Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre expands production with $25 million Pittston facility
From a press release:
The Lion Brewery has signed a lease to expand its already extensive manufacturing capabilities in Wilkes-Barre to a new 250,000 square foot facility at the Grimes Industrial Park in Pittston.
The new $25 million Lion facility, which will feature two new state-of-the-art canning lines capable of producing 1,600 cans per minute, warehouse space for raw and finished goods, and a repack area, is set to open its doors in early 2023.
The new facility’s output is forecasted at 40 million cases of cans per year, which will include both brewed and non-brewed beverages. With the expansion will also come numerous job opportunities, as the brewery expects to hire 40-50 new employees per can line with positions ranging from production workers to quality assurance technicians.
President Jeff Meoni and CEO Michael Clarke stated that the new can lines are the first in a series of planned investments in the new facility while they continue to expand capabilities at the current plant.
The Lion Brewery was built in 1905 as the Luzerne County Brewing Company. Four years later, it became known as The Lion Brewery and is now the second largest brewery in the state. Overall, it is the 15th largest American-owned brewery and serves the industry as a co-packer with many high-profile brewing contracts, including Fortune 500 companies.
In addition to contract brewing, it is also home to the flagship Lionshead Beer and Root Beer brand, selling over 750,000 cases annually throughout the country. The brewery has brewing, keg, bottling, and canning capabilities; over 200,000 square feet of warehouse space; and a 400 barrel kettle. It operates the bottling line 24 hours a day, five days per week, and the brew house and can line 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Since 2010, the Lion has invested over $20 million into revitalizing its current capabilities, which includes a new can line, bottle filler, and keg filler. In May of 2017, it added its latest addition – a new high-speed labeler with paper and pressure-sensitive label capabilities and a split deck pasteurizer that can run with or without pasteurization.
Over 100 years old and going strong, The Lion Brewery has survived Prohibition and industry consolidation to find its niche making a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including the Lionshead Pilsner, Light, IPA, Belgian White, DIPA, and Pumpkin beers as well as Root Beer. The Stegmaier brand was acquired from the Stegmaier Brewery in 1974, which was also located in Wilkes-Barre, and was just recently sold back to the Stegmaier family at Susquehanna Brewing Company in Pittston.