Working in Canada has more than a few perks. For decades, our neighbors to the north have enjoyed universal healthcare, and Canadian co-workers are known around the world for their pleasant temperament. Plus, if you happened to work for Labatt before retiring, you've been able to chug an endless supply of free, Canadian beer as a part of your pension package—that is, until now.
According to the New York Times, the Canadian beer giant recently cut off its free-beer-for-life program, marking yet another casualty linked to one of the biggest beer mergers in history. As part of beer conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev, Labatt had been subjected to extensive budget cuts from 3G Capital, the private equity firm that holds a controlling stake in both Labatt, as well as the entire beer multinational beverage company.
For Labatt veterans, free beer had been a beloved perk associated with the brewery, as well a as morale booster for current workers at the company.
Though the origins of the liquid pension are some what murky, a spokesperson for the company said Labatt began offering retirees free beer on a weekly basis sometime in the 1970s. Today, how former workers pick up their benefit packages varies depend on location. At the company’s London plant, former workers receive roughly eight 24-packs a year, while in Edmonton, Alberta, retirees are allowed a case of beer every week.
But as times change and money gets tighter, Labatt took a look around and realized no other companies were still passing out free goods to retired employees. Even Molson Coors, Canada's other beer giant, stopped supplying retirees with complimentary suds years ago.
Larry Innanen, a retiree from Oakville, Ontario, feels the change is a symbolic move, as well as a financial one.
“It’s a loss to a class of former employees,” he told the Times. “It means something, it’s material to them.”
[via New York Times]