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Clare Rose dropped as beer distributor for Belmont Stakes

Clare Rose striking workers confront a truck with

Clare Rose striking workers confront a truck with replacement workers leaving the Clare Rose facility in East Yaphank on Friday, April 28, 2017. Credit: Ed Betz

East Yaphank beer distributor Clare Rose, facing a seven-week strike by drivers and warehouse workers, will not be supplying suds for the 149th Belmont Stakes this weekend, a spokesman for the New York Racing Association said Friday.

The distributor, which has supplied Anheuser-Busch InBev brews for the three-day event for more than 10 years, has been replaced by Manhattan Beer Distributors. Manhattan Beer, which has a facility in Wyandanch, distributes products for Anheuser-Busch competitor Coors.

The food and beverage vendor for Belmont Park, which is operated by NYRA, cited delivery issues as the cause for the switch, the spokesman said.

“Due to the ongoing strike affecting Clare Rose, our food and beverage vendor sought alternatives to ensure the smooth distribution of products for the 2017 Belmont Stakes racing festival,” said Pat McKenna, communications director for NYRA. McKenna added that the organization foresees “no disruption” in service to attendees and that “we’ll have plenty of food and beverage options available . . . throughout Belmont Stakes day.”

Officials with Clare Rose did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

More than 100 union delivery drivers and warehouse workers at Clare Rose have been on strike since late April following months of unsuccessful contract negotiations with the distributor. The company began hiring full-time replacement workers last month.

Following news of the switch, members of Teamsters Local 812 called off plans to picket the weekend event and urge attendees to boycott Anheuser-Busch products, such as Budweiser and Bud Light. Clare Rose is the sole distributor of AB InBev products on Long Island.

“We’re glad that Belmont has decided to move from serving Budweiser,” said Joseph Vitta, secretary treasurer of Local 812.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to turn up for the big race on Saturday — the last race of the 2017 Triple Crown series.

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