Calwise Spirits and Firestone Walker Brewing Company have collaborated together to create “Old Tom Big Sur Gin,” using a special mash made at the brewery. According to a press release, Firestone Walker generated a mash of traditional brewing grains with a complement of wine grape juice, all fermented with native yeast and bacteria.
Business of Beer
Industry news related to the brewing industry and the business of beer
The Brewers Association has announced the five candidates elected to the Brewers Association Board of Directors in the recent election.
Representing packaging breweries will be Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing Co. (Maine) and Mitch Steele from New Realm Brewing Co. (Ga.). The taproom breweries seat went to Melissa Romano of Lake Anne Brew House (Va.) and the two pub breweries positions were filled by Kris Spaulding of Brewery Vivant (Mich.) and Jason Lavery from Lavery Brewing Co. (Pa.).
All five new members will serve three-year terms starting in February 2023. At-large board seats for the term starting February 2023 will be discussed by the board of directors at the Dec. 1, 2022, board meeting.
Makers of RTD’s have been increasingly active in lobbying state legislators to lower taxes on the ready to drink cocktails. Their argument is that lower taxes will benefit the consumer by lowering the retail price.
But a recent analysis by Public Sector Consultants shows that in two states where the RTD tax was lowered, retail prices increased.
Brooklyn Brewery plans to close its brewery after more than 25 years in the summer of 2024 and move into a new 41,000-square-foot space just four blocks away. The new location will be over 10,000 square feet larger than the existing brewery and the company said they plan to hire at least 40 new employees.
Brooklyn Brewery was founded in 1988 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter and was the first commercial brewery to open in Brooklyn in 20 years.
On the heels of the announcement that Keurig Dr. Pepper has invested $50 million into non-alcoholic brewer Athletic Brewing, the global brewer Asahi just announced the international launch of its alcohol-free beer, Asahi Super Dry 0.0%.
The brewer’s press release said that Asahi’s master brewers take the base recipe of Asahi Super Dry through a process of de-alcoholisation to create the finished beer at 0.0% ABV.
The beer will be available across eight markets worldwide in 2023, beginning with its launch in the UK and Ireland in January.
Not that we needed any more signs that non-alcoholic beer is surging, but the investment of $50 million into Athletic Brewing Company by Keurig Dr. Pepper is one more indication that the industry sees a lot more growth in the segment.
Athletic Brewing, founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker is the largest brand in the non-alcoholic craft beer category with a 55% share of market. Investors include a number of athletes and celebrities, including pro football players J. J. Watt and Justin Tuck, Momofuku founder David Chang, cyclist Lance Armstrong, and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie. The company established the first brewing facility dedicated to non-alcoholic beer in Stratford, Connecticut in 2018 and then purchased the old Ballast Point production brewery in San Diego just two years later.
For the first time in 18 years, the Brewers Association will increase its membership dues. The increase will take effect February 1st, 2023.
New and existing members can lock in current dues by joining or renewing before the Feb. 1, 2023 deadline. For active members, an additional year will be added to the current expiration date.
In a rough and tumble economy, with ballooning inflation and fears of a looming recession, one of the most important indicators of where the beer industry might be headed is how beer drinkers feel about the economy, as measured by the Consumer Sentiment index published regularly by the University of Michigan. According to an analysis by beverage industry consulting firm First Key, this metric is highly predictive of certain beer-buying behaviors, and it’s currently at its lowest level since it was first measured in 1952.
First Key goes on to say that “what may be surprising to many is that falling consumer sentiment may actually be good for beer sales – although bad for beer’s price mix.”
Tilray Brands, the New York City based pharmaceutical and cannabis company announced the acquisition of Montauk Brewing Company of New York.
Past Tilray acquisitions in the craft beer space include SweetWater Brewing Company and the Alpine and Green Flash brands. The company has operations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America, with growing facilities in Germany and Portugal. The Montauk acquisition is expected to deliver additional scale in Tilray’s craft beer segment and provide a stronger footprint in the Northeast rounding out their footprint across the U.S.
More details here.
Starting January 1, 2023, changes to the Craft Beverage Modernization Act (CBMA) will require foreign producers of beer, wine, and distilled spirits to register with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) before their US importers can take advantage of reduced tax rates or credits on the imported products. CBMA tax benefits are limited in quantity, and foreign producers may only assign a certain number of benefits to their US importers for each category of product imported.
The Lost Abbey, considered to be one of the best American producers of barrel-aged Belgian-style sour ales is making an unusual pivot in a rapidly changing and challenging beer industry: they are ‘growing down.’
The announcement from the San Diego county brewery, which is part of the Port Brewing and Pizza Port collection, came in a detailed story from San Diego Beer News in which Tomme Arthur, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Owner of Lost Abby said the company would be putting its 30-barrel brewhouse and fermentation tanks up for sale so that they can switch over to a smaller brewing setup with single- and double-batch flexibility as well as a cellar fit for their current and projected output.
