BUFFALO, N.Y. – FIFCO USA, formerly North American Breweries, recently held its 2018 national sales meeting in Buffalo, New York. FIFCO USA shared its 2019 business plans for its portfolio of beer and Beyond Beer alcoholic beverages that include top brands such as Labatt Blue, Labatt Blue Light, Seagram’s Escapes, Seagram’s Escapes Spiked, Genesee Beer, Magic Hat Brewing Company, and Pyramid Brewing Company. The meeting also included a preview of a new U.S. innovation brewery for Labatt USA, the Labatt Brew House, which is slated to open late fall below the company’s commercial headquarters in Buffalo, New York.
“There is tremendous excitement around FIFCO USA,” said FIFCO USA Chief Sales Officer Josh Halpern. “We’ve laid the groundwork to build great momentum. Next year, we will introduce new line extensions, brands and segments into the beverage alcohol industry that will transform our business. We are taking better advantage of our size and new, world-class brewing facility in Rochester to get new products into the marketplace faster and better than ever before. We’re excited about the commercial possibilities ahead.”
2018 National Sales Meeting News:
Top Innovation: New Brand Pura Still
Pura Still introduces a new segment into the FMB space as a spiked still waterwith a splash of coconut water, a hint of natural fruit flavor and zero carbonation.At 4.5% ABV and only 90 calories, FIFCO USA’s newest innovation is the perfect way for consumers to enjoy themselves without straying from their healthy lifestyles. The brand will launch nationally in December 2018. FIFCO USA’s original spiked still water creates a completely new option for consumers looking for clean labels, natural ingredients and the ultimate refreshment in their drinking occasions.
Seagram’s Escapes Celebrates Nine Years of Consecutive Growth:
Seagram’s Escapes flavored malt beverages celebrated nine years of consecutive growth in 2018. To build on the brand momentum, Seagram’s Escapes unveiled refreshed packaging and plans to launch five regional flavors in 2019. The brand will also partner with reality TV celebrity Cynthia Bailey for the national launch of the new Peach Bellini flavor, created in collaboration with The Real Housewives of Atlanta star.
Seagram’s Escapes Spiked to Unveil New Design:
The brand launched in August 2017 and is now the #3 new FMB brand in the United States.Seagram’s Escapes Spiked Jamaican Me Happy & Seagram’s Escapes Spiked Strawberry Daiquiri are two of the top 10 new FMB items in the convenience channel. The brand is undergoing a packaging evolution for single cans and its variety pack.
Additional Flavored Malt Beverage Innovations:
The Beyond Beer team is constantly working on flavored malt beverage innovations, three of which were announced at the FIFCO USA sales meeting. In addition toPura Still, two new brands were highlighted:
- The new line of Tiki cocktail-inspired malt beverages, Sniki-Tiki,is now available nationally.
- Hemptailsis the first-ever hemp-style FMB brewed with organic, sterilized hemp seeds making for a unique and fun flavor experience.
Labatt USA to Open Innovation Brewery:
Labatt USA will open its first innovation brewery in the U.S. called the Labatt Brew House, in Buffalo N.Y.’s historic Cobblestone District. The brewery will offer an immersive experience for customers to taste and offer feedback on new beers, influencing which styles could become the next big Labatt brew. The brewery is slated to open November 2019.
Labatt Blue to Launch Labatt Blue Citra:
Labatt Blue announced plans to launch Labatt Blue Citra, a hoppy session lager with 4.7% ABV. Labatt Blue Citra is brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops and Pale Malt, giving it a bright hop aroma with the clean, crisp finish of a lager. The beer will be available on draft in November and will be released in 12-ounce, 16-ounce and 24-ounce cans starting February 2019.
Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light Get Packaging Refresh:
In early 2019, both Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light will have an entirely new look and feel, with a packaging refresh that features a modern and premium design.
Genesee Brewery Celebrates 140th Anniversary:
2018 marked a milestone for New York State’s oldest brewery as its 140th anniversary. In addition to celebrating its heritage throughout the year on packaging, social media and events at the Genesee Brew House, Genesee also focused on solidifying the future of the brewery. Mid-summer, a $48.5 million brewery modernization that created a world-class brewery was completed. The new brewery allows for faster innovation, better efficiency and high-quality standards. Plans to roll out new packaging for heritage brands begin in Spring 2019.
Cream Ale to Debut a New Look:
The #1 best-selling cream ale in the U.S. will roll out a completely new packaging refresh and campaign in early 2019. This American original, first launched in 1960, has received multiple awards over the years. Cream Ale is a 10-time Great American Beer Festival winner, three-time World Beer Cup medal winner, and an International Beer Festival silver medalist. The focus in 2019 will be to expand Cream Ale to more markets to unlock its full potential.
Genesee Brew House Wins Awards and Shifts to Cans:
The Genesee Brew House Dark Chocolate Scotch Ale was widely celebrated in 2018, bringing home a gold medal from the World Beer Cup and a silver medal from the Great American Beer Festival. Now, the award-winning brand is spreading its wings outside of Rochester. Genesee Brew House has recently rolled out a new graphic can with more emphasis on style and ingredients, and its new Juicy IPA hit the shelves just last week.
The Magic Hat Brewing Company Expands Music Collaborations:
The Magic Hat brand introduced an expanded Music Collaboration Series featuring DropKick Murphys and two additional band partnerships. Magic Hat also plans to expand distribution of its award-winning Vermont innovation beers through a variety pack program. Flagship beer, Magic Hat #9, will celebrate its 25th birthday in 2019.
Portland Brewing Company Helps Keep Portland Weird:
Rebranding efforts yielded positive results with double-digit increases in rate of sale for MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale and Ink & Roses IPA 6-packs. The brand shared a sneak preview for a new series of beers helping to “Keep Portland Weird” in 2019.
Pyramid Brewing Company Releases New IPA:
Building on the success of Outburst IPA, the #1 Imperial IPA in the Northwest, Pyramid is releasing Yeah Baby! IPA made with CRYO Hops in 12-ounce cans and draft this fall. Pyramid’s Coast Day Hazy Dry-Hopped Lager will expand to 12-ounce cans and draft in January 2019.
About FIFCO USA
FIFCO USA, headquartered in Rochester, New York is among the top 10 brewers in the United States. Following a triple bottom line business strategy, FIFCO USA prioritizes people, planet and profits to drive business results, reduce social and environmental footprints, create positive value in the community and engage stakeholders.
FIFCO USA’s portfolio includes: Labatt USA in Buffalo, New York; The Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester, New York; The Magic Hat Brewing Company in Burlington, VT; Portland Brewing Company in Portland, OR; and Pyramid Brewing in Seattle, WA; The breweries each have a brew house focused on delivering a customer experience around the beer.
FIFCO USA also owns top flavored malt beverage brands including: Seagram’s Escapes, which has experienced nine consecutive years of growth; and Seagram’s Escapes Spiked, which is the #3 new flavored malt beverage franchise in the total U.S. beer category for 2018.
FIFCO USA also imports and markets the Imperial brand of beer in the U.S. Along with its own brands, FIFCO USA contract brews beer and other alcoholic beverages on behalf of other alcoholic beverage companies. FIFCO USA promotes smart consumption of all its beverages.