Craft beer industry news, events, and jobs. 2017-11-22T21:56:57Z Staff <![CDATA[In 1 Week, the Beer Industry Converges on Santa Monica]]> 2017-11-22T21:05:04Z 2017-11-22T21:05:04Z

In just six days, Brewbound Session’s official Welcome Reception will bring together some of the brightest minds in beer for casual conversation before the big show. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to share stories and advice with fellow beer industry professionals over a couple locally crafted beers.

Hosted by Santa Monica Brew Works (1920 Colorado Ave C, Santa Monica, CA 90404), the event will take place from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, leaving enough time for attendees of the conference to enjoy a few beers and make meaningful connections with like-minded entrepreneurs and executives.

Important: The welcome reception is only open to registered attendees of Brewbound Session Winter 2017, taking place at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. If you are interested in attending both the Welcome Reception and the main conference, online registration is still open.

On Wednesday, November 29, conference-goers will also enjoy a perfectly paced agenda that allows time to sample attendee beers, meet leading industry vendors, and continue discussing the future of the beer category off-stage. And once the conference concludes, move your conversations to the Acadia Foyer at the Loews for a post-event happy hour from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

Unable to make the trip to Santa Monica? You will miss out on the networking, but you won’t miss out on the main stage dialogue. Make sure you tune into the free livestream on November 29th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Watch an expert speaker lineup evaluate the state of the beer industry, assess new growth opportunities, and discuss the future of beer.

About Santa Monica Brew Works

Santa Monica Brew Works was founded by a group of guys who share a mad love of beer and the City of Santa Monica. The brewery opened in July 2014 and is the only production brewery on LA’s Westside. The brewery’s five signature beers – – 310, WIT, XPA, IPA and PCH – – use the finest natural ingredients and are craft brewed with the highest standards. The “core five” are sold on tap and in cans in restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, entertainment and sports venues throughout Southern California including Dodger Stadium, LA Forum, Hollywood Bowl, LAX, and Whole Foods. The brewery’s 200-person tasting room serves an impressive choice of specialty beers and is a go-to destination for locals and tourists alike. The company plans to expand throughout California in 2018.

About Brewbound Session

Focused on the business side of brewing, the Brewbound Session is an intimate conference for serious beer industry professionals interested in hearing growth strategies while networking with emerging and established players alike. The full-day program features a hand-selected roster of industry experts and innovators who, through presentations and panel discussions, will touch on topics including investment, emerging trends, distribution strategies and more. Marketing, merchandising, and the overall state of the craft market are looked at as opportunities for brewers to improve revenue and profitability, and to build the capital structure that will allow them to weather any future storms.

Justin Kendall <![CDATA[Press Clips: Maryland Reform Efforts Take Shape; Senate Tax Bill Gains Momentum]]> 2017-11-22T21:20:05Z 2017-11-22T20:59:44Z

Maryland Alcohol Law Reform Legislation Introduced

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has introduced the “Reform on Tap Act of 2018,” which he says will create a friendlier business climate for the state’s craft breweries.

The proposed legislation would drastically alter Maryland’s alcoholic beverage laws by removing all limits on beer production as well as restrictions on taproom and take-home sales. The act would also repeal a controversial “buy-back” provision included in House Bill 1283 — which was passed into law earlier this year — requiring breweries that sell more than 2,000 barrels of beer directly to consumers to purchase another 1,000 barrels from a wholesaler at a “marked-up cost.”

Additionally, the legislation would eliminate the state’s franchise laws, which lock breweries into nearly unbreakable lifetime contracts with wholesalers; allow local jurisdictions to set taproom hours; and allow brewers producing less than 300,000 barrels of beer to self-distribute, among other changes.

“We simply cannot ignore the fact that our laws and regulatory framework have stood in the way of the limitless potential of Maryland’s craft beer industry,” Franchot, the state’s chief alcohol regulator, said in a press release. “This is going to take us from last in the region, to the first in the nation.”

Franchot’s office has asked the governor to submit the legislation as a departmental bill, which often receives a hearing before the Legislature, although that is not guaranteed, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Read more about Franchot’s 12-point plan here.

Senate Tax Bill Gains Steam as Alcohol Industry Watchdogs Cry Foul

Although hurdles still exist, the Senate’s tax reform proposal gained momentum today as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski reiterated her opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s individual tax mandate, writing in an op-ed that she supports the repeal of that tax, according to Bloomberg.

That’s important to brewers because, as Brewbound reported last week, the Senate’s version of tax reform includes excise tax relief that would benefit brewers via the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).

CBMTRA would cut the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel (currently $7) on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually. Additionally, the legislation would reduce the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers while maintaining the $18 per barrel excise tax for brewers producing more than 6 million barrels.

However, the modernization bill’s inclusion in the Senate’s version of tax reform has drawn opposition from nonprofit advocacy group Alcohol Justice, which said the tax breaks would cost the U.S. $642 million over two years.

“Of the projected $126 million annual giveaway to beer manufacturers, $50 million will be claimed by just seven ‘mega-craft’ brewers,” the organization said in a press release.

NBWA Beer Purchasers’ Index Expands; BI’s October Domestic Tax Paid Estimates Up

The National Beer Wholesalers Index — which gauges U.S. beer distributors’ monthly purchasing activity — saw a reading of 50.5 in October, which is up significantly over September’s 41.3 reading. For all of 2017, the craft and imports segments have tracked above a 50 reading.

“These two high end segments are now tracking each other much closer over the past few months,” NBWA chief economist Lester Jones said in a press release. “Premium Lights, Regular Premium and Below Premiums all posted slightly higher readings compared to the past three months, however their index readings are still below the 50 mark.”

The NBWA also found the FMBs registered below 50 for the second month while cider posted its highest reading of the year, although the NBWA said that segment is still contracting.

According to the NBWA, “a reading greater than 50 indicates the segment is expanding,” while “a reading below 50 indicates the segment is contracting.”

Meanwhile, the Beer Institute (BI), citing Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) figures, released unofficial estimates of domestic tax paid shipments for U.S. beer producers through October. After three consecutive months of declines, October shipments increased by 5.6 percent over the same period last year.

U.S. brewers shipped a total of 13,726,000 barrels in October, according to the BI. However, total shipments for the year — 144,980,000 barrels — are down 1.9 percent (2,837,484) compared to 2016.

Massachusetts Brewers Guild Offers Discounted Lyft Rides

The Massachusetts Brewers Guild is partnering with Lyft to offer more than 2,000 discounted rides to and from its member breweries tonight (November 22). Lyft is offering $10 off rides from 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 22, until 3 a.m. November 23, with the code MBGTHANKFUL.

Massachusetts Brewers Guild executive director Katie Stinchon told Brewbound that the promotion covers rides to and from all 89 member breweries in the state.

“We asked our breweries when is the most popular evening in your taproom during the holiday season, and they all resoundingly said Thanksgiving eve,” Stinchon said.

In October, the Massachusetts Brewers Guild announced an exclusive ride-sharing partnership with Lyft. Stinchon said additional offers are forthcoming.

Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced a partnership with Lyft to offer up to 150,000 rides through the end of the year.

Press Release <![CDATA[Wit’s End and Strange Craft to Release Moving Day Belgian Pale Ale]]> 2017-11-22T16:21:29Z 2017-11-22T18:00:35Z

DENVER —  For every (Wit’s) end, there is a (Strange) new beginning.

On December 1, Strange Craft and Wit’s End Brewing Company will tap their collaboration Moving Day, an Imperial Session Belgian Pale Ale, to commemorate the combining of their brewhouses and tasting rooms. Saturday, November 25 is Wit’s End Brewing’s last day in business at its current location on West 2nd Avenue, Unit 13, 80219.

