The MillerCoors brewery in Fort Worth is expanding production with an investment of millions from owner Molson Coors—but not to make more beer. It’s bullish on another fizzy drink: Seltzer. Cowtown’s oldest and largest brewery will add capacity for a new Coors Seltzer brand slated to launch in September, as well as production for its Vizzy hard seltzer. The investment from Molson Coors, which “is investing millions in the Fort Worth operation,” could boost seltzer production by more than 400%.
The brewer, which employs 500, has taken something of a back seat in recent years with the “explosion” of new craft breweries and pubs in North Texas, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The brewery sees the new products as a good bet: According to the company, “eight of the top 10 Nielsen Growth Brands in the most-recent period are hard seltzers, underscoring a seismic shift in the beverage alcohol industry.”
“As we see our innovations take off, we want to be able to react quickly and take those products in-house when it makes sense from a business perspective,” said Molson Coors Chief Supply Chain Officer Brian Erhardt in a blog post by beer distributor J.J.Taylor.
“You’ll see us continue to react quickly into the future. When we can support a business case to make capital improvements in our facilities, we’ll definitely do it,” Erhardt said.
Erhardt says the brewery team in Fort Worth “found a way to engineer our systems to make it work, we partnered with our contract supplier to provide fermented and filtered base, and we started packaging additional Vizzy just a couple of weeks ago.”
Just “two or three months ago, we never thought we’d be able to do this,” Erhardt said.
Despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, “the brewery has taken projects that typically take months and completed them in weeks, Greg Moore, senior packaging manager at the Fort Worth brewery said in the post.
MillerCoors uses contract manufacturers as part of its strategy, which will continue as the company takes more production in-house.
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