Last Call: Brewers Association Responds to Boston Beer-Dogfish Head Deal; Rob Tod Wins Beard Award

Brewers Association on Boston Beer-Dogfish Head Transaction

A day after the announcement of a mega merger of Boston Beer Company and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Brewers Association president and CEO Bob Pease today issued a statement regarding the combination of the second- and 13th-largest craft breweries.

In the statement, Pease called Boston Beer founder Jim Koch and Dogfish Head co-founder Sam Calagione “staunch supporters of the independent beer movement.”

“We’re in a maturing market, and small and independent brewers are embracing ways to remain competitive,” Pease said. “In the face of an evolving industry and in the spirit of collaboration, this strategic alliance allows Boston Beer and Dogfish Head to remain independent. They will no doubt continue to champion for the more than 7,400 small and independent breweries in the U.S.”

As Brewbound reported yesterday, Boston Beer acquired Dogfish Head in a deal valued at about $300 million. Read more about it here.

Allagash’s Rob Tod Wins James Beard Award

On Monday, Allagash Brewing founder Rob Tod was named the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer.” Tod is the third beer maker to win the award, following Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver in 2014 and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery co-founder Sam Calagione in 2017.

The James Beard Foundation said it presents the award to “a beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.”

Virginia ABC: Arbitrator to Decide Bell’s, Loveland Dispute

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) issued a ruling compelling Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery and Richmond-based Loveland Distributing Co to enter arbitration, following a dispute that led the craft brewery to cease shipments to the state.

The order came three months after Bell’s Brewery notified its Virginia wholesalers that it would cease shipments to the state due to a dispute over the attempted sale of its distribution rights to a Reyes Beverage Group subsidiary.

In October, Reyes Beverage Group subsidiary Premium Distributors of Virginia reached a deal to acquire Richmond-based Loveland Distributing Company, which had sold Bell’s beer since 2015. According to a report, Bell’s had been attempting to terminate its contract with Loveland prior to the closing of the transaction due to the wholesaler not sharing crucial information regarding the deal.

In February, Bell’s founder Larry Bell notified his company’s seven Virginia wholesalers that it would no longer ship beer to the state. Speaking to Brewbound at the time, Bell said the state of Virginia made up five percent of Bell’s business, or roughly 300,000 case equivalents.

Now, the dispute advances to an arbitrator. According to the ruling, the ABC will set parameters for arbitration within 10 days.

Texas Senate Strips Beer-To-Go Sales Amendment From Bill

Texas Senators stripped all amendments from a bill regarding the operations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, including a measure that would have allowed the state’s manufacturing breweries to sell beer-to-go.

Nevertheless, 15 amendments, including the to-go-sales bill, were introduced during the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. Those measures are expected to be debated on the Senate floor next week. As such, the off-premise sales bill could be attached to the Senate’s version of the TABC bill. If that happens, a Conference Committee will have to hash out the differences between the Senate and House versions of the legislation.

If those efforts fail, brewers and wholesalers will find themselves debating the issue again during the 2021 legislative session.

Anheuser-Busch InBev Applies to File Asia Pacific IPO

Anheuser-Busch InBev today announced it filed an application to list a minority stake in its Asia Pacifc subsidiary, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Limited, on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The announcement comes three days after A-B InBev CEO Carlos Brito said the company was “actively exploring” a potential IPO. In a press release, the company said the filing was another step in “exploring” the opportunity, and a number of factors would be considered before moving forward.

Bank Names Potential Arcadia Operator

First National Bank of Michigan has named West Michigan Brewing Co. as the “proposed successors” to Arcadia Brewing Co., according to MLive.com.

The bank, which assumed control of the property from Arcadia founder Tim Suprise in mid-March via a “quitclaim deed in lieu of foreclosure,” said the new group has a “sustainable plan” to continue operations at the facility, the outlet reported.

“Upon approval, WMB will operate the beautiful state of the art former Arcadia Ales brewing facilities and focus on producing your favorite Arcadia beers found at local retailers as well as providing contract brewing services for those beverage brands that require more capacity and or localized expert manufacturing and production,” the bank said, via the release.

Additionally, the bank said Michigan restaurant group Urban Feast would run a full-service restaurant at the brewery.

Auctions and Sales: Newburyport, Bridgeport and Morgan Street

Three notable brewing operations are on the market. Massachusetts-based Newburyport Brewing Co. is auctioning off its complete facility, with the starting bit set at $310,000. The auction — which includes a 20-barrel brewhouse, a canning line, six 40-barrel fermenters, eight 80-barrel fermenters and four Brite tanks — opens May 20 and closes May 22.

Newburyport announced in February that it would close its existing production facility and contract brew at Mercury Brewing (Ipswich Ale Brewery) while it builds a small-batch “destination brewery.”

Meanwhile, the equipment of Bridgeport Brewing, which the Gambrinus Company shut down in February, is being auctioned off. The auction — which includes a 75-barrel brewhouse, multiple fermenters and Brite tanks, and more — ends June 12.

Finally, St. Louis-based Morgan Street Brewery is being offered as a turn-key operation. The 20,500 sq. ft., 15-barrel brewery, restaurant and events space is being offered for $1.1 million. Meanwhile, two additional Morgan Street properties are being offered as a package deal for $425,000.

Noble Rey Brewing Closes

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, Dallas-based Noble Rey Brewing Company closed on April 1.

“The choice did not come easily — we spent several months trying to find a way to make something, anything work but in the end we simply do not have the ability or the means to keep the business going,” the company said in a press release.

According to the release, the brewery is in the process of being sold to a yet-to-be-identified new owner.

Columbia Distributing to Open its Largest Warehouse in Oregon

Pacific Northwest mega wholesaler Columbia Distributing plans to open a 530,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Canby, Oregon, the company announced last week.

The new facility — slated to open in fall 2020 — will consolidate the company’s three Portland, Oregon-based leased warehouse spaces, according to Columbia spokeswoman Lindsi Taylor. She added that the company plans to hire 200 new positions.

“We see no less than 200 positions working out of this location, and we’re eager to fill any openings before we relocate next fall,” Columbia president and CEO Chris Steffanci added, via the release.

Columbia anticipates delivering at least 18 million from the combined warehouse once operational.

7-Eleven Launches Beer Delivery Service

The 7-Eleven convenience chain last week launched a beer delivery service, via its 7Now app, in 18 major markets. The service is available in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago, among other markets.

Available beers include brands from Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob Ultra), MillerCoors (Miller Lite, Coors Light, Blue Moon), Constellation Brands (Corona, Modelo) and Heineken, as well as craft offerings from Craft Brew Alliance (Kona Big Wave), New Belgium, Dogfish Head, Brooklyn Brewery and Boston Beer Company.

Lord Hobo to Give Away 1979 Firebird Trans Am

Massachusetts’ Lord Hobo Brewing Company will give away a vintage 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am later this year. The promotion coincides with the launch of Freebird, a golden ale packaged in 18-packs. The new year-round beer will launch today at Lord Hobo’s Woburn taproom and throughout its 15-state footprint on Memorial Day weekend.

The text-to-win contest will conclude in December, with one winner claiming the 4-speed muscle car. The car, with a list price of about $43,000, has around 21,880 miles on it. Find out about the car’s specs here.

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