Saturday, January 22, 2022

Anheuser-Busch ‘shows a lot of confidence’ with $18 mil investment in Williamsburg brewery

General Manager Bryan Derr (Courtesy Anheuser-Busch)

Anheuser-Busch’s Williamsburg brewery is getting an $18 million facelift.

The St. Louis-based brewing company announced a $2 billion capital expenditure program in a press release Monday. $500 million will be spread across its American breweries in 2017, with another $1.5 billion earmarked through 2020.

The Williamsburg brewery will receive $18 million this year — the second-highest sum any Anheuser-Busch brewery will receive. Anheuser-Busch is owned by InBev, the world’s largest brewer.

“It shows a lot of confidence from the company in our brewery here in Williamsburg,” said brewery General Manager Bryan Derr.

Anheuser-Busch employs more than 17,000 people across 21 U.S. breweries, and produces more than 100 brands of beer, according to its website. The 1.2 million square foot brewery is located in James City County.

According to the release, the funds will be used to install new equipment, including new labeling machines.

The current labeling machines places labels on 500 bottles per minute, said Derr, and the plant has two of them.

“These new labelers will run 800 bottles a minute, which greatly increases our ability to run a quality product very efficiently,” Derr said.

Derr said the brewery will be receiving a new packer as well, which is the piece of equipment that puts bottles in secondary packaging. He added the new packer is the first of its kind.

“The goal is always to wow our customer with our packaging,” Derr said.  “We want to be very innovative with the packages we put up on shelves. This new style packer that will allow us to make a lot more innovative packages.”

Derr said the investment is a win for Anheuser-Busch customers and Williamsburg brewery employees alike.

“We have a lot of employees that work really hard from all over the peninsula to put out a great product for our consumers,” Derr said.  “Every day they work really hard. Our goal — number one — is to make a high-quality package and product, and number two is to make it as efficiently as possible.”

Dave Taylor, Vice President of Supply for Anheuser-Busch, echoed Derr’s comments in the press release.

“We are focusing on investments which empower our employees to do what they do best — brewing the best beer,” said Taylor.

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