City Brewing Company, LLC, one of the largest contract brewers for a variety of beers and other beverages in the U.S., today announced the successful commencement of production at Irwindale Brew Yard (IBY), a full-service, low-alcohol beverage contract production facility based in Irwindale, California. In November 2020, City Brewing purchased the 40-year old brewery including plant equipment and machinery and the underlying land in California for USD 150 million from Molson Coors after the second largest brewing group in the US announced to cease production in Irwindale the same year. (inside.beer, 5.11.2020) Since the brewery also did contract brewing for City Brewing, Molson Coors granted City Brewing an option to buy the brewery (inside.beer, 6.1.2020).
The start of production at IBY marks a major milestone for City Brewing, which has successfully launched one production line and hired nearly 120 employees over the past 7 months.
“We are thrilled today to commemorate the start of production at the iconic Irwindale Brew Yard,” said Ross Sannes, CEO of City. “With IBY now operational, City is in an even better position to serve the needs of our current and future customers as demand for their products accelerates. We have a talented team that is committed to maintaining and building on Irwindale Brew Yard’s storied brewing legacy while ensuring we are capitalizing on the tremendous market opportunity in the alcohol beverage marketplace through a tireless focus on quality, efficiency and innovation.”
Once fully operational, IBY will become the largest full-service, low-alcohol beverage contract production facility in the western United States offering hard seltzers, traditional flavored malt beverages, mainstream and craft beer, premium non-alcoholic drinks and spirit-based ready-to-drink beverages in a broad variety of primary and secondary packages. The plant will also feature automated variety pack capability. IBY will start up a second production line this month and a third production line in January 2022, and in that timeframe expects to reach initial capacity of approximately 55 million 24 x 12-oz cases per year, as well as capacity of 110 million cases per year within the next 5 years.
Today’s milestone follows an active year for City, which recently announced a USD 630 million investment program to accelerate the company’s growth and fund its capacity expansion program to meet growing demand from key customers.
In March, City Brewing announced an equity investment after which a consortium of investors including Charlesbank Capital Partners, Oaktree Capital Management, Blue Ribbon Partners, and City management will own 100% of City Brewing.
Upon closing of the transaction in April 2021, Chairman and CEO George Parke III retired and Ross Sannes, City’s COO, who has been with the Company since 2012, assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer. Ryan (Spike) Nelson, a City employee since 2001, had been promoted to Executive Vice President, and Dave Poremba, who joined the Company in 2020, continued to serve as Chief Financial Officer.
The company has also named Hans Savonije, a beer and beverage industry veteran, Chairman of the City Brewing Board. Hans brings over 30 years of international experience and most recently served as CEO of Royal Unibrew, a publicly traded brewer based in Denmark.