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Mueller to build $8 million showcase brewery in Japan

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Paul Mueller Co. is showing the world what its total brewing systems equipment can do.

Since the Springfield Brewing Company opened about one year ago, the company has shown its brewery equipment to interested parties from around the world.

"We intended this to be a showcase for our brewing systems. Although we wanted the brew pub to be successful in its own right, we also wanted to show our larger customers what the equipment could do and allow them to see what might be applicable to them," said Robert Hetherington, president of Mueller's international division.

Mueller is now participating in an international brewery project. An $8 million brewery in Japan will have Mueller equipment in it, and Mueller will be involved in the total design of the system, Hetherington said.

The company has also sent crews over for the installation of the system, including Ashton Lewis, the brew master for the Springfield Brewing Company, who will train the brewer for the Japanese project. Lewis also helped select candidates for the brewer position, and he will be training the individual on how to use Mueller's equipment.

"This person has a varied brewing background, but I'm going to be training him to use our products specifically," Lewis said.

The company has also landed a project with Great Lakes Brewing in Ohio. The project has used Mueller's engineers to develop its brewing system.

"We've been very successful in showcasing our equipment through the Springfield Brewing Company. Not only has it been a successful restaurant for the downtown area, but it's helped us develop our business in brewery equipment," Hetherington said.

Groups who are interested in the Mueller system are constantly touring the downtown brew pub.

Those interested are not just building brew pubs and micro-breweries, but are bigger customers who process large amounts of beer, as well, Hetherington said.

Though the company has not yet calculated the total effect of the interest in the brewing equipment on its bottom line, the equipment is now a significant portion of the company's business.

"You can easily see how an $8 million project, like the Japanese project can have significant effect on a $90 million company," Hetherington said.

The Japanese beer market was, until recently, regulated.

Because of its deregulation, Mueller sees that area as having a great deal of potential for growth. The company is pursuing long-term alliances with major European breweries, and it hopes to set up brewery equipment in China, Hetherington said.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Brew Master Ashton Lewis, of Springfield Brewing Company, will travel to Japan to train the brewer for Paul Mueller Co's. project there.[[In-content Ad]]

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