Devils Backbone Builds Out Following A-B InBev Buyout
What’s life been like for Virginia’s Devils Backbone since it was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev? Revenue is up 18 to 20 percent over the previous year, according to the News and Advance, which recently profiled the brewery.
The company is also investing millions into improving its infrastructure with numerous construction projects underway or nearing completion.
“That deal basically included $25 million for us to build out the dream,” co-owner Steve Crandall told the News and Advance, “the dream that the founders had on growing our craft brewery into eventually a national brand.”
Among the projects: a dedicated space for rare beers, a $3 million distillery, an addition to the existing brewpub and a $250,000 paved parking lot for the Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows location in Roseland. Also on the way, an expanded taproom and a 50,000 sq. ft. packaging, receiving and shipping facility in Lexington.
“It was an amazingly brilliant move to align ourselves with Anheuser-Busch,” Crandall told the paper. “They have the greatest interest in not affecting our DNA. … They’re giving us tremendous amount of autonomy.”
Devils Backbone also plans to enter a number of new states in 2017, including South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, according to the report
Coyote Hole Ciderworks to Build $775,000 Production Facility in Virginia
Coyote Hole Ciderworks is planning to build a $775,000 production cidery and tasting room in Mineral, Virginia. In addition, the cidery will buy more than a million pounds of Virginia-grown apples and fruit to be used in its products over the next three years.
“Coyote Hole Ciderworks’s investment in Louisa County bolsters Virginia’s reputation as a top East Coast craft beverage destination and highlights the growing and important link between agriculture and tourism across the Commonwealth,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a news release. “I commend Coyote Hole Ciderworks’ commitment to locally sourced apples and their expansion exemplifies the economic strength of Virginia-crafted products.”
As part of the deal, McAuliffe approved a $20,000 grant through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Louisa County is matching with local funds, to help pay for the project.
“This grant will help us get up and running, grow more quickly and bring new jobs into Louisa County while supporting local businesses throughout Virginia,” Coyote Hole president and CEO Chris Denkers said in a release.
The Commonwealth of Virginia ranks sixth in the nation for the number of cideries.
Stone CEO Discusses German Brewery, Layoffs
Stone Brewing CEO Dominic Engels recently explained his company’s philosophy for building a brewery in Germany, telling The Los Angeles Times that it wanted to be among the first U.S. craft breweries to make a name for itself in the largely untouched European marketplace.
“It’s something we need to start now so it can be of substance later,” Engels told the outlet. “There is no such thing as a homogeneous European approach that makes sense. It’s going to have to be done market by market.”
As for the layoffs in October, Engels told the Times: “Restructuring was a necessary course correction we needed to do to match our growth trajectory and spending trajectory. Pressures from Big Beer are a reality in the craft industry and will continue to impact the industry’s growth.”
Dick Yuengling Talks Trump, Distribution Challenges
In an interview with the Central Penn Business Journal, Dick Yuengling doubled down on his support of president-elect Donald Trump.
“I’m 73. I’ve been around since 1958. I’m going to speak my mind,” Yuengling told the paper. “I don’t think it impacted us a whole lot. Some of the letters were disgusting and phone calls to people in our office. We got a lot of vulgar messages. But at the same time, there were those that favored Trump who said ‘I don’t drink your beer, but I’m going to start.’”
Yuengling added that he hopes Trump keeps his word on cutting regulations and taxes on U.S. businesses.
“That’s why he was elected. I think he will keep businesses in the U.S.,” Yuengling said. “Nobody has invested as much as we have in brewing since I bought the company. I built a brewery, bought one and increased jobs. We had 40 or 50 people when I bought it. Now we have about 360. I am investing in the business in spite of the (business climate). There were 70 breweries in the U.S. back then. Today there are 5,000. That’s fine because all or most are U.S. brands, except for the major companies.”
When asked if his company faced any distribution challenges, Yuengling called out the world’s biggest beer maker.
“We face it because Anheuser-Busch doesn’t want us in their network,” he said. “We just went into Louisiana. We’ve added capacity to the brewery. Now we’re looking to either sell more in our core markets, which is Pennsylvania and surrounding states up and down the East Coast. We have the opportunity to grow because so many wholesalers want our brands. (But) we don’t have to do anything. Financially, we’re fine. We don’t have to be all over the country. We’re in 19 states now.”
