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State Innovation Grant Helps Norland International Develop State-Of-The-Art Bottling Plant In Lincoln, Nebraska

With help from a $50,000 Nebraska Innovation Fund Prototyping Program grant, Norland International is on its way to developing another state-of-the-art bottling system in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development said the 20-year-old manufacturing company is a leading producer of state-of-the-art systems for the bottled water industry. Its new system is being developed for beer and other carbonated beverages as part of the company's American Beer Equipment Division's product line.

A bottling system currently being designed in partnership with Storz Brewing Company will process about 60 bottles of beer per minute. Norland will develop and market additional smaller systems that process 30 and 15 bottles of beer per minute.

"We are grateful for this grant from the Department of Economic Development, not just for its monetary value, but because it supports the vision and pioneering entrepreneurial spirit of Nebraska businesses, allowing all of us to grow," said Tom Markel, managing member of Storz Brewing Company.

Nebaska Economic Development officials said Norland expects to create four to six full-time positions, including mechanical engineers and technicians as a result of developing and installing the systems for Storz Brewing Company, as well as systems for future customers.

In addition to the new jobs at Norland International, the new bottling system will lead to the creation of positions at other companies and their suppliers that fabricate and assemble system components. Storz Brewing also will need to hire as many as seven employees to operate the bottling system, Nebraska officials said.

"For the state, this is money well spent in the sense that it goes way beyond job creation to encompass the partnership and significant investment of all partners in creating this prototype," said Mike McFarland, Norland International co-founder and president. In addition to its water and beer bottling business, Norland International operates a beer and carbonated beverages canning line used by Blue Blood Brewing Company, which brews Storz' beers.

" This generous grant supports three small businesses within the state—Storz Brewing Company, Norland International and Blue Blood Brewing," said Markel. "We believe this four-legged approach to business development, where the State and three small businesses invest time, money and resources to develop a previously non-existing technology, will strengthen economic growth and create long-term jobs for Nebraskans."

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