Last Call: Yurok Tribe to Acquire Mad River; Night Shift to Launch Hard Seltzer; Boston Beer Drops 26.2

Yurok Tribe to Acquire Mad River Brewery

The Yurok Agricultural Corporation, a wholly owned corporation of California’s Yurok Tribe, has reached an agreement to purchase Mad River Brewery in Blue Lake, California, according to a press release.

The acquisition of the 30-year-old craft brewery will “diversify the tribal economic portfolio in order to benefit the economic sovereignty of the region,” the release said. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Mad River Brewery’s story and mission is exactly what we have been looking for in a business. Practicing the most traditional brewing methods for almost three decades, giving you the Northern California experience every time you raise your glass,” Yurok Agricultural Corporation president Frankie Myers said in the release. “We intend to expand this tremendous brand, lead with quality and share with the world.”

“Under this new ownership we will modernize our plant and develop new markets while maintaining the important relationships we have developed with our employees and the community,” Mad River CEO Richard Hanger added.

The company does not anticipate a disruption in production, distribution or for its restaurant.

Boston Beer Discontinues 26.2 Brew

Seven months after announcing the national release of 26.2 Brew under the Marathon Brewing name, the Boston Beer Company has discontinued the brand.

“The decision wasn’t easy as we love the beer, and we’re still committed to the active lifestyle beer space,” Boston Beer spokeswoman Meaghan Quinn wrote in an email.

26.2 Brew marked Boston Beer’s official entrance into the active lifestyle category. Its launch coincided with the sponsorship of the Boston Marathon, which the company had sponsored under the Samuel Adams brand since 2012. The Boston Athletic Association’s unicorn logo adorned 26.2 Brew packaging and point-of-sale pieces nationwide. Past Boston Marathon winners Desiree Linden and Meb Keflezighi appeared in television commercials for the beer.

Following Boston Beer’s merger with Dogfish Head in May, the company’s portfolio now includes Dogfish’s SeaQuench Ale and Slightly Mighty IPA, two active lifestyle offerings.

Night Shift to Launch Hoot Hard Seltzer Line

Night Shift Brewing will launch a line of hard seltzers in cans on October 21 after experimenting with the non-beer offering in its taprooms over the summer.

The product line will be called Hoot, a nod to the Everett, Massachusetts-based company’s owl logo. The initial flavors — black cherry lemon, raspberry lime, and pomegranate tangerine –were selected after several months of taproom trial.

“Combo recipes definitely beat out one-fruit recipes,” Night Shift co-founder Michael Oxton said in an email to Brewbound.

The hard seltzers will be sold in 4-packs of 16 ox. cans throughout Night Shift’s distribution footprint in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Maine. Although Night Shift isn’t releasing a variety pack at this time, Goodman said it’s under consideration for 2020.

Constellation Brands CFO Named Canopy Growth Board Chair

Constellation Brands CFO David Klein has been appointed board chairman of Canopy Growth, the Canadian cannabis company that the New York-headquartered beer, spirits and wine company has invested $4 billion, according to Reuters.

Klein supplants John Bell, who had served as interim chairman and now is board director.

Constellation has recorded at least $484 million in losses on its $4 billion investment in Canopy. Nevertheless, Constellation CEO Bill Newlands expressed confidence in the company’s progress and future during Constellation’s second-quarter earnings call earlier this month.

Virginia ABC Levies Fines to Distributor, Importer

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority has issued the largest fine in its history — $51,300 — to Johnson Brothers Liquor Company, a beer, wine and spirits wholesalers,and Nestor Imports, which operates under the name Riverside Imports, according to a press release on the ABC website.

Johnson Brothers, a Minnesota-based wholesaler that operates in 24 states, was charged with “selling beer and wine in an unauthorized manner, and failing to comply with requirements involving warehouse and inventory procedures.” The latter charge stems from a 2018 state law that requires all beer and wine sold to retailers to “come to rest” for four hours at a wholesaler’s warehouse before passing to the retail tier.

Johnson Brothers’ failure to comply with the new law was discovered during ABC investigations between last October and June.

Both Johnson Brothers and Riverside will serve year-long probationary periods.

NBWA Beer Purchasers Index Expands in September

The National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index — a survey of wholesalers’ purchasing behavior — expanded in September, with a reading of 58, which the trade organization called an “improving trend” over the past three years.

Wholesalers were, of course, ordering more FMBs, namely hard seltzers, and it showed with an index of 79, which was an increase over September 2018’s reading of 60. The only other segment to expand was imports, with a 51 reading. However, orders of import brands slowed significantly compared to 2018’s 62 reading.

Also of note, the craft index contracted for the second time in 2019, with a September reading of 45.

Ekos Announces $8 Million Investment

Craft beverage software company Ekos announced Thursday that it has secured an $8 million investment round, according to a press release.

Since its founding in 2014, Ekos has been self-funded, making this investment round, which was led by Atlanta venture capital firm Noro-Moseley, its first capital infusion from external sources.

Charlotte-based Ekos sells software that helps breweries, wineries, cideries, coffee makers and food companies manage production, inventory and sales. It estimates that 15% of craft breweries in the country use its product.


*An earlier version of this story attributed a quote from Night Shift co-founder Michael Oxton to a spokesperson.

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