Labatt buys Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Okanagan Cider

The moves comes as the InBev-SAB Miller deal is completed and Molson takes full ownership of MillerCoors.

As its parent company prepares to close a deal to create a beer giant, Labatt Breweries of Canada has expanded its ready-to-drink, cider and craft portfolios by purchasing a number of brands previously owned by the Mark Anthony Group of Companies.

Labatt will own Mike’s Hard Lemonade, the Palm Bay line of ready-to-drink vodka cocktails, Okanagan Premium Cider, as well as the Turning Point Brewery, which brews the Stanley Park family of craft beer.

Labatt will be dedicating resources to build each brand’s equity and make them more accessible to consumers, and is also planning capital investments in Turning Point Brewery. Current leadership at the brands is expected to remain in place. The deal has been valued at US$350 million.

In a press release, Labatt president Jan Craps said the deal was done to expand the company’s reach into the growing ready-to-drink, spirits and cider categories, a new priority for the traditionally beer-focused company.

“Labatt’s portfolio has had a strong reputation for quality for almost 170 years. These dynamic and distinctive brands are a perfect fit for our portfolio,” Craps said. “We’re always open to great opportunities – in beer and beyond – as our business continues to develop and change in Canada.”

Last month, Labatt placed a significant stake in the growing craft beer market by purchasing Mill Street Breweries, one of Canada’s largest and most recognizable independent brewers.

Mark Anthony Group will retain full ownership of its brands in the U.S., as well as its wine and spirits brands within Canada, although it has sold certain trademark and intellectual property rights outside the U.S. and Canada to Labatt’s parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev. The release didn’t mention any specific brands, although Reuters has reported AB InBev’s Brazilian division Ambev has acquired rights to Mike’s, Palm Bay, Okanagan and Turning Point within the country.

Labatt’s expansion also comes as parent company A-B InBev completed its agreement to acquire SABMiller on Wednesday, though it still requires regulatory approval. As expected, SABMiller has sold its stake in joint venture MillerCoors to Molson Coors, in order to ease the regulatory process, for a reported US$12 billion, pending the approval of the SABMiller acquisition, a move that has given Molson Coors control of the Miller brand globally.

Image via the Okanagan Cider Facebook page