Moving Day was brewed with oats, wheat, honey, married with Hallertauer Herbrucker and Denali hops, and fermented with a blend of the two brewery’s respective yeast strains. It rings in at 5.5 percent ABV, slightly higher in alcohol than a traditional Belgian Pale, hence its Imperial Session title.

This beer is a bittersweet celebration of Wit’s End and a Strange Craft’s new venture. “Oats and wheat are Wit’s End and Strange’s adjuncts of choice,” says Wit’s End Founder Scott Witsoe. “We added honey for a sweet counter to the soft herbal bitterness of Hallertauer Herbrucker and Denali hops— for the old and the new… see what we did there?”

Moving Day will tap at the Strange Craft – Wit’s End Brewing co-tasting room on Zuni Street on December 1 when it opens for business at noon. It will only be available on draft and in Crowlers to-go. Crowlers of Strange and Wit’s End beers will be available at the co-tasting room beginning December 1.

About Strange Craft Beer Company 

When Strange Craft Beer Co. opened south of Denver’s Mile High Stadium in May 2010, it was the first nanobrewery in the city brewing one barrel of beer at a time. Strange has since become a destination spot for Colorado beer drinkers, and taken home two Great American Beer Festival medals and two World Beer Cup  awards. Visit the brewery online at  

About Wit’s End Brewing Company

At the dawn of the fourth wave of craft beer, Wit’s End opened its original nanobrewery in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. Through the years Wit’s End has added some hardware on the walls including GABF  and World Beer Cup awards, a new 7 BBL Brewhouse, and more amazing memories than it could ever hope to share. It will remain an artisanal Denver brewery that continues to be fueled by dreams and inspired by the limitless potential of craft beer… join Wit’s End on the journey!

Press Release <![CDATA[Angel City Brewery to Release Sunbather #2 and Baltic Porter in Cans]]> 2017-11-21T21:16:07Z 2017-11-22T17:00:05Z

Los Angeles, Calif. — Angelenos know how powerful a pair can be – Kobe and Shaq, avocado and toast, Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney. This holiday season, Angel City Brewery is releasing another dynamic LA duo, Baltic Porter and Sunbather #2. These two distinct beers will have your December drink needs covered, with the first perfect for seasonal sipping and the second a quintessential quencher. Four-packs of 16 oz. cans will be released on Saturday, December 16th from 12-4 pm.

The first of the duo is Baltic Porter, an exceptionally dark beer with a black opaque appearance and slightly smoky aroma. Unlike traditional porters, Baltic porters use lager yeast which results in a velvety smooth and slightly sweet beer. Featuring notes of dark chocolate, licorice and toasted bread, this porter is brewed with a variety of malt, including pale chocolate malt, wheat, beechwood smoked malt, CaraFoam and black pearl. Baltic Porter has an ABV of 7.2% and IBU of 30.

The counterpart to the Baltic is the Sunbather #2, the sequel in the Sunbather collection. This sour single hop session features Amarillo hops and has an ABV of 4.2% with an IBU of 16. With a slightly hazy golden yellow appearance and a refreshingly tart taste, Sunbather #2 is perfect to enjoy while soaking up the LA sun, or hosting a holiday party.

All are invited to celebrate the launch of the new canned beers at Angel City Brewery on Saturday, December 16th from 12-4 pm at the two-can release party.  The first 50 people to purchase a pack will receive a Baltic Porter and Sunbather #2 art poster. While at the brewery, make sure to check out Arts District Daze happening throughout the neighborhood. Arts District Dazeis a monthly block party with special art events, exclusive menu item, sales and music. Follow the yellow balloons around the neighborhood to check out participating locations.

“We are continuing to expand our canning program, and this double beer drop of Baltic Porter and Sunbather #2 is an excellent addition to the lineup,” said Layton Cutler, Head Brewer at Angel City Brewery. “Baltic Porter is typically bottled, so it will be nice to have an easy-to-sip and carry can package for drinkers to bring to holiday events.”

Angel City Brewery brews beer for the greater LA area and beyond at their Downtown based brewery in the heart of the Arts District. The brewery’s Public House features a 19-tap bar that serves an ever-changing roster of classic and newly inspired beer, and is open seven days a week with a full calendar of events ranging from trivia nights to art shows, live music and festivals. The Public House is open Monday-Thursday, 4:00pm – 1:00am, Friday 4:00pm – 2:00am, Saturday 12:00pm – 2:00am and Sunday 12:00pm – 1:00am.

About Angel City Brewery

LA is often viewed through a lens of Hollywood, glitz and glamour, but at Angel City we see things differently. Our mission is simple: to shine a light on the eclectic underbelly of what has been referred to as the other LA. Our home in the Downtown Arts District is the center of a cultural revival for the city’s most talented artists, musicians, hustlers, and craftspeople. It’s an LA that’s as creative as it is diverse, and our beer is no exception. Through our beers and hand-chosen partnerships we seek to bring the allure of the Arts District experience to greater LA and beyond. Find Angel City on draft or in 6-packs at bars, restaurants and retail locations throughout California. Visit the Brewery and Public House downtown for a brewery tour, tasting or weekly event, located at 216 Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Angel City Brewery is an A&S Brewing Collaborative brand, a subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company. Angel City Brewery is online at, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Press Release <![CDATA[Braxton Brewing Co. to Release Bourbon Maple Imperial Stout and Dead Blow Tropical Coffee Stout]]> 2017-11-21T15:38:58Z 2017-11-22T16:00:48Z

COVINGTON, Ky. — Braxton Brewing Company is excited to release two new packaged products. At their 3rd annual Winter Block Party on Saturday, December 2nd, they’ll be releasing their Bourbon Maple Imperial Stout that has aged in 23-year old Bourbon barrels for two years. On Friday, November 24th, they’ll release Dead Blow Tropical Stout brewed with their proprietary Starter Coffee in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans.

“This is my favorite time of the year as we get to share some special projects with family, friends and the entire craft beer community,” said Jake Rouse, Co-Founder & CEO of Braxton Brewing Company. “The two year aged stout has been something that we’ve anxiously been waiting to share and Dead Blow brewed with Starter has been one of our most in demand projects. Now, we get to share both!”

Braxton Brewing Company received 23-year old Bourbon barrels that also aged maple syrup for a year in 2015. Last year, the Covington brewery released their Dark Charge Imperial Stout that had aged in these barrels for one year. This year, the brewery will release a very limited amount of this beer that aged in these barrels for two years. They’ll be released on Saturday, December 2nd alongside six other Dark Charge variants. The bottles will be $30, packaged in a cardboard box and limited to one bottle per person.

The full bottle lineup can be viewed here.

On Friday, November 24th the brewing company will release its popular Dead Blow Tropical Stout infused with their Starter Coffee in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans. This is the first time Braxton Brewing has packaged what is one of their most popular draft offerings.

Cans will also be available throughout the company’s distribution footprint in Northern Kentucky, CIncinnati, Dayton, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville.

“When we launched Starter Coffee, we wanted to be proud of the proprietary product and be able to serve it as both a standalone product and infuse it in Dead Blow Tropical Stout,” said Evan Rouse, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer of Braxton Brewing Company. “This is one of our most popular beers and we’re thrilled to finally have it in cans!”

To celebrate, the brewery will be open beginning at 8am on Black Friday. The cans will be available at this time. The brewery is also hosting Holtman’s Donuts in the taproom for a Pop-up shop and will have a special, “Thanksgiving Leftovers” Firkin (infused beer). Glass mugs will be available for purchase to properly enjoy this coffee stout.

Learn more about the release of Braxton Labs’ Dark Charge variants here. You can learn more about the release of Dead Blow brewed with Starter Coffee here.

For more information about Braxton Brewing Company visit the company’s website.

Follow Braxton Brewing Company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in-the-know or visit their website for more company details.

