Last Call: Canada Lifts Tariff on U.S. Aluminum Cans; Climate Change Effects on Beer Refuted

Canada Ends Tariff On U.S.-Made Aluminum Cans

In response to a shortage of aluminum cans, the Canadian government has lifted a 10 percent tariff on U.S.-made aluminum cans, according to Reuters.

Luke Harford, president of trade group Beer Canada, told the outlet that Canadian brewers had faced a shortage of 16 oz. cans, which are only available from U.S.-based suppliers. That forced some companies to halt production for weeks, or delay product launches.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum remains in effect.

Brewers and Farmers Refute Barley Shortage Fears

A recent paper published by 10 international scientists in the Nature Plants journal suggested a barley shortage caused by climate change could cause beer prices to double. The report said heat waves and droughts could lead to barley yield declines of as much as 17 percent while beer production could drop 16 percent.

However, Brewers Association (BA) chief economist Bart Watson told NPR that the “study isn’t a great indicator of what is going to happen in the real world” and the study overstates the effects on the beer industry.

Dwight Little, president of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, added that climate change is likely to occur slowly, which will give farmers time to adapt and change their planting schedules.

You can read the study here, and dive into Watson’s analysis here.

Craft Beer Cellar Lawsuit Against Glassdoor Thrown Out

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Craft Beer Stellar LLC, the franchisor of the Craft Beer Cellar retail outlets, against Glassdoor. In the suit, Craft Beer Stellar argued that anonymous users — possibly franchisees — had unfairly critiqued the company and violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, among other claims.

According to Massachusetts trial attorney Andrew Caplan, the court tossed out Craft Beer Stellar’s lawsuit, citing the federal Communications Decency Act, which bans lawsuits against website publishers for defamatory statements posted by third parties.

Read the decision here.

LA Brewer Aims to Raise Awareness of ‘Career Plaintiffs’

Ting Su, founder of Los Angeles-based Eagle Rock Brewery, which settled a lawsuit with a men’s rights activist who was not allowed to attend a Women’s Beer Forum, launched a Go Fund Me campaign in order to raise awareness about “career plaintiffs.”

“It kills me to say that we ended up settling. It’s something we had to do in order to protect the business (Eagle Rock Brewery), our home, the livelihoods of our team, and the investments made by friends and family who believe in us,” Ting wrote.

In just three days, the campaign has raised more than $11,600, which will go to lobbying lawmakers in order to amend the Unruh Act to prevent similar lawsuits. Meanwhile, Eagle Rock is still working to pay off the settlement and its legal fees.

“As much as we would love to simply put this situation behind us, we very strongly feel there needs to be more awareness about these ‘men’s rights activists’ who target and unfairly take advantage of women’s groups and small businesses,” Ting wrote on the campaign’s website. “The more people who know about this can protect themselves, their friends, and businesses from such fraudulent claims, the fewer opportunity extortionists have of continuing to make a living off of it!”

Read more details about the fundraiser here.

Boston IPA Sales Data Examined

In an analysis of IRI off-premise sales data through September 9, the Boston Business Journal examined Massachusetts’ top 25 best-selling IPAs, which collectively generated $36.7 million in sales.

Unsurprisingly, Harpoon IPA held the top spot, with $5.6 million in off-premise sales, although the brand’s sales declined nearly seven percent compared to last year. Joining Harpoon IPA in the top three are Founders All Day IPA, with more than $3.1 million in sales, and Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, with more than $2.9 million in sales (up more than 28 percent).

Also of note, sales of many out-of-state beer companies’ IPAs are in decline, including Ballast Point’s Sculpin (-32 percent), Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA (-15.6 percent), Smuttynose Finest Kind (-27 percent), Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale (-8 percent), Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (-28.5 percent), Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (-5.7 percent) and Lagunitas IPA (-6.7 percent).

Iron Maiden Singer to Give CBC Keynote Speech

The Brewers Association has got a fever, and the only prescription is more Bruce Dickinson. The BA announced that Dickinson, the singer of iconic heavy metal band Iron Maiden, who was once portrayed by Christopher Walken on Saturday Night Life in the famous “More Cowbell” sketch, will give the keynote speech at the 2019 Craft Brewers Conference in Denver.

Iron Maiden has been in the beer business for several years, partnering with Robinsons Brewery to produce a line of beers named after its song, “The Trooper.”

Other speakers announced for the April 8-11 industry meetup include BA diversity ambassador J. Nokol Jackson-Beckham, former speechwriter for Barack Obama, Cody Keenan, BDS Analytics VP of consumer insights Jessica Lukas and IWSR president Brandy Rand.

A-B’s Natty Light 77-Packs Draw Ire of Maryland Comptroller

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is accusing Anheuser-Busch of promoting binge drinking following the release of specialty 77-packs of Natural Light, which were exclusively sold in College Park, the home of the University of Maryland.

“Corporate beer manufacturers claim to care about the public health impacts of alcohol, but the message they send by selling a 77-pack of beer designed to look like a keg in a college town shows they care more about their bottom line than the negative impacts of binge drinking,” Franchot spokesman Alan Brody told the New York Daily News.

A-B released the multipacks earlier this month to celebrate the year of the brand’s creation. The packages, which retailed for around $30, quickly sold out.

Franchot has drawn headlines in the last couple of years for his advocacy of the state’s craft breweries.

Natural Light Suggests Costumes for Halloween

Speaking of Natty Light, the economy beer brand is recommending customers repurpose its empty cardboard cases into various Halloween costumes. Costume ideas include a human cornhole game; a boozy version of Noah’s Ark called “Broah’s Ark;” and “NattyTron,” a robot made from 10 cases of Natty Light. Click here for instructions.

All About Beer Now Defunct?

Beer blogger Jeff Alworth penned an obituary on his blog for All About Beer, the 39-year-old beer magazine. Alworth received a tip on October 2 that the magazine was defunct and later confirmed that editor Daniel Hartis has left the publication. Alworth’s blog details the publication’s struggles over the last couple of years.

Alworth noted that All About Beer publisher Christopher Rice, did not respond to follow-up questions about the closure, initially denied that the magazine was going under.

All About Beer has not published new content on its website since late September.

Toolbox Closes in Vista

Vista, California-based Toolbox Brewing Company closed on October 14 after four years in business. In a Facebook post announcing the closure, Toolbox owners Amanda Elder and Spencer Peters cited familial reasons for the closure.

“We have invested a lifetime of savings, blood, sweat and tears into Toolbox,” they wrote. “We have fought the good fight but there comes a time to move on and accept your wins and losses graciously.”

Toolbox produced about 250 barrels of beer in 2017, according to data from the Brewers Association (BA).

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