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Coors Brewing Co. to expand its Virginia packaging plant.

Coors Brewing Co. to expand its Virginia packaging plant

Coors Brewing Co. showed its commitment to keeping its packaging plant in Elkton, PA open by announcing plans for a $5.5 million expansion, a company official said.

"We are not shutting down," said Janet Wendleken, public relations manager, Coors' Elkton plant.

Coors announcement to purchase Stroh Brewery Co. last month gives the Colorado brewer an additional five breweries, raising questions about the future of the Elkton plant.

Recently, a memorandum was distributed to the packaging plant's 300 employees listing four options under consideration: close the plant, expand, cut back or maintain current operations.

"We tried to give the employees an insight as to our options and priorities as far as the Stroh negotiations were concerned," Wendleken said.

Company officials decided to expand, she said.

The expansion will enlarge and diversify the plant, which finishes, packages and distributes Coors-brand beers shipped from the company's lone brewery in Golden, CO.

"Essentially, it gives us the capacity to produce 7-oz. bottles of Coors and Coors Light, allows us to put in a 24-packer line, commonly called a suitcase in the stores, adds an express conveyor and another beer loop, which blends and finishes the beer," Wendleken said.

The company hopes to have the expansion completed around April 1, 1990, although no decisions have been made about new jobs.

"Once the equipment is in and running, then we will decide what the man-power needs are," Wendleken explained.

County officials greeted the announcement with caution.

"The best thing to do is to wait and see what happens," said Charles Ahrend, a member of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors. "It is always an option of any business to close down."

In 1979, when Coors announced it would bring a plant to Elkton, long-range plans included construction of a brewery capable of producing 10 million barrels a year and eventually employing 1,700 workers.

With $90 million investment, Coors opened the Elkton plant in 1987. Over 12 months in 1988 and 1989, Coors poured another $40 million of additions and improvements into the facility.
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Title Annotation:Elkton, Pennsylvania
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Nov 20, 1989
Previous Article:Hard cider launched in San Francisco.
Next Article:Rumbaugh resigns as president of National Beer Wholesalers' Association.

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