Last Friday’s announcement that Anheuser-Busch InBev would acquire Seattle’s beloved Elysian Brewing caught many in the industry by surprise. How could a company that celebrated its independence with a beer carrying the tagline “corporate beer still sucks” — a name derived from as anti-as-they-come-band Nirvana — sell to the one company so many of its consumers refuse to support? That’s something that even its founder and brewer, Dick Cantwell, a stalwart member of the Brewers Association, is wondering.
Beer wholesalers of Florida have voiced mixed feelings with regards to a sweeping, multi-pronged bill that would, if passed, overhaul how the state’s beer industry is regulated. As Brewbound reported last week, House Bill 107, as written, would revamp the inner-workings of franchise agreements, legalize limited self-distribution, clarify brewery retail rights, and put an end to the ongoing growler debate by legalizing 64 oz. containers.
Anheuser-Busch InBev today announced it will purchase Elysian Brewing Company, in a deal that will include the Seattle-based company’s four brewpub locations. Official terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close this quarter
Southern Tier Brewing has hired Sean Lavery, a former Anheuser-Busch (A-B) brewmaster, to serve as its newest director of brewing, the company announced this week. Lavery, who held a variety of brewing positions during his time with Anheuser-Busch, officially joined Southern Tier earlier this week.
When you stick a few hundred beer executives in a room with each other, you can usually count on two things happening: a debate about franchise law reform will undoubtedly break out and some suave corporate marketer will tell you how he unlocked the secrets of the internet and is finally getting through to all those unloyal millennial beer consumers. That was the case last week in Palm Beach, Fla., where upscale oceanfront resort The Breakers played host to Beer Business Daily’s 12th annual Beer Summit.
Despite ongoing capacity constraints, Cigar City Brewing managed to grow its annual production by more than 28 percent in 2014, selling over 44,000 barrels of beer, founder Joey Redner told Brewbound. The growth was driven primarily by the brewery’s top-selling flagship, Jai Alai IPA, which accounted for more than half — about 23,000 barrels — of all barrels sold. Cigar City sold just over 5,000 barrels of its second most popular brew, Florida Cracker, Redner said.
Colorado’s Oskar Blues plans to keep its foot firmly pressed on the gas pedal in 2015, aiming for another year of double-digit growth, company officials told Brewbound. Fresh off a year in which the craft brewery grew overall depletions by 28 percent, Oskar Blues – which also operates a manufacturing facility in North Carolina – will look to brew more than 190,000 barrels and grow shipments by more than 35 percent this year.
For many small breweries, taprooms provide an imperative part of the business equation, inventing additional revenue streams while creating invaluable marketing opportunities. In fact, there has been an industry-wide recognition of that prospect, according to Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association, who argues that the manufacturer/taproom has even superseded the brewpub as a preferred business model.
In an effort to continue carving out coveted shelf space in an overcrowded craft beer segment, MillerCoors, via its Tenth and Blake craft and import division, will introduce a new year-round product: Blue Moon White IPA. It’s the first year-round product that Blue Moon Brewing Company has rolled out since 2012, when it introduced Farmhouse Red, a brand featured in the company’s “Expressionist Collection.”
Fresh off a year in which the company added five states to its distribution footprint, SweetWater Brewing has announced plans to broaden its availability once again, this time to Texas and Maryland.
Ken Grossman, the 60-year-old founder of Sierra Nevada, is craft’s latest billionaire. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Grossman’s estimated net worth topped $1 billion in 2014. With the valuation, Grossman joins a very exclusive club of billionaire craft brewers, which, until now, had consisted only of Boston Beer’s Jim Koch and Dick Yuengling of D.G. Yuengling & Son. “Sierra Nevada is good. They’re one of the players for the long term,” Joe Thompson, president of Independent Beverage Group, told Bloomberg.
Launched by Indianapolis’ Sun King Brewing and Munster-based 3 Floyds Brewing, the Support Indiana Brewers campaign seeks to at least double the state’s production cap of 30,000 barrels annually for brewers that also operate in the wholesale and retail tiers. While breweries can produce an unlimited amount of beer for sale within Indiana, under current law, once a brewery surpasses 30,000 barrels it forfeits the right to self-distribute and operate a taproom.
Reyes Holdings has completed its purchase of Florida’s Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, according to the company. Official terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though when news first broke in November, multiple industry sources valued the deal at $1 billion.
A sweeping bill recently filed by a Florida lawmaker could potentially loosen a number of restrictive regulations faced by craft brewers while simultaneously streamlining rules pertaining to the state’s three-tier alcohol distribution system. House Bill 107, in its current form, would overhaul the mechanics of franchise agreements, settle the state’s ongoing growler debate(link?), clarify brewery retail rights, and more.