Strike at Molson Course | Bar owners fear beer shortages

(Montreal) Bar owners may soon run out of beer due to the strike called by workers at the end of March at the Molson Coors facility in Longueuil, warns Corporation des Propriétaires de Bars, Brasseries et Tavernes du Quebec, president.

Updated yesterday at 6:02 PM.

Christopher Reynolds
Canadian Press

In a phone interview, Renaud Poulin noted Friday that he has received hundreds of calls this week from bar owners who fear they will run out of beer next week, particularly in rural areas of the county who have an exclusive contract with Molson Coors.

” they think […] They will have to close their business. This is a major concern.”

Other Quebec beer producers will likely prefer deliveries to Montreal and Quebec City, where pubs are concentrated, rather than transporting cases to remote areas. “It’s an economic issue for brewers,” Mr. Boleyn continued.

In a letter dated Thursday to Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, the company called on the county government to ease restrictions on beer sales and allow its members to buy bottles from other retail outlets, to resell them at their establishments.

Under regional regulations, bars and restaurants can only sell labeled bottles specifically for “local” consumption, as opposed to those for home consumption, which are sold in convenience stores and grocery stores.

Owners are now looking to boxes outside the county to fill the void left by Molson’s products, but the limited supply of beer in bottles meant for local consumption means many pubs are facing shortages.

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On March 25, 420 workers went on strike at Molson Coors’ new Longueuil brewery.

Molson Coors spokesman Frederic Bourgeois-Leblanc said an emergency plan to deliver products to customers is underway, and the company is in direct contact with the bar owners’ union.

“As always, our door is always open to negotiations with representatives of the Teamsters. It is important to note that they decided to strike without consulting our best bid on March 25th. We remain deeply disappointed,” he said in an email.

Teamsters Canada spokesperson Stephane Lacroix said the union had not heard from Molson and that any movement toward a solution had stalled.

“No negotiations, no communication. Nothing. The management was caught with scabies a few weeks ago, so I think they’re not very happy with the way things are going,” he said in an email.

Mr. Pauline, owner of a sports bar in Chateauway, noted that he had personally experienced the problem, and that his customers were less satisfied.

“Customers consume less. They stay shorter. They are not happy,” explained Mr. Boleyn, who has run La Chope Bar for 32 years.

“Molson’s customers all went to Labatt,” he adds, but the rival brewery is also running out of stocks in Quebec, due to the Molson Coors strike.

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