Last Call: Utah Brewers Cooperative Makes Cuts; Starbucks Expands Late Night Program

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Utah Brewers Cooperative Restructures Executive Leadership

Three top-level employees of the Utah Brewers Cooperative, comprised of Squatters and Wasatch Beers, were laid off from the company last week, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. According to the website, the company let go of brewmaster Dan Burick, who had been with the company for 26 years, CFO Sean Boyle and national sales director George Allen as part of a restructuring initiative.

In 2012, private equity firm Fireman Capital made a significant investment in the company, and in recent years has helped it grow. More recently, Fireman has invested in Oskar Blues and is now “consolidating parts of the Utah and Colorado beer operations,” per the Tribune.

“There were some duplications of responsibilities on the sales, financial and production departments,” Judy Cullen, Squatters’ marketing director, told the Tribune, “so a difficult decision had to be made.”

In the shakeup, John McCormick has been promoted to national sales manager, Jon Lee to director of brewing and cellar operations, and Adam Curfew to director of production and packaging, reports the Tribune.

Half Acre’s Plan for New Brewery Approved

Half Acre’s plans to build a destination brewery, taproom, beer garden and restaurant were approved by Chicago’s Plan Commission on Thursday, reports DNAinfo. The project had initially faced objections from some local residents who worried about noise and a beer-centric spot intruding in the family-oriented Bowmanville neighborhood, the website adds, though it generally received more favorable backing. When up and running, the new place will serve as the company’s flagship facility, though it will keep open its current home on North Lincoln Ave.

Starbucks Expands Beer Service

Coffee giant Starbucks now sells craft beer and wine at more than 70 locations across the country after it added two dozen new locations this week. According to USA today, the company has also already submitted liquor license applications for “several hundred” more locations, continuing its investment in creating an evening experience. “We learned resoundingly that our customers want to come to Starbucks and have a glass of wine or a craft beer,” said Rachel Antalek, vice president of concept innovations at Starbucks. “There aren’t that many places to go in the evening where you can go very relaxed, very casual. It’s not loud. You can actually have a small group and hear yourself talk.” The company expects the implementation of alcohol sales to create $1 billion in annual sales by 2019.

Constellation Brands Launches New Investment Arm

Constellation Brands has announced the creation of Constellation Ventures, a new investment arm “focused on identifying smaller-scale investment opportunities related to innovative concepts and emerging categories within beverage alcohol.”

“We are moving forward in a competitive and ever-changing industry by identifying opportunities for innovation, both inside and outside the company, as part of our total growth strategy,” said Bill Newlands, executive vice president and chief growth officer of Constellation Brands, in a statement. “Constellation Ventures connects us with entrepreneurial brands and technologies, and allows us to support consumer-proven products early in their lifecycle.”

Concurrently, the company announced it acquired a minority stake in Crafthouse Cocktails, a premium bottled cocktail company, as its first investment.


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