Molson Coors cuts back 3 Newfoundland distributors

Three companies have lost contracts to distribute Molson Coors products on the island, as the beer giant consolidates its operations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Molson Coors is scaling back its Newfoundland and Labrador distributors from 16 to 13 companies. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Three companies have lost contracts to distribute Molson Coors products on the island, as the beer giant consolidates its operations in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"It certainly throws a curveball into your life," Tom O'Brien, owner of Group Six in Stephenville, told CBC News.

He said Group Six had been in a Molson distributor for more than 31 years, serving the area from Bay St. George to Port aux Basques.

O'Brien, who is also the mayor of Stephenville, said he and his nine employees will be out of work as of Feb. 27 with little clue as to what to do next, as a Corner Brook company takes over his distribution area.

Molson Coors responds

In an emailed statement, Francois Lefebvre, a regional director of corporate affairs for Molson Coors Canada, wrote the cuts are part of a two year mandate "to transform our national supply chain network in a drive for greater efficiency."

The company had previously cut a distributor from Bonavista in October 2015.

O'Brien said the two other companies affected in this latest move are GB Distributors in Grand Falls-Windsor and Noble Distributing in Baie Verte.

'Every job is important'

The Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce wants clarification from Molson Coors about what its presence will now be in the area.

"Whenever we lose a business, whether it's one job or six jobs, it has a negative impact. Every job is important," said chamber president Tom Rose.

Group Six in Stephenville had distributed Molson Coors products for more than 31 years. (Andy Clark/Reuters)

Rose said the Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the corporation, expressing concern over the losses and also seeking assurance that the corporation will continue to put money back into the area.

"Even though they're realigning their distribution centre…Molson Canada still plays a role with sponsorship, when it comes to dealing with our community groups, not-for-profits, for example our Stephenville Theatre Festival," said Rose.

"These corporations need to give back to communities that support them."

Rose hopes a representative from Molson Coors will meet with the chamber of commerce soon to explain any possible impacts.