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Jax’s Anheuser-Busch Plant Getting Upgrades As Part of Brewer’s $1B Modernization Plan

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Jeff Roberson
/
Associated Press
Aluminum Bud Light bottles move along a conveyor in this file photo from a Missouri plant manufacturing 16-ounce Budweiser and Bud Light aluminum bottles. New can lines will be among the improvements made at Jacksonville's Anheuser-Busch plant.

Anheuser-Busch has announced plans to invest more than $1 billion in its U.S. breweries over the next two years to “strengthen operations and deepen connections with communities,” according to the brewer.

Close to $400 million will be spent in 2021 at 12 U.S. breweries – including the one in Jacksonville at 111 Busch Drive on the city’s Northside.

New can lines, sustainability projects like solar panel installments and water treatment, along with new seltzer capability upgrades will be done at the Jacksonville location over the next two years, according to Anheuser-Busch. A breakdown of the cost for the Jacksonville-specific upgrades wasn't available.

Nearly 600 employees work at the Jacksonville brewery, which has an annual economic impact of  nearly $450 million, Anheuser-Busch estimates.

“Right now, our big dream is the recovery of our country. It’s the reopening of our neighborhood restaurants and bars, it’s cheering on our favorite teams and gathering together in person. We are here to find a better way to lead a safe and strong recovery, and we’re starting by investing across our U.S. supply chain to protect the industry and the millions of people who rely on it for their livelihoods, ” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch in an email to WJCT News.

The pandemic has hit bars and restaurants that serve beer particularly hard.

“We are committed to protecting peoples’ livelihoods across our entire supply chain – from farmers and bartenders to truck drivers and team members in our own facilities,” said Dave Taylor, U.S. Chief Supply Officer at Anheuser-Busch in the same email.

To help bars and restaurants impacted by COVID-19, Anheuser-Busch said it has donated more than $2 million in partnership with the U.S. Bartenders Guild, the James Beard Foundation and others to support the industry 

The $1 billion capital expenditure program will span across 26 states with nearly $100 million of the  investment going toward sustainability projects.

In a major change resulting from the pandemic, Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser brand isn’t advertising in this year’s Super Bowl. Instead, the brewer decided to reallocate its advertising dollars to help support vaccine awareness and education in partnership with the Ad Council through various marketing efforts throughout the year.

Anheuser-Busch owns and operates more than 120 facilities across 27 states and employs more than 19,000 people.

The beer industry in the U.S. creates more than 2.1 million jobs and generates more than $328 billion in economic activity each year, according to Anheuser-Busch.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.