Work starts on finding buyer for brewery
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Investment banker Renaissance Partners hopes to give Gov. Ed Rendell recommendations for finding a buyer for Latrobe Brewing's plant by early next month, the head of the firm said yesterday.
President Leo A. Keevican Jr. said he expects Renaissance to begin work this week after signing confidentiality agreements.
The firm will analyze the brewery's financial statements, costs and the condition of the plant as well as assess its work force, potential marketing plans and what investments are needed.
More than 200 jobs at the plant will be eliminated when Anheuser-Busch moves production of Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light beers to its Newark, N.J., brewery at the end of July. The St. Louis brewer is purchasing the brands for $82 million from InBev, the Belgian company that owns Latrobe.
"It's going to be a challenge," Mr. Keevican said. "You have [beer making] overcapacity in the United States. You have to start with that. It's why Anheuser-Busch can take the whole Rolling Rock brand and put it into their plant in New Jersey."
Mr. Keevican said it's possible that a brewer with an outdated plant could be interested in purchasing the Latrobe facility, which industry officials say was well maintained by InBev. He also said the plant's equipment could be modified to produce other beverages.
State incentives may be available if a viable buyer can be found, the governor's spokeswoman Kate Phillips said yesterday.
Meanwhile, efforts to reverse Anheuser-Busch's decision continue. More than 17,000 have signed an online petition at www.petitiononline.com/save33/ urging the brewery to keep production in Latrobe.
First Published June 6, 2006 12:00 am