The evolution from big to smaller is a noble one. In good times and in hard times, most companies try to cut costs and grow efficiencies by selling more. Growth has traditionally been the secret sauce to success. But in an industry that has never quite followed all of the traditional rules of business, maybe craft brewers will find that growing down is more fun – and more profitable, than growing up.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) descended on the Union City offices of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits last week according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Union City is located just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco.
The Craft Maltsters Guild has announced that that the 6th Annual Craft Malt Conference will be held March 16-18, 2023 in Portland, Maine. The event will mark the guild’s tenth anniversary.
The conference will take place at the Holiday Inn By the Bay Hotel & Convention Center and include expect tours, educational seminars, receptions, a trade show, and networking sessions. It is the only conference that offers workshops and seminars specifically focused on the research, topics, and best practices relevant to the craft malt supply chain. In 2023, both in-person and virtual registration options will be offered.
Britain’s hospitality sector saw 2,200 venue closures in the last three months, equivalent to one per hour. The sharp increase in closures is thought to be primarily due to the rise costs of energy, food and labor.
The closures cover the full range of on-premise hospitality including the number of nightclubs which has fallen by 5.6% in the last three months alone.
More details here.
Boston Beer announced financial results for the third quarter 2022 (13 weeks ending September 24). Depletions for the company decreased 6% and shipments increased 1.4% (to 33,000 bbls) compared to the third quarter of 2021.
The World Beer Cup opens for registration November 1 through November 14, 2022.
The World Beer Cup was developed by the Brewers Association in 1996 to “celebrate international brewing excellence and showcase the breadth of the global brewing community.” What was once a bi-annual event, the 2023 competition begins its new annualized cycle and will now be held every year in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference.
The 2022 competition saw 10,542 entries from 2,493 breweries representing 57 different countries. More than 11,000 entries are expected for 2023.
Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) has announced the pre-order opening of their 6th Annual Pink Boots Blend in partnership with Pink Boots Society (PBS).
YCH and Pink Boots Society have worked together for the past six years to raise support for women and non-binary individuals, having generated over $500,000 in total scholarship funding through the Pink Boots Blend. The Pink Boots Blend is an annual hop blend that changes each year. This year’s varieties are Loral, Ekuanot and HBC 586. The Yakima Chief Hops sensory team anticipates floral, citrus, tropical and stone fruit aromas.
The UK government has cancelled a plan to freeze the duty tax on alcohol, less than a month after announcing the policy. Just last month the UK government said it would abolish a proposed increase in duty rates for beer, cider, spirits and wine and instead proposed a temporary measure to reduce the duty on some types of alcoholic beverages. The freeze had been due to take place in February 2023.
UK’s newly appointed chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated yesterday that the freeze would no longer take place, saving the government (US)$671 million a year. The tax on alcohol duty will now rise in line with inflation, as measured by the retail price index (RPI), currently at 12.3%.
The announcement was met with anger by UK alcohol industry bodies. According to an article in Just Drinks, British Beer & Pub Association CEO Emma McClarkin called the move “a huge blow to brewers and pubs”, adding the relief would have helped “keep a lid on spiraling costs and keep the price of pint affordable for pub goers this winter.”
The legendary Buffalo Bill’s Brewery, which closed in May of this year due to pandemic-related struggles is up for sale.
Founded by Bill Owens in 1983, Buffalo Bill’s is considered to be the oldest brewpub in America. It was the second or third brewpub to open in the country, following closely behind Bert Grant’s Yakima Brewing which opened as the first brewpub in America since prohibition. When California passed legislation in 1982 to allow breweries to sell food on-site, both Mendocino Brewing Company in Hopland and Buffalo Bill’s in Hayward opened up for business in September of the next year. Both claimed to be the first brewpub in California and the dispute was never really resolved
Buffalo Bill’s is perhaps best known for reintroducing pumpkin ale to American consumers in 1986. It also introduced Alimony Ale in 1987, one of the first craft IPAs. The beer carried the slogan “The Bitterest Beer in America.”
Kroger, which operates 2,721 supermarkets across the country announced today the acquisition of Albertsons. The marriage of the two largest grocery store chains in the country will have a combined total of almost 5,000 stores nationwide.
The acquisition comes when both Walmart and Amazon are growing their grocery offerings and squeezing competition in the industry. It will likely come under close scrutiny from regulators who will evaluate the possible effect on pricing for consumers already hit hard by inflation.
It is hard to predict the impact on alcohol suppliers, but it could make it more difficult for smaller suppliers to gain and maintain placement in shelf schematics as buying decisions will likely be consolidated.