Patti Brandt slipped through the deserted Busch Gardens brewery, where not long ago her friends stacked Budweiser and O'Douls to the rafters.
After 36 years in Tampa, Anheuser-Busch Cos. closed its smallest brewery at 3 p.m. Thursday as part of a corporate restructuring that idled about 375 workers. The final 10 employees, all supervisors, worked their last shift. With hardly a whimper, an era ended.
It was bittersweet for the former workers who returned to share a last round of drinks at a nearby Chili's Grill & Bar - ice-cold Bud, of course. The last beer was shipped almost three weeks ago. With that, the last of the rank-and-file had left to find replacements for the $20-an-hour jobs they were losing.