Last Call: Boston Beer to Launch Truly Wild Berry on Draft; Figueroa Mountain Cuts Staff

Boston Beer to Launch Truly Wild Berry on Draft

The Boston Beer Company’s Truly Hard Seltzer will launch its Wild Berry flavor on draft nationwide on March 2, replacing the unflavored Truly on Tap draft offering that rolled out in August.

“We are planning to transition our draft lines to Wild Berry on Tap,” senior product development manager Casey O’Neill wrote in an email to Brewbound. “It’s not to say the original is going away, but we know the space for hard seltzer draft lines is already limited, and Wild Berry will give us a better opportunity to provide an on-tap Truly option to drinkers.”

Truly Wild Berry includes flavor from strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, which O’Neill said will not affect on-premise accounts’ draft lines.

“Our testing has shown that if the account is performing standard draft line cleaning between products per the Brewers Association’s recommendations, there is low risk of line taint,” she wrote.

Dollar sales of Truly Wild Berry, which is available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and single-serve 24 oz. cans at off-premise retailers, increased 265% in the 52 weeks ending January 26 to $31.1 million, according to market research firm IRI.

The on-premise channel represents “huge white space” for hard seltzer, according to Evercore ISI analyst Robert Ottenstein, who noted in a report that Truly on Tap has fewer than 3,500 draft handles. Ottenstein added that while draft offerings give retailers higher margins, “draft presents challenges in terms of flavor varieties (tough to get multiple draft lines), consistency, and barrel handling.”

California’s Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company Cuts Staff

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company has laid off at least eight employees, according to the Full Pint, which confirmed the news with the brewery’s president, Steve Almaraz.

The employees included members of the marketing, sales and brewing teams; Almaraz joined the company last November.

The Buellerton, California-based craft brewery operates a taproom at its headquarters along with outlets in Arroyo Grande, Santa Maria, Los Olivos, Santa Barbara and Westlake Village.

A request for comment was not returned.

Diageo Settles With SEC

Diageo, the London-based parent company of Guinness, will pay a $5 million fine to settle charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for pressuring wholesalers to accept more products to boost its shipment numbers, according to Reuters.

“Diageo is pleased to have resolved this legacy matter, which relates back to fiscal years 2014 and 2015,” the company wrote in a press release. “Diageo regularly reviews and refines its policies and procedures and is committed to maintaining a robust and transparent disclosure process.”

In addition to Guiness, Diageo’s portfolio also includes Captain Morgan, Ketel One and Smirnoff, among other brands.

Australian Brewpub All Hands Brewing House Sells

Sydney, Australia-based brewpub All Hands Brewing House was sold to Signature Hospitality Group for $20 million, according to Australian beer news outlet BrewsNews.

All Hands’ previous owner was Red Rock Leisure Group, which owns several bars and restaurants throughout Australia, while Signature Hospitality Group owns the T.G.I Friday’s family in Australia, along with other on-premise outlets.

All Hands opened in late 2017, according to BrewsNews.

Famous Dave’s Parent Company to Acquire Granite City Food & Brewery

BBQ Holdings, parent company of chain restaurant Famous Dave’s BBQ announced an agreement to purchase Bloomington, Minnesota-based Granite City Food and Brewery, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2019.

“This meaningfully accretive acquisition of Granite City Food and Brewery aligns with our strategy to accelerate growth and expansion as a multi-brand restaurant company,” BBQ Holdings CEO Jeff Crivello said in a press release.

Minnetonka, Minnesota-based BBQ Holdings’ brands include Famous Dave’s BBQ, Clark Crew BBQ and Real Famous BBQ with 126 locations in 33 states. Granite City, founded in 1999, operates 25 locations, mostly in the Midwest.

In 2018, Granite City ranked fifth in volume among national brewpub chains, despite sales declining 12%, to 13,493 barrels, across 32 locations, according to trade group the Brewers Association.

Melvin Brewing Closed San Diego Outpost

Melvin Brewing shuttered its San Diego brewpub this week, according to the West Coaster.

“Melvin Brewing San Diego has closed its doors,” founder Jeremy Tofte wrote in a Facebook post. “It has been an absolute pleasure being part of the East Village Neighborhood and all that it has to offer.”

The Alpine, Wyoming-based craft brewery opened the outpost in November 2018 and also operates a taproom at its Alpine and brewpubs in Jackson, Wyoming and Eureka, Missouri.

Brewers Association 2020 Board of Directors Assembles

The new board of directors of trade group the Brewers Association (BA) gathered for its first meeting in Boulder, Colorado this week.

The 2020 board includes six new representatives, one of whom represents a newly created taproom class, with two additional at-large seats were added.

“Updating the board structure and creating a new taproom class and two additional seats provides an opportunity for increased representation from some of our smallest taproom, packaging, and brewpub members, while helping to ensure that institutional experience and knowledge is passed on,” BA president and CEO Bob Pease said in a press release.

According to the BA’s bylaws, packaging brewers sell 75% or more of their volume offsite, taproom brewers sell more than 25% of their volume onsite and do not serve food, and brewpub brewers sell more than 25% of their volume onsite and “operate significant food services.”

New members are as follows:

  • Brewpub representative Jennifer Talley, 1849 Brewing Company, Grass Valley, California
  • Taproom representative Melissa Romano, Lake Anne Brewhouse, Reston, Virginia
  • Packaging representative Sara Nelson, Fremont Brewing Company, Seattle, Washington
  • Packaging representative Jason Perkins, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, Maine
  • At-large member Fredd Matt, Saranac Brewery/Matt Brewing Company, Utica, New York
  • At-large member Peter Skrbek, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon

The board is scheduled to meet three more times this year — May 15 in Washington, D.C., September 10 (location to be determined) and December 3 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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