MilllerCoors, a joint venture between beverage companies SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company, said it will close its Eden, N.C. brewery in September of next year.
“Today 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,” said Fernando Palacios, chief integration supply chain officer.
The company said the decision was made due to an overlap in distribution between the Eden brewery and a brewery in Shenandoah, Va. approximately 200 miles away. As the newest MillerCoors brewery, the company said the Shenandoah location fits better geographically in relation to the Northeast markets.
The Eden brewery employs approximately 520 employees. In 2014, Eden produced 7.1 million barrels of beer, which were shipped to 280 independently-owned distributors. Brands include Blue Moon seasonals, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. Over the next 12 months, products currently produced in Eden will be transitioned to other breweries, including Shenandoah; Trenton, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Albany, Ga.; and Milwaukee, Wis.
Since the creation of MillerCoors seven years ago, volume has declined by nearly 10 million barrels. This volume loss is due to a variety of factors, including economic challenges, an explosion of choice and fragmentation within the beer business, and a dramatic change in the way consumers engage with brands, the company said. Because of this MillerCoors says its breweries are operating at an increasing inefficient capacity.
But like other major alcoholic beverage companies, MillerCoors is taking steps to strengthen its portfolio by investing it the growing craft beer trend. This month the company announced Tenth and Blake, the craft and import division of MillerCoors, will acquire a majority interest in San Diego-based Saint Archer Brewing Company, known for its range of ales.