MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., the nation's oldest brewer, has signed a letter of intent to buy a Memphis plant.
"The deal obviously isn't closed," David Casinelli, chief operating officer of Yuengling, told The Commercial Appeal. "We're in discussions — serious discussions — and we're hoping to get it done as expediently as possible.
"But nobody's put a hard date on the calendar," Casinelli said.
The proposed sale was first reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, which said the Memphis plant would become the fourth brewing plant for Pennsylvania-based Yuengling and help the brand expand beyond 13 Eastern states.
Yuengling was looking for equipment to purchase when the company became aware of the unused brewery, Casinelli said.
The Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. opened the brewery in 1971. Its ownership changed when Stroh Brewery Inc. bought Schlitz in 1982. It was sold again in 1990 to Coors, initially for repackaging and distributing its brand of beer.
Hardy Bottling Co. bought the plant in 2006 and uses it to bottle nonalcoholic beverages.
Carolyn Hardy, an owner of the plant, spoke to a committee of the Memphis & Shelby County Industrial Development Board on Wednesday and said the plant is preparing to again make beer. She did not disclose the deal to purchase it.
"The brewery sits there unused," she told the committee. "And that's the most valuable part of the asset."
While Coors used the plant to repackage its beer, Casinelli said Yuengling would brew in Memphis.
"We don't make beer for anybody else," he said. "We're not a contract supplier. We make our own products and look forward to becoming a hometown brewer."