Press Clips Part II: A Bad Year for Barley Crops; Stone Gets Big Political Endorsement

Damaged Barley Crops Could Force Increased Beer Costs

With Canadian barley crops marred by frigid temperatures and wet weather, brewers and maltsters alike to dig a little deeper in their pockets for key ingredients, something that could cause prices to surge in the coming year.

Even before a recent snowfall blew through Alberta — “the biggest barley-growing province” in Canada — the country was already in the midst of harvesting its smallest crop in nearly half a century, according to Reuters article. In the U.S., farmers are forecasting yields of 192.7 million bushels in 2014, “the smallest crop in three years.”

“In North America, it’s probably the worst year I’ve ever seen,” Pat Rowan, senior manager of BARI-Canada Inc, a division of Anheuser-Busch InBev, told Reuters.

Smaller craft brewers that typically store less malt inventory will be most impacted by the shortage, the article posits, and less equipped to “absorb costs.”

“Prices (going) up means our costs go up and beer prices ultimately go up,” said Neil Herbst, co-owner of Edmonton-based Alley Kat Brewery. “Any small brewery is going to be exposed.”

Virginia Governor: “This is where Stone ought to be.”

With Stone’s search for a location to build an East Coast facility now narrowed down to three cities — Richmond, Va., Norfolk, Va. and Columbus, Ohio — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has made clear his desire to bring the country’s tenth largest brewery to his state.

To show his commitment to winning Stone’s business, McAuiliffe went so far as to install a kegerator that pours the company’s beers in the Governor’s Mansion.

On Thursday, according to the Times Dispatch, McAuliffe went on WRVA’s “Ask the Governor” radio program to declare, “This is where Stone ought to be.”

“It’s between us and Ohio. We’ve got to get it here in Virginia,” he said.

No word yet from Stone, but as Brewbound reported last week, Ohio’s 12 percent ABV limit could prove a hindrance to the state’s campaigning for the company, as the brewery manufactures a number of beers that register a bit higher than the legal limit there.

On August 15, Stone spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo told Brewbound she anticipated an announcement to be made within “30 to 60 days.”

With 42 days since passed, Stone’s decision may be imminent.

Evil Twin’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergs├© Reports on the State of Craft in Mexico

Evil Twin’s founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergs├© will pen a new column on in which he will detail his escapades as he travels and brews beer all over the world.

The first installment finds him in Mexico, where craft owns “less than 0.1 percent” of the market, a pittance next to the lofty Brewers Association goal of craft owning a 20 percent share of the U.S. market by 2020.

Nevertheless, the craft beer scene in Mexico is “exploding” Jarnit-Bjergs├© wrote, offering a bit of a marketplace snapshot:

“The current Mexican craft beer scene is experiencing what America went through 20 years ago, what Scandinavia dealt with ten years ago, what Spain had a couple of years ago, and what the rest of the world is going through right now.”

“I attended the biggest beer festival in the country, which consisted of around 100 Mexican brewers. I didn’t realize that Mexico had that many craft brewers right now. About 95 percent of them are brewing on less than ten-barrel systems, a common number often considered a “nano” brewery in the USA, or even a big home brewery. Almost all of them are making IPAs and imperial stouts. They’re all chasing the mighty American craft beers by reading about them on the internet and then recreating them.”

Jolly Pumpkin to Expand in Detroit

Northern United Brewing has announced plans to launch its fourth Jolly Pumpkin facility in Michigan. The latest addition will open in Detroit’s midtown neighborhood next year and include a micro-brewery, distillery, restaurant and tasting room, according to Crain’s Detroit. The new location is expected to create upwards of 50 new jobs.

The three other Jolly Pumpkin facilities are located in Dexter, Traverse City and Ann Arbor.