Our neighbors north of the border seem to be having a bit of an issue brewing – the NHL lockout is making a big dent in the beer sales. Canadians are well known for their love of both hockey and beer, but the lack of one is leading to a glut of the other. Molson Coors, based in both Montreal and Denver, says that with hockey off the air in Canada, their strongest cold-weather selling point for beer is leaving them in the cold.
Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn said in an interview with the Canadian Press Wednesday, Nov. 7, “Whether it’s people not actually physically going to the venues and consuming there, consuming in venues around the outlet before that, or indeed having NHL sort of parties at home, all of those occasions have disappeared off the map and you just can’t replicate them.”
Hockey in Canada is as big as, or bigger than football is in the United States. “It’s a national sport; the whole of Canada is glued to it one way or another, so there’s no real regional difference at the moment that we can detect,” Swinburn said.
As the NHL’s labor dispute – already nearly two months long – wears on, the sales at Canada’s biggest beer producer continue to decline. The lockout is an ongoing labor dispute that began September 15 following the expiration of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement less than a month prior to the scheduled beginning of the 2012–13 NHL season. The owners of the league’s franchises declared a lockout of the members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association after a new agreement could not be reached before their deadline.
Swinburn went on to say that Molsen Coors will seek compensation from the NHL due to the losses they are suffering. “There will be some redress for us as a result of this. I can’t quantify that and I don’t know because I don’t know the scale of how long the lockout is going to last.”