Last Call: Michelob Ultra Release Super Bowl Spot; BA Appoints Neil Witte as Quality Ambassador


Michelob Ultra Unveils Super Bowl Commercial

Do you wake up at 4 a.m. to Crossfit? Do the acronyms WOD and EMOM mean anything to you? Can you not allow 24 hours to elapse without taking a spin class or running a 10K? Do you get choked up when you hear the theme from Cheers? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ll probably love Michelob Ultra’s Super Bowl ad, “Our Bar,” which is slated to debut during the third quarter of Sunday’s matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.

The commercial, created by FCB Chicago, features real people — not actors — working out and crushing Michelob Ultras (presumably because it only has 95 calories), according to a press release.

Michelob Ultra is coming off an impressive 2016 that saw sales increase 24.6 percent and shipments increase 23 percent, according to market research firm IRI Worldwide, which measures scans at supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, mass-market retailers and select club and dollar chains. Michelob Ultra finished 2016 with $1.3 billion in sales (MULC), up $264.5 million over 2015, IRI reported.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, Michelob Ultra’s parent company, is also spending big to promote three other brands: Bud Light (Spuds!), Budweiser (Adolphus!) and Busch (BUSCHHHHH!). Those commercials were released earlier this week.



Brewers Association Names Neil Witte Quality Ambassador

Master Cicerone Neil Witte left Duvel Moortgat earlier this year to start his own field quality business, Craft Quality Solutions.

Earlier this week, the Brewers Association named Witte, who worked for Boulevard and Duvel USA for a combined 19 years, as its quality ambassador. As part of the new gig, Witte will be tasked with championing the BA Quality subcommittee’s mission to “develop a membership that consistently produces beer of a high quality.” Witte will help spread the message through state brewing guilds.

“I couldn’t be more excited about working with the Brewers Association to help them promote all the fantastic work they do on behalf of independent brewers around the country,” Witte said in a news release. “The materials they have produced on beer quality and quality control programs are an incredible industry resource and I’m excited to help spread the word.”

Witte is the co-author of the BA’s Draught Beer Quality Manual, Draught Beer Quality for Retailers and a contributor to the Master Brewers Association of America’s Beer Steward Handbook.

Alesmith logo

AleSmith to Expand Tasting Room

San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing Company is beginning the next phase of its expansion plan. The new project will expand the brewery’s already spacious tasting room to include “permanent restrooms” as well as build an upstairs mezzanine with an outdoor patio, according to a press statement.

Also on tap for AleSmith: new administrative offices and a relocation of the company’s gift shop. While construction is ongoing, there will be a temporary wall built on the tasting room’s southside.


MillerCoors Spending $50 Million to Expand Leinenkugel’s Operations

MillerCoors is embarking on a $50 million expansion project to expand the packaging and warehousing operations at its Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing facility near Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Biz Times reported.

The project would result in a 2,280 sq. ft. brewhouse addition, a 9,077 sq. ft. tank cellar addition and a 119,328 sq. ft. packaging and warehousing building, according to the outlet. Once complete, the company plans to add 40 jobs to the 15 that already exist at the facility.

“Building out the 10th Street Brewery will allow us more efficient, modern and highly flexible processes at the location,” MillerCoors spokesman Marty Maloney told the outlet. “While brewing capacity will increase, no operations are transferring over from Miller Valley.”

empire brewing

Empire Brewing and 1911 Established Ciders Merge Sales Teams

A pair of New York beverage companies are teaming up in an effort to expand sales of their products across the state.

Empire Brewing and 1911 Established Cider have merged sales teams, the two companies shared via a press release, in hopes of better serving retailers in Central and Western New York, Albany and New York City.

“Access to market and supporting our distribution network are two of the biggest challenges for craft beer and craft cider producers across the United States,” David Katleski, the owner of Empire Brewing Company said via the release. “This partnership allows noncompetitive synergy between our companies and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Beak and Skiff/1911 as a partner.”

Tiffany Rogers, who had represented the Empire brand in New Jersey, was simultaneously named the head of sales for both brands.

“This partnership between Empire and 1911 will enable us to make a greater impact by combining our similar values and practices,” she said in the release. “I’m excited to lead our team and am looking forward to our future.”

This isn’t the first time the two companies have worked together, however. Empire and 1911 recently collaborated on a New York State apple ale, which is slated for broader retail distribution this year.

News of the tie-up comes just one day after Empire tapped United States Beverage, an import beer sales and marketing company based in Connecticut, as its U.S. sales manager tasked with growing sales of Empire products “throughout the Northeast.”

A similar arrangement between Colorado’s Odell Brewing and Stem Ciders was announced last September. That partnership, similar to a broker relationship, gives the smaller cider company access to Odell’s sales force as well as its inventory and customer relationship management (CRM) software programs in exchange for a fee.