Press Release <![CDATA[Cape May Brewing Company Releases Boughs of Barley 2017]]> 2017-11-21T15:23:49Z 2017-11-22T15:00:58Z

RIO GRANDE, N.J. — Cape May Brewing Company is continuing their Holiday tradition with another release of last year’s immensely successful Boughs of Barley. This year, Boughs of Barley 2017 is a barrel-aged Abbey-style Belgian Dark Ale, aged for several months in Cognac and Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The perfect addition to any Holiday celebration, Boughs of Barley 2017 releases on Thanksgiving Eve, November 22, at their Tasting Room at 1288 Hornet Rd. in the Cape May Airport.

“We started on this project in September of 2016,” says CMBC co-founder and CEO, Ryan Krill, “brewing a Belgian Dark that’s immensely drinkable in its own right. But we brewed it with the intention of letting it barrel age for a few months, with the result being the perfect winter brew for the Holiday season.”

The base beer has a touch of Belgian candi syrup and orange peel, specifically chosen to complement the flavors the barrels would impart. The result is a complex brew with a remarkable depth of character and delightful interplay of aroma, mouthfeel, and balance.

The dark Belgian candi syrup imparts flavors of plums, grapes, some toffee, and a hint of dark, almost burnt, caramel. This is balanced in the base brew by a helping of orange peel, bringing a holiday harmony to this brew.

Fermented at a relatively high temperature with Cape May Brewing Co’s French Saison yeast strain, the hearty flavors of the candi syrup are balanced with notes of apricots, cloves, and a slightly floweriness from the yeast, giving the base brew a super-dry mouthfeel.

While this beer would stand well on its own, it was always meant to be barrel-aged. However, when it came time to barrel the beer, Cape May’s brewers couldn’t decide which barrels to use, so they used both Cognac and Kentucky Bourbon barrels.

“One version of a beer is great,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink, “but you know what’s even better? Two versions!”

Holiday revelers will have two different versions to spice up their holiday cheer, giving them the chance to add some comparative tasting to their Holiday plans.

“Using two types of barrels really showcases the barrel-aging process in its own right,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “This way, people can buy the same beer, aged in different ways, and see how that affected the flavor. It makes for a fun tasting session, especially if the beers are at almost 11% ABV!”

The difference between the two beers is quite noticeable. The brewery didn’t really know what to expect until both beers were well underway in their barrel-aging lifecycle.

“I figured — and hoped! — there would be a noticeable difference between the two,” Hink says, “and much to my enjoyment they’re really rather different!”

Both have sweeter characteristics, but the cognac has a velvety smoothness on the mouthfeel. The bourbon variant has more vanilla and toffee, while the cognac brings more prunes and a sherry-like quality.

“They both also get a nice woodsiness,” Valm says, “but since Bourbon barrels are charred, they tend to have a bit of a charcoal-like woodsiness; the Cognac barrels, on the other hand, have uncharred staves, so the woodsiness there is more crisp and like fresh cut wood.  The Cognac-aged variant is also smoother while the Bourbon-aged one has a bit of that alcohol heat to it.”

This year, Boughs of Barley is being sold on draft in a commemorative 32-ounce Holiday 2017 growler. Embossed in gold leaf with a Winter Holiday theme and CMBC’s stellar new logo, this will be a keepsake of the Holiday season, perfect for the discriminating beer lover on your gift list.

Boughs of Barley 2017 releases from CMBC’s Tasting Room and Brewtique at 1288 Hornet Road in the Cape May Airport at noon on Wednesday, November 22. A filled 32-ounce growler sells for $25, two for $45.

For more information on Boughs of Barley — or for tastings and tours — call (609) 849-9933 or see

Justin Kendall <![CDATA[Phusion Projects Founder Discusses Foray into Spirits]]> 2017-11-21T22:44:08Z 2017-11-21T22:44:08Z

The entrepreneurs behind the once-caffeinated and controversial flavored malt beverage, Four Loko, are diversifying.

Following the April launch of Four Loko Shots, a line of flavored spirits checking in at 35 percent ABV, Four Loko parent Phusion Projects, via its Innovative Wine & Spirits subsidiary, last week struck a deal with Pabst Brewing Company to market, sell and distribute its first bourbon brand under the Not Your Father’s label.

Phusion’s ties to the Not Your Father’s brand reach deeper than its current licensing arrangement, however. The company previously held an ownership stake in Small Town Brewery, makers of the Not Your Father’s line of flavored sodas.

Small Town, which was founded by entrepreneur Tim Kovac in 2010, was initially able to expand availability of Not Your Father’s Root Beer thanks, in part, to Phusion, which had acquired a minority stake in the company in exchange for access to a built in network of distributors.

After some early success in the Chicago market, Pabst chairman Eugene Kashper and other executives caught wind of the brand and negotiated a deal to acquire a stake in the fledgling hard soda maker midway through 2015. Immediately thereafter, Pabst took the Not Your Father’s Root Beer brand national, racking up more than $100 million in off-premise sales in the first six months.

Despite the product’s initial success, however, Not Your Father’s Root Beer fell victim to the boom-splat phenomenon that can cripple breakout brands. So, in an effort to breathe new life into the Not Your Father’s label, Pabst introduced a variety of new flavors, including a cream ale and a “mountain ale.”

Those offerings have helped offset some of the root beer declines, and now Pabst is doubling down, extending the brand into the hard liquor space and teaming back up with Phusion in the process.

In a conversation with Brewbound, Phusion co-founder Jaisen Freeman confirmed that his company no longer has an ownership stake in Small Town. However, he said his decade-long relationship with Pabst chairman Eugene Kashper led to the Not Your Father’s licensing deal.

“I always thought it [bourbon] was a natural extension for the brand,” he said. “We decided to do some research to see if it was a viable product, and the sentiment from the consumer and the market research was incredibly high. The brand fit.”

The foray into spirits and wine is the latest chapter in a longer comeback story for Phusion Projects. The company nearly went under in 2010 after the Food & Drug Administration labeled Four Loko “unsafe” due to the mixture of high levels of caffeine and alcohol. A number of the company’s distributors discontinued sales of Four Loko, and Phusion was left with about $25 million in unsellable product.

Phusion’s owners — Freeman, Jeff Wright and Chris Hunter (who has since left the company) — decided to remove the caffeine but maintain the high-alcohol levels (as much as 14 percent ABV) that Four Loko was also known for. After about four years, the company began to rebound, Freeman said.

“We’ve gotten better and more efficient from a sales, distribution and marketing perspective and also with our innovation,” he said. “From the Four Loko side, we just really know our consumer.”

Now in its 12th year, Phusion, based in Chicago, has rebuilt its portfolio around Four Loko and four other products: John Daly’s Grip It & Sip It, Moskato Life, Earthquake High Gravity Lager and the recently introduced shots.

Those new products, coupled with reinvigorated sales of Four Loko, have also helped the company return to growth. Year-to-date dollar sales of Phusion’s products were up 3.8 percent through November 5, according to market research firm IRI Worldwide, which tracks off-premise sales at grocery, convenience, liquor and club stores

Freeman also credited the renewed interest in the Four Loko brand to its Gold and Sour Apple SKUs, which were launched in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Both of those offerings, he said, ranked as the top-selling new beer products in c-stores after being introduced. The company is hoping to mirror those results when it launches Four Loko Black in January.

“We know our lane, and we’ve been consistent with good innovation that our consumers are excited about,” Freeman said.

Phusion has also released its first television commercials for Four Loko, featuring rapper Riff Raff, which are airing exclusively on the Viceland network.

“We’re in investment mode and we’re always looking for opportunities to partner with companies,” Freeman added.

But it’s that open-mindedness about partnership opportunities and a continued focus on innovation that has led Phusion to the spirits category, and back to the Not Your Father’s brand.

