Last Call: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Plans $5.7 Million Expansion; Stone Releases First Virginia-Brewed Beer


Olde Mecklenburg Embarks on Multi-Million Dollar Expansion, Launches Ad Campaign

North Carolina’s Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB) will inject $5.7 million into the business in 2016, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.

The multi-million dollar investment will reportedly include $4.4 million of renovations to a 40,000 sq. ft. building that will be used for offices, storage and overflow parking. Those moves will also allow the company to expand its tasting room, founder John Marrino told the outlet.

An additional $1.3 million has been allocated for brewery expansions that will include more fermentation space, among other brewery improvements.

But OMB, which produced 19,100 barrels last year, according to the Brewers Association, plans to cap production at 24,999 barrels until a state law prohibiting self-distributing beer companies from cross over the threshold is changed.

“There’s no reason for me to take my foot off the accelerator just yet,” Marrino told the outlet. “We firmly believe we’re going to change this law.”

In addition to the expansion projects, OMB has also invested in a new advertising campaign entitled “Now You Know Better,” that appears to target, oddly enough, other craft brewers.

In addition to a pair of radio spots, the company has launched billboards that take aim at poorly made beer.

“Craft beer roulette was fun…for awhile. Now you know better,” one billboard reads.

“It’s not easy brewing beer this delicious. Want proof? Other beer. Now you know better,” reads another.

“It used to be, that local equals good,” OMB director of sales Ryan Self told the Charlotte Agenda. “That wasn’t sustainable. Then, it was craft equals good, also not sustainable. Now it’s time to say that only good beer equals good, that’s sustainable and that’s what we’re moving towards.”

Stone to Tap First Richmond-Brewed Beer

Virginia drinkers looking for their first state of a locally produced Stone beer will finally be able purchase the suds tonight, at 5 P.M., during a tapping event at the Southern Railway Taphouse in Richmond, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The traditional Stone IPA, brewed in Richmond, and a differing “Virginia Brewery Prototype” version are being kegged today, according to the report.

Local retailers will begin receive draft shipments next week.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery Production Up 30 Percent in 2016


Appalachian Mountain Brewery revenues were up 47 percent through the first three months of 2015, to $511,743, CEO Sean Spiegelman wrote in shareholder update this week.

Through the first six months of the year, the company has also “surpassed its total craft beverage production for all three previous years combined” by 30 percent, thanks in part to increased contract production and distribution opportunities via AMB’s partnership with Craft Brew Alliance.

“As represented in our most recent financials, both revenue and profitability are up significantly, a trend we expect to sustain as our Master Distribution Agreement with Craft Brew Alliance continues to evolve and accelerate,” Spiegelman wrote.

As part of that arrangement, AMB said it plans to explore new distribution opportunities in South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Beer Institute Reports Import Volumes Through May

beer institute 970

The Beer Institute this week reported beer’s latest import figures, using information reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Mexico leads all importers of beer into the U.S., selling in more than 9.7 million barrels year-to-date through May, up 18.4 percent over last year. Year-to-date shipments of beer from the Netherlands and Belgium, meanwhile, are down 1.9 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively.

More than 14.3 million barrels of beer have already been imported into the U.S., up 7.8 percent over last year. In 2015, imported beer eclipsed 31.2 million barrels in the, approximately 15 percent of total U.S. beer volumes, according to the Beer Institute.

South Carolina’s Greenco Beverage Profiled

South Carolina’s Upstate Business Journal yesterday published a feature on Greenville-based beer distributor Russell Farr and his company, Greenco Beverage.

The company, founded 100 years ago, is currently building a new 120,000 sq. ft. distribution warehouse that will “help propel Greenco forward into a second century of business.”

Greenco, which employs 110, distributes 120 beer and 40 soft drink brands, according to the report. Revenues are expected to reach $60 million in 2016, up from just $16 million 10 years ago.

There’s plenty of company history included in the piece, but one thing the author left out was Farr’s brief stint as a popstar in the 1980s. Performing under the name “Biff and the Buckwads,” Farr recorded a spoof of Murray Head’s hit single, “One Night in Bangkok.”

Thankfully a video of Farr’s version, “One Night in Buckhead,” is available over on YouTube and it’s replete with some truly amazing old photographs (including some of young Russell Farr himself).