Last Call: BrewDog Launches Another Funding Round; HUB Offers Mug Club Memberships to Drinkers of Closed Portland Breweries

BrewDog Seeks Crowdfunding to Build West Coast Brewery, Launch Distillery, Expand Hotel

BrewDog is seeking U.S. investors in the third round of its Equity for Punks crowdsourcing campaign to fund three major domestic projects.

With funds from this round of investment, the U.S. arm of the Scotland-based craft brewery will open a production facility in California, launch its distilling company stateside and expand its hotel, the DogHouse, by adding lodges constructed from repurposed shipping containers and “popup kennels” to its three pubs in Columbus, Ohio and one in Indianapolis.

“The community we’ve built in the U.S. in just three years is more than we could have dreamed,” BrewDog co-founder James Watt said in a press release. “It is because of our people that we’re growing faster than ever, and we refuse to sacrifice anything to maintain that growth.”

Shares cost $60 and can be purchased individually or in investor platforms through May 2020. BrewDog launched Equity for Punks in the U.S. in 2017 and collected a second round in 2018. So far, 13,000 investors have participated in the U.S. The goal of the third round is to reach 100,000 investors.

In exchange for purchasing shares, investors receive access to limited-edition beers, BrewDog merchandise and experiences, such as stays at the DogHouse in Columbus and tickets to BrewDog’s Annual General Mayhem, the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland.

BrewDog opened its Columbus, Ohio, brewery in 2017. That year, it produced 6,539 barrels; production skyrocketed to 36,353 barrels in 2018, according to data from the Brewers Association, the non-profit trade group representing the country’s craft brewers. Chief revenue officer Adam Lambert told wholesalers earlier this fall that the company was on pace to double business in 2019.

Industry Groups Lobby for Aluminum Pricing Transparency

Brewers and beer industry groups are speaking up about the rising cost of aluminum, which was driven last year by President Donald Trump’s tariffs.

Last week, Democratic presidential candidatePete Buttigieg visited Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, New Hampshire, where one of the brewery’s owners told him the tariffs are affecting their can costs, according to a tweet by a CNN reporter embedded with the Buttigieg campaign.

Last month, Beer Institute (BI) president and CEO Jim McGreevy co-wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner with American Beverage Association CEO and president Katherine Lugar.

In the piece, the trade associations’ leaders urged members of Congress to co-sponsor the Aluminum Pricing Examination Act (APEX), which would give the Department of Justice and Commodity Futures Trading Commission overnight over price benchmarking industries. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage producers paid an additional $458 million on the 2.33 million metric tons of aluminum they bought between March 2018 and July 2019, they argued. After tariffs were set on imported aluminum, the Midwest Premium, which represents the full logistics costs of shipping and storing metal in the U.S., more than doubled.

“Under current law, there is no direct oversight authority by a federal agency over how the Midwest Premium is set,” McGreevy and Lugar wrote. “As a result, companies in the aluminum supply chain charge the Midwest Premium, a price which reflects the full tariffed price of aluminum, even on aluminum not subject to the tariff.”

While the tariff only applies to imported aluminum, pricing on all aluminum has increased, regardless of its country of origin.

New Owners Close Empire Brewery, Plan to Reopen in 2020

Weeks after Empire Farm Brewery was sold at auction, new owners Feldmeier Equipment Company have closed the brewery and announced they will rename it Meier’s Creek Brewing Co., according to a press release.

“We look forward to beginning this new chapter in creating a reimagined destination that the community can enjoy for years to come,” general manager Nate Hickey said in the release.

The 42,000 sq. ft. brewery, which sits on a 22-acre plot, was put up for auction last month after its previous owner filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. A tentative sale to Wisconsin-based Burnett Dairy Cooperative for $3.25 million was agreed upon, but Feldmeier outbid them at $3.44 million. Feldmeier installed the brewing equipment at Empire when the farm brewery opened in Cazenovia, New York in 2016.

Previous owner David Katleski retained Empire’s intellectual property. He and about 95 other employees have been let go in recent days, according to Syracuse.com.

Aldi Adds Alcohol Delivery via Instacart

Discount supermarket chain Aldi has partnered with grocery delivery app Instacart to deliver alcohol, according to Supermarket News.

Shoppers must share their birthdate when they order and provide ID when the delivery arrives. The service is only available where legal.

Aldi rolled out the Instagram partnership to its footprint last fall after a test run in certain markets in 2017. The chain operates 1,900 locations in 36 states.

Hopworks Urban Brewery Opens Mug Club to Members of Closed Portland Breweries’ Clubs

After a spate of craft breweries and cideries closing in the Portland, Oregon, Hopworks Urban Brewery announced it will extend its mug club membership to members of similar clubs at any now-closed businesses. The craft brewery also invited former workers to apply at its taprooms.

