Last Call: Boston Beer Partners with Peak Processing on Cannabis-Infused Beverages in Canada; Hurricane Ida Fallout

Boston Beer Company (BBC) has agreed to a five-year, $3.42 million deal with Peak Processing Solutions, a licensed developer, manufacturer, and distributor of recreational and medical cannabis products in Canada.

Peak, a subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings Ltd., will be the exclusive manufacturer of all BBC cannabis beverages produced and sold in Canada, according to a press release.

Peak operates a 40,000 sq. ft. research and production facility in Ontario, Canada. Per the agreement, BBC will pay Peak a minimum of $285,000 annually, totallying $1.42 million, according to the release. BBC will also provide an initial $2 million in funding for “capital improvements associated with the development project,” including constructing new laboratory facilities. A minimum of $500,000 will be dedicated for increasing Peak’s “beverage manufacturing capabilities.”

“Peak has built a world class facility in Canada, with the right staff and systems in place to ensure every drink is of the highest quality,” Paul Weaver, BBC’s head of cannabis, said in the release. “Their unwavering commitment to quality is exactly what we look for in our partners.”

Additionally, the Canadian cannabis producer and distributor Entourage Health Corp. (previously WeedMD Rx Inc.) has agreed to purchase developed products from Peak and will “leverage its sales force and sales licences to market, distribute, and sell” said products on behalf of BBC.

“This three-way partnership is the recipe for success through investment into innovation and pushing the status quo of cannabis infused products.” Gregg Battersby, Peak founder and president, said in the release. “As we expand on and further solidify our working relationship with Entourage, we are humbled that an established innovator such as Boston Beer appreciates the unique capabilities and competitive advantage that Peak offers its partners, and has committed to invest in multiple facets into a long-term partnership.”

George Scorsis, Entourage’s CEO and executive chair, added that the agreement provides the opportunity to “further explore [the companies’] collective reach into international markets.”

Hurricane Ida Update: Half Time Beverage’s Mamaroneck Location Closed Until Further Notice, Pennsylvania Breweries Damaged

Half Time Beverage’s Mamaroneck location is closed until further notice in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which left the location under four feet of water, the New York-based craft beer retailer wrote on Instagram.

“Please bear with us as we examine the extent of the ramifications and damage,” the company wrote.

Half Time’s employees are safe, the company continued. However, there is no access to the building due to the flooding and it’s unclear when that may change.

As for online orders, those placed prior to Monday evening have been picked up by Half Time’s fulfillment company, while those placed on Tuesday and beyond may be delayed.

Meanwhile, several breweries in Pennsylvania, are also dealing with the impact of Ida, according to Breweries in Pennsylvania.

Perkasie, Pennsylvania’s Free Will Brewing posted several pictures on Instagram yesterday of its local facility flooded. While it said that all of its staff are safe (despite an “unplanned sleepover at the brewery”), the brewery’s cider sour cellar was completely submerged in water. Still, the taproom reopened Thursday afternoon, as it and its beers were left intact, according to a later post.

Lock 29 Mont Clare shared videos of the area around its taproom flooded, with lower areas of the facility’s outdoor dining space partially submerged in water. The brewery closed Thursday night and has remained closed to handle clean-up. It invited the public to visit to help in exchange for “some free beer and free hugs.”

Other breweries in the area with damage and closings include Coatesville’s Animated Brewing Co., Conshohocken Brewing Company’s Bridgeport location, and Manayunk Brewing Co.

Texas-based Spoetzl Brewery — the brewer of Shiner Beer — announced today it would be donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts.

“We are saddened to see how Hurricane Ida has severely impacted our neighbors in Louisiana,” Jimmy Mauric, Shiner’s brewmaster, said in a press release. “All of us in the Shiner family are thinking of and praying for all those affected.”

August 2021 BPI: Hard Seltzer/FMB Reading Drops 34 Points Compared to August 2020

The National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for August 2021 may have matched its August 2020 reading of 74. However, the gauge of wholesaler purchasing behaviors showed a 34-point drop in the hard seltzer/FMB reading for August 2021, to a reading of 58, compared to its 92 reading in August 2021.

The BPI is a measure of anticipated beer demand based on a survey of wholesaler purchases across various segments. Readings above 50 indicate expansion of purchasing, while a reading below indicates contraction.

Although the overall beer category’s inventory levels at risk of going out of code remained below 50 — signaling ongoing supply constraints at the end of the summer selling season — the lower index for hard seltzers/FMBs compared to August 2020 signaled that “the segment’s momentum has slowed down significantly,” according to the NBWA.

“The FMB/seltzer segment continues to see significant declines this summer,” the NBWA wrote. “This reading of 58 is much closer to 2016 and 2017 results for [the] FMB segment. A reading of 58 indicates the category is still growing, but it is down substantially from readings earlier this year.”

Both imports and craft expanded in August 2021 with readings of 66 and 59, respectively. Both segments outpaced their August 2020 readings when imports posted a 60 and craft recorded a 54.

Premium lights was the only other segment in expansion territory, with a reading of 57 in August 2021, but far below its August 2020 reading of 70.

Regular domestic beer (41 reading), below premium (37) and cider (43) all contracted in August 2021.

Definitive Brewing Temporarily Closes to Mourn Co-Founder Dylan Webber

Dylan Webber, co-founder of Portland, Maine-based Definitive Brewing Company, died suddenly this week, according to the brewery’s website.

Definitive announced the passing on it’s homepage and various social media accounts, noting that both its Portland and Kittery locations would be closed today. Both locations were also closed yesterday, with Definitive posting on its Twitter and Instagram accounts to “please keep our team in your thoughts.”

“We are deeply saddened to share the news that our co-founder, creative mastermind, and friend Dylan Webber has passed away suddenly,” Definitive said in today’s post. “We join his girlfriend Laura, his mother Katie, father Chuck, and the rest of his family in mourning his loss, and celebrating his remarkable life.

“The team at Definitive will continue to be inspired by Dylan’s passion for brewing and the enthusiasm and joy his creativity provided our many amazing customers. The business will honor his name and his legacy by continuing operations and providing high quality beer to our customers across the nation,” it continued.

Webber and Mike Rankin founded Definitive in 2017, and opened a production brewery and tasting room in Portland, Maine, in May 2018. A second tasting room was added in Kittery in May 2020.

“Dylan coined our name in 2017 as what he called ‘a reminder that no beer we make will ever be perfect, but we will always strive for perfection,’” Definitive said in its post. “Dylan embraced the daily challenges of being a brewer and a business owner. He was passionate about the beers he brewed. He was incredibly innovative; he would never settle for ‘damn good,’ and was always seeking perfection.”