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Pabst will close Stroh Lehigh in September.

Pabst Brewing Co. plans to close its last brewery, located in Allentown, PA, and completely transfer production to Miller Brewing Co., Pabst executives said last week.

"The brewing industry continues to be extremely competitive," said Pabst chairman John LoSchiavo. "The closure of the Lehigh brewery, coupled with quality production capability in the industry now affords us the opportunity to complete the steps necessary to become a virtual brewer as planned with our acquisition of Stroh in 1999." Subsequent to that acquisition deal, five breweries were closed.

Pabst's last brewery, located in Allentown, Pa., is set to close Sept. 21. More than 400 employees will lose their jobs.

"We've got a lot of people with over 20 years of service. Myself, I've got 20 years of service," Dave Haberacker, president of Teamsters Local 12 told the Associated Press. "I'm not happy about it closing."

Miller will produce all Pabst brands. The company expects to brew an additional 2.4 million barrels of beer annually, Miller spokesman Michael Brophy said.

Pabst, the nation's fourth-largest brewery, will now become a marketing firm that sells beer produced entirely by other brewers, slashing its operating costs, said Jim Walter, chief operating officer.

"Our Lehigh brewery represents 20% of our volume and produces quality beer. However, long-term considerations make this necessary," said company president Brian Kovalchuk. "The production of the Lehigh brewery will be absorbed by our contract breweries over the next two months under a closure plan. We will focus on our strengths in distribution and regional marketing."

Pabst's last two breweries were in San Antonio and Allentown. The company closed the San Antonio facility in May. The Allentown brewery was expected to close when Miller freed up enough capacity to handle the increased production, Walter said.

The new production will go to Miller breweries in Trenton, Ohio; Eden, N.C.; and Albany, Ga. No new jobs will be added, Brophy said.

Miller currently produces about 80% of Pabst's brands. The Allentown closing will leave Pabst with about 200 employees in the U.S., including 15 in Milwaukee.
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Title Annotation:Pabst Brewing Co.
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 6, 2001
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