Last Call: Molson Coors Acquires Quebec Craft Brewery; Shmaltz Seeks Investment

Molson Coors Acquires Trou du Diable

To strengthen its above-premium portfolio of beer brands, Molson Coors announced Thursday the acquisition of Trou du Diable. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Molson Coors said the Quebec-based craft brewery would join its Canadian high-end division, Six Pints Specialty Beer Company, which already oversees the Creemore Springs, Granville Island Brewing Company and Brasseur de Montreal brands.

“In choosing to associate with Six Pints, our microbrewery has elected to provide ourselves with means consistent with our ambitions,” Trou du Diable president Isaac Tremblay said in a press release. “This group decision will enable Trou du diable to realize its full potential and continue to flourish in an ever tightening market.”

Trou du Diable, which was founded in December 2005 and has become known for its saisons and barrel-aged offerings, distributes beer to 10 Canadian provinces and territories and exports beer to 20 U.S. states, according to the MillerCoors blog.

Shmaltz Seeking Investment

(Editor’s note: After this story was filed, Shmaltz Brewing founder Jeremy Cowan emailed Brewbound to clarify the company’s current financial situation. The Daily Gazette had originally reported that Shmaltz “carries too much debt,” something the outlet said prevented the brewery from qualifying for additional bank financing. The following has been edited to reflect Shmaltz Brewing’s fundraising strategy, according to Cowan.)

Shmaltz Brewing Company is on the hunt for new investors.

According to The Daily Gazette, who reported on a business-networking event that was hosted at the upstate New York craft brewery and featured a panel discussion with founder Jeremy Cowan, the company expects to end the year with $4.2 million in sales.

But Cowan is looking to expand his brewing operations in New York, and strengthen sales in markets where the company’s products are already distributed. To do so, the company has embarked on a new fundraising round which is aimed at “growing all of our brands and expanding with a new tasting room,” Cowan wrote to Brewbound.

Shmaltz owns and produces the He’Brew, Alphabet City and 518/838 brands. It also contract brews other craft labels for companies without physical locations. The next round of funding, Cowan said, will allow the company to expand its contract business and “become more efficient and agile in responding to the needs of our brewing partners while maintaining the high-quality brewing that we’re known for.”

According to the Daily Gazette, Shmaltz is currently brewing about three barrels of contracted beer to one barrel of Shmaltz brands. That’s significant because Shmaltz makes between $15 and $50 per barrel on contract brewed beers versus $125 to $200 per barrel of its own products, the Daily Gazette said.

During the event — which was aptly titled “The Business of Beer” and featured finance experts from Key Bank, Nixon Peabody LLP and Upstate Capital — Cowan said he’d like to strike a better balance between the two areas of the company’s business.

Read more from The Daily Gazette.

Boston Beer Company Opens Samuel Adams Taproom

In an attempt to better connect with local consumers, Boston Beer Company has finally opened a full-fledged taproom at its innovation brewery, which is located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

In an email to Brewbound, Boston Beer founder Jim Koch said the new taproom, which will serve Samuel Adams’ core products as well as experimental offerings, would enable the company to serve Boston-area drinkers in ways that it couldn’t prior to opening the space.

“We’ve always had a great connection with drinkers at our brewery — with over 200,000 visitors each year — but now we’re able to offer our neighbors a place where they can relax, hang out and enjoy a pint or flight of new and experimental beers,” he wrote.

Boston Beer, which has long offered beer samples as part of regular tours and hosted numerous events at its Jamaica Plain brewery, is hoping to keep up with a growing number of breweries that serve full pours over their own taproom bars. Last year, 9.4 percent of craft beer sales were made at small and independent breweries, according to industry trade group the Brewers Association.

Koch said Boston Beer would not immediately look to build additional taprooms.

“But we’re always looking for new opportunities to share our beers with drinkers, so only time will tell,” he added.

Additionally, Boston Beer has expanded its barrel-aging program with the addition of a beer cellar, which it has dubbed “Bier Keller.” Currently, the company is aging barleywines, scotch ales and saisons in the temperature-controlled underground space.

Maryland Comptroller to Propose Legislative Changes

The Maryland Reform on Tap task force wrapped up its work earlier this week, and now the state’s top alcohol regulator says he will offer legislative proposals before the state Legislature reconvenes on January 10, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.

After six months of meetings, Maryland comptroller Peter Franchot’s task force met for the final time Wednesday and released a 34-page report of its findings, the outlet reported.

Franchot formed the committee following a contentious legislative session in which lawmakers passed legislation that allows in-state breweries to sell up to 3,000 barrels of beer directly to consumers via taprooms. However, many brewers opposed a costly process requirement forcing them to buy back the last 1,000 barrels from their wholesalers. Other provisions of the law include a buyback requirement for breweries making in excess of 1 million barrels in order to operate taprooms and stricter operating hours for new breweries

“Maryland’s craft beer industry will never fulfill its true growth potential until Maryland’s craft beer laws are fundamentally changed,” the report says. “An industry with such limitless potential to transform Maryland’s economy and quality of life should be permitted to operate in the same world without limits that other private sector businesses would consider routine.”

The “ideal strategy for Maryland,” the report says, is “a blend between a reform of the state’s existing beer laws and the adoption of a more expansive effort to market, promote and financially incentivize the growth of this industry.”

Read the full report here.

Papago Brewing Company’s Plaza Location Closes

Arizona-based Papago Brewing Company announced via Facebook that it would close its location at Papago Plaza on Saturday, December 2.

“We are closing the Taproom due to the upcoming demolition of the plaza for redevelopment, but we are diligently looking for a new retail location,” the company wrote.

The company noted that the closure will not affect production of its beers, which it said “will continue to be available throughout the state.”

Recall that in September 2016, South Tempe-based Huss Brewing Company acquired Papago Brewing Company. The plaza location was not included in that deal, but it continued to operate independently using the Papago Brewing name via a licensing agreement.

Speaking with Brewbound, Papago managing partner Kristan Drewes said her taproom business would continue to remain unaffiliated with Huss. Drewes added that she is searching for a new space at the “right price, right location.”

“Location is everything in this business,” she said.

Viceland Renews Meg Gill’s Beerland

Viceland is ordering another round of Beerland, a documentary series featuring Golden Road Brewing co-founder Meg Gill, who sold the craft beer company to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2015. The new season of the combination travel show and homebrewing competition debuts December 7.

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