Press Clips: Anheuser-Busch to Feature NBA, MLB Athletes in Ads; Celis Brewery Assumes Sales of Uncle Billy’s, Pedernales Brands

A-B to Use NBA, MLB Players in Ads

Anheuser-Busch InBev has struck new deals with the Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association players unions that will allow the world’s largest beer manufacturer to feature active pro athletes from both sports in its marketing campaigns, according to Ad Age.

A-B InBev U.S. chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes called the new partnerships “a game-changing thing in the way we deal with sponsorships.”

“Fans are first and foremost connected to currently active players,” he told the outlet. “That is what drives the conversation. This is what influences culture.”

According to Ad Age, A-B and the National Basketball Players Association tested the new arrangement earlier this year with a mother’s day ad featuring Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant. Now, the brewer is targeting 16 pro basketball players to feature this season — and that number could grow.

Meanwhile, A-B’s deal with the MLB will kickoff next season.

Although the NFL still bars its athletes from being featured in alcohol ads, Marcondes told Ad Age he is negotiating to lift the ban.

The move is a reversal of course as professional sports leagues have long prohibited active players from being featured in advertisements promoting alcohol.

Celis Brewery Takes Over Sales for Uncle Billy’s and Pedernales

The relationship between the Austin, Texas’ Celis Brewery and the Bob Leggett-owned Uncle Billy’s and Pedernales beer brands continues to expand.

Celis, which contract brews Leggett’s Pedernales and Robert Earl Keen brands, as well as about 80 percent of Uncle Billy’s volume, has assumed sales responsibilities for all three brands. In a press release, Leggett called the move “a big step forward in our ability to continue to grow the sales and distribution” of his brands.

“The synergies of brands, the expanded reach into additional markets of the Celis sales team, and the seasoned sales experience of the Celis sales team will allow us to get our beer in far more places to satisfy growing demand for our fantastic craft beers,” he said.

Celis sales director Brad Foster will lead the sales team representing the brands.

Beer Institute Releases Domestic Tax Paid Estimate for August

August marked just the third month of 2018 in which U.S. breweries shipped more beer than during the same period in 2017, according to the Beer Institute (BI), which cited unofficial estimates of domestic tax paid shipments from the TTB.August also marked the second consecutive month of positive shipment numbers as U.S. brewers shipped about 15.4 million barrels of beer, up 0.1 percent over last year.

“Performance among all beer segments improved during the summer, following a very challenging first half of the year, in which the industry faced many supply chain-related issues,” BI chief economist Michael Uhrich said, via a press release. “Many supply issues that prevented greater performance during the first half of the year appear resolved, however, transportation remains a concern for beer and many other industries.”

Uhrich added that the FMB category, including hard seltzers, was the “top performing segment during the summer selling season,” although imports continued on as the top performing segment year-to-date.

Through the first eight months of 2018, U.S. brewers shipped more than 114.4 million barrels of beer, down 2 percent from 2017 levels when beer companies shipped more than 116.7 million barrels.

Founders Brewing Exits Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Michigan’s Founders Brewing Company has terminated its membership in the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce due to the organization’s endorsement of current state attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette, the company announced on Twitter.

In July, Schuette released an opinion stating that the state’s civil rights protections should not be extended to gay and transgender people.

“We stand with our LGBTQ community and ask that the @GRChamber reverse their decision,” Founders wrote. “We will be terminating our membership in the meantime and encourage our fellow local businesses to consider doing the same.”

Wicked Weed Adds Distribution in Manhattan

Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Wicked Weed has added distribution to New York City’s most densely populated borough, Manhattan. The North Carolina brewery, which is a part of A-B’s craft business unit, launched during the Octfest beer, music and food festival earlier this month. Octfest was put on by Pitchfork and the website October, which is backed by A-B’s ZX Ventures.

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