Anheuser-Busch yesterday unveiled a second aluminium bottle line at its Metal Container Corporation canmaking plant at Arnold, Missouri, in time to meet demand for the summer baseball season.

The US$160 million line, which was inaugurated by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, comes on stream as sales for beers in the 16oz twist-off aluminium bottles increased by 30 percent last year.

The line, featuring D&I technology and high-speed necking systems, doubles the MCC plant’s bottle capacity to more 1 billion a year. A week before the line’s unveiling, Anheuser-Busch started work on a third bottle line at its Jacksonville MCC plant in Florida. The brewer has also been buying bottles from Exal Corporation in Ohio to meet demand.

“The aluminium bottle brings a modern look and convenient way to enjoy a beer at the ballpark or while cooking out before a game. The new line will allow us to share this phenomenal package with even more Budweiser and Bud Light customers,” said João Castro Neves, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch and zone president for North America.

“We are proud that this investment has allowed us to add more jobs at our plant in Arnold, and we appreciate the support from Governor Nixon, as well as St Louis and Arnold officials.”

Plant manager of MCC’s Arnold facility Cheryl Rogers said: “Our employees are proud to produce this one-of-a-kind bottle that continues to increase in popularity with beer drinkers. The expansion has allowed us to create more local jobs and increases the competitiveness and sustainability of our operations, which is good for everyone.”

The plant, located south of St Louis where Anheuser-Busch has its headquarters, hired 70 additional staff to run the line.

In addition to Anheuser-Busch beer brands, it produces aluminium cans and lids for major US soft drink companies, including PepsiCo and Monster Beverage Corporation.

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