Anheuser-Busch to invest $11.3m in Merrimack brewery for expansionBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
May 15. 2017 8:33PM
MERRIMACK — Anheuser-Busch announced Monday that it will invest millions of dollars into the Merrimack brewery as part of the largest capital investment program in U.S. brewing history.
This year, the Merrimack brewery is set to receive $11.3 million to help with its planned expansion, and throughout the multiyear project it will receive a total of more than $30 million.
“It is always great to be invested in. The company is placing a bet on us to deliver great beer,” said Tom Jokerst, general manager at Merrimack’s Anheuser-Busch.
The company’s major capital expenditure program includes an investment of $2 billion through 2020, with improvements being made at Anheuser-Busch plants throughout the nation.
“We are focusing on investments which empower our employees to do what they do best — brewing the best beer,” Dave Taylor, vice-president of supply for Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. “Ninety-eight percent of the beer we sell in America is proudly made here at our 21 breweries using the highest quality ingredients.”
Aside from the $11.3 million to begin innovative cross brewing capabilities at the Merrimack brewery alongside craft partners, the company is investing in breweries in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Williamsburg and more, focusing on new technology and equipment, aluminum bottling capabilities and non-alcoholic product offerings such as Teavana, according to a release.
The improvements at the Merrimack plant include several phases of work. The first phase of the project, some of which is nearly complete, is the construction of a brewery and specialty grains addition, including a fermentation cellar.
“In our courtyard, we have a 14,000 square feet new fermentation cellar going in with six fermentation tanks active and installed in about August, and another six in 2019,” said Jokerst, explaining the specialty grain addition should be completed in March 2018.
The existing facility is about 600,000 square feet, and employs 200 full-time workers at 221 Daniel Highway. The multiphase expansion project calls for a combined 70,035 square feet of new space, which includes future additions to the warehousing and packaging areas, along with a further expansion of the first phase brewery development.
Currently, Anheuser-Busch has several partnerships with different breweries, including Blue Point Brewing Co. In Merrimack, Blue Point’s summer ale is currently being brewed on site.
“The Merrimack brewery makes some of the best ales in the world,” said Jokerst, adding the new expansion will allow the local site to effectively and efficiently continue to make great beers while expanding its craft brewing initiatives and cross brewing capabilities.
Anheuser-Busch continues to be focused on its New Hampshire roots, specifically with its tour center, Clydesdale facility and newly opened biergarten, said Jokerst.
“We are critical to the community for not just the philanthropy work we do, but for providing the jobs and income for the community,” he said. “I can’t wait for August. We have been working on this project for a while now, and it has been fun watching it grow.”
According to a release, the company’s new capital expenditure program will expand Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. operations, bolster local and state economies and support more than 17,000 jobs nationwide.
The Merrimack plant has operated in New Hampshire for 46 years.