MillerCoors’ Tenth and Blake to Expand Brewing Capacity

With consumer demand for full-flavored beers increasing, even larger brewing entities are beginning to expand their specialty brewing operations.

Tenth and Blake — MillerCoors’ craft arm — today announced that it has acquired the 110,000 sq. ft. facility adjacent to its existing 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee. The acquisition is expected to help the company make larger amounts of specialty releases under the Jacob Leinenkugel and Blue Moon Brewing labels. Those brands account for more than 2.5 million barrels of beer.

“As demand for our craft and specialty beers continues to increase, this additional space gives us the ability to expand our overall brewing and packaging capacity,” Tom Cardella, Tenth and Blake president and CEO said in a press statement.

Both Blue Moon and Leinenkugel have seen sales increase in recent years; Leinenkugel Summer Shandy proved to be a hit in 2012 — up 90 percent, according to some reports — and has garnered national advertising (the Leinenkugel brand was up only slightly overall for the first quarter of 2013, according to MillerCoors); meanwhile, shipments of Blue Moon Belgian White were up 11 percent in year-to-date IRI scans for convenience, supermarket, and Multi-outlets through May 19. Collectively, all Blue Moon brands were up 14 percent during that same period, according to Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS.

The current 10th Street facility is just 30,000 sq. ft. and serves as an overflow production facility for Jacob Leinenkugel brands and specialty Blue Moon offerings. Less than 1 million barrels of beer were were produced at the brewery in 2012.

Tom Ryan, a spokesman with Tenth and Blake, told that the added elbow room will allow for increased flexibility in brewing and packaging schedules, but the company has yet to determine how it will fill the new space.

“We are just getting into the space and taking a look to see how it would work logistically,” he said. “It is a little premature to get into the specifics on equipment purchases.”

Renovations on the nearly 90-year-old building will take place over the next several months and brewing operations could commence as early as 2014, according to the release. The final purchase price and investment figures were not disclosed.