Last Call: Heineken Takes Minority Stake in Amsterdam’s Oedipus; Bumble to Open Brick-and-Mortar Bar

Heineken Purchases Minority Stake in Oedipus

Heineken N.V. has acquired a minority stake in 7-year-old Amsterdam craft outfit Oedipus Brewing, according to a letter posted on the company’s website this week.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Heineken’s deal with Oedipus follows minority investments in Belize Brewing Company and London’s Brixton Brewery and Beavertown Brewery. The company also owns California’s Lagunitas Brewing, which produced more than 1 million barrels in 2018, according to U.S. trade group the Brewers Association.

In a letter to Oedipus’ fans, the company’s founders said the investment from Heineken would help make their “creative dreams a reality.” Those aspirations include opening a food and beer bar, launching a music and cultural venue, and building a sustainable farmhouse brewery near Amsterdam.

“It has been confidence-inspiring to see, despite our obvious differences, the extent to which we speak the same language,” Oedipus’ founders wrote. “And it has been great to see mutual trust and understanding grow with each conversation.”

Pascal Gilet, Heineken CEO of the Netherlands, said in a release that the world’s second largest beer manufacturer “can learn a lot from how Oedipus has developed and will develop in the future.”

Bumble to Open Brick-And-Mortar Bar in NYC

Dating app Bumble plans to open Bumble Brew — a coffee and wine bar — in New York’s SoHo neighborhood this fall, according to Bloomberg. The brick-and-mortar location will operate as a 70-seat coffee shop during the day and a wine bar with small plates during the evening, the outlet reported.

According to Bloomberg, the space will host “female chef demos, BFF parties, networking events, and date nights” in an effort to grow its networking site, Bumble Bizz.

In news that should please Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease and National Beer Wholesalers Association CEO Craig Purser, Bumble Brew will also serve beer. Last year, both executives suggested that smartphones and dating apps were stripping away on-premise drinking occasions.

“They don’t have to go to the club to meet a date, they just swipe right,” Purser said during the NBWA’s annual convention last Fall. “And if emerging LDAs are spending that kind of time on dating platforms and social media, beer’s got to be there too.”

For his part, Pease also told Beverage Daily that the iPhone is “a bigger threat” to beer than cannabis.

SEC Loosens Restrictions on Alcohol Sales

The 14 universities within the Southeastern Conference can decide whether to serve beer and wine during sporting events this fall, according to CBS.

For the last 30 years, alcoholic beverage were only available to SEC fans in premium seating areas, such as luxury boxes. However, starting August 1, those universities can begin offering alcoholic beverages in general seating areas.

Nevertheless, there are limits. Alcoholic beverages can only be sold at concession stands. Also, universities must end service:

  • following the third quarter of football games;
  • halfway through the second half of men’s basketball games;
  • after the third quarter of women’s basketball games;
  • and during the middle of the seventh inning of baseball games.

Despite having the option to sell alcoholic beverages as of August 1, four top football schools — Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State — won’t offer alcohol sales this year, 247Sports reported.

May Beer Purchasers’ Index Hits 3-Year High

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) — which helps explain U.S. beer distributors’ monthly buying behavior — expanded in May, marking the fifth straight month that orders outpaced 2018 levels.

In fact, May 2019’s index of 61.9 was the highest of the last three years, due in part to the expansion of the FMB/PAB segment with a reading of 78.8. Other segments that expanded in May include imports (58.7 index) and craft (54.8).

Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below 50 indicate contraction, according to the NBWA.

Future of Breckenridge Brewpub Uncertain

After 29 years, Breckenridge Brewery may have to vacate its namesake brewpub location at the end of June due to a disagreement with its landlord, according to Denver’s 5280 magazine.

The Anheuser-Busch-owned craft brewery was given notice by its landlord — Breckenridge Brewery Real Estate LTD, which is owned by Richard Squire — to vacate the premises by June 30, the outlet reported. Squire, who sold his ownership stake in the brewery to A-B in 2015, supposedly wants to open a restaurant in the space.

Breckenridge head brewer Jimmy Walker told the outlet that the brewery “had an agreement” to extend its lease for five years, but the landlord backed out of the deal.

Leadership Changes at Crazy Mountain, Milwaukee Brewing

Two regional craft craft breweries have new chief executives.

At the end of May, the board of directors of Crazy Mountain Brewing Company voted named CFO Barry Watkins as the Denver-based craft brewery’s new CEO, according to alt-weekly newspaper Westword. For his part, founder and former CEO Kevin Selvy will remain as president of Crazy Mountain’s board.

Watkins told Westword that the move was a “normal” part in the growth cycle of a business. Crazy Mountain has encountered financial issues over the last year, being evicted from three locations. The company reported plans to vacate a fourth — in Belmar this year — while maintaining its Denver location, the former production facility of Breckenridge Brewery.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee Brewing Co. has hired David Hock as CEO, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Hock was a longtime employee and former vice president of Sheehan Family Company’s Beechwood Sales & Service. He assumes the role from founder Jim McCabe, who transitioned to a marketing and product development role in April.

Anheuser-Busch Makes Renewable Electricity Deal

Anheuser-Busch InBev struck a “power purchase agreement” this week with San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy to buy renewable electricity credits from a 2,000 acre solar facility being built in Pecos County, Texas. Once the facility is completed in 2021, A-B said it would brew its top brands — Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and others — with 100 percent renewable electricity from wind and solar power.

Craft Breweries Go Country

Dogfish Head and Old Town Brewing both released country music videos in the last week.

Dogfish Head is featured in a video for country music star Jimmie Allen’s “Slower Lower,” the “Slightly Mighty Remix.” The video, which you can watch above, features brewery co-founder Sam Calagione riding bikes with Allen and live performances at Dogfish Head’s Milton, Delaware, pub, and its Dogfish Inn. Calagione even helped write a few of the lyrics.

Not to be outdone, Portland, Oregon’s Old Town Brewing released its own video, a parody of rapper Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” at the end of May. Watch it below.

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