Molson Coors Beverage Company on Tuesday broke ground on a massive multiyear overhaul of its brewery in Golden, Colorado, which is the second-largest beer-making facility in the world. The company invests “hundreds of millions of dollars” to improve brewing performance, flexibility and productivity.
In 2005, before Molson of Canada and Coors of the United States merged to form one of the largest brewing groups in the world, the Coors Brewing Company operated one single brewing facility with a total capacity of 22 million barrels of beer (25.8 million hl) to serve the whole U.S. market.
In 2008, Molson Coors formed a joint venture with SABMiller in the U.S. dubbed MillerCoors, in which SABMiller owned 58% with the remainder belonging to MolsonCoors. In 2016, with the sale of SABMiller to AB InBev, Molson Coors acquired the remaining 58% in MillerCoors and the company was given full access to all eight production sites (Albany, Georgia; Eden, North Carolina; Elkton, Virginia; Fort Worth, Texas; Golden, Colorado; Irwindale, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Trenton, Ohio), which were evenly spread across the USA and enabled more cost-effective logistics for the beers.
However, in the decade since the joint venture was founded, the brewing group has lost over 15 million barrels (17.6m hl) of Miller, Coors, and other domestic brands. Despite closing the brewery in Eden, North Carolina, in September 2015 and selling the brewery in Irwindale, California, to Pabst Brewing Company in May 2020 (inside.beer, 5.5.2020), the huge brewing site in Golden was oversized and could no longer be operated economically.
The multi-hundred-million-dollar investment will completely overhaul the beer-making infrastructure at the massive brewery in Golden, Colorado. It includes the addition of more-efficient fermenting, aging and filtration facilities, as well as a state-of-the-art upgrade to the so-called government cellars where the brewery stores beer prior to packaging.
Dubbed G150, a nod to the upcoming 150-year anniversary of Adolph Coors launching the company in 1873, the project is slated to stretch into 2024 and will make a number of significant environmental strides, including reducing energy and water usage by 15% each and waste by 35%.
Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said G150 “will help ensure the Coors brewery and our global business has a bright future for the next 150 years."
“We have big plans for Molson Coors. Plans that will drive growth for our business by maintaining the strength of our iconic core brands, aggressively growing our above premium portfolio, expanding beyond beer and investing in our core capabilities,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “And just has been the case for generations, our work here in Golden is at the heart of our plans for the future.”
The brewery will continue its current production throughout construction.
The new facility is designed for enhanced flexibility to enable the production of new products with speed. That will allow the company to respond quickly to changing consumer preferences and competitive challenges, especially as the beer and beverage industries continues to recalibrate, said Peter J. Coors, director of the G150 project.
It also will pay significant dividends to the company’s sustainability plans. At a brewery with the scale of Golden, the water savings alone are jaw-dropping: Water usage at the plant is projected to drop by some 100 million gallons per year, he said. “That leaves a lot more water in the aquifer, in Clear Creek and available for Colorado and beyond.”
Coors also said the investment will set up the Golden brewery and its 800-plus employees for generations to come: “We’re a Colorado family through and through, and we take a lot of pride in the Golden brewery.”
The massive investment in the Golden brewery is reaffirmation of a pledge the company made last year when it announced to move its headquarters from Denver to Chicago in order to consolidate offices and to trim some 500 high-paying jobs. At the same time it announced a sweeping corporate restructuring and revitalization plan aimed to modernize the company and allow it to invest in new products and capabilities (inside.beer, 30.10.2019).
It's followed through on that pledge, with a series of moves including pouring millions into upgrades at its Fort Worth brewery to substantially boost production of its growing hard seltzer portfolio and introducing more than a dozen new products and partnerships in 2020.