KPS Capital Partners has agreed to buy Labatt USA, meaning it will be responsible for marketing and distributing Labatt-brand beer in the United States. KPS also bought High Falls Brewing Co. in Rochester, which has excess production capacity. Brewing Labatt's products at the High Falls site might seem like a natural fit, but it's not that simple.
KPS is mindful of the fact that part of Labatt's appeal in the U.S. is its Canadian connection. There's some concern that even if the beer is exactly the same, but is brewed in the U.S. instead of Canada, it could harm Labatt's brand equity. The decision might not come right away, since Labatt's has agreed to brew and supply the products for the new licensee for up to three years.
What do you think -- would you be less likely to buy Labatt's products if they came to Buffalo from down the Thruway instead of over the border?
-- Matt Glynn