It is interesting to watch Canada's sugar-pop-beer market battle these days in light of the success of discount beers. The main maker of the low cost lagers which are grabbing a share of the market is Lakeport from Hamilton, Ontario. A new CEO has been appointed at Lakeport who has been a player in their success:
A native of Hamilton, Ms. Cascioli was recruited to Lakeport in 1999 as the company was struggling to emerge from bankruptcy protection from its creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. At that time, the company was saddled with an inefficient plant, poor reporting systems, inadequate financing and a costly legal dispute with the parent of Ontario's The Beer Store retail chain. Since then, she helped grow market share by 400 per cent and turned the 200-employee brewer into a profitable concern. Lakeport -- the maker of the Steeler, Lakeport and Brava banners -- controls 6 per cent of Ontario take-home beer market, which excludes sales in bars and restaurants.Conversely, Labatt is showing signs of losing its dominant place, letting staff go and chopping ad firms. Why? I asked a pal who buys discount beer - at the low to mid $20 for a case of 24. Labatt Blue is in the mid-$30s for the same amount with little perceptable difference in taste. Could it be that even the average beer buyer in Canada is ditching brand for value?