Hard hat (Photo: ctzx28 on Pixabay)
06 February 2020

Mark Anthony Group to construct brewery in only seven months

USA | Driven by the phenomenal growth of its brands Mike’s Hard Lemonade and White Claw in 2019, the privately owned firm will invest USD 385 million in two breweries. The first to open in June 2020 is an USD 250 million plant in Glendale, Arizona.

Mark Anthony Brands has selected Glendale, Arizona, as the location of its West Coast production facility, it was reported in January 2020. The maker of White Claw hard seltzer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade first revealed plans in the autumn of 2019 to spend USD 385 million towards the construction of two new production facilities, including a plant in New Jersey.

Up to now, the production of White Claw and Mike’s has been contracted out to so-called co-packers, the City Brewing Company in Wisconsin among them.

Suffering severe shortages over last year’s summer, the firm rejigged its strategy and opted to also invest in its own production facilities, which will allow it to expand capacity on its own terms. However, half of the group’s production volume will continue to be farmed out to co-packers, says Beer Marketer’s Insights.

The company expects the 916,000 sq ft (85,000 sq metres) Glendale facility to be on-stream in June and to eventually employ 200 full-time workers. In an effort to shave six weeks off the construction timelines, heavy-lift Russian aircraft were deployed to move equipment.

Mark Anthony Brands is self-financing the project. It is forecasting turnover to nearly double to USD 4 billion in 2020. In 2019, sales of White Claw topped USD 1.5 billion, with total hard seltzer category sales nearing USD 2.5 billion.

White Claw in a supermarket shelf (Photo: A. Paul)

In November 2019, Mark Anthony Brands admitted to Beer Marketer’s Insights that it has “no debt”, but rather a “war chest”. In 2015, the firm sold its Mike’s brands in Canada to AB-InBev/Labatt for USD 350 million. Per Beer Marketer’s Insights, the non-compete agreement with AB-InBev is set to expire soon, and the firm will begin to take White Claw global, starting with Canada in January.

What’s more, the company is already planning two additional facilities elsewhere.

In December, Mark Anthony Brands acquired full control of Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery for an undisclosed sum, having bought a 40 percent stake in the Irish gin and whiskey maker in 2016 for EUR 5.5 million (USD 6.1 million). The award-winning distillery claims to be Ireland’s first craft distillery, having been set up in 2011.

Mark Anthony Brands is one of North America's most diversified private beverage companies focused on the beverage alcohol sector. Founded in 1972, the firm grew organically to become a leading producer and distributor of fine wine, premium beer and Ready To Drink beverages. In the US, it was among the first to pioneer the flavoured malt beverage category with the launch of Mike’s Hard Lemonade in 1999, followed by White Claw in 2016. Today, it has offices in Canada, the US and Ireland.

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