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The Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fort Collins is getting an $18.2 million upgrade to its brewing and packaging operations, which the company hopes will make it more more efficient and reduce its environmental impact.
Senior General Manager Gene Bocis said Wednesday that about $7 million will be used to buy new brewing equipment that reduces carbon dioxide exposure and water consumption. Another $7.4 million will be put toward upgrading packaging lines so the brewery can turn out a wider variety of products and faster.
Bocis said the goal is to cut down on transportation costs, the amount of cardboard used and, ultimately, shorten the time it takes to get beer on shelves.
The investment is geared toward satisfying beer lovers who are increasingly drinking at home versus at the bar, due in no small part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re seeing a large push to product that is in aluminum cans, which I think are more prevalent to be consumed at home,” Bocis said. “That’s where we’re seeing the biggest shift.”
The Fort Collins brewery produces 36 different malt beverage and beer brands, Bocis said, from staples like Budweiser and Michelob Ultra to craft brands like Goose Island and Elysian. Bocis declined to comment on the facility’s annual brewing capacity, but said it brews, packages and ships beer to all 50 states.
Construction is currently underway in Fort Collins and expected to be finished later this year, according to the announcement.
The cash infusion at the Fort Collins brewery is part of a larger investment strategy, with Anheuser-Busch planning to spend upwards of $1 billion over the next two years in the 26 states it does business with an eye to revitalizing those communities.