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ARCHIVED  June 1, 1997

Area reaps rewards of huge A-B plant

FORT COLLINS – Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.’s entry into the Fort Collins community didn’t exactly go down like a cold beer.

Although many people supported the brewery’s decision to build a new plant locally, others expressed a variety of concerns that could have caused the entire project to go flat.

Today, the brewery stands as one of Northern Colorado’s largest employers, with annual payroll of $38 million. That includes an hourly wage of $20.25 as set by contract with the Teamsters Union Local 267, to which 540 of the plant’s 715 employees belong.

Additionally, the plant pumps $28 million in annual income and property taxes into the economy and purchases $35 million in goods and services from 38 local companies. Another $11 million is paid to local utilities.

Anheuser-Busch is the world’s largest beer maker. Started in St. Louis in 1852, A-B today makes 30 different beers, including Budweiser, the most popular beer in the country. It is the second largest manufacturer of aluminum beverage containers in the United States and claims credit as the largest recycler of aluminum drink cans in the world. A-B also owns nine theme parks, including three Busch Gardens theme parks and four Sea World theme parks.

The Fort Collins plant, one of 13 A-B breweries across the country, is a company focus production center, which means that 22 Anheuser-Busch brands can be produced, with 30 alcohol variations. In fact, the local production capabilities are so flexible that a small, 82-case special order is produced for a Utah distributor, and another special brew is sent only to Hawaii.

Additionally, the local plant performs administrative duties for all Anheuser-Busch facilities in the western United States.

Steve McDaniel, Fort Collins plant manager for five years concerned about preserving Fort Collins’ quality of life. Many people questioned the anticipated growth, traffic, water usage and other results of having such a huge plant locally.

“I understand the concerns,” he said. “Fort Collins is a great place to live, and no one wants to erode that.”

With that at least partly in mind, Anheuser-Busch has made a point to pump millions of dollars into local charities since coming to Fort Collins in 1985. The company has contributed $2.3 million to local causes, including annual contributions of approximately $150,000. Additional monies are granted by the Anheuser-Busch Foundation.

Examples of additional contributions include:

nx09$40,000 annually to Operation Brightside, a youth project administered by Larimer County Employment & Training.

nx09Eyestone Elementary School Summer Math and Science Program.

nx09$125,000 to the University of Northern Colorado football stadium construction

nx09$350,000 to Colorado State University’s Morgan Library Special Arts Collection Room

nx09Contributions to the operating expenses of 46 nonprofit agencies.

Employees are involved in everything from coaching to sitting on boards, and A-B supports the organizations for which employees volunteer.

McDaniel said the company truly shines when employees respond to emergency requests such as the 50,000 cases of canned water sent to North Dakota flood victims recently.

Benj Steinman, an independent industry analyst and publisher of Beer Marketers’ Insight, said Anheuser-Busch continues to be in a premier position, with production almost double that of its nearest competitor. The company’s imports market share also is increasing. A-B has developed eight foreign markets since 1993 to strengthen its international position.

The company carries out its community partnership in many unexpected ways, such as the support A-B brewmaster Marty Watz gives to local microbreweries when they have production questions, and environmental and recycling efforts are a major company concern from broken glass to water.

A-B also operates Metal Container Corp., the third largest aluminum beverage-container manufacturer in the country. The company, which has plants in Windsor; Rome, Ga.; and Mira Loma, Calif. supplies more than 50 percent of Anheuser-Busch’s can and lid requirements and is a significant supplier to the country’s soft-drink container market.

Neither Anheuser-Busch nor its Metal Container Corp. subsidiary is without concerns among the public, however. Metal Container ranks as the No. 4 polluter in Colorado, discharging 326,250 pounds of toxic chemicals in 1995, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The company ranked behind only Ball Metal Container of Golden, Eastman Kodak Co.’s Kodak Colorado Division in Windsor and Syntex Chemicals Inc. of Boulder. Metal Container’s toxic chemicals were all released into the air.

FORT COLLINS – Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.’s entry into the Fort Collins community didn’t exactly go down like a cold beer.

Although many people supported the brewery’s decision to build a new plant locally, others expressed a variety of concerns that could have caused the entire project to go flat.

Today, the brewery stands as one of Northern Colorado’s largest employers, with annual payroll of $38 million. That includes an hourly wage of $20.25 as set by contract with the Teamsters Union Local 267, to which 540 of the plant’s 715 employees belong.

Additionally, the plant pumps $28 million in annual income and property…

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