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The NHL Lockout Is Killing Canada's Beer Sales

Adam Clark Estes
The NHL Lockout Is Killing Canada's Beer Sales

Molson Coors, Canada's oldest and biggest beer company, has fallen on hard times in recent weeks, and it wants you to know that it's the NHL's fault. The league is now two months deep into a labor dispute that's left the ice empty this season, an unfortunate development both for the fans that love watching men fistfight on ice skates and the companies that provide them with the intoxicating brews that make that sort of thing more amusing. "Whether it's people not actually physically going to the venues and consuming there, consuming in venues around the outlet before that, or indeed having NHL sort of parties at home," Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn told the Canadian Press on Wednesday, "all of those occasions have disappeared off the map and you just can't replicate them." 

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It's not like this hockey thing is going to put Molson Coors out of business or anything. The international brewery pulled in $197.7 million in revenue last quarter, beating analysts' expectations. The company says that its Canadian branch is suffering, though, as a result of the lockout, and Swinburn said that they "expect the fourth quarter to be the most challenging of this year." More specifically, they're having a hard time with lower demand in lots of place, but it's the worst in Canada.

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This is where the story gets funny. Molson Coors is sure enough about the causal relationship between the lockout and its crappy Canadian beer sales, that it's going to be asking the NHL to pay them back. "There will be some redress for us as a result of this," said Swinburn. "I can't quantify that and I don't know because I don't know the scale of how long the lockout is going to last." In the meantime, Molson Coors might think about getting Canadians excited about NBA basketball. They have plenty of games left to play!