Freeman said Phusion started the Innovative Wine & Spirits subsidiary about 20 months ago, as the company looked to diversify its offerings due to beer’s continued loss of market share to wine and spirits.

Within Innovative Wine & Spirits, Phusion has set up separate sales and marketing teams for both its spirits and wine portfolios, while leveraging back-office support from Phusion Projects.

Not Your Father’s Bourbon is the first spirits product in Innovative’s hard liquor portfolio while canned wine Babe Rosé as well as bottles of Pink Party Rosé and White Girl Rosé make up the wine portfolio.

“We’ve hired wine and spirits veterans from some of the bigger names — William Grant, Diageo, Bacardi — and they’re running our wine and spirits teams,” Freeman said.

Phusion has also set up other limited liability companies — Innovative Beer, Innovative Beer Company and Innovative Brewing — that are so far dormant. Freeman said he expects that to change “in the near future.”

“Our long term vision is to find cool, interesting, a little bit edgy brands that are different than the mainstream that we can fuse our distribution power with some success we’ve had on the marketing side,” he said.

Freeman told Brewbound that Innovative Wine & Spirits has quickly developed a national network of distributors — including partnerships with Breakthru Beverage, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, Young’s Market Company, General Wholesale and Empire, among others — as it built its wine portfolio via the launch of Babe in July 2016.

Innovative is banking on that established network and strong relationships translating to Not Your Father’s Bourbon.

“That covers most of the country besides the control states,” he said.

Freeman said the company is planning its initial rollout for the bourbon in some of the “biggest markets” for Not Your Father’s Root Beer.”

“We’re trying to follow a similar script to Not Your Father’s Root Beer, and hopefully we can get to the level that brand achieved in a short amount of time,” Freeman said.

The bourbon, which is being produced at the Minhas Distillery in Monroe, Wisconsin, is currently available in Illinois and Wisconsin. The company is planning an early 2018 expansion into Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia, Texas and Massachusetts before adding Arizona, Nevada and California later in the year.

“We’re barely meeting the demand requirements right now for Illinois and Wisconsin,” Freeman said. “But we’ll be ramping up in the beginning of 2018.”

Freeman said he expects Not Your Father’s Bourbon to be in all 50 states in 2019.

Press Release <![CDATA[Anheuser-Busch to Launch Barley into Space as Part of Budweiser on Mars Initiative]]> 2017-11-21T15:38:37Z 2017-11-21T18:00:15Z NEW YORK — Budweiser is upholding its commitment to be the first beer on Mars by confirming upcoming experiments on the International Space Station with plans to send and study barley – one of its key ingredients – into space in early December. The reason? Earlier this year at the South by Southwest conference, Budweiser announced its goal to be the first beer on Mars – offering a colonized red planet the same enjoyments provided here on earth, including fresh beer! And while socializing on Mars might be in the near-distant future, Budweiser is taking steps now to better understand how its ingredients react in microgravity environments so that when we get to Mars, Budweiser will be there.

Budweiser Takes Next Step to Be the First Beer on MarsBarley seeds, a key ingredient in Budweiser’s recipe, will be sent to space and reside on the International Space Station to see how they react in a microgravity environment.As shown here, the barley seeds will be placed in Space Tango CubeLabs™, shoebox-sized facilities that host small-scale experiments, on SpaceX’s CRS-13 mission. The seeds will be in orbit for approximately 30 days, before being brought back down to earth for Budweiser’s innovation team to analyze.The barley seeds will live and grow within a Space Tango CubeLab™, a shoebox-sized facility that hosts small-scale experiments. These experiments on the International Space Station are the first of many steps Budweiser will take to reach its larger goal of creating a microgravity beer for Mars.Budweiser Takes Next Step to Be the First Beer on Mars.

To kick-start its research on microgravity beer, Budweiser is partnering with experts in the field, including CASIS* who manages the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, and Space Tango, a payload development company that operates two commercial research facilities within the National Lab. Together the group, along with Budweiser’s innovation team, will initiate two barley experiments via SpaceX’s upcoming cargo supply mission, scheduled to launch on December 4 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Once on the International Space Station, Budweiser’s barley will stay in orbit for approximately one month before coming down to be analyzed.

“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

Budweiser’s innovation team selected barley, one of its core ingredients, to be the focus of the first two experiments in space. Malting barley is a process that results in the high-quality malt used in the Budweiser enjoyed today and the research on the International Space Station will unveil how the barley seeds react in a unique microgravity environment. One of the experiments will focus on barley seed exposure with the second testing barley germination. Not only will the research offer insights on steps to creating beer on the Red Planet, but it could also provide valuable information on the production of barley and the larger agricultural community here on earth.

Scheduled to launch on Monday, December 4, twenty Budweiser barley seeds will be sent to the International Space Station, packaged in two Space Tango CubeLabs™ on SpaceX’s CRS-13 mission. The seedlings will be in orbit for approximately 30 days, before being brought back down to earth for Budweiser’s innovation team to analyze – setting the foundation and blueprint for Budweiser’s next move in brewing the beer of the future.

For more information, check out Budweiser on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. To learn more about CASIS visit and to view the rocket launch live on December 4, visit

*CASIS stands for Center for Advancement of Science in Space, a non-profit, non-government organization that acts as the manager of the research facility on the International Space Station, with a focus on enabling a new era of space research to improve life on Earth.

About Budweiser

Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States’ first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser stays true to the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters. Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beer with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment. Budweiser is made using time-honored methods including “kraeusening” for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging, which results in unparalleled balance and character.

Press Release <![CDATA[Left Hand Brewing to Release Fade to Black Foreign Stout and 2 More Seasonal Beers]]> 2017-11-21T15:20:42Z 2017-11-21T17:00:25Z

LONGMONT, Colo. — As the temperate drops, dark beers emerge to pair perfectly with winter comfort foods and holiday treats. Left Hand is releasing a variety of seasonal and limited beers for the winter season.

Fade to Black – This award winning foreign stout pours dark black and includes roasted barley to give licorice, espresso bean, molasses, and black cardamom flavor notes. Seasonal Release: NOV – FEB

Saison au Blé de Minuit – Saison au Blé de Minuit is the fourth and final beer in the Les Quatres Saisons, Left Hand’s quarterly saison series. Brewed with native Colorado ingredients, each beer in the collection highlights a unique addition. The Saison au Blé de Minuit is a black saison with Colorado barley and roasted midnight wheat. Seasonal Release: NOV – FEB

Bittersweet Nitro –  Following a hard pour and the beautiful cascade of bubbles, Bittersweet Nitro – Imperial Coffee Milk Stout, delivers a super smooth combo of coffee and our creamy imperial sweet stout. Limited Release: NOV – JAN

About Left Hand Brewing Company

Employee Owned, Righteously Independent. Celebrating nearly twenty-four years of brewing a well-balanced portfolio of craft beers, Left Hand Brewing Company is located at 1265 Boston Avenue in Longmont, Colorado. Left Hand is one of the most honored and recognized breweries in the state, with over 28 Great American Beer Festival medals, 11 World Beer Cup awards, and 9 European Beer Star awards. Famous for their Nitro series, Left Hand Brewing established America’s original Nitro bottle with their popular Milk Stout Nitro. Left Hand’s collection of perennial and seasonal beers are available in 42 states & DC. Distribution: AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY International: GBR, IRL, CZ, DEU, SWE, NOR, CAN, JPN, CHN

Press Release <![CDATA[Summit Brewing Co. to Release Union Series 6: Imperial Russian Stout]]> 2017-11-21T15:09:14Z 2017-11-21T16:00:05Z

ST. PAUL, Minn.  Six months ago, Summit Brewing Co.’s Head Brewer Damian McConn used his Outlook Calendar tool to reserve the brew house for a day and kicked out all the other brewers. Armed with an authentic British recipe from the 1840s, he set about brewing the kind of classic Imperial Stout he liked to drink 20 years ago in the UK.

