Last Call: Angry Orchard Security Accused of Racial Profiling; June US Beer Shipments Decline

Angry Orchard Security Accused of Racial Profiling

A couple visiting Angry Orchard’s farm in New York last Sunday claims they were racially profiled in the middle of a marriage proposal, according to the Boston Globe.

Cathy-Marie Hamlet and Clyde Johnson, who are black, traveled with friends to the Walden, New York-based farm on July 21 to celebrate Johnson’s 40th birthday, where he planned to propose, according to a Facebook post written by Hamlet. However, the proposal was interrupted by a security guard, who accused Jackson of stealing a T-shirt from the gift shop.

After Hamlet accepted Johnson’s proposal, the security guard and five other staff members asked to search the belongings of the couple and their friend. Hamlet, Johnson and their friends left the farm after a security guard threatened to call the police.

“Angry Orchard, if you don’t want black people buying your product or frequenting your establishment, then maybe put a sign on the door so that we know we are not welcome,” Hamlet wrote in the post. “I love hard cider, but Angry Orchard will never touch these lips again.”

Angry Orchard, which is owned by Boston Beer Company, issued a statement on Twitter Tuesday saying it had “badly mishandled this situation” and called its team’s response “inexcusable.” The company said it launched an investigation after hearing about the incident and has “replaced” the security guards and the manager who were on duty at the time.

“This event does not reflect our company values of respect for all and creating a welcoming environment for our guests, and while we wish it didn’t occur at all, we are treating this moment as a valuable learning experience for our staff,” the company wrote.

The company is also mandating training for “security awareness and unconscious bias.”

Peter Coors Op-Ed Calls for Government to Intervene on Aluminum Pricing

Molson Coors vice chairman Peter Coors penned an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal this week, urging President Trump to stop the “manipulative business practices that appear to permeate” in the aluminum market.

Coors wrote that the Trump administration’s decision to lift the 10 percent tariff imposed on Canadian and Mexican aluminum imports in May has made 77 percent of imported aluminum tariff-free, though still priced as if tariffs were imposed on it.

“The aluminum market is dominated by a handful of companies that employ archaic and opaque pricing mechanisms,” he wrote. “They are exploiting the aluminum tariffs to profit at the expense of the end user, raising their prices to match tariff prices.”

Coors said Molson Coors pays nearly 20 percent more for aluminum than it did a year ago. In an op-ed published in the WSJ a year ago, he said he hoped “market forces would set the aluminum industry right.” In the latest op-ed, he wrote that government intervention is necessary.

“This metal is too critical to America’s strategic goals to be left to the whims of speculators and the manipulation of a cozy clique of suppliers,” he wrote.

Molson Coors Acquires Pardubicky Czech Brewery

Molson Coors acquired a majority stake in the Czech Republic craft brewery Pardubický Pivovar in June, according to the MillerCoors blog.

Molson Coors subsidiary Staropramen purchased an 89 percent stake in Pardubický, the company announced to employees. The Pardubický transaction also includes the brewery’s Slovakian distribution company.

Facebook Imposes New Alcohol Restrictions

Facebook announced a policy this week to restrict alcohol and tobacco-related content. A company spokeswoman told CNN that the new policy blocks private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of these products on Facebook and Instagram. Content related to the sale or transfer of such products will be limited to those over 18.

While Facebook Marketplace already bans alcohol and tobacco sales, this new policy will target posts by private users, using “ a combination of technology, human review and reports from our community to find and remove any content that violates these policies,” said the spokeswoman. Thus, the new restrictions will apply to sales between private users under age 18 in Facebook beer trading groups.

Stockholder Alleges Anheuser-Busch Artificially Inflated Share Prices

The City of Sterling Heights General Employees’ Retirement System has accused Anheuser-Busch of a scheme to artificially inflate its shares. The system filed a complaint against A-B with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 21, claiming the world’s largest beer manufacturer violated the Securities and Exchange Act, according to Legal Newsline.

The plaintiff alleges that when InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch in 2008, it caused substantial debt for A-B, despite telling investors “they had been deleveraging Anheuser-Busch in a manner that was consistent with the company’s internal targets.” The lawsuit claims that this misled investors about the company’s finances. A-B stated in its Q3 earnings results last year it had “slashed its dividend by 50 percent to ‘accelerate deleveraging toward our optimal capital structure of around a 2x net debt to EBITDA ratio.'” The suit claims A-B share prices declined in response to this announcement.

The system, which is seeking jury trial, claims A-B’s actions misled the public about the company and its value, which affected the retirement system.

House Passes Bipartisan Budget Act

The House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 yesterday, after the White House and congressional leaders reached an agreement earlier in the week on a two-year budget to increase spending by $320 billion and suspend the debt ceiling.

According to ABC News, the deal prevents automatic spending cuts and will continue funding agencies such as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

June US Beer Shipments Decline

For the fifth consecutive month, U.S. beer companies shipped fewer barrels of beer in 2019 than they did in 2018. The Beer Institute (BI), citing unofficial estimates of domestic tax paid shipments from TTB, reported that shipments from U.S. breweries declined 5.2 percent, to 15.6 million barrels, compared to 2018 levels.

Through the first six months of 2019, U.S. breweries have shipped more than 82.6 million barrels of beer, down nearly 1.3 million barrels compared to last year.

Melvin Brewing Sells Bellingham Taproom

Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing has sold its Bellingham outpost to Washington businessman Gary Pickering, according to Tap Trail.

A new name for the brewery is expected to be announced in August. The renamed brewery will feature a new menu and beers, but the staff will be retained.

BrewDog CEO Exits

After just five months, Andy Shaw has departed the “CEO of Beer” role at BrewDog, The Grocer reported.

Shaw, the former managing director of UK Red Bull, was hired in February to head global beer sales and marketing. BrewDog did not disclose the reason for his departure.

“We would like to thank Andy for all the hard work during his time with us and wish him all the best for the future,” BrewDog CEO James Watt told the outlet.

John Hickenlooper Presidential Ad Features Left Hand, Stone Brewing Founders

Democratic presidential candidate and Wynkoop Brewing Company founder John Hickenlooper’s campaign released an ad this week featuring Left Hand Brewing founder Eric Wallace and Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch. The ad asks Americans to donate $5 to the campaign– “the cost of one glass of beer”– to help Hickenlooper bring “harmony, hope, and hops” to Washington, D.C.

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