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Brewer to Build Brewery to Take on Imports

August 20, 1985

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ G. Heileman Brewing Co. Inc. will vie for the import beer drinker market with a multi-million dollar brewery it plans to build in Milwaukee.

The brewery, named in honor of Val. Blatz, will be used for a variety of beers, including Blatz brands Old Heidelberg, Culmbacher Dark, Blatz Private Stock, Tivoli, Wiener and Muenchener draft brands. It will also produce European-type beers such as Weiss beer, German alt beer and British stouts and ales and holiday specialty beers. Heileman has owned the Blatz name since 1969.

Blatz was a turn of the century brewer here. His given name was Valentine but he always signed it ″Val.″ - with a period - and thus was his company incorporated.

″By tradition and by all that is logical, we thought this product belonged in Milwaukee ... This is the beer capital,″ Heileman president Russell G. Cleary said Tuesday as he made the announcement with Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier.

He also said Milwaukee provides the ingredients needed to make specialty brews.

″If the sheen has faded a bit on Milwaukee’s reputation as the brewing capital of the world, this should add to the glow,″ Maier said.

Milwaukee used to be home to six major breweries as late as the 1950s. But, by this year, only two breweries remained in the city - Miller Brewing Co. and Pabst Brewing Co.

Heileman will also expand its Oswald Jaeger Baking Co. in Milwaukee to hire an additional 50 to 100 people.

The $5.5 million to $6 million brewery, which Cleary said will be highly automated, will hire only 12 to 14 people in its initial phase. By 1987, the brewery will expand to hire 10 more people and will eventually hire a second group of 10.

Initially, the new Val. Blatz Milwaukee Brewery will produce 60,000 half barrels of draft beer. By 1987, the brewery should be producing 120,000 half barrels a year and more than 200,000 half barrels will ultimately be produced.

Cleary said the new brewery would probably be unionized.

Heileman will introduce the beer from the new brewery in nine midwestern states.

″Many of these products are not available on the U.S. market,″ Cleary said of the European-style beers. ″The U.S. consumer will get a better price if the beer is produced here.″

Not only will the brewery make beer, but it will host tours and feature a tasting room, he said. It will also house Blatz memorabilia, much of which Heileman already owns.

Cleary said Heileman will decide on a final site for the brewery within 60 days.