Three months ago, White Claw, arguably the hottest beverage in the country, was introduced to the West Valley, arguably the hottest economic center in Arizona.
They met; they liked; shotgun wedding.
Mark Anthony Brewing, the makers of trendy hard-seltzer drink White Claw, picked Glendale for a $250 million production plant to be built “in record time.”
The production facility will be nearly 1 million square feet.
“The primary reason we selected Glendale was the innovative thinking and personal support of Gov. Doug Ducey, the city of Glendale, the Arizona Commerce Authority and their willingness to embrace our vision and commit to the support required for our rapid build-out and aggressive timeline,” said John Sacksteder, president of Mark Anthony Brewing.
Last week’s news was big enough for Ducey to be part of the announcement.
“We’re thrilled Mark Anthony Brewing has chosen Arizona for their western manufacturing center that will create hundreds of new jobs in the West Valley,” said Ducey.
“We are committed to keeping Arizona the best place in the nation to start and scale a business.”
The “start and scale” part of his quote is key: Mark Anthony Brewing plans to do a full build-out on an undeveloped site near Loop 303 —and have it up and running by June.
“We know it is a very aggressive construction schedule, but our team is prepared to rise to the challenge,” said City Manager Kevin Phelps.
“Our development team has been working closely with Mark Anthony Brewing and have a plan in place to ensure we meet their timeline. We are thrilled to welcome this project and the additional investment to the city.”
In 2019, American spending on hard seltzer was up a whopping 210% over 2018, according to data from Nielsen Holdings. In 2018, hard seltzer sales rose 177% over 2017.
In west Glendale, White Claw will be the neighbor of another popular drink: Red Bull, the energy giant.
Indeed, the news Glendale announced last week almost sounded like a repeat of the year before.
Last week’s announcement: “Mark Anthony Brewing has chosen Glendale as the location of its new state-of-the-art brewery and BrewPure facility.”
The 2019 news: “RRB Beverage Operations Inc. announced plans March 13 to build a new manufacturing plant within city limits.”
But RBB has a far more conservative schedule. Red Bull is not anticipated to be flowing here until the first quarter of 2021. Mark Anthony plans to have the $250 million facility “up and running in under seven months.”
Often, governments use tax incentives to bring big businesses to their areas.
The biggest lure Glendale offered, according to Phelps: speed.
“This thing came together incredibly quickly. We were informed they were looking at a couple of states and had a meeting in October with (White Claw’s) key leadership team,” said Phelps.
“There were 12 of us, including the Economic Development team. We met with their project people including the owner. It became very clear to us a big part of the criteria was the ability to have predictability and speed to the market.”
Why the need for speed?
“They have millions of cases of backlog orders they cannot ship because of limitations on production. We knew speed was going to be a big issue, so we had a detailed chart showing how we could keep pace with them,” Phelps said.
White Claw and Red Bull will be great neighbors, Phelps said.
“They have a lot of respect for Red Bull. We connected them with the construction people doing the Red Bull site. This has all worked out well, and now they’re using the same contractor, designers and engineers. Right next door to Red Bull is where White Claw is going.”
Phelps hardly could help from crowing:
“Red Bull in the energy drink market is the 800-pound gorilla. In hard cider/brewed seltzer, White Claw created the segment and is the dominant player.”
City staff are calling this area near the Loop 303 Glendale’s “New Frontier.” The RBB/Red Bull facility is at Reems Road and Peoria Avenue, about 2 miles from Loop 303.
White Claw will be on Reems Road, between Peoria and Olive avenues— one parcel of land away from Red Bull.
Red Bull is “well on their way - they’re putting on roofs,” said Phelps.
The new White Claw production center means plenty of jobs coming to Glendale. In addition to scores of construction work, more than 200 full-time jobs are expected.
“This facility will help keep up with consumer demand for White Claw while bringing additional jobs and investment to Glendale,” said Mayor Jerry Weiers. “I welcome this development and Mark Anthony Brewing to our city. I know they will be wonderful community partners and proud to call Glendale home,” he added.
Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark noted recent land annexation of this area near Luke Air Force Base is paying off.
“The goal with (the) annexation was to bring major employers like Mark Anthony Brewing into our city, and I am delighted to see the anticipated development happening so quickly,” Clark said.
“In addition to the significant employment opportunities they are bringing, they have also demonstrated their commitment to be an involved and invested partner in our community.”