Latrobe Brewery Sale Hits Snag

Efforts to sell Latrobe Brewing Co. have hit a snag as two prominent brewers mentioned as potential buyers appear to be fading from the picture.

InBev USA said last week the company is negotiating a letter-of-intent with an undisclosed company and indicated a deal would come this week.

On Wednesday, InBev notified Gov. Ed Rendell that its attorneys and those for the prospective buyer are having problems ironing out details, said Allen Kukovich, director of Rendell’s Southwestern Pennsylvania office.

“They’re serious about this,” Kukovich said. “They’re working it out and hope to have the letter signed by Friday, and no later than Monday.”

Last month, InBev sold Latrobe Brewing Co.’s Rolling Rock brands to Anheuser-Busch for $82 million, a deal that did not include the brewery. If the plant is not sold by July 31, InBev said it will close the facility and leave 200 workers jobless.

Meanwhile, the chief operating officer for D.G. Yuengling & Son of Pottsville, Schuylkill County, said yesterday it already operates three breweries and is not actively seeking to add beer-making capacity.

“It’s not us who is moving close to a deal. We already have a lot on our plate. But we never say never,” said David A. Casinelli, who pointed out the company operates two breweries in Pottsville and bought a former Stroh’s plant in Tampa, Fla., in 1999.

The other potential suitor, Boston Beer Co., was believed to be a serious candidate due to opposition to its proposal to build a brewery in Freetown, Mass. Another potential problem involved a source for water.

However, voters in Freetown on Monday approved a lucrative tax-increment financing proposal, an agreement that will give Boston Beer tax breaks averaging 33 percent for 20 years, said John S. Ashley, chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Freetown.