WILKES-BARRE— Millions of dollars were spent on upgrades to a brewery in Wilkes-Barre, ensuring job security for its 176 employees.
Bottles clinking at Lion Brewery isn’t exactly new, but the machines manufacturing them are. Even for long-time employees like Rich Storm, each day brings a brand new beginning.
“For an old school guy, it’s a lot of learning but it’s good. It’s good for the newer guys,” Storm said.
In the past two weeks, the brewery spent $7 million on upgrades to its bottle making process and officials said that guarantees these jobs are here to stay.
“The assets we’re putting in and the investments we’re putting in are going to last for years, and years, and years. It’s a great opportunity here and this level of investment with this quality of investment we’ll be here for a long, long, time,” President of Lion Brewery Michael Clarke said.
The brewery fills about 288 million bottles and cans each year for its own brews and some big name energy and soda drink companies.
Its new bottle making equipment is all state-of-the art.
Now, Lion Brewery has one of the biggest split deck pasteurizers in the country. It’s the only one of its kind in North America.
“We can pasteurize two different products that require two different pasteurizing temperatures, so we have tons of manufacturing flexibility,” Clarke said.
More jobs could be added as the brewery expands and enhances its business.
“It’s going to open up capacity, we actually have to go out and look for new customers. We’ve always been sold out and now we’re actually out looking for customers which will then increase positions,” Director of Plant Operations Jeff Meoni said.
“It’s opportunity, you know. Our beer business should be much better because we have more equipment to make it, more beer, and more product,” Storm said.