Aging since June 2017 at 50 degrees in a 300-barrel stainless steel fermentation tank, it’s possible that Russians operatives may have, at some point, hacked in and attempted to influence the final outcome. Often tied up with a number of other brewing projects, McConn explains “It’s easy to forget about a beer over six months of aging.” Every few weeks, however, McConn took samples of the beer and noticed it was slowly developing rather complex flavors and aromas of dark fruit, roasted malt, black licorice, and mocha coffee. At the same time, the ABV kept creeping closer and closer to 10.5% — very consistent with the strong Russian-style stouts British brewers first crafted in the 1800s to impress Russian czars.

Featuring massive malt character from the UK’s Golden Promise and Pearl Brown malts, as well as huge hop additions of two new UK hops — Minstrel and Olicana — Summit Union Series 6: Imperial Russian Stout pours coal black and is finished with a UK Ale yeast for a full mouth feel and a dry, assertive, warming finish.

“It’s really a lovely beer,” says McConn, who’s adamant that no foreign agents actually interfered with the stout. “The integration of flavor, alcohol, yeast, malt, and hops makes this a special and unique beer, and we’ve given it the appropriate amount of time to age before packaging it.” (That means, Dear Beer Geeks, that you don’t have to cellar your 4-packs of 12-oz. bottles; it’s best enjoyed fresh.)

Like the five Summit Union Series beers to have come before it, the Imperial Russian Stout was crafted and brewed by Head Brewer Damian McConn, highlighting his gift for marrying unique modern ingredients with time-honored brewing traditions. On hold in 2016 due to Summit Brewing Company’s 30th Anniversary Series brews, McConn is excited to welcome back the small-batch Summit Union Series and share his newest creation with you. “It is,” he promises, “shockingly drinkable.”

Summit Union Series #6: Imperial Russian Stout will debut at the Summit Beer Hall Thursday, November 30, 2017. In the following weeks, the very limited Union Series brew will arrive on draft and in 4-packs of 12-oz. bottles.

For more information about this and other beer releases, visit

P.S. The Russians didn’t actually mess with the beer.

Summit Union Series #6: Imperial Russian Stout

ABV: 10.5%

IBU: 70

Color: Coal Black (80 L)

Malts: Golden Promise and Pearl Brown Malt from the UK

Hops: Minstrel and Olicana from the UK

Yeast: UK Ale yeast

Serving Tips: Serve at 50–55ºF in a snifter glass. Pair with Stilton or gorgonzola cheeses, German chocolate cake, bison sliders, ribeye steak, or blackened pork chops if you haven’t already eaten them.

Summit Union Series

Launched in 2013, the small-batch Summit Union Series allows Summit Brewing Co.’s Head Brewer Damian McConn to scour the globe for obscure hops and malts as he looks to marry new and modern ingredients with time-honored brewing traditions. Briefly put on hold in 2016, McConn is eager to reintroduce Summit beer lovers to this series and the rare and unique ingredients it celebrates.

Summit Brewing Company

Founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1986, Summit Brewing Company has remained close to its roots, refreshing thirsty folks throughout the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Currently available in five states, Summit now produces seven year-round premium craft beers, seven occasionals, four seasonal brews, and the limited-release Unchained Series and Union Series. Since our inception, we’ve been a consistent pioneer in the craft beer movement. For everything Summit Brewing, visit

Press Release <![CDATA[Ale Asylum Expands Distribution to Minnesota]]> 2017-11-21T15:04:10Z 2017-11-21T15:00:50Z

MADISON, Wis. — Ale Asylum, one of Wisconsin’s largest breweries, today announced its plans to launch five of its most sought after brands in Minnesota this Winter. Founded in 2006, Ale Asylum brews in the spirit of the German Purity Law, Reinheitsgebot. This means all beer is unfiltered and all natural, never using additives or preservatives. The brewery uses the same four ingredients in all of its beer recipes: water, malt, hops, and yeast.

“We’ve eagerly anticipated this market entry for quite some time,” said Otto Dilba, co-founder and VP of Ale Asylum. “Ale Asylum brews boldly, using all-natural and hand-chosen ingredients. From the mill house to packaging, we make decisions on what is best for the beer in order to ensure the consistency and quality that today’s craft beer drinker demands.”

Ale Asylum will be available for purchase in liquor stores throughout Minnesota including Haskell’s, Elevated Beer Wine & Spirits, and Cheers Wine & Spirits. Several restaurants and bars will offer Ale Asylum on tap such as Bulldog Uptown and Iron Door Pub. The brewery plans to increase this distribution across the state in the coming months. And to celebrate its expansion, Ale Asylum will be hosting a pop-up brewery series throughout several restaurants, bars, music venues and raw spaces throughout the Twin Cities. Exact dates and locations to come soon.

The following five brands are included in the initial launch:

  • Hopalicious, American Pale Ale, 5.7%
  • Velveteen Habit, India Pale Ale, 7.5%
  • Dr. Vennum, India Pale Ale, 6.9%
  • Madtown Nutbrown, Brown Ale, 5.5%
  • Ambergeddon, Amber Ale, 6.8%

Dr. Vennum is typically a seasonal beer, but due the brands’ popularity in their other markets, Ale Asylum has decided to make this available exclusively in Minnesota this fall along with their launch.

About Ale Asylum

Founded 2006, Ale Asylum is the 3rd largest craft brewer in Wisconsin. Their 45k square foot brewery includes a 33-barrel brewhouse that is in operation seven days a week. Ale Asylum is currently distributed in Wisconsin, Illinois, and now, Minnesota. In addition, they were the first brewery in Wisconsin to sign the Brewery Climate Declaration Act, as part of their ongoing effort to increase their sustainability practices. They have installed a 100kwac rooftop photovoltaic solar system atop their manufacturing facility, amongst several other eco-friendly practices.

Press Release <![CDATA[Second Self Beer Brings Back Olde Oyl]]> 2017-11-20T21:02:56Z 2017-11-21T14:00:01Z

ATLANTA — Atlanta craft brewery Second Self Beer Co. will release Olde Oyl (11% ABV, 65 IBU), a Russian Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Stout, on November 24th. Arriving just in time for cooler weather, Olde Oyl is brewed seasonally with malt and oats for a rich body and robust aroma. Suggested pairings for the beer include prime rib, roasted mushrooms, French onion soup, very sharp cheddar, and chocolate mousse.

Available through the month of January, Olde Oyl also incorporates custom-roasted coffee from East Pole Coffee Co., a specialty coffee roaster based in Atlanta’s Armour Yards development between Buckhead and Midtown.

Olde Oyl will make its debut at Second Self’s Black Friday Extravaganza event on Nov. 24th from 1-9pm at their Atlanta taproom (1317 Logan Circle NW), where guests can also enjoy flights of the brew from previous years (2015 to current). Olde Oyl will then be available on draft and in bars and restaurants in Georgia and Alabama throughout January. Sixteen-ounce cans of Olde Oyl will also be available for to-go purchases and on draft at the taproom.

About Second Self Beer Company

Bringing a decade of brewing experience, Second Self’s Co-Founders Jason Santamaria and Chris Doyle released their highly acclaimed beers to the public in fall 2014. Second Self’s beers are brewed with fresh ingredients like blue ginger and lemongrass (never dried ingredients or extracts), and each brew is designed to be paired with food. Last year, Second Self opened an expanded taproom at their Westside brewery located at 1317 Logan Circle NW, Atlanta, GA. Designed by Adrenaline, Inc., their graphics have been recognized at’s 2015 World Beer Championships Packaging Competition and Graphic Design USA’s 2015 American Graphic Design Awards. The craft brewery has been nationally recognized by Food & Wine, DRAFT Magazine, Beer Advocate, Fortune, Paste Magazine and more.

