Last Call: Wicked Weed Postpones Beer Fest; Speakeasy Sale Price Reported

Wicked Weed Moves Funkatorium Invitational; Springdale Announces Sour Beer Fest

Following Wicked Weed’s sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev last week, more than half of the breweries participating in the North Carolina brewery’s annual “Funkatorium Invitational” dropped out. After initially saying the July festival would go on as originally planned, the Asheville-based brewery has since postponed the event until August 26, 2017.

In a Facebook post, the brewery announced it would “evolve the Funkatorium Invitational and host a reimagined festival to raise money” for Eblen Charities. The company is also offering refunds to those who have already purchased tickets.

Meanwhile, two Massachusetts breweries that had pulled out of the Funkatorium Invitational — Night Shift Brewing and Springdale Barrel Room, a subdivision of Jack’s Abby — have announced plans for “We’re Funk’d Weekend,” a series of events “celebrating sour beer, community and independent craft breweries” set for the original weekend the Funkatorium Invitational was scheduled to take place.

On July 8 and 9, select restaurants, breweries and bars in Cambridge and Somerville in the Boston area will dedicate their taps to “wild, funky and acid-forward beers from dozens of independent American breweries.” A portion of the proceeds from beers being poured will be donated to charity. The weekend will conclude with a charity sour beer festival on July 9 at a yet-to-be-determined venue.

Joining Night Shift and Springdale will be Cambridge Brewing Company, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Two Roads Brewing and Avery Brewing. More participating breweries will be announced in the coming weeks.

Speakeasy Reportedly Sold for $2.5 Million

Earlier this week, former Horizon Beverage Company owner Cestra Butner, via the newly launched “Hunters Point Brewery” holding company, bought the Speakeasy Ales & Lagers brewing assets and brand.

Speakeasy did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction, however, the San Francisco Business Journal, citing court filings, reported Monday that a court approved a $2.5 million sale price for the distressed brewery.

Read more on the transaction here.

Massachusetts and Maryland Alcohol Task Forces Set Meeting Dates

This year, Massachusetts and Maryland lawmakers have both announced plans to conduct sweeping reviews of their respective state’s alcohol laws.

A Maryland task force is set to meet for the first time on May 24 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore City. The 40-member task force, assembled by Comptroller Peter Franchot, will meet 11 times through October 25, including at three town hall meetings.

“Current laws and regulations pose an existential threat to the industry’s future growth in Maryland; and with it, the jobs, economic activity, tax revenue and tourism opportunities generated by this community of innovators and entrepreneurs,” Franchot said in a press release. “In the absence of comprehensive reform, Maryland’s reputation within the national craft brewing industry will continue to suffer and the economies of our neighboring states will benefit at our expense.”

Meanwhile, a Massachusetts Task Force assembled by Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg is set to hold six public hearings in May and June. The first hearing is scheduled for May 18 in Waltham, and the final meeting is slated for June 18 in Lawrence. See more information here.

Lawson’s Finest Liquids Discusses Destination Brewery

In an interview with Boston Magazine, Sean Lawson of Vermont-based Lawson’s Finest Liquids discussed expanding distribution to the Boston market and his plans for a destination brewery in Waitsfield, VT.

“We’re just about to the finish line on permitting,” Lawson told the magazine. “We’re planning to break ground by early July on construction. The site we’re at is right in the commercial center of Waitsfield.”

The company is “rebuilding” an 8,000 sq. ft. building which will be converted into a public visitor center. A second 8,000 sq. ft. building will serve as the company’s new production facility, Lawson said. Construction is expected to take 12 months and the brewery and visitor center will open next summer, he said.

Plans call for a 30-barrel system with an initial maximum annual capacity of about 14,000 barrels. That’s a sizeable step up from Lawson’s current 7-barrel brewing system. The company also produced beer under contract at Connecticut’s Two Roads Brewing, an agreement that adds “a few thousand barrels,” the company’s annual output.

Read the full interview here.

Short’s Brewing Expects to Brew 55,000 Barrels This Year, Make $20 Million in Revenue

Michigan’s Short’s Brewing is planning to brew 55,000 barrels of beer this year, up 7,000 barrels from last year, according to a profile in Crain’s Detroit Business. The third largest craft brewer in the state of Michigan is also expecting revenues to hit $20 million in 2017, a $3 million increase over last year.

Previously only distributed in Michigan, Short’s will reportedly sell 7,500 barrels of beer across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2017. Read the full profile here.

Nebraska Lawmakers Reject ‘Job Killer’ Provision in Alcohol Bill

Earlier this week, Nebraska lawmakers shot down a come-to-rest provision that would have forced beer distributors to deliver product back to their warehouses before delivering it to retailers — a problem for suppliers who use distributors several cities away, according to television news station KWBE.

The proposal, backed by wholesalers, was voted down 30-4.

Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue reportedly called the bill “a job killer that will hinder the expansion of the craft brewers industry.”

PicoBrew Raises $1.8 million on Kickstarter

It’s the final day of PicoBrew’s Kickstarter campaign for Pico Model C, which has raised in excess of $1.8 million from 4,000 backers in what the Seattle company is hailing as the “most successful food kickstarter ever.”

Pico Model C is a countertop model capable of brewing a craft beer in about two hours as well as cook sous-vide, brew kombucha and gluten-reduced beer. This is just one of several successful crowdfunding campaigns by the company, which included Pico — Craft Beer at Home, PicoBrew Zymatic: Automatic Beer Brewing Appliance and Kegsmarts: Smart Craft Brewpub Kegerator.

Tree House Brewing Tweaks Joe Flacco

Massachusetts-based Tree House Brewing Co. is asking a question on the minds of many NFL watchers: “Is Joe Flacco elite?”

The question is printed on the bottom of 12,000 cans, next to the date that the beer was brewed, according to ESPN. Tree House packaging line operator Andrew Pillsbury reportedly came up with the idea to put the question about the Baltimore Ravens quarterback on the cans, a couple of which were sent to the football franchise’s headquarters.

“I figured, let’s open it up to our audience and let’s see what they think,” Pillsbury told ESPN.

Budweiser Pays Tribute to Derek Jeter

Budweiser found success last year with a tribute commercial to Harry Caray and the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Now, the Major League Baseball sponsor is releasing “This Bud’s for 2,” a two-minute tribute to New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter, whose No. 2 jersey will be retired this weekend by the ballclub.

The video, created with VaynerMedia, is below.

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