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The Hamilton Spectator
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Wednesday March 31, 2010
When Labatt bought the Burlington Street "little brewery that could," many inside and outside the plant wondered when this day would come. - Not if, but when.

Labatt had been trying for years to shake the pesky "buck-a-beer" upstart that was gulping a bigger share of sales.

Then they swooped in and bought the company in February 2007, paying $201.4 million to shareholders.

There was instant talk about the possible loss of a Hamilton icon. Everyone from analysts to workers speculated that Labatt would close the plant.

Neither Lakeport CEO Teresa Cascioli nor Labatt officials offered comforting promises to employees.

There was talk that Cascioli, long viewed as a Hamilton hero, would be cast as a sellout if her $43-million payoff meant the loss of the plant.

It took three years for that to happen.

Yesterday morning, the company's 143 workers were summoned to a downtown hotel and given the news that their jobs are gone.

"Really, this is no big surprise," said worker Kim Norgate, of Dundas, who has worked at the brewery 18 years.

Other workers said the closure is a "stab in the back," adding they long suspected Labatt bought the brewery in 2007 to acquire its market share and shut it down. More...

Second shoe drops at Lakeport
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