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Latrobe brewery produces first beer in a year

The brewing kettles cooked at the City Brewery in Latrobe for the first time in about one year Monday, the first step in an four-week process before the first batch of Samuel Adams beer will flow into kegs.

The former Latrobe Brewing Co. plant, which churned out Rolling Rock beer for more than six decades, will soon produce about 2,000 half barrels of Samuel Adams beer daily, said Kevin Morgan, plant manager for LaCrosse, Wis.-based City Brewing Co.

Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams beers, signed a deal with plant owner City Brewing Co. in April to brew its products. Boston Beer said it planned to invest $3 million to $7 million to upgrade the plant in Latrobe, Westmoreland County, to accomodate its brewing processes, proprietary yeasts and extended aging time of its beer.

Massachusetts-based Boston Beer produces about 21 different styles of beer under the Samuel Adams line.

Morgan said the plant currently employs about 45 workers, and expects to add more in the first week of June when the plant's bottling line is running. He said the plant expects to produce about 200,000 to 250,000 barrels of Samuel Adams beer through the rest of this year.

Morgan added the plant will soon be able to do "blending and batching," which allows for the production of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

In May 2006, InBev USA, a division of Belgian brewing giant InBev NA, sold the Latrobe Brewing Co. name and its Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light brands to Anheuser-Busch Cos. for $82 million. In September, City Brewing completed its acquisition of the Latrobe plant. Terms were not disclosed.

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