ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Anheuser-Busch is investing $13 million into upgrading its St. Louis brewery, and big changes for smaller brews are coming.

Upgrading beechwood aging tanks, new equipment that would help support the craft-brewing industry, and sustainability projects to “reduce our footprint on the environment,” are all projects on the list.

And Jim Bicklein, general manager of the St. Louis brewery, says another project is to increase the St. Louis brewery’s craft capacity.

“We have to adapt with the industry and what our customers want,” he says.

As A-B buys up more local craft breweries — just this month it announced purchasing its 10th local craft brewer, Wicked Weed of North Carolina — it wants the ability to take those local beers national in short order.

“We’ve improved our facilities, our brewing process, to where we can begin to make some of those craft brews, in the event that they grow to the point that the customers would want them in this area here,” Bicklein says.

The upgrades mean A-B will be able to pluck a local craft beer from its line-up and distribute it nationally — quickly.

The investments will also help support partnerships with companies like Keurig and Starbucks.

In those deals, A-B is parterning to handle the mass production and distribution of coffee and tea drinks.

The St. Louis investment is part of $2 billion being spent by Anheuser-Busch In-Bev across the country, which it calls a vote of confidence in the American beer industry.

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