Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, part of AB InBev, plans to invest more than GBP 115million (USD 158m) in its two major UK breweries in South Wales and Lancashire.
The primary focus of the investment will be installing modern and eco-friendly infrastructure at both breweries to increase capacity in brewing, canning and bottling by a total of 3.6 million hectoliters, the equivalent of 630 million pints a year once all projects are complete. As a result, by the end of 2021, the company will have hired 55 new employees across both sites.
The commitment comes at a time when the UK begins looking forward to recovering from the economic and employment impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These improvements will enable Budweiser Brewing Group to meet the growing demand for beer, which saw a shift from on-trade to off-trade during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sales reached its highest levels on record last year in the off-trade, seeing +19.6% growth in Q3, and +23.4% in Q4.
Throughout the Covid period, the breweries were able to remain open and operational. Teams at Magor and Samlesbury were also quick to support the local communities around them, adapting production to create and distribute more than 10,000 liters of hand sanitizer and disinfectant for frontline workers in care homes, doctors’ surgeries, police and fire services, and other vital services.
Budweiser Brewing Group’s two breweries in Samlesbury and in Magor have been brewing beer since 1972 and 1979 respectively. They are important local employer in its communities, employing more than 1,000 people across the two sites. The AB InBev group brews there some of the nation’s favorite beers including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona and Bud Light.
Paula Lindenberg, President, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, said: “Like many in the UK, we are focused on a strong recovery of our economy, our communities and our country. By investing in our breweries with new roles and new technology to increase capacity, we’re ensuring that we can brew and deliver great beers for many years to come.
“We know the beer industry is hugely valuable to the UK economy, and we believe our investments in our UK operations will be a catalyst for the recovery post-Covid.”
Lloyd Manship, Brewery Manager at Magor Brewery, said: “When the brewery grows, South Wales grows with it. After the hardship of the last 12 months, it’s great to be able to share positive news and create new opportunities to support our community and local partners.”
Volodimir Kukuruza, Brewery Manager at Samlesbury Brewery, said: “It’s fantastic to be in the position to grow our brewery and our team. This ongoing investment makes us one of the most appealing employers in Preston, and we look forward to supporting the area to a strong recovery.”
Full details of the investment are as follows:
Magor Brewery, South Wales – GBP 72m (USD 99m) investment, 1.6m hL capacity increase
- New bottling line installed to increase brewing capacity (2020)
- 8 new 8,000 hL fermenting units to increase brewing capacity (2021)
- 32 new jobs in operational and management roles (2020-21)
- Brewery-wide efficiency improvements such as better chillers, and increased line speed on several lines.
- An improved wort cooler, beneficial for beer quality, which will also lead to significant energy savings of 40 million MJ a year.
- Magor already receives 20% of its electricity direct from a wind turbine which is believed to be the longest to enter commercial operation on UK soil.
Samlesbury Brewery, Lancashire – GBP 45m (USD 62m) investment, 2m hL capacity increase (2021/2022)
- Installation of a new canning line for new sustainable plastic ring-free cans – increasing canning capacity.
- Multiple modifications in brewing, utilities and logistics – increasing brewing capacity.
- 23 new jobs in operational and specialist engineering roles.
- Brewery-wide efficiency and equipment improvements, including a boiler system upgrade.