Molson Coors opts for Longueuil, instead of Montreal, for new brewery

The mayor of Longueuil is happy about the decision to build the new Molson Coors brewery in her city. The mayor of Montreal is not.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante disappointed brewer is leaving island after more than 230 years

If all goes according to plan, the Molson brewery will be moving from its current location in Montreal, pictured here, across the St. Lawrence River to Saint-Hubert as of 2021. (handout)

Molson Coors wants to build its new brewery in Longueuil, the company announced Tuesday.

The City of Longueuil must approve the agreement, but the site, which is near the Saint-Hubert airport, has been in the company's crosshairs for more than two years.

If all goes according to plan, crews will break ground on the facility next year and the brewery will be up and running by 2021. The company previously said the project could cost "hundreds of millions of dollars."

"Today's decision to move forward will enable us to stay competitive in an evolving market, we are ready to move forward with this vision," Frederic Landtmeters, president and chief executive officer of Molson Coors Canada, said in a statement.

In July, the company announced it would be building a new brewery instead of modernizing its current building, which is not far from the St. Lawrence River on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal.

It has been brewing beer there for the last 231 years.

The new site is about 10 kilometres away from the brewery's current site. The size of the land, proximity to Highways 20 and 30, and a regulation that allows for tax breaks over five years to develop the area near the airport were all assets for Longueuil.

​In a news release, Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent said she was proud the company chose to set up shop in her city.

Longueuil city council is expected to approve the transaction at a meeting next week.

Montreal mayor not thrilled

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante was less thrilled about the news, saying she was disappointed with the decision and wanted the company to stay.

She said since she was elected earlier this month, she made the file a priority. Plante said she had been trying convince the company of the benefits of staying in Montreal and made them an "improved" offer, but Molson Coors had already made its decision.

But Plante is also the head of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, a group the represents municipalities in the Greater Montreal area, and says in that sense, it is good news that the brewery is staying in the vicinity.

Denis Coderre's administration had been in discussions with the brewery for two years, and wanted it to move to the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood.

But that option apparently did not appeal to Molson — the proposed locations belonged to different owners and had to be decontaminated.

Plante said the city and company will work together to redevelop the area once Molson leaves.

"It's a big opportunity, for example, to have better access to the water, having more housing options, maybe develop a business area."

With files from Radio-Canada's Bernard Barbeau