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FORT COLLINS, CO-Something big is brewing in this city northeast of Boulder. Anheuser-Busch Inc is in the midst of a two-year expansion that will increase its brewing capacity by 40% by 2004.

When completed, its annual brewing capacity will jump to 9.6 million barrels annually, from the current level of 6.4 million barrels.

”The expansion is in response to an increased demand for our product in the region,” Glenn Wilson, plant manager, tells GlobeSt.com. ”The project includes a new 100,000-sf warehouse, a new brewhouse and a new state-of-the-art brewing vessels and equipment…This expansion reinforces our commitment to Fort Collins where we have been a member of the community since 1988.”

The expansion initially will add 35 high-paying jobs to the workforce. A couple of years ago, he says the average salary of a production worker, when overtime is factored in, was $66,000 per year.

John Serbia, brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch in Fort Collins, says the new operations and facilities will ensure that the plant continues to be on the leading edge of technology.

”The new brewhouse will include new malt and rice mills mash cookers and brew kettles,” Serbia tells GlobeSt.com. ”Also, our beechwood aging and finished beer cellars have been expanded by the addition of over 20 new stainless steel tanks.”

Wilson says the St. Louis-based company doesn’t release the dollar value of construction costs, although this certainly is a multi-million undertaking.

However, Jay Brunson, food and beverage manager for Houston-based Industrial Information Resources Inc., tells GlobeSt.com that he estimates the expansion cost at $42 million, although he says it is a ”moving number.”

Anheuser-Bush holds a 49% market share and produces more than 30 different kind of beers, according to Industrial Information which, among other things, tracks construction in the food and beverage sectors.

Due to rising sales and demand, Anheuser-Busch needs additional capacity to keep up with future market growth, according to Information Resources.

The Bud Lite brand recently surpassed Budweiser as the No. 1 brand in case sales. Along with brewing operations, the company also has an agricultural division, canning and packaging material plants, recyclingfacilities and operate nine entertainment parks across the country.

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