MillerCoors to shutter Eden
Loss of 10m barrels in last decade leads to closure
MillerCoors’ Eden, North Carolina brewery is to be the first sizable production casualty of the changing tastes of American consumers, as they move away from mainstream brands in favour of craft beer excitements.
The Molson Coors – SABMiller joint venture announced on Monday that it plans to shutter the seven million hectolitre brewery a year hence, in September 2016.
A variety of reasons were cited for the closure. There’s a geographic overlap with a more modern brewery located approximately 200 miles away in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a US £300 million brewery, also with a 7mhl capacity. It commenced brewing in 2007, making it the most modern of MillerCoors’ brewery.
(As to the proximity the two breweries opened under competing ownership prior to the merger of Miller and Coors. Eden was originally a Miller Brewing plant while Shenandoah was Coors Brewing’s first brewery beyond its base in Golden, Colorado.)
But the underlying cause of the closure is a decline of in beer volumes of nearly ten million barrels since Molson Coors was formed 10 years ago.
As noted by Fernando Palacios, chief integrated supply chain officer at MillerCoors, its brewing platform is operating inefficiently as a result of this volume decline – and that continued declines are expected over the next few years.
Palacios said, “We made the difficult decision to close our brewery in Eden, N.C., in order to optimize our brewery footprint and streamline operations for greater efficiency across our remaining seven breweries.”
Eden produced 7.1 million barrels of beer in 2014 and has a nine million barrel capacity. Brands brewed there include Blue Moon seasonal beers, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. Over the next 12 months the volume will be transitioned to other MillerCoors breweries, including Shenandoah; Trenton, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Albany, Georgia; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Eden brewery employs approximately 520 employees. There’s no word as yet in regard to job losses.