The Last Call: California Eases Social Media Restrictions; Characteristics of Millennial Beer Drinkers Discussed


Tweet Away, California Brewers

At last, California-based beverage alcohol producers will be able to encourage purchasing via twitter and other social media platforms.

Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed Assembly Bill 780, which enables brewers, distillers and vintners to identify retailers of their products on social media, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

The new law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016. Currently, beverage manufacturers are restricted from telling customers where to specifically locate their products.

“More than ever, California’s craft beer drinkers are looking to their favorite breweries for information about special releases or where to purchase their favorite craft beer at a local retail location,” California Craft Brewers Association executive director Tom McCormick said in a statement. “Prior to AB 780, a brewery could only communicate product availability after a direct inquiry from a customer. AB 780 removes the requirement for a formal request and allows for better communication between breweries and their fans, as long as two or more retail locations are included in the social media post.”

In an effort to circumvent the previous restrictions, some brewers, like San Diego’s Modern Times, got creative and would provide explicit clues when talking about the retail availability of their products online.

“NOW AVAILABLE at a certain members-only (except for alcohol!) national big box chain where you stock up on 600 rolls of toilet paper & eat free bagel bite samples: our Mixed 20-pack!,” read one message on the company’s Instagram feed. 

Still no word on the number of allowable bagel bite references going forward.

BA Breaks Down Millennial Beer Drinkers

(Photo Credit: Brewers Association)

(Photo Credit: Brewers Association)

We always have to own the new iPhone, we can’t eat a meal without photographing it first and now we’re 25 percent of the total U.S. population. Who are we?

As part of its quarterly BA Insider email publication, the Brewers Association market development committee outlined six characteristics of millennial (21-35 year old) beer drinkers that “craft beer businesses should know.”

In general, millennials tend to identify with the BA’s craft brewer definition and associate craft products as those made in “small batches,” and sold by a “small independent company.”

Citing an Association of National Advertisers survey, The BA said 62 percent of millennials would be more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand engaged with them on social networks.

Millennials also “seek strong value, not always lower cost,” wrote the BA, citing a Nielsen report that found craft beer, at least in the eyes of 21-35 year olds with less disposable income, was viewed as “an affordable luxury.”

“The most successful distributors in the years ahead will be the ones who focus their efforts on partnering with craft brewers who are high quality, strong in their home markets, innovative and unique, engaging socially/digitally with consumers on daily basis and, perhaps most importantly, authentic,” the BA said in the post.

Woodchuck Hard Cider Restructures


Vermont Hard Cider, makers of the Woodchuck Hard Cider brand, laid off eight administrative and marketing employees last week, the Burlington Free Press reports.

“Based on our recent marketing campaigns and the current competition with mega brewers and their ciders we have restructured our efforts with less administration/marketing staff so that we can be more effective selling in the trade,” Caitlin Stroupe, the company’s communications manager told the paper in a statement.

Woodchuck’s administrative and marketing staff now consists of 41 employees, while the company’s total workforce has been reduced to 159, the paper notes.

BA, BI Craft Joint Op-Ed

As part of their ongoing effort to enlist support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Act, the Brewers Association and the Beer Institute jointly penned an op-ed extolling the benefits of a bill that would greatly reduce federal excise taxes for large and small brewers alike.


Beer Institute president Jim McGreevy


In the piece, posted to popular political publication The Hill on Monday, BA CEO Bob Pease and BI CEO Jim McGreevy, called the current tax code “outdated,” saying that it places “an undue burden on this industry and could become a barrier to growth.”

The new act “gives brewers the needed capital infusion to invest in their companies and boost production in order to meet consumer demand and invest in product innovation giving consumers more choice when ordering their favorite alcohol beverage,” the pair wrote.

Recall, the new legislation slashes excise taxes for brewers, cidermakers, distillers and winemakers.

As written, the federal excise tax rate on a brewer’s first 60,000 barrels (annually) would be cut in half, from $7 per barrel to $3.50. That reduced rate would extend to all breweries producing less than 2 million barrels annually. The bill also allows for any domestic brewery that produces in excess of 2 million barrels to pay a decreased $16 per barrel rate on its first 6 million barrels, down from $18. Importers would pay $16 on their first 6 million barrels and $18 for every subsequent barrel.

A feature-length story, which described how the two trade associations were able to compromise on a single bill, also ran on The Hill on Wednesday.