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.
Specialty Industry News
News relating to the craft brewing industry
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.
One of the craft brewing industry’s own has emerged as a hero in the horrific Colorado Springs mass shooting.
Rich Fierro, a US Army combat veteran who owns the Colorado Springs Atrevida Beer Company along with his wife, has been identified as the individual who tackled, disarmed and subdued the shooter during the mass casualty event at the Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday. Five people were killed and 18 more injured.
West Coast Hop Breeding, a network of six Oregon hop farmers that have teamed up to develop new hop varieties, has released their first varietal called McKenzie.
McKenzie was bred over a 5 year process. Lead breeder Pat Leavy grew up fishing the McKenzie River and came up with the name for the “bright and fruity” hop with grapefruit, lemon, nectarine, and melon aromas that is backed by pine, resin, and wood.
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.
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.
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 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.”
The 2022 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 300 medals to the best commercial breweries in the United States. Awards were given out in 98 beer categories covering 177 different beer styles. In addition, three GABF Collaboration medals pairing two professional breweries, and three GABF Pro-Am medals pairing homebrewers with professional brewers, were announced. The awards ceremony was held at the Bellco Theatre in Denver during the 40th anniversary Great American Beer Festival.
“Each year the Great American Beer Festival showcases the best that American brewers have to offer,” said Chris Williams, competition director, Great American Beer Festival. “With more than 9,900 entries, this year’s competition was the most competitive to date. Congratulations to all the winners who truly demonstrated why the U.S. is the best brewing nation in the world.”
View a full list of the medal winners here.
Not in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival this weekend to watch the awards ceremony? No problem.
You can watch the awards ceremony live from your home (or brewery). The event will be live streamed this Saturday, October 8, 2022 starting at 10:00 am MT. Click here for here when the time comes.
The industry has yet to see a significant number of closures, which many predicted would occur when the pandemic hit. But there does seem to be an uptick in breweries going out of business or looking to sell, as the post-pandemic environment becomes more and more challenging for small brewers.
Oregon has seen four breweries go up for sell in the last year (Klamath Basin, Modern Times PDX, Standing Stone Brewing, Lookingglass) and two more were just added to the list.
Where were you in 1982? A handful of esoteric and creative new-age “microbrewers” gathered in Boulder, Colorado for one of the first modern day beer festivals in the country. The Great American Beer Festival was born.
This year marks the 40th year of the GABF which runs this weekend in Denver between October 6 and 8th. There will be more than 2,000 different beers served from five hundred breweries over four sessions. Over 10,000 beers were judged.
A new feature this year will be the…..
In the slow but steady train of recent craft-on-craft acquisitions, Urban South Brewery in New Orleans has announced the purchase of Florida-based Perfect Plain Brewing Co.
Under the agreement, Urban South will assume operations of the hospitality brand that owns and operates four concepts in Pensacola: Perfect Plain Brewing Co., Garden & Grain, Perennial and The Well. The transaction will officially close on October 1, and all entities will retain their current brands, operations and staff.
D.C. Reeves, founder of Perfect Plain Brewing Co. was recently elected as Pensacola’s next Mayor. The sale of the brewery will allow him more time to focus on his new civic duty.
Pilot Project Brewing, the brewery incubator based in Chicago has purchased the closed Milwaukee Brewing Co. brewery in Milwaukee. The 43,000-square-foot space includes a production facility, taproom and event space.
Pilot Project Brewing acts as a launch pad for start-up breweries, offering assistance with recipes, production scaling, business development, marketing and distribution. Since it began in 2019, Pilot Project Brewing has launched 13 start-up breweries, including Luna Bay Hard Kombucha, ROVM Hard Kombucha, Funkytown Brewery, Azadi Brewing and others.
The expansion to Milwaukee will help the company grow so it can support its current brands, and add more brands in the future. The new facility is expected to open later this fall, with food and four or five brewers already involved in the Pilot Project operation.
Brewers Association (BA) staff will conduct the Hopsource hop sensory assessment in Yakima, Washington again in 2022. Brewers and industry members visiting Yakima for hop selection will have the opportunity to evaluate over 20 varieties of hops that are being considered for advancement in the BA-funded United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Public Hop Breeding Program.
The purpose of Hopsource is to gauge brewer interest in experimental public hop varieties, by harnessing the power of dozens of noses to crowdsource hop variety acceptance.
Larry Bell, craft beer pioneer who founded Bell’s Brewery in 1985, is set to convert a warehouse he currently owns in Kalamazoo, Michigan to become a display hall for his collection of brewery industry memorabilia.
Bell, who sold his brewery last December to Australian brewing conglomerate Lion Little World Beverages, has also just recently purchased a 46,000 square foot building in Kalamazoo which he intends to house the more than 40,000 books he acquired from the collection of historian Larry Massie and a vast collection of jazz artifacts.
With the Modern Times acquisition by Maui Brewing Co. expected to close in late October, the company has announced that new parent company will be called Craft ‘Ohana (Ohana being the Hawaiian name for ‘family’).
In addition to the name change, some key personnel changes were announced. Modern Times CEO Jennifer Briggs will be joining the Craft ‘Ohana executive team as chief experience officer (CXO), a role that will include overseeing company functions related to team member and consumer experience. Briggs became the CEO at Modern Times in October 2021.
Maui Brewing Brewmaster, Kim Brisson-Lutz, is being promoted to vice president of operations for Hawaii and will be responsible for overseeing and leading all brewery operations at the company’s Kihei, Hawaii production facility. And Maui Brewing Chief Operating Officer Scott Metzger will be taking on the role of president and COO, responsible for all day-to-day operations of the combined entity.