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Labatt USA brings North American Breweries national sales conference to Buffalo

Nick Lippa

For years, Buffalo has been the number one city in the US for Labatt. With a new office and brew pub opening up soon downtown, local Labatt officials were able to convince their parent company North American Breweries to hold its National Sales Meeting in Buffalo this October.

The 4-day event is expected to bring over 700 beer executives and $1 million in economic revenue to the city. Labatt Chief Sales Officer Josh Halpern said Buffalo’s close proximity to their surrounding businesses helped make this a reality.

“We had been considering bringing everyone to Buffalo for a while now,” Halpern said. “Having the new national sales office and having a new senior leadership made it the only choice. This was the only city we looked at. We decided we wanted to do this in Buffalo.”

But what else drew them here? The sales meeting aligns with the opening of Labatt’s new brew pub. The $20 million project in the Cobblestone District is set to open this October. It will include a beer garden, a draft room restaurant, a few residential apartments, and be the corporate headquarters for Labatt USA and Pegula Sports and Entertainment.

But at the end of the day, Labatt officials and even Mayor Byron Brown know it’s because Buffalonians likes to drink a lot of beer. Brown spoke with Labatt after they headquartered in Buffalo in 2007.

“I asked the Labatt CEO at that time,” Brown said, “Mister CEO, what is it? What are we doing in Buffalo? What did I do as Mayor to get you to bring your national head sales headquarters to this great American city? He said Mayor that’s very easy. The people of Buffalo and Western New York are our biggest consumers in the United States of America.”

Buffalo continues to be the number one city in the US for Labatt. Halpern said convincing executives to come wasn’t hard at all.

“Ultimately us putting a brand-new sales and marketing headquarters in Buffalo as well as opening up the brew pub in conjunction with Pegula Sports and Entertainment shows we’re here for the long haul. Buffalo is our home and we wanted to bring people in from all over the country to see that home,” Halpern said.

Visit Buffalo Niagara President Patrick Kaler said this meeting highlights the renaissance of Buffalo.

“There are representatives coming from every state in the country,” said Kaler. “Those people are going to have a fantastic experience in Buffalo and go home and tell their friends, their co-workers, their colleagues, back in those other 50 states, you’ve got to go to Buffalo. It’s a fantastic city. So that’s just the extension that we will get from a meeting of this caliber in our destination.”

Labatt USA has employed over 80 people at their headquarters in Buffalo since 2007. Previous locations for their National Sales Meeting include Costa Rica, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. From October 15-18, Buffalo will be lit blue.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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