Last week, Miller Brewing Company announced its decision to pursue a sale of the Celis Brewery and the Celis trademark. Miller has also informed distributors and employees that the decision has been made to close the Austin brewery, effective December 31, 2000.

The decision to close the Celis brewery and pursue a sale of the facility and the trademark is based on the company's strategic direction to focus on its core brands. Miller will continue to have a solid presence in regional specialty beers with the Leinenkugel and Henry Weinhard's franchises, which have attained critical mass and play important regional roles within Miller's brand portfolio.

Miller originally acquired its majority interest in Celis in 1995. This past April, Miller acquired 100 percent ownership when the Celis family elected to sell its minority interest in the brewery to Miller. Miller purchased Celis shares as part of a contractual obligation.

Miller Brewing Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Philip Morris Companies Inc. Principal beer brands include Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Genuine Draft Light, Miller High Life, Milwaukee's Best, and ICEHOUSE and Red Dog from the Plank Road Brewery. Miller also brews Sharp's, a non-alcohol brew.