MillerCoors continues to battle a pair of high-profile lawsuits — including a trademark infringement case brought by Stone Brewing and another case from a Las Vegas beer wholesaler. Earlier this week, MillerCoors, the U.S. beer division of Molson Coors, responded to Stone Brewing’s motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the sale of Keystone products in which the word “Stone” had been isolated.
Molson Coors Brewing Company today reported its second-quarter earnings, however the financial results took a backseat to news that its Canadian business division had formed a joint venture with a Quebec cannabis company. The JV between Molson Coors Canada and HEXO, a recreational cannabis “sister brand” to The Hydropothecary, a licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis, will be structured as “a standalone start-up company” led by its own board and management team.
Brewbound today announced its speaker lineup for the upcoming Brew Talks meetup, taking place August 7, in Austin, Texas, during the NBWA’s sixth annual Next Generation Success in Leadership Conference. The industry-only Brew Talks event, presented by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, will feature two panel discussions on the business of craft brewing.
Growth for small and independent brewers in the U.S. is “stable” as production at craft beer companies grew 5 percent through the first six months of 2018, according to data from industry trade group the Brewers Association (BA). The nonprofit group today shared its annual mid-year growth figures, noting that there were 6,655 active breweries as of June 30, up from 5,562 a year ago.
A month after a bipartisan group of Congressional members called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate potential irregularities in the aluminum market, Platts, the group responsible for helping set the price of the metal purchased by thousands of U.S. beer companies, has vowed to offer greater transparency into current price assessments. Platts, which is owned by Standard & Poor’s and bills itself as “the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets,” last week announced that it would begin publishing alternative pricing for non-tariffed aluminum and domestically available scrap, starting August 1.
In an effort to showcase a more diverse array of drinkers featured in stock imagery, Anheuser-Busch recently released hundreds of royalty-free photos that depict women and minorities enjoying beer produced by four of the company’s U.S. craft breweries. A-B, as part of an “Elevate” initiative aimed at “lifting up the beer category,” partnered with Pexels and Unsplash — websites that offer copyright-free photos – to “capture photos that truly reflect our beer drinking audience,” a spokesperson told Brewbound.
California lawmakers are considering two new pieces of legislation — one that would expand retail sales privileges for the state’s brewpubs and another bill, backed by Anheuser-Busch InBev, that would allow beer manufacturers to give away glassware to bars and restaurants.
In the latest round of People Moves: Modern Times scales back its taproom staff; North Carolina’s guild director departs; and more beer company changes.
Boston Beer Company’s return to growth continued for a second consecutive quarter. The company — which makes the Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea, and Truly Spiked & Sparkling products — yesterday reported its second-quarter earnings results, which were highlighted by a 10.2 percent increase in net revenue to $273.1 million. For the 26-week period ending June 30, Boston Beer’s net revenue was up 13.2 percent, to $463.6 million.
In a conversation with skateboarders Mikey Taylor and Eric Bork, who host the recently launched AVNI Interviews podcast featuring entrepreneurs and influencers, Saint Archer Brewing co-founder Josh Landan opened up about the process of starting, scaling and eventually selling the San Diego-based craft brewery to MillerCoors. Landan, who revealed that he initially raised $2.8 million to launch the brand in 2013, shared a bevy of anecdotes from the days before Saint Archer was established, and elaborated on the circumstances that led to his departure from MillerCoors in the months following the sale.
Halfway through 2018, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s global revenues are up 4.7 percent despite continued shipment and depletion declines in the U.S. A-B, the world’s largest beer manufacturer, posted global revenue growth of 4.7 percent, to more than $14 billion, as revenue per hectoliter increased 4 percent during the second quarter of 2018. A-B also announced several organizational changes, including moving its “global growth and innovation team,” ZX Ventures, and its marketing department “under a common global lead.”
As the craft landscape has become increasingly competitive and as growth has slowed, some craft brewers are beginning to alter their approaches to expansion. While some companies have restructured their sales and marketing teams and laid off employees, others are starting to reexamine their brick-and-mortar strategies. Take the divergent paths of Other Half Brewing Company in Brooklyn and Renegade Brewing Company in Denver, for example.
Blue Moon inventor Keith Villa, who retired from MillerCoors in January after a storied 32-year career, isn’t leaving the beer business after all. Much of the press following his departure from the country’s second-largest beer company centered around the launch of Ceria Beverages, a startup focused on releasing a line of non-alcoholic craft beers containing THC. At the same time, however, Villa and his wife, Jodi, had quietly launched Donavon Brewing Company in their hometown of Arvada, Colorado.
Another longtime Ninkasi Brewing executive has left the building. In an email to Brewbound, Ninkasi co-founder and CEO Nikos Ridge confirmed that CFO Nigel Francisco left the Eugene, Oregon-based craft brewery in June, after about a decade, in order to pursue a similar role with King Estate Winery, which is also located in Eugene. In an unrelated move, the craft brewery also laid off three employees in the marketing and communications departments, Ridge confirmed.