Thursday, June 2, 2011

Labatt Gifts Western with Part of its Craft Brewing Past

London, ON


Labatt Breweries of Canada has donated Canada’s most significant collection of historic corporate materials to The University of Western Ontario. At a ceremony today, Labatt’s President, Bary Benun, officially turned over The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection to Western President Amit Chakma.

“This is the first historical collection in Canada to represent the brewing industry and we are very pleased to hand over its custodianship to The University of Western Ontario,” says Bary Benun. “This means that Labatt’s invaluable corporate legacy will be available to academics and the public alike, providing valuable insight into the brewing industry and business in general, industrial relations, the economy, society and work forces and labour relations of the past 164 years.”

“This is a unique opportunity for Western, especially because we are located in Labatt’s home town, and have enjoyed a long relationship with the company,” says President Chakma. “In fact, we have benefited greatly from the generosity of the Labatt family and the corporation ever since the founding of our university in 1878. It is an honour to be associated with one of the Canada’s oldest companies, and to be entrusted with the stewardship of a rare and historical collection that has been preserved and maintained in such excellent condition.”

As part of the ceremony, Labatt also donated its Material Culture Collection of artifacts and original art to Museum London, where it will be accessible to the public for viewing. Among the most significant corporate archives donations, these two collections have been examined by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, and determined to be of ‘outstanding significance and national importance’ and of ‘historical cultural significance’. The collections are appraised at more than $8.3 million.

With the help of professional archivists Labatt gathered, catalogued, itemized and organized virtually all its irreplaceable corporate documents. The materials illustrate the evolution of corporate governance and management models, and include market research; commercial advertising which mirrors Canadian cultural values and trends; research, technology and engineering materials related to brewing processes and innovations; and iconic images of corporate branding, packaging and memorabilia.

The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection is now stored and managed within the Archives and Research Collection Centre at The University of Western Ontario. Labatt also donated $200,000 to Western to assist in digitizing portions of the collection, which will help preserve some of the key content and make it more accessible.

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