Read the full interview here.
Craft Beer Cellar Responds to Backlash Over ‘Do Not Sell’ List
Following up on Craft Beer Cellar’s decision to curate its beer selection, the owners have written a blog post further explaining their decision — and admitting that the backlash has “been painful and tough to accept!”
However, CBC didn’t back down: “We will not sacrifice the hard work, reputation and commitment of the large majority of our stores across the US, in the attempt to damage this Brand.”
CBC also promised to re-evaluate the beer it is and it isn’t selling, giving the example of Lowell, Mass.-based Merrimack Ales, which had an off-flavor issue that led to it being pulled from CBC shelves. Once that issue was resolved, CBC resumed carrying the beer again.
“We have never, not once, closed a door, completely, on any brewery,” the company wrote. “All breweries deserve the chance to improve and address brewing challenges, and at the same time, some will become complacent, and quality will fall below our standard.”
CBC also noted it was in discussion with Down the Road Beer Company about being included on the Do Not Sell internal memo that was circulated online.
“We’re working on nailing down a time to sit down together and talk about our companies and how we can work together, as well as taste their beer, which is just as important,” CBC wrote. “We have been very honest with Down The Road, in sharing our opinions about their liquid, their company representatives, packaging and price.”
Brewdog Showing 80 Percent UK Sales Growth, Raises $6 Million in Crowdfunding
A quick hit from Scotland’s The Herald: BrewDog is raising more money it in the United Kingdom. The brash Scottish brewers have seen an 80 percent increase in the sale of their beer in the U.K.
And while BrewDog’s U.S. crowdfunding campaign may have slowed, James Watt and Martin Dickie were able to raise more than $6 million through a bond offering in the U.K. last month. That money will be used to help launch BrewDog’s move into spirits, with LoneWolf Distillery, which debuted with two vodka and gin offerings earlier this month, the Herald reported.
Oskar Blues Raises CAN’d Aid Foundation Raises $340,000 in 2016
Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis’ nonprofit, CAN’d Aid Foundation, will donate at least $340,000 before 2016 comes to a close.
In its end-of-year recap, the organization said it contributed $340,000 to various non-profit groups; it also built and donated 531 bikes to underprivileged children, donated 100 instruments to music programs and logged more than 2,500 volunteer hours.
Among the highlights: CAN’d Aid donated $60,000 to help rebuild flood and hurricane damaged areas of North Carolina and Louisiana. The group helped rebuild four trails in partnership with Friends of DuPont Forest and Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The organization also recycled 150,000 pounds of waste and donated 330,000 cans of water to communities in need, including Flint, Michigan.
“2016 has been an incredible year for CAN’d Aid,” CAN’d Aid executive director Diana Ralston said in a press release. “Whether it was seeing a child’s face light up at the site of their brand-new bike or watching one of our TUNES ambassadors light a spark with the next generation of musicians, we’ve loved watching the do-goodery grow.”
Donations to CAN’d Aid through December 31 will be triple matched by the brewery and Katechis. See the CAN’d Aid website for more information.
New Belgium’s Brewmaster Hailed as Father of Sour Beer
The Coloradoan recently profiled the New Belgium Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert, who is credited with making sour beer mainstream through the company’s popular La Folie offerings.
“I want to turn the whole U.S. sour,” Bouckaert told the Coloradoan. “Bud Light sour is my end goal in life.”
Though it’s a profile of a Belgian who helped transform the brewery into one of the largest craft outfits in the U.S., it’s as much a profile of New Belgium, since the pair have been inextricably linked for two decades.
Read the full story here.
Four String Brewing Co. Offering Contract Brewing Services
Columbus, Ohio’s Four String Brewing Co. will begin offering contract brewing services in January 2017, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The company can offer batch sizes from ranging between 30 and 120 barrels, along with use of a canning line that can package 12- and 16-ounce cans in four- and six-packs.
Four String joins a growing list of smaller contract-minded breweries renting out all or parts of their capacity to other craft brew label owners in need of tank time.