Press Release <![CDATA[Nickel Brook Releasing 2017 Kentucky Bastard Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout]]> 2017-11-20T19:21:33Z 2017-11-20T20:30:01Z

BURLINGTON, Ontario — Nickel Brook announced today that its highly-anticipated Kentucky Bastard Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout will be available in time for the holiday season, hitting store shelves in early December. One of the brewery’s most complex beers, it has consistently been one of the top-rated beers on, and has received multiple awards in both Canada and the United States. It also received a perfect score in the Ontario Craft Beer Guide.

Kentucky Bastard is aged for a full year in Kentucky bourbon barrels, creating a truly artisan product. Hundreds of barrels are blended to create the final beer every winter, which is bottled and wax-sealed by hand to encourage further cellar-ageing. The resulting beer blends rich chocolate, coffee and dark fruit notes from the stout with vanilla, oak and warming alcohol imparted by the bourbon barrels. At 12% ABV, it is perfect as a dessert beer, enjoyed by a fire or with a fine cigar, or to celebrate a special occasion.

“Kentucky Bastard was originally a small-batch experiment with some barrels we were able to get our hands on six years ago,” said brewmaster Ryan Morrow. “We’ve continued to refine it over the years, and we’re proud that so many now consider it one of the best bourbon-barrel aged stouts in the market.”

This year’s batch will be released in 500ml wax-sealed bottles. “We can only make a limited amount of Kentucky Bastard every year, and we wanted to give as many people as possible the chance to try this incredible beer” explained co-founder Peter Romano.  “It sells out quickly every year, so switching to a smaller bottle allows us to get more bottles out there for people to enjoy.”

Bottles will be available at the brewery Bottle Shop, and wherever exceptional beers are sold while supplies last.

Justin Kendall <![CDATA[Left Hand Files Lawsuit Against White Labs Over Contaminated Yeast]]> 2017-11-20T20:01:18Z 2017-11-20T20:01:18Z

Colorado-based Left Hand Brewing Company has filed a lawsuit against yeast supplier White Labs alleging that the San Diego-based fermentation specialists sold the brewery contaminated brewers yeast, which led to a $2 million recall in 2016.

In the lawsuit, filed last week in Boulder County district court and first reported on by Courthouse News Service, Left Hand alleges negligence and breach of contract by White Labs, which makes, markets and sells brewers yeast via outposts in California (San Diego and Davis), Colorado, North Carolina, Copenhagen and Hong Kong.

“It is unfortunate we had to file a lawsuit, but we didn’t have a choice,” Left Hand co-founder Eric Wallace said in statement released to media outlets. “As an employee-owned brewery, the fate of our brand and employee livelihood was compromised, and we are asking White Labs to take responsibility for the quality of their product and stand behind their guarantee.”

For its part, White Labs is denying Left Hand’s claims.

“There is no specific proof on where the contamination originated from, as each White Labs culture undergoes a rigorous testing process from start to finish, which includes 61 quality checkpoints throughout the propagation cycle,” the yeast supplier said via a statement. “Additionally, every batch of yeast is tested to confirm it is contamination free prior to shipping. We cannot provide further comment due to the ongoing litigation.”

According to the lawsuit, Left Hand had exclusively used White Labs’ yeast to brew several beers — including Milk Stout Nitro, Extrovert IPA and Warrior Fresh Hop IPA — until early 2017. The craft brewer said it first received a consumer complaint of abnormally high pressure in bottles of its Milk Stout Nitro products in early July 2016 and later discovered off flavors in its Extrovert IPA.

That forced Left Hand to recall affected product in 37 states. The company said it destroyed $2 million worth of Milk Stout Nitro, Extrovert IPA and Warrior Fresh Hop IPA as well as “several thousand more barrels of unpackaged inventory.”

In order to root out the source of the contamination, Left Hand said it ceased production and shut down its brewery for more than two weeks between September and October 2016, the lawsuit states. After several rounds of lab analysis, Left Hand claims in its lawsuit that it discovered saccharomyces cerevisiae variant diastaticus, which is known to cause secondary fermentation in beer production, contamination in White Labs’ yeast.

“Based on its thorough and wide-ranging investigation, and confirmed by multiple test results, Left Hand determined that White Labs’ yeast products were the source of the diastaticus contamination,” the lawsuit said. “Left Hand has since changed yeast vendors and has not experienced any diastaticus contamination since.”

In the aftermath of the recall, Left Hand claims its company has “incurred significant financial losses and damages,” including a loss of market share. Additionally, sales of flagship Milk Stout Nitro, which the company said accounts for about half of its sales, have “significantly decreased after contaminated yeast product supplied by White Labs caused secondary fermentation in beers brewed using that yeast,” according to the lawsuit.

In a statement released to media outlets, Left Hand claimed that “White Labs has done nothing to address the issue” to date.

Meanwhile, in order to prevent future incidents of contamination, Left Hand said it convenes a sensory panel for every batch of Milk Stout Nitro. The company has also began filtering batches that pass sensory tests prior to packaging.

Press Release <![CDATA[Portland’s Raccoon Lodge Renamed The Lodge at Cascade Brewing]]> 2017-11-20T19:13:10Z 2017-11-20T19:30:43Z

PORTLAND, Ore. — In 1998, Art Larrance – one of founding fathers of craft brewing in Oregon – established The Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub in Southwest Portland. At the same time, he installed a 10 barrel brewhouse on the bottom floor of the restaurant and called it Cascade Brewing. His goal was to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere for families to enjoy quality food and craft beer brewed on-site.

Now, almost 20 years later, Cascade Brewing has become known worldwide for its award winning Northwest sour beers. Its eastside tasting room, the Cascade Brewing Barrel House, has become a must stop destination for beer tourists visiting Portland. Yet many who eat at the Raccoon Lodge have no idea a brewery exists just one floor below.

Larrance has set out to change that by renaming the Raccoon Lodge The Lodge at Cascade Brewing. A new exterior neon sign made its debut last week, and a new website – – is now home to all the pub’s information.

When asked why the name change, Larrance explained, “We want to emphasize who we are and what we have been for 20 years, which is Cascade Brewing. Our company has undergone a rebranding this year, changing our logo and our beer labels. Renaming the restaurant is the final step of the rebrand.”

The restaurant will continue to offer the same great food and service it’s known for, served alongside its cozy fireplace. The Lodge has a reputation as a family friendly destination, and that hasn’t changed, including the popular “Kids Eat Free” program, providing kids ages 12 and under a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree every Monday.

What customers will see is a new menu with old favorites and new items to try, including a daily soup and chili. There’s an increase in the number of beers – especially the brewery’s award winning sours – available; the restaurant has installed a second cooler upstairs to add six new sour beer tap handles. The Oregon Lottery machines have been removed from the downstairs Den, and replaced with more seating.

Cascade’s distinctive sour ales are developed with a house culture of lactobacillus bacteria, which produces the acid that makes the beer sour. The brewery also frequently incorporates locally grown fresh fruit into these ales, such as cherries, apricots, berries and grapes. The resulting beers offer a complex array of flavors and aromas derived from the acid, the fruit, and the residual flavors present in the barrels in which they age.

Bacterial fermentation is a natural process that requires long-term maturation in oak barrels; Cascade’s beers are aged for up to several years. Each barrel produces a different effect, so the brewery blends the various barrels until it believes it has the perfect beer. Sour beers take an exceptionally long time to develop, but they are well worth the wait. And now visitors to The Lodge at Cascade Brewing will be able to experience a greater selection.

