STAFF at the AB InBev brewery in Magor have unveiled a futuristic, fully-automated warehouse. yesterday. (October 8).

The new facility, unveiled on Monday, is capable of holding up to 23 million pints of beer.

Brewery manager Lloyd Manship said: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to Wales.

“It means we can get our beer out and into stores and pubs faster and more efficiently than ever before, that’s ultimately good for us, our customers and the environment.

“I’m proud that this technology is a global first for AB InBev and look forward to seeing its implementation all over the world.”

The new system involves three large robotic arms speeding through racks stacked high with boxes of beers and delivering them to the waiting lorries. A shipment can be loaded onto a truck just 20 minutes after the factory receives an order.

Project manager John Tudball said there was no danger the automated system would make redundant the jobs of manual workers.

“There’ll be no change to the number of employees,” he said.

“The people currently deployed here driving forklifts will be used in other parts of the logistics area.”

The move to automation, he said, had created four full-time engineering jobs, and future plans to develop an adjacent warehouse would create a further eight engineering jobs.

The Magor brewery produces two-thirds of all the Stella Artois, Beck’s and Budweiser sold in the UK.

It is the largest British factory owned by AB InBev, the world’s largest brewing company.

As well as increasing the brewery’s capacity, the automated system would increase safety, Mr Tudball said, and would mean less beer would have to be transported between warehouses, reducing the Magor site’s annual carbon footprint by 605 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The brewery has previously invested in other environmental projects including a CO2 recovery system.

Opening the brewery’s new facility was Newport East MP Jessica Morden.

She said: “I was really impressed by the state-of-the-art new facility, and it’s great to have what is a world-first for AB InBev on our doorstep in Magor.

“Since it opened in 1979, the brewery has been a really important employer locally and it has continued to expand and develop its operation – including through the mass production of low- and no-alcohol beers.

“The Welsh government and others have recognised that drink production is a growth sector in South Wales, and the opening of the new warehouse by a large international company like AB InBev is a vote of confidence in our region.”