Last Call: Shipyard Brewing Looks to Pivot in Portland; TTB Collects Record Offer for Trade Practice Violations

Shipyard Proposes ‘Brewtel,’ Intends to Scale Back Production

Maine’s Shipyard Brewing Co. has proposed a $65 million redevelopment that would transform its downtown Portland brewery and taproom into a beer-themed hotel, according to the Portland Press Herald.

As a result of the proposed redevelopment, Shipyard would scale down its production in Portland and decommission a 100-barrel brewhouse. In its place, the company plans to install a 3-barrel brewhouse at the “Brewtel.” Meanwhile, the company plans to convert its Portland warehouse facility into a 30-barrel brewery and shift some production to its facilities in Bangor, Kennebunk, Clearwater, Florida, and Burlington, Vermont.

Also as part of the proposed downtown development project, the company said it would demolish its bottling plant and build a 105-room hotel, a three-story residential building, an office building, a four-story parking garage and a pharmacy. The project is slated to begin this summer.

Shipyard founder Fred Forsley also told the outlet that the company’s decision to significantly scale back production at the downtown brewery would result in the loss of about 30 jobs. Those workers will be offered jobs at the company’s satellite brewpub locations, as well as other “partner” businesses with employment opportunities.

“Given time and notice, we are confident that no one will be out of work,” Forsley told the outlet.

All of those moves come as Shipyard’s production has declined from a peak of more than 166,000 barrels of beer in 2013, to about 93,000 barrels last year.

Warsteiner Importers and TTB Agree to $900,000 Offer in Compromise

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) this week announced the acceptance of a $900,000 offer in compromise from Warsteiner Importers Agency Inc. for alleged trade practice violations — “the largest single offer in compromise for trade practice violations” ever accepted by the agency.

The Ohio-based company was accused of engaging in illegal tied house, commercial bribery and exclusive outlet violations committed in order to compromise a retailer’s independence from January 1, 2015, through April 19, 2018.

The federal government gave the TTB a $5 million appropriation to enforce trade practice violations. The agency previously announced investigations in Illinois, Florida and California.

Jim McGreevy

US Extends Tariff Relief for Allies Until June

The Trump administration announced this week that it will delay the implementation of aluminum and steel tariffs on the European Union, Mexico and Canada until June 1, according to Bloomberg.

The White House has already reached preliminary agreements with Argentina, Australia and Brazil, the outlet reported.

President Donald Trump imposed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum as well as a 25 percent duty on foreign steel in March. Beer industry trade groups have opposed the tariffs, calling them a $347 million tax on the industry.

In a press release, Beer Institute president and CEO Jim McGreevy called the exemption for the nation’s trade allies “a positive step,” but he said the price of aluminum continues to “skyrocket.”

“In order to compete, American brewers need a fair and transparent pricing system for aluminum where there is a more diverse set of inputs and a two-factor system of pricing product premiums – tariff-included and non-tariff – so country exemptions are reflected,” he said. “Industries thrive when there is predictability and accountability in the metals market.”

Keith Villa (left)

Blue Moon Creator to Contract Brew THC-Infused Non-Alcoholic Drinks at Sleeping Giant

Nearly two months after announcing plans to release a line of THC-infused non-alcoholic beers, Blue Moon creator Keith Villa told Brewbound that his new venture is on track to have products in the market by the end of the year.

Villa, who earlier this year left MillerCoors after 32 years, said he’ll contract brew the products from his new company, Ceria Beverages, at the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Denver.

During a session on cannabis at this week’s Craft Brewers Conference, Villa urged brewers considering getting into the space to consult with cannabis attorneys in their home states.

“There are tons of legal hurdles that you have to jump,” he said. “We hope to pioneer our way through it, and give people a path to follow.”

Stone Opens Another Berlin Taproom

San Diego’s Stone Brewing is increasing its presence in Berlin, Germany. Less than two years after opening a brewpub and biergarten in Berlin, the San Diego-headquartered craft brewery is opening a taproom in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, Forbes reported.

The new taproom comes after Stone opened a brewery and restaurant in the Mariendorf section of south-central Berlin in 2016. The Berlin taproom won’t be the only new Stone venue to open this year. Stone’s Napa County, California, taproom is slated to open on May 6, and the company recently announced plans to open a Shanghai outpost.

Molson Coors Reports Q1 Earnings

Sales of Molson Coors products declined 4.8 percent in Q1 2018, the company reported on Wednesday.

In a press release, Molson Coors president and CEO Mark Hunter said a 6.7 percent decline in U.S. sales to wholesalers (STWs) was in part due to the implementation of a new ordering system at its Golden, Colorado, brewery.

“Compared to last year, we under-shipped by approximately 450,000 hectoliters, which represents approximately $30 million of gross profit, and we expect this to reverse on a full-year basis,” the company said.

During the Q&A session, MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley added that the company’s out-of-stock issues have been “more significant” in the Central and Pacific Northwest regions and in the Great Lakes “to a limited degree.”

U.S. sales to retailers (STRs) also declined 3.8 percent, which the company attributed to poor weather.

Click here for more details on the company’s quarterly performance.

Jack Glunz Dead at 82

John “Jack” Glunz, the CEO of Chicago’s Louis Glunz Beer Inc., one of the oldest beer wholesalers in the country, died last week of an infection at the age of 82, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

A funeral mass for Glunz is scheduled for today, and he’ll be buried at All Saints Cemetery & Mausoleum in Des Plaines.

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