Press Clips: C&C Group Continues to Struggle in U.S. Market; Target to Sell More Craft

Pabst Unlikely to Buy C&C Group’s U.S. Cider Business

C&C Group CEO Stephen Glancey recently told The Irish Times that he would be “surprised” if Pabst Brewing Company exercised its option to acquire the organization’s U.S. cider business.

“I can’t judge where they sit, but they would have anticipated the business would have performed better than it’s been doing,” Glancey told the outlet. “But the category’s in pretty sharp decline in the US.”

In late 2015, Pabst signed an exclusive agreement to distribute, market and sell C&C Group products in the U.S. As part of the deal, Pabst has an opportunity to buy the U.S. business for a minimum of $150 million.

C&C Group made a big bet on the U.S. market in 2012, when it purchased Vermont Hard Cider (makers of the popular Woodchuck brand) for $305 million. However, C&C has since incurred two impairment charges of more than $318 million, essentially meaning it overpaid for the Vermont Cider business.

C&C’s chairman Brian Stewart admitted during the annual meeting that the U.S. has been a “major disappointment.”

Retail Roundup

Meijer Now Offering Beer Delivery in Michigan

Meijer grocery stores have begun home delivery of beer, wine and liquor throughout the company’s home state of Michigan via the Shipt app, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In order to access the delivery service, the Grand Rapids-headquartered supermarket chain, which operates more than 230 stores across six states, is requiring consumers to be at least 21 and sign up for Shipt’s $99 annual membership.

“We’ve received an incredible amount of feedback from customers wanting to take advantage of our large selection of craft beers and wine,” Meijer’s vice president of digital shopping Art Sebastian told the outlet.

The company is also looking to sell beer at two additional gas station locations in Grand Rapids, according to Michigan Live. The grocer began selling beer and wine at most of its gas stations in late 2016 as a result of changes to state laws.

Target to Expand Craft Beer Selection

Retail giant Target is planning to expand its craft beer selection at more than 300 stores this year, according to a recent report from Time Money.

Target executives made the announcement during the company’s last quarterly earnings call. In 2016, alcoholic beverages, led by craft beer, were reportedly the retail chain’s fastest growing division.

Target senior manager of public relations Amy Joiner told Time Money that the company is reviewing its footprint, planning remodels and applying for new liquor licenses this year.

Last April, Target hired a regional beer buyer to curate its shelf sets.

Craft beer makes up more than a quarter of Target’s total liquor sales, according to the company’s website.

World of Beer Names New COO

Last month, World of Beer promoted David Reid to the role of chief operating officer, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Reid previously served as the tavern chain’s vice president of operations and had been overseeing the company’s growth strategy.

Meanwhile, a pair of World of Beer locations in Miami have closed, according to Miami New Times. On July 5, the World of Beer at the Palms at Town & Country, which opened in 2012, was evicted, following the closure of a midtown Miami spot’s closure in May.

Miami New Times reported that an eviction lawsuit filed in May in Miami-Dade County civil court cited failure to pay more than $105,000 in back rent. Monthly rent was $12,320.

Sales and Shutterings

French Broad Brewery Acquired

North Carolina’s French Broad Brewery has been sold, but not to nearby Thirsty Monk Pub and Brewery, as previously reported.

Instead, a pair of entrepreneurs, Sarah and Paul Casey, purchased of Asheville-based craft brewery on June 1, according to the Mountain Xpress. The Chapel Hill couple has plans to renovate and expand its taproom, according to the report.

“French Broad was once considered a pioneer and innovator and we want to return to that position and re-engage the community,” Paul Casey said in a release. “I am honored to take this brand to the next level and maximize its potential.”

In May 2016, Thirsty Monk Pub and Brewery announced the purchase of French Broad, but the deal reportedly fell through.

Stumblefoot Brewing Sold

Meanwhile, in San Marcos, Calif., Stumblefoot Brewing Company founder Bill Randolph has sold his business to Cameron Rentch and Cory Schmelzer, according to the San Diego Reader. The transaction reportedly occurred in January.

“We were originally hoping to do a new brewery inside San Elijo Hills,” Rentsch told the outlet. “Right about that same time, after really pushing through that, we found out that Bill might be interested in exiting. The timing just really worked out for everybody.”

The new owners hope to eventually expand distribution, and possibly open new locations, but in the meantime halted bottling and distribution.

Mad Mouse, Heinzelmannchen Breweries Close

Elsewhere, Chicago’s Moxee Barbecue and Mad Mouse Brewery announced via Facebook that it would close on June 30. However, the company said that Mad Mouse beer would continue to be brewed at Prairie Moon in Evanston.

And in Sylva, North Carolina, the Heinzelmannchen Brewery has permanently closed, effective July 13.

The brewery made the announcement on its Facebook page and website, thanking consumers for their support over the last 13 years and noted that founder and brewmaster Dieter Kuhn “will be brewing somewhere for another brewery” in the future.