Iron City moving production to Latrobe
Iron City President Tim Hickman announceed today the company will be moving its production to City Brewing in Latrobe. Iron City had been in operation in Lawrenceville for 148 years.
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Iron City Brewing announced today that it will move production from its Lawrenceville plant to an idled Latrobe brewery, saying the 148-year-old plant will brew its last batch June 22.
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Iron City, IC Light and other brands of the brewery will be produced at the former Latrobe Brewing plant, now owned by City Brewing of La Crosse, Wis. City Brewing is installing a new canning line that will be complete in 90 to 150 days, said Iron City President Timothy Hickman, who called the announcement "exciting news."
"This is not a negative thing," Mr. Hickman said. "We're moving 40 miles down the road. We don't see that the sales will be impacted."
This morning's announcement confirmed rumors that have circulated for months among Iron City's dwindling union work force. Mr. Hickman said he has worked with union leaders about preserving as many jobs of the Pittsburgh workers as possible.
But union workers said they have been kept in the dark about the plans.
Iron City "has not contacted any of the union workers about what they're doing," Joe Kohuth, business agent for the union that represents bottling workers at both the Lawrenceville and Latrobe breweries, said yesterday.
Mr. Hickman it would have cost $12 million to $15 million to add a new canning line and invest in new ventilation equipment, electrical systems and other infrastructure repairs needed at the Lawrenceville brewery.
He said he talked with officials from the mayor's office and the Pittsburgh and Water Sewer Authority and said they understand that this was a business decision. The PWSA agreed two years ago to forgive a minimum of $1.2 million of $2.7 million in unpaid bills, paving the way for Iron City's new owners to rescue the brewery from bankruptcy.
"We're here to honor any commitment we made to any government agency," Mr. Hickman said.
Pittsburgh Brewing will maintain its headquarters at the Lawrenceville plant, which he said will be marketed to real estate developers. A brew pub on the site is possible, Mr. Hickman said.
"There's a lot of things on the table. We don't have anything finalized as of today," he said.
First Published June 11, 2009 11:41 am