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City Brewing not closing Latrobe plant

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Staff Reporter
Tribune-Review


By Joe Napsha

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009

City Brewing Co. broke its silence Monday about the future of its Latrobe brewery, saying it has no plans for a shutdown and will continue to seek contracts to resume operations.

City Brewing, based in LaCrosse, Wisc., is pursuing opportunities to brew beer or other products for other companies, said Connie Michaels, vice president of human resources. The company would be required to file a shutdown notice with the state if it permanently closed the brewery.

Michaels said contract brewing business is available, without specifying where such opportunities may be.

City Brewing has not brewed beer at the plant since November, when it laid off about 70 workers in what union and state officials had anticipated would be for at least two months. The brewery has a skeleton crew of about a dozen workers who maintain the brewery's buildings and power plant, Michaels said.

The Latrobe brewery had been producing Samuel Adams brand beer for Boston Beer Co. last year, but Boston Beer transferred that work to a former Pabst brewery that Boston Beer purchased near Allentown, Michaels said. Boston Beer shipped the last of the beer brewed at the Latrobe plant, but the brewing contract with Boston Beer remains in effect, Michaels said.

Gerard Millward, the business agent for the International Union of Electrical Workers Local 88022B, which represents brewers, and Joe Kohuth, president of the bottlers' union at the plant, could not be reached for comment.

Boston Beer spokeswoman Michelle Sullivan could not be reached for comment on its plans for any contract brewing at Latrobe.

City Brewing purchased the former Latrobe Brewing Co. plant in 2006 and reopened it in June 2007. The brewery closed in July 2006 because former owner InBev USA sold the Rolling Rock brand to Anheuser-Busch Co.

City Brewing had intended to brew beer, malted beverages, flavored teas and sports drinks at the plant.

City Brewing used about $200,000 of a $500,000 state opportunity grant to reopen the plant.

The company might have to repay some of the grant if it does not meet certain benchmarks stipulated in the grant, said Mark Shade, a state Department of Community and Economic Development spokesman. Information was not available on those requirements.

Additional Information:

On the Web

City Brewing Co. Web site

 

 
 


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