Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.
Once the bottling line at Newark is idled toward the end of the first quarter of 2015, single-serving containers of Rolling Rock finished in glass-lined tanks will only be available in cans, Anheuser-Busch says.
A switch to all-can production at Anheuser-Busch Co.’s Newark brewery means the loss of 60 jobs, but also a change in the tradition of one its brands produced there.
Newark is the only one of four Anheuser-Busch breweries where Rolling Rock is brewed that uses glass-lined finishing tanks for its beers, a celebrated component of the Rolling Rock brewing process.
It says so right there on the Rolling Rock bottle quoting from the quality pledge that dates to the brew’s roots in Latrobe, Pennsylvania: “From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe … .”
Once the bottling line at Newark is idled toward the end of the first quarter of 2015, single-serving containers of Rolling Rock finished in glass-lined tanks will only be available in cans, the company says; Rolling Rock in 12- and 7-ounce bottles will still be produced at Anheuser-Busch’s Baldwinsville, New York; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California, breweries.
Not that the change will make much of a difference: Glass-lined walls have given way to stainless steel for finishing tanks as breweries have modernized over the past few decades, and the lining does not affect the final product, Anheuser-Busch says.
Anheuser-Busch in 2006 bought the Rolling Rock brand and moved production to Newark, in a deal The New York Times put at $82 million for the extra-pale lager recipe and Latrobe Brewing Co.
The brewing giant decided to idle the bottle line at Newark as part of an ongoing search “for ways to improve the way we do business, and this includes optimizing the capabilities of our brewery system to meet consumer and geographic needs,” Kevin Lee, general manager at the brewery, said in a statement.
The brewery announced the changeover to all-can production last week during meetings with employees.
“This decision is necessary to best operate the Newark brewery, which produces many of our signature brands, including Budweiser and Bud Light,” Lee stated. “We are always challenging ourselves to optimize capabilities at all of our breweries.”
The change appears to be long-term, given that that the bottle line’s multi-packer is being relocated, according to Lee, to Anheuser-Busch’s Williamsburg, Virginia, brewery.
Pete Kraemer, vice president of supply and head brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch, said in an email that despite the change, Rolling Rock will continue to be available in bottles. Nor the does change eliminate a bottle package for any of the company’s brands, he wrote.
“Anheuser-Busch is committed to and we continue to achieve Rolling Rock’s original profile,” he said in the email. “Brewing is an art and a science. Each day we taste the beers being produced at every stage of the process — from the water used to rinse the bottles to the final packaged product — to ensure consistency and quality.
“These exacting standards ensure that Rolling Rock beer drinkers will receive the same premium extra-pale lager they expect.”