Ken Grossman Craft’s Newest Billionaire
Ken Grossman, the 60-year-old founder of Sierra Nevada, is craft’s latest billionaire. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Grossman’s estimated net worth topped $1 billion in 2014. With the valuation, Grossman joins a very exclusive club of billionaire craft brewers, which, until now, had consisted only of Boston Beer’s Jim Koch and Dick Yuengling of D.G. Yuengling & Son. “Sierra Nevada is good. They’re one of the players for the long term,” Joe Thompson, president of Independent Beverage Group, told Bloomberg. “They’d be worth more than a billion dollars.” For his part, Grossman thinks the valuation is a bit high. “I didn’t get into this business to try and make a ton of money,” he told the site, adding, “I’ve made enough money that I am totally comfortable and don’t want for anything.”
Curious to learn how Bloomberg crunches the numbers? Read all about how the company measures assets and liabilities for private companies.
Health-Conscious Alcohol Options Gain in Popularity
The New York Times published a trend piece this week detailing the proliferation in the marketplace of healthier alcohol options that provide nutritional value while simultaneously cutting calories and alcohol content. According to the Times, beverage manufacturers are hoping to “capture the loyalty of the female consumer… without alienating men” by offering up a litany of hybrid (Heineken’s Amstel Radler, a 40/60 beer/natural lemon juice drink) and gluten-free brands (MillerCoors’ recently launched Coors Peak). Former Honest Tea co-founder Barry J. Nalebuff, and co-founder of Kombrewcha, which markets a line of low-alcohol kombucha drinks, sees the category filling a hole in the wider alcohol space. “It’s a problem: You’d like something to drink but you don’t want to get inebriated,” he told the Times. “What could you enjoy, be a part of the party with, but still be able to function afterward, be able to go work out or do emails? It’s an alcoholic beverage you don’t have to feel guilty about.”
West Virginia Governor Vows to Help Ease Regulations on Craft Brewers
While craft brewers in West Virginia likely have their own opinions on what President Barack Obama had to say during his State of the Union Address last night, they’re likely more concerned with something their governor said during his State of the State speech, delivered last week. While espousing the need to encourage innovation and entrepreneurialism in the state, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin specifically called out craft brewers. “[T]onight I am proposing legislation to give our craft brewers increased opportunities to succeed as part of our state’s growing craft beer industry,” he said. “Together, we can continue to show those across the country, around the world and here at home that West Virginia is the right place to make an investment and the Mountain State is a great place to do business.” Gov. Tomblin has yet to release the exact terms of this legislative proposal, which is aimed at easing restrictions on the state’s brewers and distributors.
Montana Brewers Lend Support to Beer Bill
Brewers in Montana are supporting new legislation that would allow them to hold separate licenses while also boosting the barrel limit for breweries that operate taprooms, according to the Flathead Beacon. The Montana Brewers Act, according to the article, would allow for business owners with either a liquor or beer license to purchase a brewers license and vice versa. Under the status quo, license holders can hold only one type of license. Additionally, the production limit for breweries that operate tasting rooms would increase from 10,000 barrels to 60,000 barrels.
Stone Pokes Fun at Lagunitas Lawsuit
No, Stone’s new Sosumi variety is not named after some exotic hop. It’s a play on “So sue me,” as in, “Yes, my beer label looks a lot like yours does. So sue me!” A picture of Sosumi, a “special release” (wink, wink) from Stone Brewing, was posted to the company’s Facebook page just days after Lagunitas issued (and withdrew) its trademark infringement suit against Sierra Nevada. Lagunitas had claimed the bold, typeface lettering on Sierra’s new Hop Hunter IPA labels too closely resembled its own trademarked logo.