A former Coors manager has led a consortium to buy Molson Coors' brewery in Memphis.

Carolyn Hardy, a former plant manager at Coors Brewing Co., led investment vehicle Chism Hardy Enterprises to buy the site for an undisclosed sum, the brewing giant said yesterday (6 September).

Last year, Molson Coors announced it was to close the brewery in the wake of the US$6bn merger between Canada's Molson and US brewer Coors.

Wisconsin-based City Brewery had been linked with a deal to buy the brewery but Molson Coors struck an agreement with Chism Hardy. Under the agreement, the site will also serve as a distribution centre for Coors products.

Leo Kiely, president and CEO of Molson Coors, said: "The sale of the Memphis brewery is the single most important milestone in our US$175m merger cost synergies program." The sale is set to save the brewer US$30m a year.

Molson Coors CFO Tim Wolf said yesterday that the brewer was reducing costs quicker than it had expected following last year's merger.

"We're raising our full-year 2006 cost-synergy goal to more than $60m," he told investors. The brewer had forecast savings of US$50m during this year.