MillerCoors is one of the most quintessential American beer brands. Yet times have been tough for the company. A prolonged sales decline has forced it to shutter the doors of one of its best known factories.
The brewery in Eden, North Carolina was the first to ever brew Miller Genuine Draft. On Monday, MillerCoors announced it would close the factory by this time next year. Over 500 people will lose their jobs.
Company spokesmen have assured the media that they would help their employees with “workforce training and job search assistance.”
The small town of Eden, which sees as much as $1.2 million of its annual revenue comes from the factory, will be devastated.
Across the board, mainstream domestic beers have seen poor sales for the past several years thanks to increased popularity in craft beers and imports. Since Molson Coors and SABMiller merged into MillerCoors seven years ago, sales volume has declined by 10 million barrels a year.
In the company’s press release regarding the closure of the Eden factory, they attributed market share loss to “economic challenges, an explosion of choice and fragmentation within the beer business, and a dramatic change in the way consumers engage with brands.”
Since opening its doors in 1978, the Eden brewery has turned out 9 million barrels of beer a year.