Brews, bucks, and birthday cake: Labatt celebrates 170 years with $460 million investment

Labatt’s spending half a billion dollars to better serve its beer-loving customers.

The move is expected to help support 9,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Canada, and will allow the company to make new, innovative beers.

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Labatt made the announcement as it marked it 170th anniversary.

In 1847, John Kinder Labatt founded Labatt Brewing Company in London, Ont.

Since then, beers brewed by the company have become a mainstay in many Canadian homes.

“As part of that celebration, we are making a very exciting announcement. Labatt is going to be investing $1 billion in capital expenditures between the years 2011 and 2020,” said Chad Styles, senior general manager at Labatt Brewery in London.

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“Labatt has already invested $546 million in the period of 2011 to 2016, and we further plan to put $460 million into capital expenditures between 2017 and 2020. So a billion dollars that Labatt will be investing, it’s a really exciting time for us.”

London was Labatt’s first home and continues to be crucial to the company’s operations.

“For London, it’s been very exciting. There’s been over $8 million of investment just this year, and a lot of it is geared toward innovation,” said Styles.

“We are the brewery that brews the Budweiser Prohibition brew, so we put state-of-the-art de-alcohlization equipment that produces a great tasting beer that is non-alcoholic. We also put in some capital expenditures for BudLight Radler. Also, our ready-to-drink business that is ultimately coolers, such as Palm Bay, that we make here in London as well.”

A large cake with 170 candles, and a round of beer were part of the festivities Wednesday afternoon, at the company’s London-based brewing facility. After helping blow out some of those candles, Mayor Matt Brown told AM980 how exciting it was to hear about investments for one of the city’s “significant” employers.

“It’s incredible to think that Labatt’s has been here in London for 170 years… it’s older than this country. The commitment this company has to our community is absolutely phenomenal, and that’s what we’re celebrating today,” said Brown.

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Labatt’s 2017 investments in new technology and equipment aim to modernize and optimize brewery equipment and processes, increase production of new, innovative product offerings, and maintain and ensure product quality.

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Labatt will invest almost $117 million in 2017, including $62.2 million in brewery operations.

“At the end of the day it’s going to help our employees continue to do what they do best, and that’s make one of Canada’s favourite beers,” said Styles.

To mark the occasion, Labatt is hosting a community celebration Wednesday at the London brewery at 3 p.m.

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