British Columbia's famous beer rolls out

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TORONTO -- British Columbia's most popular beer, Kokanee, has arrived in Ontario, fueling speculation that the brew may be rolled out throughout Canada.

Labatt Breweries is producing the beer for the Columbia Brewing Co. based in Creston, B.C., using the same recipe at its London, Ontario brewery.

The brew, B.C.'s most popular for more than a decade, was originally launched in 1959 and has won international acclaim. It was recently awarded the Silver Medal among lagers in the 1996 Brewing Industry International Awards held in the U.K..

The Ontario launch is supported by award-winning creative and new creative from Bryant, Fulton & Shee of Vancouver, whose work has been honored for its humorous spots promoting the beer and the laid-back B.C. lifestyle. The campaign includes TV and radio, with radio spots particularly poking fun at the name, Kokanee (pronounced Ko-Kan-Nee), with people in stores or bars asking for Coconuts, Karaoke, and other names close to the original.

Taglines for the spots, "B.C.'s mountain beer is here", promote the fact the beer comes from the Kootenay mountain region of B.C. with a "glacier- fresh taste."

Kokanee is also available in all Western provinces in Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) and in Washington State and Idaho. Plans to roll out the brand right across Canada could be in the works, according to Labatt spokesman, Bob Chant.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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