ELK RAPIDS — Short’s Brewing Co. is investing $5 million on a plant expansion that will bring new jobs to Antrim County.
Short’s spokeswoman Pauline Knighton said the company will spend more than $1.5 million to install a bottling system at its Elk Rapids bottling plant on Industrial Park Drive. The new technology will allow the beer maker to bottle 150 bottles of beer a minute — a 300 percent increase over an older system that filled about 50 bottles a minute.
The company also is installing a new wastewater pre-treatment system and will purchase property adjacent to the plant with plans for future growth.
“We are definitely growing and looking for continued growth in the years to come,” said Knighton. “It will allow us to be able to have a bigger and better beer footprint in the state of Michigan.”
The expansion is welcome news in Antrim County, which currently has an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent. Knighton said the company will hire new workers both temporary and long-term, although the exact number of new hires is not known yet.
“It’s great news for Elk Rapids,” said Misty Youngson, president of the Elk Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “An industry that is going to bring jobs to Elk Rapids and Antrim County is tops in my book.”
Short’s witnessed 30 percent growth in production every year for the last five years. In November, the company announced a $1.2 million expansion of its pub and kitchen space in downtown Bellaire.
That project is expected to create 20 jobs.