IT was in August 2011 when Molson Coors exclusively revealed to the Mail that is was set to spend £75 million in revamping its brewing operation in Burton.
The project was a five-year plan that would see a complete overhaul across the business in the town as part of an effort to secure its long-term future for years to come.
Nearly three years after the initial plans were released, the work is now really starting to take shape – something recognised by the visit of Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday.
He was at the firm’s Station Street site to view its brand new £21 million bottling line, something the company says will ‘meet the ongoing needs of its consumers through bottle and pack innovation.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Giving businesses the confidence to invest is a key part of our long-term economic plan.
“Molson Coors’ commitment to spend millions on this innovative brewing technology demonstrates that this plan is working – encouraging business investment and giving hard-working people economic security for the future.”
The firm’s decision to invest a total of £75 million is now the biggest single capital investment in British brewing during recent decades.
The new and modern brewing technology will maintain the brewer’s high quality standards to ensure UK favourites, such as Carling, Coors Light and Cobra continue to delight future generations of beer drinkers.
Simon Cox, managing director of Molson Coors UK and Ireland, said: “We are excited to be investing further in Burton Brewery and its workforce as we continue our redevelopment programme.
“Funded by the biggest investment in our industry for decades, the new infrastructure and technology at the brewery will maintain our rich heritage of brewing in Burton.”
The new buildings and technology, including a new energy centre, will also help Molson Coors to achieve its target of reducing energy use by 25 per cent and cut 20 per cent of its greenhouse gas use by 2020 as outlined in the company’s 2013 corporate responsibility report.
Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton, said: “I’m delighted Molson Coors is investing in new technology and equipment in its brewery, which is vital to the prosperity of the town.
“This is a great vote of confidence in Burton and the local economy.”
Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra Beer, a joint venture with Molson Coors, which is now brewed and exported to places as far as Japan from the town, said the visit of the Prime Minister was ‘vindication’ of all the ‘good work’ taking place at the firm.
He said: “I think it is absolutely brilliant that David Cameron found time to come to Molson Coors and celebrate all the good work that is taking place here.
“It was an extra special day for me as his visit came on the fifth anniversary of when Cobra launched its partnership with Molson Coors.
“He is a beer lover who likes his Cobra and his Doom Bar and that is great news for the industry.
“His work to help get two successive cuts in beer duty have had a big impact for all of us in this industry and shows how much it means to the country as a whole.
“We are now seeing huge success in terms of Cobra with sales for this year 20 per cent up compared to the same period last year.
“This investment will allow us to build on that while also making sure that we do not take away from the high quality that we associate with all our brands.
“This visit marks an exciting time for Cobra, for Coors and for Burton as a whole.”
Many people were sceptical when Molson Coors announced plans to secure its future and hundreds of jobs in the town.
Now, it seems that it is clear that they are leading the way for a true ‘beer renaissance’.