Leinenkugel’s steps up beer production


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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a long-standing Chippewa Valley brewery.

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is ramping up production of some of its most popular beers right now, but not for the reason you might think.

In the past month, Leinenkugel’s has caught up, according to president and chief beer dealer Dick Leinenkugel.

“Before the pandemic hit, we planned to install all new packaging equipment here in Chippewa Falls,” Leinenkugel said. “This included a bottle and can depalletizer, a new bottle rinser, and then the ability to create our own boxes. “

The installation of this new equipment shut down the brewery for around two months, which Leinenkugel said would not generally be a problem. However, when the coronavirus pandemic reached western Wisconsin, Leinie’s demand emptied their distributors’ warehouses.

“Leinenkugel’s is up around 4% this year compared to the previous year in off-site trading,” said Leinenkugel. “We have increased our production since we got the new packaging equipment, so we had to catch up a bit of catching up to meet market demand. “

The equipment allows Leinie’s to have a greater range of packaging that they can produce in Chippewa Falls.

“We will now have the capacity, if we decide to do it, to make 15, 18 or even 30 cans,” said Leinenkugel. “When we make the glass, we now have full control over the glass. It comes in bulk, we make the boxes in packs of 6 or 12 and now we control all of that production here.

While their off-site sales are on the rise, Leinenkugel says the pandemic has negatively impacted their keg sales, which Leinenkugel says account for around 25% of their total sales. In addition to new equipment, the brewery also operates 24 hours a day with employees working 12-hour shifts.

“We are catching up with that right now and I think that, at least for the foreseeable future, we will have longer days,” said Leinenkugel.

While the brewery has not had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Leinie Lodge has. However, Leinenkugel says they plan to reopen on June 25, with social distancing guidelines in place.

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