USA: Labatt USA to open first restaurant and brewery

Labatt USA, the Buffalo-based importer of the Canadian Labatt beer brand, will open a flagship restaurant and small test brewery called the John Labatt House at its headquarter in Buffalo, NY, 20 miles south of Niagra Falls. The small brewery is the first of its kind for Labatt USA and will be used to develop and test new products before bringing them to market.

Labatt USA will be the anchor tenant on the ground-floor of a building from 1914, that was originally build as a manufacturing plant. The second floor will house Labatt’s new headquarter and its 56 local employees, which will be relocated from another place within Buffalo. The building is located in Buffalo's emerging cobblestone district near the waterfront, which survived as evidence of Buffalo's industrial history and the city's position as the grain handling hub of the Great Lakes.

It is owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE), a company owned by Terry and Kim Pegula, American multi-billionaires who hold business interests in natural gas development, real estate, entertainment and professional sports.  PSE’s hospitality division will operate the restaurant. The company said beer drinkers will be able to “taste, experience and influence new beer development for Labatt” at the site.

The project’s total costs are still unclear but Labatt USA will most likely spend more than $10 million for the redevelopment and equipment of the two floors. We want to make this a destination within the City of Buffalo,” said Glen Tibbits, general manager of Labatt USA.

Labatt USA is owned by North American Breweries (NAB) and is separate from the original Canadian company, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev and whichhas been importing beer into the United States since 1951. Following regulations after InBev's merger with Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest brewer sold Labatt USA, including exclusive rights to import, market and sell Labatt beer in the United States but kept the underlying intellectual property such as the Labatt trademarks.

NAB is headquartered in Rochester, New York and was formed in 2009 by New York City investment firm KPS Capital Partners to manage its brewery acquisitions: Genesee Brewing Company, Pyramid Breweries, and Magic Hat Brewing Co. The company was sold in December 2012 to Florida Ice & Farm Co. (FIFCO), a Costa Rica based producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

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