumer throughout Canada. www.markanthony.com .

About Labatt Breweries of Canada
Established by John Kinder Labatt in London, Ontario in 1847, Labatt Breweries is one of Canada's founding businesses and oldest brewers.  Today, it has over 3,000 employees, and a portfolio of more than 60 quality beers made in six breweries from Newfoundland to British Columbia, as well as the award-winning craft brewer, Mill Street, the largest producer of organic beer in Canada.  Labatt's regional brands and iconic Canadian favourites include Alexander Keith's, Kokanee, and Labatt Blue (Bleue in Quebec).  As an integral part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's leading brewer, Labatt also sells world-renowned beers such as Stella Artois, Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona and Goose Island to consumers across Canada. 

SOURCE Labatt Breweries of Canada

For further information: Labatt: Briar Wells, 416-361-5182, 647-968-9295 (cell), briar.wells@labatt.com; Mark Anthony Group: Ian Galbraith, 604-269-7017, 604-809-1045 (cell), igalbraith@markanthony.com

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Labatt Breweries of Canada

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