Last Call: Schlafly Acquires Trailhead Brewing; German Keg Company Blefa Invests in American Keg

The Saint Louis Brewery Acquires Trailhead Brewing Co.

Schlafly beer maker The Saint Louis Brewery has acquired Trailhead Brewing Co.’s brewery and operations in St. Charles, Missouri.

Schlafly plans to transform Trailhead’s space into Schlafly Bankside brewpub, the company’s third in the St. Louis area. Schlafly currently operates Schlafly Tap Room and Schlafly Bottleworks.

Trailhead owner Bob Kirkwood plans to retire after 25 years in the business.

“When considering the possibility of selling Trailhead Brewing Company, my partners and I felt that it was important to find a suitable buyer that would continue to brew quality beer, contribute the same positive experience to the customer and value the current staff,” he said in a press release. “With these requirements in mind combined with Schlafly’s respected reputation within the brewing and hospitality industries in the St. Louis metro area, we found a perfect fit.”

Schlafly’s production declined 11% in 2018 to 40,000 barrels, according to an estimate by the Brewers Association. That same year, Trailhead produced 810 barrels of beer.

Schlafly plans to maintain Trailhead’s “character and charm” while investing in improvements and renovations of the space, which is slated to relaunch in early 2020. In the meantime, the space will continue operating as Trailhead Brewing through January.

Additionally, Schlafly is offering all of Trailhead’s employees jobs at the rebranded brewpub.

Last May, a new investor group led by real estate developer David Schlafly, the cousin of Schlafly co-founder Tom Schlafly, acquired a controlling interest in The Saint Louis Brewery from private equity firm Sage Capital and several current and former Schlafly employees.

In other Schlafly news, the company expanded its distribution in December statewide in Oklahoma. Schlafly’s beer is now sold in 15 states.

German Keg Company Invests in American Keg

German keg company Blefa Kegs has acquired a “major stake” in Pottstown, Pennsylvania-based American Keg, the companies announced this week.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to the press release, the agreement between the two keg companies “ensures accelerated growth in product and employment for American Keg.”

“I’m very pleased that we could work with Blefa on this investment of equity and know-how”, American Keg owner Scott Bentley said in a press release. “While I’m proud of establishing American Keg as the only manufacturer of kegs in the US, there is a lot we can learn from Blefa to make our production more efficient. I’m excited to see what we can achieve together.”

As part of the transaction, all investment from Blefa in American Keg is committed to Pottstown for the next two years.

According to its website, Blefa is among the top suppliers of stainless steel kegs for beer, wine and soft drinks. The company is part of the Artemis Holding group based in Switzerland. Blefa employs 155 workers in Germany and about 40 in the U.S., at its outposts in La Vergne, Tennessee, and Vancouver, Washington. However, the company does not produce kegs in the U.S.

American Keg CEO Paul Czachor told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Blefa will make a “multimillion-dollar investment” in American Keg.

Lake Superior Brewing Closes After 25 Years

Duluth, Minnesota-based Lake Superior Brewing closed its doors after 25 years, the Pioneer Press reported.

The craft brewery, which opened in 1994, is believed to have ceased production in October and closed its taproom at the end of November. The brewery’s landlord, King Properties, is hoping to sell the brewery to a new beer manufacturer, the outlet added.

Lake Superior produced 1,820 barrels of beer in 2018, according to the Brewers Association.

Anheuser-Busch Launches Bud Light Seltzer Ads

Anheuser-Busch InBev launched its first campaign for Bud Light Seltzer last week, including three commercial spots with an Office-like feel, set Seltzer, Pennsylvania.

Also part of the campaign is a Bud Light Seltzer hotline, 1-833-BL-SELTZ, which is staffed with real people answering questions about hard seltzer.

Bud Light Seltzer is being produced at A-B’s facility in Baldwinsville, New York, reported.



Heineken Taps 007 for Heineken 0.0 Ad

Heineken’s latest ads for its non-alcoholic Heineken 0.0 brand feature Daniel Craig as himself although getting mistaken for James Bond. The ads are part of the company’s long-time partnership with the James Bond film franchise, with the next installment, No Time to Die, slated to premier in April.

The ads, titled “Daniel Craig vs. James Bond,” features the actor behaving decidedly less smooth and more human than the spy.


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