For more information about the Lodge at Cascade Brewing, visit To learn more about Cascade Brewing, visit

Press Release <![CDATA[Lompoc Brewing to Close Hedge House Pub]]> 2017-11-20T17:55:49Z 2017-11-20T18:30:18Z

PORTLAND, Ore. – Lompoc Brewing has announced the closure of its Hedge House location at 3412 SE Division St. The final day will be Tuesday, Nov. 28. Owner Jerry Fechter gave the following statement:

“We’d like to thank our staff, customers, friends, family, and vendors for your support over the last 14 years. We are so proud of our team, some of whom have worked here for nearly a dozen years, and it is truly heartbreaking to close.

“Hedge House was Lompoc’s first satellite pub; Don Younger and I opened it in December 2003 with a goal of being the neighborhood watering hole that served local food and handcrafted beer. It became beloved for its patio, dog friendly atmosphere, and Steelers games.

“Division Street was way less developed back then, and over the last 14 years, significantly more restaurants, pubs and beer bars have opened up. The competition is greater and frankly, business is slow; we’ve seen decreasing sales for the last two years. Our lease is up in the spring, and we decided to shut down now and focus on the brewery and the remaining pubs.

“Please join me and our team now through Tuesday, Nov. 28 for a week of celebratory send off. We will tap our holiday beer lineup at Hedge House on Monday, Nov. 27.

“Thank you for all the support offered to Hedge House and thank you for all of the continued support of the remaining Lompoc pubs: Fifth Quadrant, Sidebar, Oaks Bottom and Lompoc Tavern. We hope you’ll stop by, raise a last pint with us and send Hedge House off in style!


Jerry and the Hedge House Crew”

About Lompoc Brewing

Lompoc Brewing creates eight flavorful year-round beers, plus a ridiculous number of seasonals. You can find Lompoc in bottles, cans and on draft at locations throughout Oregon and Washington, and at its remaining Portland neighborhood pubs: Fifth Quadrant and Sidebar in North Portland, Oaks Bottom in Southeast, and the LompocTavern in Northwest. Proudly brewed in #LompocOregon, a state of mind. For more information, visit and follow @LompocBeer.

Chris Furnari <![CDATA[Republic National Distributing to Merge with Breakthru Beverage]]> 2017-11-20T18:12:16Z 2017-11-20T18:07:41Z

Consolidation in the middle tier underway once again.

In a move that would create a $12 billion beverage alcohol wholesale giant, Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) today announced plans to merge with Breakthru Beverage.

The two companies have signed a letter of intent to combine assets and operations, according to a press release.

Specific financial terms of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, were not disclosed. The two companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter of 2018.

The proposed tie-up of the country’s second and third largest multi-state distributors comes about two years after Breakthru was formed, via the 2015 merger of Chicago-based Wirtz Beverage Group and New York’s Charmer Sunbelt Group. At the time of that merger, the Breakthru distribution enterprise employed more than 7,000 associates across 16 U.S. markets and Canada and had more than $6 billion in annual sales.

RNDC, which primarily distributes wine and spirits products, has locations in 22 states and employs more than 9,500.

In the press release, RNDC president CEO Tom Cole called the alcohol distribution landscape “highly competitive” and said the combination of the two companies would “create strategic opportunities” for employees and business partners.

“Much more than a growth opportunity, we are entering this venture to create something that is different, sustainable and transformative,” Cole said via the release. “Together, our deep bench of focused, diverse associates will bring great and unique advantages to our suppliers, our customers and the consumers who enjoy the products we represent.”

Under the terms of the LOI, Cole will serve as CEO, while Breakthru’s Danny Wirtz will serve as chief growth and strategy officer. Breakthru CEO Greg Baird will act as “chief integration officer,” the release also noted.

“Breakthru looks forward to joining forces with RNDC to establish an even stronger foundation of industry knowledge, talent, history and heritage,” Baird said via the release. “We see this as the launch pad to bring innovation to life and to usher in a new era for our business and industry.”

The two companies both currently operate distributors in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The proposed RNDC and Breakthru tie-up also comes about 16 months after Southern Wine & Spirits completed its own merger with Glazer’s Inc. Now known as Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, that group is the largest North American wine and spirits distribution company, delivering more than 150 million cases in 44 U.S. states annually.

A press release with additional information is included below.

Republic National Distributing Company and Breakthru Beverage Group to Form $12 Billion Company with North American Footprint

NEW ORLEANS and NEW YORK (Nov. 20, 2017) — Republic National Distributing Company, LLC (“RNDC”), a distributor and broker of premium wine and spirits, and Breakthru Beverage Group, LLC (“BBG”), a distributor and broker of beer, wine and spirits in the U.S. and Canada—both members of the Forbes list of “America’s Largest Private Companies”—today announced the execution of a Letter of Intent to combine their assets and operations.

“The merger of RNDC and Breakthru will create strategic opportunities that will benefit our associates and our business partners in a rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace. Much more than a growth opportunity, we are entering this venture to create something that is different, sustainable and transformative,” said RNDC President & CEO Tom Cole. “Together, our deep bench of focused, diverse associates will bring great and unique advantages to our suppliers, our customers and the consumers who enjoy the products we represent.”

Breakthru Beverage Group President & CEO Greg Baird commented, “Breakthru looks forward to joining forces with RNDC to establish an even stronger foundation of industry knowledge, talent, history and heritage. We see this as the launch pad to bring innovation to life and to usher in a new era for our business and industry.”

“Across North America, the combined company of RNDC and Breakthru will benefit from a broadly expanded footprint, a passionate and creative team, and an uncompromising commitment to providing innovation, value and service to all our stakeholders,” added Cole.

Strategic Rationale: The Game Has Changed

Beverage alcohol industry trends and the greater consumer and retail environment show that there are compelling reasons for RNDC and BBG to expand their footprints and to become more responsive to the marketplace by recognizing the best practices and efficiencies of each business. Continuous innovation and agility are keys to wholesaler success as retail customers grow, and beverage alcohol suppliers seek to be increasingly nimble, efficient and responsive to evolving consumer demands.

Even beyond the beverage alcohol industry, the retail marketplace is changing quickly and significantly. The merger of RNDC and BBG will also facilitate investments in technology that will enhance all aspects of their business, from supply chain management, customer and supplier connectivity, e-commerce, predictive analytics, digital marketing, data transparency, consumer experience and operational efficiency.

Strengthened by their diverse experience and perspectives, best-in-class talent, and an unwavering commitment to innovation, the combination of RNDC and BBG will address key areas to provide a more agile service model for customers and suppliers across the United States and Canada.

Management and Operations

Under the terms of the Letter of Intent, Tom Cole will serve as Chief Executive Officer; Bob Hendrickson as Chief Operating Officer; Danny Wirtz as Chief Growth and Strategy Officer; and Greg Baird as Chief Integration Officer. E. Lloyd Sobel’s role will be announced along with other key senior management appointments prior to the close of the transaction.

Timeframe to Completion

The transaction is expected to close late in the second calendar quarter of 2018 subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

About Republic National Distributing Company

RNDC is a distributor of premium wine and spirits with operations in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. RNDC employs more than 9,500 associates nationwide. For more information, visit

About Breakthru Beverage Group

Breakthru Beverage Group is a leading North American beverage wholesaler driving innovation in the marketplace with a nimble and insightful approach to business. Breakthru was formed in 2016 through the merger of two highly-regarded family-owned industry wholesalers—Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage Group. Breakthru employs more than 7,000 associates representing a portfolio of premier wine, spirit and beer brands in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit

Press Release <![CDATA[Upland Brewing Releases Crimson and Prim Sour Ales]]> 2017-11-20T16:28:00Z 2017-11-20T17:30:34Z

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. —Upland Brewing Co. closes out 2017 with two sour ale releases that will make upcoming holiday meals more merry, bright, and flavorful. Crimson and Prim will be available in all of Upland’s distribution areas by mid-November, including new markets Texas, Michigan, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. Both beers can be found in 500ml bottles.

