Press Clips: Boston Beer Strikes Truly Sponsorship Deal with NHL; Great Divide Sells Land in Denver

Truly Hard Seltzer Named Official Hard Seltzer of the NHL

The Boston Beer Company today announced it has inked a five-year deal for Truly Hard Seltzer to be the “official hard seltzer” of the National Hockey League. The agreement is Boston Beer’s first national sports league partnership.

The sponsorship will begin at the start of the 2019-2020 season on October 2, and will give the brand exposure both through broadcasts and stadiums during the regular season, Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Stanley Cup Final. Truly will also sponsor the Truly Hard Seltzer NHL PreGame during the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic as well as the 2020 NHL Stadium Series.

“As the beer category continues to evolve, we’re thrilled to become the first national sports league partner of The Boston Beer Company,” NHL chief business officer and executive vice president Keith Wachtel said in a press release. “With a thriving business across multiple categories, they are an ideal partner to engage with our avid fan base. We’re excited to develop fun and unique activations across their portfolio of brands.”

In December 2017, Boston Beer and the Boston Red Sox announced a multi-year agreement to make Samuel Adams “the official beer of the Boston Red Sox.”

Great Divide Brewing Sells 2.4 Acres of Land

Denver’s Great Divide Brewing is scrapping plans to build a new production brewery on five acres of land that it purchased in 2013, according to alt-weekly newspaper Westword.

Local developer McWhinney is under contract to purchase 2.4 acres of the land, while Great Divide will keep the rest of the property, which houses its packaging warehouse and its Barrel Bar taproom. Should the sale close as planned, Great Divide will have 10,000 sq. ft. of land remaining for possible expansion.

Great Divide broke ground on the new land in 2014 in what was intended to be a multiphase expansion project. The first phase included a packaging warehouse; the second phase was slated add fermenters, a brewhouse with a 100,000 barrels of capacity, and a second taproom.

Great Divide founder and owner Brian Dunn told Business Den the company wasn’t sure it would use all the land at the time of purchase.

“We thought it [was] better to end up with more land than needed than to not have enough,” he said.

David Jaudes, VP of multifamily development for McWhinney, told Business Den that his company had been negotiating with Great Divide for about two years.

Great Divide experienced significant sales declines in 2015 and 2016. According to national trade group the Brewers Association, Great Divide’s production declined 20 percent, to 31,575, in 2018.

Dunn said the funds from the sale will be used to pay off the debt and invest in sales and marketing.

“It’s a reality that in the beer industry, you have to adapt constantly,” he told the outlet. “If we make a plan and then see that a different plan makes better sense, we have to change it. Because of that, you try not to get too emotionally connected to plans.”

March First Brewing Acquires Figleaf Brewing Company

March First Manufacturing, the parent company of Cincinnati’s March First Brewing, has acquired FigLeaf Brewing Company in Middletown, Ohio.

“We are thrilled to welcome the FigLeaf team, brand and product mix into our family,” March First spokesperson Josh Engel said in a press release. “FigLeaf’s lineup is very complementary to the other March First brands and has a wonderful and loyal following extending well into Monroe, Middletown, Trenton, Greater Miami Valley and metropolitan Dayton markets.”

The 3-year-old Figleaf’s beer is distributed in 18 Ohio counties and six Northern Kentucky counties.

With the news of the acquisition, Figleaf will begin a brewery expansion to add 3,000 sq. ft. to its taproom, The brewery will also increase its brewing capacity by 2,000 barrels a year.

“We are very excited about our future and feel like we are on a team that can help us accelerate the plans we have been developing for years,” FigLeaf general manager Brian Yavorsky said in the release. “Not only are we keeping the current staff in place we are hiring bar, kitchen and cellar operations folks to support our next phase.”

Eastern Market Brewing to Take Over Former Axle Brewing Space

Three months after announcing it was seeking a buyer, Ferndale, Michigan-based Axle Brewing’s shuttered brewery and taproom is being sold to Detroit’s Eastern Market Brewing Co., according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

Eastern Market plans to assume Axle’s former 10,000 sq. ft. space and open a taproom and restaurant in late 2019 or early 2020. The deal is pending licensing approval.

In June, Axle Brewing president Dan Riley said the company was looking to “secure a strategic partner or buyer.” Riley and Carolyn Bellinson will both maintain ownership of the building, according to Crain’s.

Allagash Achieves B-Corp Certification

Portland, Maine-based Allagash Brewing Company is now a Certified B Corp. The craft brewery earned an 83 B Corp score, surpassing the required score of 80 needed for certification. Allagash is Maine’s first brewery to achieve B Corp status, joining six other B Corp Certified businesses in the state.

