Cost of craft beer: Molson cuts staff at Vancouver brewery

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The nation’s growing love of craft beer has come at a cost to employees at Molson, as the big brewer lays off staff at their Vancouver facility.

A total of 15 employees so far have been let go, according to News 1130, who add:

Gerry Bergunder, business agent for Local 300 — the brewery, winery and distillery workers union that represents Molson Coors’ employees at the company’s brewery on Burrard Street — said the layoffs took place about two weeks ago and affected bottle line workers, including label operators and mechanics.

The move is being interpreted by industry analysts as indicative of what’s to come thanks to the country’s fondness for craft beers.

The preference is impacting sales in British Columbia. Figures from earlier this summer show that for the first half of 2014, microbrewers’ sales in B.C. were up 43.4 per cent, putting craft brews at the lead of the overall beer and alcohol category.

The uptick in microbreweries’ output and sales has affected major labels like Molson Coors in Canada. Major breweries have seen a steady fall in sales over the past three years in the province. Molson Coors’ sales may have seen increases in overseas markets, but have been flat in Canada.

Jennifer Kerr, manager of corporate affairs for Molson Coors Canada, affirmed to News1130 that brewing is “a very competitive market,” in the country.

Bergunder says he hopes the layoffs in Vancouver at Molson Coors will be “temporary,” and that the union is discussing any possibilities for re-hiring the workers.

Featured image: vapourtrails/Flickr

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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