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Genesee Brewery Invests To Accommodate Growth In Seagram's 'Escapes'

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - The corporate parent of the Genesee Brewery is expanding capacity, but this time the focus is on a product that is part of the company’s ‘Beyond Beer’ portfolio.

FIFCO USA will invest $5 million this year and about $13 million in the coming years for additional equipment as part of the strong growth of Seagram’s Escapes.  Brewery manager Tim Hawn said that, “Seagram’s Escapes is now our number one brand, outpacing our beer brands in volume and profitability.”

Hawn said that, “Beer industry growth is coming from flavored malt beverages, seltzers and through innovation. We’re investing behind that while our beer business also grows share but in declining or flat categories.”

The company said that last year, Seagram’s Escapes experienced record growth of nearly 35 % which helped to offset the shortfalls in other parts of the business resulting from the closures of restaurants and bars caused by the pandemic.

Officials said that at times, the brewery struggled to keep up with demand for Seagram’s, and they said that the new project builds capacity.

Plans call for installing eight new 2,000 barrel outdoor storage tanks at the Rochester brewery which hold the malt base used in making Seagram’s Escapes brands. There will also be upgrades indoors on the brewery’s variety pack line, and long-term, the brewery will also install six new fermenters.

Hawn noted that FIFCO shifted craft beer production to Rochester and closed two other breweries and he said that helped free up capital for re-investment.