Boston Beer Gets Closer to New Plant

Company signs deal to buy site – ups capacity sights to a million barrels

Boston Beer has signed an agreement to buy a site for a new brewery in Freetown, Massachusetts. The new plant could be rolling out production as early as 2008.

Boston Beer spokeswoman Michelle Sullivan said the company signed a purchase and sale agreement yesterday to buy a roughly 50-acre parcel. Sullivan declined to reveal the purchase price.

This spring, Boston Beer had reported that it might spend $70 million to $90 million to build a brewery. In the company’s quarterly earnings report, released last week, the projected cost of the project had risen significantly – to $120 million to $160 million.

Sullivan said the increase is largely due to the fact the company is now considering a brewery that could produce more than 1 million barrels of beer a year, up from an initial estimate of about 800,000 barrels. The company also could employ between 75 and 100 people at the brewery, up from an earlier estimate of 50 to 75.

Boston Beer brews about two-thirds of its beer at its plant in Cincinnati. The company gets the rest of its beer through contracts, including Miller Brewing. The Miller contract is slated to expire on Oct. 31, 2008.

The brewery in Freetown could allow the company to brew all its beer in-house, but Boston Beer execs haven’t made a final decision on whether they want to stop contracting with other brewers, Sullivan said.