“When we heard about the recent closures of Portland institutions, we felt a void in the community,” Hopworks founder Christian Ettinger said in a press release. “A lot of livelihoods and social occasions are affected by these closings, and we want to help, whether it’s honoring closed establishments’ mug clubs or helping people who have lost their jobs get back on their feet.”

Former employees of closed businesses are invited to apply for jobs at Hopworks’ locations in Portland and Vancouver, Washington.

The offer is valid through December 31 and provides consumers with 21 oz. pours for the cost of 16 oz. pours and 10% off merchandise and growler fills.

In the past year, Portland has seen the following businesses close: Cider Riot, Coalition Brewing, Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant, Lompoc, Bridgeport and Burnside. Widmer Brothers, Portland Brewing and Alameda closed taproom locations, though their brands continue.

Michigan Legislature Approves Distributor-Friendly Bill

A bill that would ban suppliers from making certain demands on wholesalers is one step closer to becoming law in Michigan.

According to the Traverse City Record Eagle, the “Distributor Independence Act” unanimously passed the state Senate and landed on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk last week.

If signed, the bill would make it illegal for suppliers to demand financial information about competing brands in a wholesaler’s portfolio, to force distributors to accept products that they did not order, to require distributors to purchase business software or to make demands on distributor’s time for promotion of their own brands.

Asahi Bets Big on Beer

Asahi Group Holdings has doubled down on acquisitions of breweries outside its home market of Japan.

CEO Akiyoshi Koji told reporters that his goal is for Asahi to lead the premium beer segment in every market it’s in, according to a report on Yahoo Finance. Koji helped propel his company to growth through a blockbuster $11 billion deal in July to acquire Melbourne, Australia’s Carlton & United Breweries from Anheuser-Busch. Under Koji, Asahi has spent more than $20 billion making other acquisitions across the globe.

These moves are antithetical compared to how other global brewers are facing beer’s slowdown; many, such as Constellation Brands, are expanding into industries like cannabis or launching different beverage products like hard seltzers.

Minnesota Remains Last State for 3.2 Beer

Minnesota remains the last state in the nation to limit beer sales at grocery and convenience stores to beer with an alcohol by weight (ABW) of 3.2% or lower, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Earlier this month, Utah loosened its laws to permit sales of beer that’s 4% ABW (about 5% alcohol by volume), leaving Minnesota as the last 3.2 beer state.

Shady Oak Barrel House Under Fire for Derogatory PG&E Beer Name

Santa Rosa, California-based brewpub Shady Oak Barrel House was overwhelmed with negative online reviews and phone calls from consumers after it named a beer “Fuck PG&E” to disparage executives of Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility company whose lines have allegedly sparked wildfires in California over the past several years.

Negative reviews poured in from public utility employees and their supporters from across the country who took umbrage with the name. Shady Oak Barrel House posted an apology letter to its Facebook page last week, explaining the intent behind the name.

“The name was not intended to go after honest hard-working people that have been and still currently are helping our community,” the post said. “It is not to undercut or attack those that have been away from their families in order to serve others in times of recent disasters. The name doesn’t suggest anything remotely like this; however, some people chose to read it this way.”

To combat the deluge of one-star ratings, Shady Oak Barrel House has offered to discount beer purchases by $1 for any customers who leave “an honest Yelp, Google or Facebook review.”

PG&E was found to be at fault by Cal Fire for 2018’s Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 20,000 structures, and is facing trial for its role in the 2017 Stubbs Fire, and is being questioned about last month’s Kincaid Fire, according to SFGate.

Anheuser-Busch and NBA Encourage Fans to Hydrate Between Beers

Anheuser-Busch has launched a new responsible drinking campaign centered around Budweiser’s partnership with the NBA.

In a video featuring actor and comedian Anthony Anderson and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Danny Green, the “Drink Wiser” campaign encourages basketball fans to drink water between beers. using a video starring actor and comedian Anthony Anderson and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Danny Green.

“We wanted to shed light on the discipline of the athletes we root for on the court by drawing a parallel for fans – ‘Hydrating Between Buds’ is the best play you can make,” Budweiser’s vice president of marketing Monica Rustgi said in a press release.

Anheuser-Busch rounds out the campaign with video cut for TV, social media, and basketball arena screens, specialty packaging and a consumer sweepstakes.

Boulder Beer’s Brewhouse Equipment for Sale

After announcing last month that it would cease production for distribution, Boulder Beer Company is sending its brewing equipment to the auction block.

With the assistance of asset acquisition and disposition firm New Mill Capital, Boulder’s production equipment will be available for inspection December 2-3; bids will be accepted online starting November 27.

Available for purchase are 27 fermentation and Brite tanks ranging in size from 90 to 300 barrels, a canning line, a bottling and labeling line, a drop case packer and 1,000 kegs.

Boulder’s marketing director Tess McFadden told Brewbound last month that the company was converting its production brewhouse into event space as it refocuses on its taproom business.

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