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Herald Times Reporter reporter Patti Zarling is launching a new column to keep you informed of all the business news happening in Manitowoc County. Here's some info about her Streetwise Manitowoc column. Send her business tips to pzarling@gannett.com or call 920-686-2152. Wochit

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MANITOWOC - One of the of the most eye-catching business facilities in the city’s downtown is about to get a makeover, Streetwise has learned.

Briess Malt & Ingredients Company, with the noticeable towers painted with the Budweiser logo, is planning a $17 million expansion of its barley processing and malting facility, starting immediately.

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The plan, announced Monday, includes replacing an aging structure and installing a roaster and automated packaging line for the production of specialty malts.

The company expects to hire eight to 10 additional workers as part of the expansion.

This brings roasting capability to all Briess sites, and also increases capacity and supply chain efficiency, according to company President Ryan O’Toole.

“It’s a capital investment by the Briess family that’s good for our customers and good for the community,” he said.

Manitowoc was selected as the site for the company’s eighth roaster after more than a year of study and discussion. A site in Wyoming also was under consideration.

“Manitowoc is a great community with great employees,“ O’Toole said. “(The city) offers a long history of malting. That fits well with the Briess malting tradition.”

The city’s malting operation began in the 1860s while the Briess family began malting in Czechoslovakia in 1876.

Now in its fifth generation, the Briess family is excited to expand its North American specialty malt business in Manitowoc, O’Toole said.

He said the city played a key role in the Manitowoc site selection. City Council members recently approving a tax increment finance district that includes Briess and several other properties in downtown Manitowoc. A TIF funnels tax dollars back into the site to help cover the costs of borrowing for improvement works.

The expansion follows an increase in demand from food and pet food manufacturers who are looking for specialty malts for natural color and flavor, replacing artificial ingredients to produce more healthful products.

Over the past five years, Briess also has expanded its position as a leading supplier of specialty malts to the American Craft Beer and Artisan Spirits community, O’Toole said.

“We hang our hats on quality and made in the U.S.A.,” he said.

Briess ingredients are natural and are not genetically modified, he noted.

Streetwise will have further updates on as construction gets underway.

Got an idea for Streetwise Manitowoc? Contact Patti Zarling at 920-686-2152 or send an email to pzarling@gannett.com.

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