Last Call: 2 Michigan Breweries to Merge; Nielsen Expands Into Cannabis

Saugatuck to ‘Merge’ with Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing

A pair of small craft breweries in Michigan announced plans to “merge” this month, pending government approval.

In a press release, Saugatuck Brewing, based in Douglas, said the “operating management” of Kalamazoo-based Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing (GBDB) would be “transferred” to SBC during the next several weeks.”

Following approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) and the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), GBDB will become Saugatuck Brewing Company, the release noted.

“We’re excited to be entering into this new market and be serving our beers along with other great breweries and craft beer bars in the Kalamazoo area,” Megan Scheerhorn, Saugatuck Brewing’s vice president of marketing, said via the release. “This is a great opportunity for us to grow as a company and continue the legacy of making great beer at this location for the people of Kalamazoo.”

Founded in 2005, Saugatuck distributes to 13 states and “several” international markets. According to estimates from the Brewers Association, Saugatuck produced 11,087 barrels in 2017, up just 1 percent over the prior year.

For its part, GBDB brewed 1,000 barrels last year, down from 1,514 barrels in 2016.

Nielsen Forms Strategic Alliance with Headset

Market intelligence firm Nielsen has formed a strategic partnership with Headset, a leading cannabis analytics provider, aimed at helping CPG companies better understand the evolution of the legal cannabis industry.

In a press release, Nielsen said the “alliance” would leverage the “combined power of Nielsen’s consumer research capabilities with Headset’s real-time retail point-of-sale (POS) data for legal cannabis products in key legal and recreational use states.”

The partnership with Headset follows Nielsen’s acquisition of Cannabiz Consumer Group, a firm that studies the impact of marijuana legalization on CPG consumer spending and shopping behavior trends.

According to Nielsen, its new relationship with Headset — which Brewbound understands has been developing for several months – will “bring unprecedented visibility into market-leading trends, highlighting segments, brands, and products that are resonating with consumers in the legal cannabis market.”

As part of the partnership, Nielsen and Headset will publish “The U.S. Cannabis Market Pulse Report,” which will detail “key market dynamics, cannabis-interested consumer perceptions and motivations, and insights into cannabis purchase dynamics” as part of an overview of the legal recreational cannabis market.

“Embarking on a strategic alliance with Nielsen, the world’s leading market intelligence company, is great validation for not only the work done at Headset but for the cannabis industry overall,” Headset CEO Cy Scott said in the release. “By combining Nielsen’s level of expertise on analytics services with the Headset platform, we can better support the first of its kind cannabis industry developing within the U.S.”

ZX Ventures: 28 Percent of Consumers Don’t Know They Can Buy Beer Online

Nearly one-third of U.S. consumers don’t realize they can purchase booze online, according to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s “global growth and innovation” division, ZX Ventures.

ZX Ventures’ e-commerce team recently teamed with Mintel to survey 1,000 U.S. consumers about their “awareness of online beer shopping, preferences, and purchase drivers.”

Among the most notable discoveries was that 28 percent of U.S. consumers don’t realize they can buy beer online, and those who have purchased beer online represent “roughly 6 percent” of the legal-drinking-age population in the U.S.

According to ZX, which cited a potentially outdated Business Insider article from 2014, less than 1 percent of food and beverage sales occur online in the U.S.

It’s worth noting that Justin Robinson, the co-founder of online alcohol marketplace Drizly, who spoke at the 2017 Brewbound Session, said he believed online sales could account for as much as 15 percent of all alcohol transactions by 2025.

All About Beer Files for Bankruptcy; 2 Pacific Northwest Print Magazines Cease Operations

North Carolina-based All About Beer LLC and publisher Christopher Rice filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last month, according to the Triangle Business Journal.

Court documents revealed the company is more than $4.5 million in debt and has more than 5,000 creditors – including former employees and subscribers who are owed subscription dollars — according to the Business Journal

The company’s assets, including glassware and camera equipment, total less than $50,000, the outlet noted.

Print publications covering the beer industry have struggled to stay in business as an increasing number of breweries have adjusted their advertising and marketing strategies and shifted away from traditional media spends.

In addition to All About Beer, which had purchased Draft Magazine and ceased production of that publication, Celebrator Beer News shuttered its print business to focused exclusively on digital content.

Meanwhile, a pair of print publications in the Pacific Northwest – Oregon Beer Growler Magazine and Northwest Brewing News – have also decided to call it quits, according to the New School Beer blog.

Additionally, Beer Advocate founders Jason and Todd Alström are also “planning for the end” of their company’s print publication.

BrewDog Rebrands Streaming Network, Lowers Monthly Subscription Price

After shamelessly stooping to sophomoric sexual innuendos to launch a streaming video-on-demand service last summer, the private equity-backed “punks” over at Scottish craft brewery BrewDog have rebranded the network to DrinkTV and slashed the monthly subscription price (now $2.99) by 40 percent.

According to a press release, DrinkTV will offer “new and curated cocktail, beer, wine and travel content that aims to do for drinking culture what food-focused programming has done for foodies.”

“Why isn’t drink culture celebrated in the same way as food?” said Jared Cotton, the co-founder of Redtail Media, which also co-founded the streaming network. “We are aiming to change that; bringing exciting and engaging programming that highlights the world of booze that permeates our culture, but just hasn’t been captured yet … until now.”

In addition to a host of shows from “drink aficionado and comedian” Zane Lamprey, subscribers will have access to “The BrewDog Show” and other booze-fueled video content.

It’s still unclear, however, if the naughty boys over at BrewDog have plans to resuscitate their “Beerporn” shtick and deliver some more “Nerdy brunette loves big cocktails” teasers to help promote DrinkTV this time around.

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