UK – Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, a subsidiary of global beer giant AB-InBev, has announced a more than £115 million (about US$159 million) investment in its two major UK breweries to increase capacity and efficiency.

The investment aims to enable the brewer meet the growing demand for beer – which it says reached record sales levels last year in the off-trade – and help drive post-pandemic economic recovery.

As a result of the surging demand, Budweiser has predicted double-digit sales growth in the off-trade this year – of some 12%-15% for the total beer category, even if Covid restrictions are eased over 2021.

The brewing major says that an additional 55 new jobs will be created at the sites in South Wales and Lancashire as a result of the new investment.

Budweiser says the primary focus of the investment will be installing modern and eco-friendly infrastructure at the company’s Magor and Samlesbury breweries.

 “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.”

Paula Lindenberg, president, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I.

The new installations according to the brewing major will increase capacity in brewing, canning and bottling by a total of 3.6 million hectolitres.

The Magor brewery in South Wales is receiving a £72 million (about US$99.63 million) investment, with improvements already underway.

These include a new bottling line, brewery-wide efficiency improvements, eight new fermenting units, and an improved wort cooler, which is expected to result in significant energy savings.

Meanwhile, the brewer’s Samlesbury facility is receiving a £45 million investment.

The investment includes installation of a new canning line for sustainable plastic ring-free cans, brewery-wide efficiency and equipment improvements, and modifications in brewing, utilities, and logistics to increase brewing capacity.

 “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,” Paula Lindenberg, president, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, said.

“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.”

The UK ministry for Investment applauded the move saying it would create additional jobs and help to jump start the nation’s economy post Covid-19.

“Budweiser Brewing Group’s investment is great news for South Wales and Lancashire, supporting local jobs and helping the nation build back better from the Covid-19 crisis,” Lord Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment, said.

Mark Wingfield Digby made in charge of off-trade business channel

Earlier, in February, the Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I  appointed Mark Wingfield Digby as off-trade sales director.

In his new job, Digby will be responsible for accelerating off-trade sales across Budweiser Brewing Group’s brands, which include its eponymous lager, Bud Light, Corona, and Stella Artois.

He said the business had done an “amazing job” managing the “surge in demand” that came with the coronavirus pandemic, adding he was “proud to be coming in to lead such a resilient and high-performing team”.

“The plan is to continue to focus on building a sustainable and profitable business, developing mutually beneficial relationships with our customers and growing our amazing portfolio of brands,” he said.

Digby replaces Jerry Maguire in the sales director role, with Maguire returning to his former position as AB InBev’s director of off-trade sales for Europe.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE