UP FRONT: Regional Roundup – October 2014

Posted on Oct 1, 2014 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Highway 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

New jets expand capacity to key hubs at regional airports

You may have noticed the planes look a bit bigger at Outagamie County Regional Airport these days.

It’s not your imagination. As August drew to a close, Delta Airlines replaced the smaller jets servicing two of its flights between Appleton and Atlanta with a larger Boeing 717, boosting capacity by almost 68 total seats. The flights involved so far are the first morning flight from Appleton to Atlanta, and the final return trip at the end of the day.

For airport management, the larger aircraft represents a positive signal from the airline that the Appleton to Atlanta route is a potential growth market, something they have known for quite some time.

“It’s really good news for the folks who fly to Atlanta who are involved with the paper industry or Kimberly Clark,” says Patrick Tracey, marketing manager for Outagamie Regional. “To the passengers, it’s a bigger plane, but to us, it’s an important development for the airport.”

Certainly, there will be some amenities that passengers notice, notably the larger storage bins for carry-on bags, as well as a larger first class section and the addition of economy-plus seating. Each seat on those flights also has USB and 110 volt power outlets, as well as Wi-Fi service.

Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport saw the larger plane added to Delta flights originating there this past June, says Airport Director Tom Miller. They are also seeing
the larger jet being used to handle the increased demand for flights on Mondays following Green Bay Packers home games.

“Part of it is that Delta is upgrading their equipment,” Miller says. “But they also see increased demand for seats on these routes, particularly on those Mondays.”

Both airports are seeing increases in passenger flights as the economy tries to right itself after the Great Recession. While still not at pre-recession levels, both airports have seen passenger trips increase year over year.

Business trips have been projected to increase by nearly 2 percent in 2014, according to projections from the Global Business Travel Association.

The two airports have been helped not only by an increase in business travel, but also a closing of the airfare gap between Mitchell International in Milwaukee and flying directly out of Northeast Wisconsin.

Titletown Brewing taps new space this month

They will be rolling out the barrels in Green Bay this month at Titletown Brewing Co. — right into the new public tasting room in the historic Larsen Vegetable Cannery.

Titletown Brewing plans an Oct. 11 grand opening to celebrate its expansion into the renovated cannery building, which will house a new bottling facility and a mix of retail and office space. The additions are just to the west of Titletown Brewing Co.’s brew pub in the Chicago & North Western train depot.

“We are really rolling with things right now as we are coming down to crunch time,” says Jim Kratowicz, chief operating officer for Titletown Brewing. “We’ll be brewing beer that first week.”

The brewery’s expansion completes another piece of an ongoing renovation puzzle for Green Bay that has seen several new buildings and renovations, as well as major companies moving back into the downtown area, particularly along the riverfront.

Kratowicz says Titletown Brewing had been considering an expansion for a few years, and the historic cannery became available at just the perfect time.

“Business has been really good, so good that we were getting to the point where we could not brew enough beer,” he says.

In addition to the expanded space for beer production, the public tap room will have space for up to 175 people and can be leased for private events. Titletown Brewing has already leased out the remaining retail space on the first floor, as well as large portions of the second and third floors. The brewer is planning a rooftop beer garden in 2015.

In addition to the new space, Titletown Brewing will debut a new logo and the tagline “Legendary Place, Legendary Taste” adorning the labels and packaging of the company’s bottled beers destined for retail store shelves this fall.


» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Briess expands grain storage in Manitowoc

It seems we just can’t get enough of a good brew — and that’s good for business.

As the number of craft brewers in the United States has nearly doubled in the past decade — Wisconsin is home to more than 90 — the demand for quality ingredients has skyrocketed. Craft beer sales are now more than $14.3 billion a year nationally.

That’s good news for Chilton-based Briess Malt & Ingredients, which has been steadily growing its operations to keep up with that demand. It recently purchased the former Busch Agricultural malt plant in Manitowoc, an expansion that nearly triples the company’s grain capacity. The $6.2 million purchase of the 23-acre complex on Manitowoc’s lakeshore gives the company greater flexibility for storing, cleaning and grading incoming grain, and also provides for rail and container ship access via the port of Manitowoc.

“Certainly the brewing side is doing well, but we have seen a lot of growth on the food side as well,” says Gordon Lane, president and COO of Briess, a family-owned company that can trace it origins back to 1876 in the Czech Republic. “We’ve probably seen a 20 percent growth in our workforce.”

It also fits with the family-owned company’s vertical integration from seed to finished product. Briess purchased a seed farm in Wyoming in 2013 and is working with farmers in that region to grow barley from that seed. With the Manitowoc facilities, the company can store additional grain and has greater control of its supply chain.

The elevator in Manitowoc stores nearly 4.5 million bushels of grain.

Briess Malt & Ingredients is North America’s leading supplier of specialty malts to the brewing industry, and an innovative supplier of specialty ingredients for
beverages and foods.

There are no plans to replace the beer bottle murals painted on three of the silos at the Manitowoc site. The silos have become a community icon over the years.

“As long as Anheuser-Busch doesn’t say it’s a trademark and ask for rent, or MillerCoors or the other breweries we work with don’t object, the bottles will stay,” Lane says.


» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Bay Area Medical an Aurora partner on health care

Aurora Health Care and Bay Area Medical Center have agreed to a joint venture both systems say will elevate the standard of health care in the community.

“Both Aurora and BAMC have served the Marinette community for many years and this joint venture ensures that residents of our community will have access to high-quality care, close to home into the future,” says Ed Harding, president of BAMC.

The joint venture will allow for shared resources, such as technology and supply costs. Aurora currently has physicians and clinics in the Marinette area, but not a hospital. This joint venture will provide BAMC with access to Aurora providers and depth of expertise in care management, supply chain and other areas.


» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Businesses set sights on government procurement

The Tri-County Regional Economic Development Corporation will begin working this month on creating a regional consortium to explore government contracting as a way to grow regional opportunities.

The agency, which represents Marquette, Waushara and Green Lake counties, received a $19,200 federal grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. TREDC has partnered with the Wisconsin Procurement Institute to provide training for companies interested in government contracting.

“Getting businesses in the area to collaborate to increase their markets and sales is truly a win-win for our tri-county region,” says Bill Wheeler, TREDC’s executive director.

An initial meeting is scheduled for Oct 15, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Marquette County Human Resources Center in Montello.

The consortium will focus on providing businesses in the region the technical advice and training to overcome those perceptions and compete for contracts, Wheeler says.


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