Allagash attributed its B Corp Certification to an initiative to use 1 million pounds of Maine-grown grain by 2021 and its Community Grant Program, which provides funding to local non-profit organizations.

Details of A-B InBev’s Second Asia IPO Attempt Revealed

Anheuser-Busch InBev is aiming to raise up to $6.6 billion in what may be the world’s second largest IPO, Reuters reported. The beer giant told the outlet it would offer 1.3 billion shares at between HK$27 and HK$30, or $3.45-$3.84, apiece.

However, recent anti-government protests in Hong Kong could threaten the IPO by negatively affecting the stock market, according to the outlet.

“You could say that the conditions are more challenging, but when we listen to potential investors we believe that there is solid excitement about this business and its IPO,” Jan Craps, CEO of Budweiser APAC, told Reuters.

In July, AB InBev aimed to raise $9.8 billion through an IPO of Budweiser Brewing Company APAC. The new offering includes “upsize” options, which would allow A-B InBev to increase its share 36.8%, allowing the sale to balloon to $6.6 million. Without the option, A-B InBev could raise up to $4.8 billion. According to CNBC, the AB InBev plans to list the offering on September 30.

Judge Names Lead Counsel in Anheuser-Busch Class-Action Suit

In New York federal court, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein named California-based law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as lead counsel in a class-action suit filed against Anheuser-Busch, according to Law 360. The lawsuit claims A-B InBev misled investors about its ability to reduce its debt. The firm’s client, City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System, will serve as lead plaintiff.

According to the lawsuit, A-B’s acquisitions of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo and Korea’s Oriental Brewing, and merger with SABMiller caused its debt to nearly double between 2013 and 2017. The beer giant’s debt-to-earnings ratio was 4.8 by the end of 2017, and debt rating agencies have given the company until next year to reduce that number to 3.0 or face a potential rating downgrade.

According to the lawsuit, A-B InBev continued to positively represent its finances and deceive its investors. This led to a 9.5% drop in shares in October, and investors claim the company concealed the true state of its finances.

Cigar City Brewing and Tampa Bay Lightning Announce Partnership

The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning has inked a multi-year partnership with Cigar City Brewing to make the Tampa-based craft brewery the official craft beer partner of the team and AMALIE Arena, according to a press release.

During the 2019-2020 season, Cigar City, which is part of the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective, will open a taproom adjacent to the arena plaza. Three Cigar City beers — Jai Alai IPA, Guayabera pale ale, and Florida Cracker wit — will also be sold at the arena.

The Hunahpu’s Beer Festival, a one-day celebration of the Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout released annually by Cigar City, will also be held at the arena in March 2020.

Coors Edge to Launch in the U.S. in November

MillerCoors announced that its non-alcoholic offering, Coors Edge, will launch in the U.S. in November, after releasing in Canada last year. Coors Edge, which contains 41 calories and less than 0.5% ABV, will replace Coors Non-Alcoholic. Coors Edge joins Sharp’s in MillerCoors’ portfolio of non-alcoholic beer offerings.

Rock Bottom Brewery Auctioning off Assets from Arizona Location

Assets from Rock Bottom Brewery’s Glendale, Arizona, location are being sold during an auction that is slated to begin October 1 and conclude on October 4. Up for auction is the brewpub’s 20-barrel brewery, kitchen, fermenters, water tanks, serving tanks, and more, according to a posting by Heritage Global Partners.

Yuengling Partners with Pink Boots Society for Scholarship

D.G. Yuengling and Son has donated $50,000 to the Pink Boots Society, a nonprofit aimed at assisting female beer professionals, to launch the Yuengling Women in Brewing Scholarship. Up to $12,500 in scholarship funds will be provided to two women in order to advance their education in the brewing industry. Beer professionals can apply to brewing courses at various levels of experience at several colleges, including Cornell University and the University of South Florida. The application period for the scholarship closes on September 30, while a second period will open in spring 2020.

Jon Taffer Launches Hard Seltzer Line

Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer announced the addition of a hard seltzer line to his “Taffer’s Mixologist” craft drink mixes. Taffer’s Mixologist Sparkling Craft Cocktails’ seven SKU line will be available in 12 oz. cans and check in at 5% ABV. Three flavors — Cucumber Jalapeño, Pineapple Coconut, and Strawberry Basil — will rollout in California, Florida, Nevada and Texas later this month, according to a press release. Four-packs will have a suggested retail price of $7.

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