Last Call: Trump Makes Tax Reform Law; Left Hand Seeks $6 Million in Damages in White Labs Lawsuit

President Trump Signs Tax Cuts into Law

President Donald Trump has officially signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes two years of lower excise taxes for alcohol makers and importers, into law.

Earlier this week, the U.S Congress voted to pass the $1.5 trillion rewrite of the federal tax code, which includes the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).

Prior to signing the bill today, Trump hailed the legislation as “the biggest ever Tax Cut and Reform Bill.” After signing it, Trump tweeted: “95% of Americans will pay less or, at worst, the same amount of taxes (mostly far less). The Dems only want to raise your taxes!”

Read more of Brewbound’s coverage on the legislation here.

Left Hand Lawsuit Against White Labs Moves to Federal Court

Colorado-based Left Hand Brewing Company’s negligence and breach of contract lawsuit against yeast supplier White Labs has been moved to U.S. District Court in Denver, according to the Denver Post.

Left Hand is reportedly seeking $6 million in damages from the San Diego-based yeast supplier, which it accuses of selling the brewery contaminated brewers yeast that led to a $2 million recall of Nitro Milk Stout in 2016. White Labs has denied the allegations, arguing Left Hand has “no specific proof” of the origin of the contamination and that “each White Labs culture undergoes a rigorous testing process from start to finish.”

Read more about the case here.

Beer Institute Releases November Domestic Tax Paid Estimates

The Beer Institute, citing TTB data, has published an unofficial estimate of domestic tax paid shipments for U.S. beer makers through November, and for the second consecutive month, the number of shipments increased over the previous year.

According to the BI, U.S. brewers shipped more than 12.5 million barrels of beer in November, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period last year. However, total beer shipments have declined 1.7 percent, to 157,547,000 barrels through the first 11 months of the year.

U.S. brewers have shipped about 2.7 million fewer barrels compared to 2016.

Brewers Association Offers to Pay to Return Lost Kegs

The Brewers Association (BA), a nonprofit industry trade group representing small and independent U.S. brewers, is offering to pay the freight costs to return its members’ lost kegs form MicroStar’s facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Currently, MicroStar has more than 15,000 wayward kegs at its facility. Find out more information here, and the BA said it will pay a one-time freight charge to return kegs to member breweries that have not taken part in its repatriation program.

“The issue of lost kegs costs every brewer between $0.46 and $1.37 per barrel of annual keg production,” the BA reported. “The high cost of keg loss directly impedes job growth, reduces brewer, distributor, and retailer profits and increases the retail price of American-made beer.”

Texas Craft Brewers Fight to Sell Distribution Rights

Three Texas craft breweries say they will appeal a judge’s ruling last week that overturned their right to once again sell distribution rights, according to Austin 360.

After being stripped of those rights in 2013, Live Oak, Peticolas and Revolver successfully sued the state last year. Now those companies will attempt to take their case to the Texas Supreme Court.

“Texas’s prohibition on selling distribution rights was written by distributors, for distributors, at the expense of brewers,” Institute for Justice senior attorney Paul Sherman, whose firm is representing the breweries, said in a news release. “That sort of naked wealth transfer is unconstitutional.”

Cidery Burned Down in California Wildfires

Ventura County-based Anna’s Cider was completely destroyed during the recent California wildfires. The cidery, run by husband and wife Dominic and Anna O’Reilly, was relatively new; its first apple crush was held October 29, and the company was beginning to get placements in local restaurants.

However, everything changed on December 4 when the company’s building, equipment and product succumbed to the fire. The O’Reillys didn’t have insurance, and now the couple is asking for help via a $100,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. As of press time, Anna’s Cider had raised $5,645.

Lagunitas to Release Sumpin’ Easy

Lagunitas’ second can release, Sumpin’ Easy, a 5.7 percent ABV ale, will be released in 12-packs and on draft in early 2018. Sumpin’ Easy plays off the name of the company’s A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ wheat beer, and it’s described as “everything we’ve learned about making hop-forward beer expressed in a moderate voice. Pale, cold, slightly alcoholic, and bitter.”

Anheuser-Busch Releases Latest Bud Light Dilly Dilly Ad

Anheuser-Busch’s next ad in the Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” campaign starts this weekend. The latest TV spots features a wizard performing magic tricks for a king who only wants more Bud Light. Watch the spot above.

Thai Beverage Acquires Majority Stake in Sabeco

The Vietnamese government’s auction of a 54 percent majority stake in the state-owned Sabeco brewery ended Monday with a $5 billion bid from a unit of Thai Beverage, according to Reuters.

Thai Beverage was reportedly the only major bidder despite early interest from Anheuser-Busch InBev and Asahi Group Holdings.

According to research firm GlobalData, beer volumes in Vietnam increased by 7.4 percent in 2016, and the company is forecasting a “compound annual growth rate of 6.57 percent between 2015 and 2020.”

“Vietnam benefits from a large youthful population and a strong social drinking culture oriented around beer,” GlobalData consumer analyst Peter Hays said in a press release.

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