Molson Coors sees beer consumption slump amid NHL lockout

Molson Coors sales are flat in Canada amid an ongoing NHL player lockout and the company will likely ask for compensation after the lockout ends.

Hockey is the biggest driver of winter beer sales in Canada, CEO Peter Swinburn told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday. “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, all of those occasions have disappeared off the map and you just can’t replicate them,” he said.

He said the company, which is the beer sponsor for the NHL, will ask for compensation, but the amount will depend on how long the lockout lasts. The Molson-Coors sponsorship deal is worth a reported $375 million.

The company is also predicting a challenging fourth quarter, reports The Wall Street Journal. “We expect the fourth quarter to be the most challenging of this year, with difficult profit comparisons in Canada and the U.K. and higher costs in the U.S. and Central Europe,” said Swinburn.

But there is some hope for Molson Coors, and for the hockey fans the company wants to drink its beer. Negotiations between the league and NHL Players’ Association went late Wednesday and though the two sides did not reach a deal, they were expected to continue talks Thursday.

Or, perhaps Molson Coors should take some advice from The Atlantic Wire, which suggests: “Molson Coors might think about getting Canadians excited about NBA basketball. They have plenty of games left to play!”