Friday, April 05, 2002

Future of Miller plant questioned

Brewing company might be sold

By Steve Kemme,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TRENTON — Reports that Miller Brewing Co. might be sold raised questions about the future of its plant near Trenton.

        “That facility is the flagship brewery of the whole Miller system,” Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox said. “It would be shocking if that would close. I certainly would like Miller to stay. They have good jobs and pay well.”

        Miller Brewing Co. is being shopped around by its owner, Philip Morris, and one of the possible buyers is South African Breweries, according to published national reports.

        Sandra Lewis, community affairs manager at the Trenton brewery, said she doesn't know what impact the sale of Miller would have on the facility.

        The Trenton plant opened 11 years ago at the site in Madison and St. Clair townships, near Trenton. It has 640 employees and produces 9.2 million barrels of beer per year.

        Miller pays more than $57.5 million per year in wages and benefits and contributes $39.4 million per year in total taxes to the state.

        David Daugherty, president of the Mid-Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce, said Miller's importance to Butler County transcends its financial contributions.

        “The variety of community involvement that has been shown by Miller, from top management to people on the line, has been tremendous,” he said. “I can't think of anything we've asked them to work on that they haven't said yes.”

        Mr. Daugherty said he doubts that a new owner would close the Trenton brewery.

        “The efficiencies of that plant make it one of the best breweries in the world,” he said. “Whatever would happen, I imagine that facility would continue operating.”


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