Last Call: Allagash Returns to Florida with One-Time Beer Drop; Carlsberg and Marston’s Announce Proposed JV

Allagash Returns to Florida

Iconic Portland, Maine craft brewery Allagash is returning to the Florida market, starting in June, for a limited time.

The company will sell its flagship Allagash White and River Trip Belgian-inspired session ale at Total Wine stores throughout Florida.

“We left the Florida market 10 years ago and are excited to bring a selection of our core beers back to the state’s burgeoning beer scene,” Allagash founder Rob Tod said in a press release.

“We recently had an exciting opportunity to partner with Total Wine and sell select packaged beer through all of its stores across Florida,” Allagash sales director Naomi Neville added. “We think that offering cans of Allagash White and River Trip — two fan-favorites in our lineup — is a great way to reintroduce ourselves to Florida’s craft beer fans.”

Allagash White will be available in 12 oz. 12-packs and 16 oz. 4-packs of cans. River Trip will be sold in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans.

The announcement of the Florida beer drop comes a week after Allagash revealed plans for “a one-time release of core beers and specialty offerings” in Wisconsin through Sheehan Family Companies subsidiary Beechwood Sales & Service. Allagash products had not been available in Wisconsin for more than a decade.

“Thanks to our strong relationship with Sheehan Family Companies and Beechwood Sales & Service, we’re able to bring this one-time release of Allagash favorites to Wisconsin,” Neville said in a release. “We’re starting small with a one-time shipment, but we’ll absolutely be evaluating the market going forward.”

Allagash’s flagship White, Tripel, Curieux, I Believe in Love, Coolship Pêche and Fox Leap will be available in the state starting in June.

Allagash products are now available in 17 states and Washington, D.C.

Carlsberg, Marston’s Announce Proposed JV

Carlsberg UK and pub operator Marston’s announced plans today to form a joint venture, Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, pending shareholder approval and clearing regulatory hurdles, according to a press release.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

“Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company will offer an enviable portfolio of international, national and regional beer brands, with Carlsberg famous for iconic lager and world beer brands, and Marston’s, one of the UK’s leading brewers of premium cask and packaged ales,” the companies announced in a press release.

Carlsberg UK will hold 60% of the equity in the joint venture, while Marston’s will receive a 40% stake and a cash payment of £273 million pounds ($332.3 million), according to a release. Carlsberg UK managing director Tomasz Blawat will serve as CEO of the combined company, while Marston’s PLC CEo Ralph Findlay will serve as non-executive chairman. Richard Westwood, Marston’s Beer company managing director, has been appointed COO, Integration.

According to a press release, Marston’s Brewing Business is valued at £580 million and Carlsberg UK Brewing Business at £200 million.

The companies said the JV will create synergies and productivity improvements, while generating around £24 million by the end of the third year of the tie up.

Judge Approves Bid for Bankrupt Craftworks

A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Craftworks — the Nashville, Tennessee-based parent company of the Gordon Biersch, Rock Bottom, Logan’s Roadhouse and Old Chicago restaurant chains, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year — to its secured lender, Fortress Credit LLC, which filed a $93 million credit bid, according to Law 360.

Fortress plans to continue operating at least 150 of Craftworks’ 261 restaurant locations.

According to the report, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan L. Shannon called Fortress’ bid to use debt it is owed to acquire Craftworks’ assets the “best available option” for preserving the business.

“The options beyond this transaction are bleak at best,” the judge said.

Shannon added that he feared that Craftworks was moving toward a Chapter 7 liquidation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deal has left Craftworks’ landlords fearing that they would be out rent payments for March, April and May.

April Domestic Tax Paid Shipments Decline 4.9%

U.S. brewers shipped 14.2 million barrels of beer in April 2020, a decline of 4.9% compared to April 2019, according to national trade group the Beer Institute, which shared unofficial estimates of domestic tax paid shipments tallied by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

The 700,000-barrel decline in April shipments was the steepest of 2020 thus far, and shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shutdown on-premise sales across the U.S. Shipments have declined in each of the first four months of 2020, with declines in January (-0.1%), February (-0.9%) and March (-0.5%).

Year-to-date, domestic brewers have shipped an estimated 51,548,000 barrels of product, a 1.7% decline, or 886,325 barrels, compared to the same four-month period in 2019.

Judge Certifies Serves Lawsuit Against Iron Hill

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has conditionally certified a collective class of servers who claim they weren’t paid the minimum wage by Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant for improperly calculating pay, Law 360 reported.

The class includes servers who worked at Iron Hill locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or South Carolina between May 2016 and the present.

According to the report, a former Iron Hill server, Christina Mary Reynolds, testified that she was required to do untipped side work and was only paid $2.83 per hour for every hour she was clocked in as a tipped server during her time at Iron Hill’s North Wales location from January 2019 through March 2019.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act allows Pennsylvania businesses to pay workers a tipped minimum wage of $2.83 an hour (or a “tip credit”) as long as they earn $7.25 after tips are added to their pay, Law 360 reported.

London Court Tosses BrewDog Lawsuit Against PR Firm

The High Court of London has thrown out a defamation lawsuit filed by Scottish craft beer maker BrewDog against London-based boutique Frank Public Relations Ltd., which issued a press release in September 2018 offering free beer to supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to Law 360.

The press release was related to a series of events between BrewDog and Atlanta, Georgia-based Scofflaw Brewing at the Scottish beer company’s 36 pubs in the United Kingdom. BrewDog terminated the arrangement after Frank issued an unauthorized press release to “thousands of journalists” encouraging Trump supporters to show up at BrewDog’s pubs for a free pint of Scofflaw beer. Frank issued an apology the following day, blaming an “individual employee” for sending the release without approval.

BrewDog sued the firm in July 2019, claiming its image was damaged, but Judge Andrew Nicol ultimately rejected the lawsuit.

“[S]imply to say of someone that they were a supporter of Donald Trump, or his policies, would not arguably lower that person in the eyes of right-thinking people generally,” Nicol wrote.

Heineken CEO Van Boxmeer Headed to Vodafone

Outgoing Heineken N.V. CEO and chairman of the executive board Jean-François van Boxmeer is joining the mobile operator Vodafone as chairman, supplanting Gerard Kleisterlee, according to Reuters.

Van Boxmeer, who has led Heineken for 15 years, will join Vodafone as a non-executive director on July 28, and assume the role from Kleisterlee in November.

In February, Heineken announced its transition plan, naming Dolf van den Brink as van Boxmeer’s successor. Van den Brink will take the helm on June 1.

Ex-Molson CEO Daniel O’Neill Dies at Age 68

Daniel O’Neill, the former CEO of Molson from 2005 to 2005, has died at the age of 68, according to the Canadian Press.

O’Neill was “instrumental” in the merger of Molson Inc. and Adolph Coors Company in 2004, which led to the formation of Molson Coors Brewing Co., now Molson Coors Beverage Company. O’Neill became vice chairman of synergies and integration following the merger, and ended up leaving the company on May 31, 2005.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Allagash’s Florida distribution is for a limited time.

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