It was announced today that InBev has signed an exclusive letter of intent with City Brewery of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Three weeks ago it was reported that negotiations had broken down in City Brewing’s efforts to buy the Coors brewery in Memphis, Tennessee. So this makes a lot of sense, though I’m surprised they didn’t use this as a bargaining chip — bludgeon, really — to get the concessions they wanted from the brewery workers’ union in Memphis. Who knows, perhaps they still will. After all the letter of intent doesn’t guarantee that they two parties will be able to agree on a price and terms acceptable to both. But it’s certainly a good first step. I can only imagine the 200 plus workers at the Latrobe Brewery are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Let’s hope it all works out to everybody’s satisfaction.
From the Pittsburgh Times-Review story:
Latrobe Brewing Co. may soon have a new owner, as InBev USA said Wednesday it has signed an exclusive letter of intent with City Brewing Co. of La Crosse, Wisc., to purchase the brewery.
InBev and City Brewing Co. will now begin negotiations in an effort to reach agreement on a final deal, according to a statement issued by InBev Wednesday.
InBev said no timeframe has been set for completion of the talks, which will remain confidential between both parties. InBev said no information would be forthcoming until the talks are concluded.
City Brewing brews its La Crosse and La Crosse Light beers. The company also has a significant contract brewing business, which means it brews beer for other brewing companies.
Two weeks ago InBev said a letter of intent was being negotiated with an undisclosed potential buyer.
InBev said members of the International Union of Electronics Workers/Communications Workers of America, which represents about 154 workers at Latrobe Brewing, will be included in the talks. Union officials could not be reached for comment.
InBev also said local, state, and federal government leaders will also be consulted. State officials could not be reached for comment.
According to a statement released by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, he would be willing to discuss offering incentives to City Brewery in an effort to save the jobs.
From his statement:
“I am very encouraged and hope that our work to save the more than 200 jobs at Latrobe Brewing Company will be successful. I intend to speak with officials from City Brewery tomorrow to discuss our aggressive and innovative Pennsylvania Economic Stimulus program, which, I hope, will help them decide, like many other companies, that Pennsylvania is the right place to locate and expand their business.
“The hardworking, highly skilled men and women at the Latrobe Brewing Company are the best reason for any brewing company to bring their product to Pennsylvania, and I am hopeful that this letter of intent will translate into a contract to purchase the company. I intend to work personally, along with my Governor’s Action Team to ensure that this happens. This is not the final step, but it is a very good step in the right direction.”