“The holiday season largely revolves around food with family and friends, and we wanted to brew beers that we want to bring to the table, and that’s why we’re releasing Crimson and Prim,” said Dusty Howe, Upland’s National Sales Manager. “Both accentuate flavors in a variety of dishes, from grazing appetizers to savory and decadent desserts.”

Crimson, formerly released as Malefactor, is an American take on a Belgian Flanders-style Red Ale. Upland’s twist on this classic brewing style is aging the beer in previously used bourbon barrels, which contributes to a slightly higher ABV than most Upland sours, clocking in at 11.2%.

Flanders red ales have a palate-refreshing quality that accentuates everything from the salad course to dessert. A mixed green salad topped with cranberries, walnuts and vinaigrette complements the beer’s tartness, while a dark chocolate lava cake will accentuate the beer’s vinous sweetness.

Crimson pours a dark copper beer with hues of red and amber. Long fermentation reveals aromas of plum, red wine and cherry. The bourbon barrels add subtle notes of charred dark oak to this medium-bodied sour ale. Crimson finishes dry with notes of tanginess.

Prim’s name comes from the blending of the fruits and spices used in this sour ale, plum and cardamom. After aging in wine barrels for four to six months on their blonde base ale, Basis, Prim is tart, fruity and herbaceous with aromas of plum, cardamom and fresh fruit flavors. At a pop-up pairing dinner in Chicago earlier this year, Prim was a guest favorite, pairing well with rich recipes, like the roasted duck with plum sauce.

Take your holiday dinners up a notch with perfect pairings of wood-aged sours. Whether you’re hosting or want to gift something more memorable than a bottle of red or white, these ales are sure to complement any menu and be a focal point of your table decor. Find Crimson and Prim at select bottle shops, liquor stores, and all Upland locations.

About Upland Brewing Co.

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, Upland Brewing Co. has an intriguing brewing story that dates back to 1998. Our mission is to brew remarkable beers in remarkable ways, staying true to the artisan, progressive spirit found in our part of the Midwest. Upland is currently the third largest brewery in Indiana and brews more than 50 different styles of beer annually.

Press Release <![CDATA[New Holland Brewing Announces 2018 Beer Lineup and Launches Tangerine Space Machine NE IPA]]> 2017-11-20T16:41:24Z 2017-11-20T16:30:13Z

HOLLAND, Mich. — Holland, Michigan based craft brewer and distiller, New Holland Brewing, announces their beer lineup for 2018 and the launch of an exciting new addition to their core lineup, Tangerine Space Machine New England Style IPA (TSM). The lineup centers on several longtime fan favorites such as Dragon’s Milk and Mad Hatter, while introducing exciting new canned offerings in addition to TSM.

“New Holland is a brand that listens to its fans and is committed to pushing creativity within craft styles while also growing long time favorites,” said New Holland President and Founder, Brett VanderKamp. “Each brew is thoughtfully crafted and inspired by the stories around us. I think our 2018 lineup is exciting for both new and existing fans alike. We continue to build around Dragon’s Milk as our top brand while letting our brewers unleash their creativity.”

The first new beer, releasing in January 2018, is Tangerine Space Machine New England Style IPA. This beer is a fruit forward, hazy NE IPA offered year-round. It will be available in limited quantities mainly in MI and Midwest states and is available in draft and six pack can packages. Launch events for TSM will occur at both of New Holland Pubs, Pub on 8th (Holland, MI) and Knickerbocker (Grand Rapids, MI), in December 2017 and throughout the first three months of 2018.

“The initial response to Tangerine Space Machine in our brewpubs has been phenomenal,” said Joel Petersen, Vice President of Beer Marketing. “It has very quickly become our #1 crowler take-home brand from our pubs and the top beer purchased by our employees. We absolutely love the flavor profile and can’t wait to see the playful space-themed cans on shelves. It’s juicy, hazy and out of this world.”

Other notable additions to the lineup include Xtra Time American Session Beer and Passion Blaster Rose Ale. Xtra Time comes into the lineup as a year-round core brand and Passion Blaster enters the spring seasonal slot. Both brands hit shelves in March.

New Holland plans on three Dragon’s Milk Reserves in 2018, beginning with Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Salted Caramel in January. The sour program returns with two fan favorites: Blue Sunday and Incorrigible Reserve. Two new sours, one being a cherry sour, will release later in 2018.

Many of the brands are moving into can packages, including Hoptronix Double IPA, TSM, Xtra Time, Lost Dune, and Taz IPA. Mad Hatter will be offered in both can and bottle options.

As always, New Holland expects to maintain some flexibility in its lineup throughout the year, and consumers can expect a few surprises in 2018 that have yet to be announced.

About New Holland Brewing Co.

New Holland Brewing Company’s deep roots in the craft industry go back to 1997. Our role as an integral member of the artisan approach is something we take seriously, yet engage lightheartedly. We believe the art of craft lives in fostering rich experiences for our customers, through creating authentic beer, spirits and food while providing great service. Recognized for our creativity and artistry, our mission to improve the lives of craft consumers everywhere is seen in our diverse, balanced collection of beer and spirits.

Press Release <![CDATA[Foolproof Brewing Collaborates with Mount Snow Resort on Limited Edition IPA]]> 2017-11-17T20:40:32Z 2017-11-20T13:00:30Z

PAWTUCKET, R.I. and WEST DOVER, Vt. – Foolproof Brewing Company today announced a new beer partnership with Mount Snow Resort in Vermont. Starting this month, Yahd Sale India Pale Ale will be available exclusively on draft at several locations across Mount Snow, including Station Tap Room, 1900’ Burger, and The Bullwheel.

“This is one of the most fun and exciting collaborations Foolproof has launched to date,”said Nick Garrison, Foolproof’s president and founder. “We hope that beer lovers and skiers at Mount Snow will enjoy this unique and flavorful IPA throughout the winter season and beyond.”

Yahd Sale, an IPA brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops, will be served at Mount Snow in time for Thanksgiving. The beer will be sold exclusively in draft format by FarrellDistributing of Rutland, VT. To start, the beer will be available at several bars and restaurants on the mountain, with plans for potential expansion into canned packaging and regional distribution.

“It’s been so much fun working with the guys over at Foolproof Brewing coming up with just the right recipe for our guests,” stated Michael Giorgio, director of food and beverage at Mount Snow. “We really think this IPA is going to hit the spot after a day on the slopes.”

To formerly launch the partnership, Foolproof and Mount Snow will be hosting one of their famous five-course beer dinners on Friday, Dec. 8, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. Foolproof will also hold a promotional event at Station Tap Room on Saturday, Dec. 9, from noon-6 p.m. to officially launch the beer to the general public.

Launched inJanuary 2013, Foolproof is a craft brewery based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Foolproof’s beers are distributed statewide in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.

AboutFoolproof Brewing Company

Foolproof Brewing Company ( in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, produces high-quality, hand-crafted beers designed with specific experiences in mind. Whether it be watching a baseball game, sitting at home on a rainy day, or just catching up with friends at the local pub, Foolproof’s goal is to create unique and fulfilling beer experiences.

About Mount Snow

Mount Snow is a premier four-season resort located in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont, featuring four mountain faces of downhill skiing and snowboarding – including the east’s number one Terrain Park, Carinthia – slope side lodging, golf at the acclaimed Mount Snow Golf Club, as well as flexible wedding and conference facilities. Other activities include snow tubing, ski lessons, snowboard lessons, downhill mountain biking, and a full schedule of festivals and events. Mount Snow is a member of the Peak Resorts family. To learn more about Mount Snow, visit