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BrewDog USA chief revenue officer Adam Lambert believes 2019 could be remembered as one of the most competitive years in the history of craft brewing.
“In my honest opinion, 2019 has been the toughest environment I have seen in the 23 years of selling craft beer,” he wrote to BrewDog USA wholesalers.
Nevertheless, BrewDog USA is outpacing the overall craft segment (which is up about 2 percent), growing depletions (sales-to-retailers) 114 percent through May compared to last year.
Last month alone, the company sold 51,000 cases, according to Lambert.
That kind of growth oftentimes coincides with a large-scale distribution expansion, but BrewDog USA has only entered one new state – West Virginia – and Washington, D.C., in 2019.
According to Lambert, the company is selling more beer in its existing footprint.
In its home state of Ohio — which accounts for 56 percent of BrewDog’s business and where the company produced more than 36,000 barrels of beer in 2018, according to the Brewers Association — sales are growing at 90 percent.
Meanwhile, in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, which combined account for 18 percent of BrewDog’s business, sales are up 132 percent.
But the fastest-growing region for BrewDog is the Mid-Atlantic, which accounted for nearly 25 percent of the company’s business and grew 182 percent through the end of May.
The company also recently signed distribution agreements with Maryland’s Bond Distributing and Buck Distributing Company and will be launching in the state next week.
BrewDog USA currently sells 60 percent of its beer through the off-premise retail channel, which is up 127 percent. The company’s on-premise business, meanwhile, is also up 97 percent on the year.
Lambert, a longtime industry veteran, joined BrewDog USA at the end of 2018.
The company, founded in Scotland, sold a 22 percent stake to TSG Consumer Partners for $265 million in 2017, which at the time valued the business at $1.2 billion.
It opened a 100,000 sq. ft. brewing facility in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017 and generated approximately $18 million in revenue in 2018.
Michigan’s Axle Brewing is searching for a buyer, as the company prepares to close its Ferndale-based taproom at the end of June.
In a press release issued Monday, Axle Brewing president Dan Riley said the company hopes to “secure a strategic partner or buyer” who shares its values.
“We’ve had limited conversations with interested companies, but it’s important for us to entertain all possible options,” Riley said in the release. “We want our loyal guests and partners to have the opportunity to say goodbye, our team to have a graceful transition, and for us to honor commitments we’ve made, so we will be spending the next month celebrating as we determine what’s next.”
Nevertheless, Axle Brewing plans to “cease full service operations” at the end of June as it restructures. According to Riley, the company “struggled early on to gain momentum in distribution” and then its taproom operation was hampered by nearby construction.
Riley added that Axle’s “current cost structure and very lean margins on the distribution side” of the business left it without “a clear path to profitability.” Nevertheless, Riley told the Detroit Free Press that the company wasn’t carrying debt and would not be filing for bankruptcy.
Texas Governor to Sign Beer-to-Go into Law
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will officially make beer-to-go sales at the state’s manufacturing breweries legal during a June 15 signing ceremony at Austin Beerworks.
Abbott’s signature will allow consumers to purchase up to one case of beer (288 fl. oz.) per day from the state’s manufacturing breweries, starting September 1, 2019. Those sales would count against a 5,000-barrel cap that is already in place for on-premise taproom sales at those breweries.
His signature will also ensure operations of the state’s alcohol regulatory body, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), will continue.
Lupulin Brewing Co. to Acquire Hydra Beer Co.
Big Lake, Minnesota-based Lupulin Brewing Co. reached an agreement last week to acquire Hydra Beer Co. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the company announced on its social media channels.
The transaction is expected to close in about eight weeks, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Once complete, Hydra’s brewery and taproom will be rebranded as a Lupulin outpost.
In May, Hydra founders Chad Petit and Nick Murphy announced that they had stopped making beer and planned to sell the 4-year-old business, the outlet reported. Both cited moving on to other careers as the reasons behind the closure and subsequent sale.
Former A-B North American CEO Joins Kraft Heinz Board
Another ex-Anheuser-Busch InBev executive is joining The Kraft Heinz Company just two months after the consumer products giant tapped former A-B InBev CMO Miguel Patricio as its next CEO.
Joao Castro-Neves, the former CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s North American business, officially joined Kraft Heinz’s board of directors on June 12, according to a press release.
Castro-Neves departed the world’s largest beer manufacturer in November 2017 after 22 years. Michel Doukeris was named Castro-Neves’ replacement.
In a press release, Kraft Heinz chairman of the board Alex Behring said the company was “thrilled” to add Castro-Neves to the board due to his “significant consumer sector expertise.”
In April, Patricio, who spent about two decades with A-B, was named as the successor to CEO Bernardo Hees, who will vacate the top executive role on July 1.
Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company is now offering contract brewing services to fill about 60,000 barrels of excess capacity.
Yards, which opened a 70,000 sq. ft. production facility and taproom in November 2017, has about 100,000 barrels of annual capacity. Last year, Yards’ production declined 2 percent, to 40,296 barrels, according to data from the Brewers Association.
Yards said its first client is New Jersey’s Cape May Brewing Company, according to a press release on the Brewers of PA website. The company is seeking additional partners.
Craft Breweries Close in San Diego, St. Paul and Indianapolis
A handful of craft breweries have closed their doors in the last two weeks.
San Diego’s Benchmark Brewing Company announced via Facebook that it was permanently closing on June 9 after six years in business. According to West Coaster, Benchmark founders Matt and Rachael Akin had dealt with several “financial difficulties” over the past few months.
Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, restaurant chain Scotty’s Brewhouse closed one of its Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. brewpubs on June 9 after eight years, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. Scotty’s other Thr3e Wise Men location in Muncie will sell through its inventory before transitioning to a menu of about 20 craft beers from outside companies, the outlet said.
St. Paul-based 12welve Eyes Brewing also closed on June 4 after nearly two years in business, according to an Instagram post. Details of 12welve Eyes’ demise were sparse.
Finally, Ghost Brewing LLC acquired the assets of shuttered Maryland beer company Rubber Soul Brewing for $205,000 in May, with plans to revive the brand in the Hummelstown borough of Pennsylvania, according to PennLive.
Salisbury, Maryland-based Rubber Soul closed after seven years in late April after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to Delmarva Now.
ALBANY, N.Y. – Nine Pin Ciderworks, New York’s first farm cidery, announced a special can release of their Signature Cider celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month and has partnered with OutHudson. Nine Pin, and its distributor, Remarkable Liquids will each donate $5 of each case sold.
OutHudson is a volunteer led non-profit organization formed in 2016, aiming to improve the quality of life and advance the visibility of LGBTQ people in Columbia County. Nine Pin, who sources the majority of the apples it uses from Columbia County, coordinated the effort to both help amplify the organization’s voice and raise money for their cause.
Nine Pin will also sell Pride Cans through its tasting room and shall donate $1 for every four-pack sold directly to consumers there.
To kick-off Hudson Valley Cider Week, Nine Pin hosted a special Pride Can release party last Friday, June 7, and has already sold out of cans leading to a second release of the cans this week.
“Our community is our priority and we celebrate the diversity within Nine Pin as well as among our dedicated fans in Columbia County and beyond, said Alejandro del Peral, co-founder and cider maker. “We hope that through these cans we can support OutHudson in its mission to advance their cause.”
“We’re always looking for ways to give back to the community, and when Alejandro mentioned this idea, we knew we wanted to jump on board,” said Spencer Noakes, general manager and co-owner of Remarkable Liquids. “This felt like a great way to follow up our #BeRemarkable Clothing Drive project and with the dedicated fan base Nine Pin has cultivated we’re hopefully going to see just as much success raising money for OutHudson as we did for the shelters, we worked with earlier this year.”
To learn more, please visit ninepincider.com.
About Nine Pin Ciderworks
Nine Pin Ciderworks (“Nine Pin”) is New York’s first farm cidery. Founded in 2013 and based in New York’s capital city, Albany, Nine Pin cider products can be found in hundreds of bars, restaurants, and retailers throughout New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Nine Pin produces all ciders, sourced from Capital Region and Hudson Valley apples, in its 17,000 sq. ft. cidery facility and tasting room in Albany’s Warehouse District. Be Revolutionary, Consider The Apple, and Drink New York Apples. ninepincider.com
About Remarkable Liquids
Remarkable Liquids is a craft beverage distribution company based near Albany, N.Y. that was conceived to offer a distribution option different from all others in the Empire State. Selling only craft beer, cider, mead, and kombucha, Remarkable Liquids is committed to passionately purveying the highest quality beverages in the world. remarkableliquids.com
2 Towns has created a custom 4-pack 16oz can wrap to celebrate the collaboration, which will be available at select grocery stores. The campaign will support Pride Foundation with a $2 donation for every case of the 4-pack 16oz and $5 per keg of Raspberry + Meyer Lemon SeekOut.
‘This is the first year we’re partnering with Pride Foundation and we’re really excited about it. We feel that our company and their organization have great similarities in ethos, and we are excited to see what can be achieved with the scholarships they provide. We hope this continues as a long-lasting partnership,” stated Scott Bugni, Director of Marketing at 2 Towns Ciderhouse.
In addition to supporting Pride Foundation directly, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and SeekOut Seltzer will also be the main cider and seltzer sponsors of the Seattle Pridefest, and will be hosting other events to support the LGBTQ+ community during the months of June and July. Watch for events near you!
About 2 Towns Ciderhouse:
At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider. For more information about 2 Towns Ciderhouse, visit www.2townsciderhouse.com.
About the Pride Foundation
Our work is grounded in the simple, yet revolutionary belief every person should be able to live safely, openly, and genuinely in all the places we call home. This is the same belief that has guided our visionary leaders for more than three decades.
Pride Foundation was founded in 1985, in the midst of the HIV & AIDS crisis, by a small but courageous group of people who came together to create a source of light and hope during a period of profound darkness.
Together, we have invested more than $70 million in transformative community change in pursuit of this vision.
BURLINGTON, Ontario – Nickel Brook Brewing Co. has announced the addition of a sour IPA to its core brand lineup. ZAP! (5.5% ABV, 28 IBU) is currently available at Nickel Brook’s Bottle Shop and via their Online Store, with LCBO distribution beginning today.
“Our brewery has made a name for itself with our fantastic IPAs and sours, so it made sense to create a combination of these two great styles,” said co-founder John Romano. “We’re looking forward to bringing this beer to market and having people try a style they may not have experienced yet.”
Pouring an enticing hue of sunlight, ZAP! hits the nose with notes of citrus, tangy tangerine, and light floral overtones. Take a sip and be struck by a lemon zing, quickly followed by juicy hop goodness and a touch of pine.
A silver medal winner at the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards, this tart beer already has people talking. Capturing the zingy essence of the brew, ZAP!’s can design is something to behold.
“We wanted the can to really pop on the shelves and depict the bright flavour of the beer in a fun way,” said junior graphic designer, Cole Mortillaro. “It really captures people’s attention and imagination.”
ZAP! heads to LCBO locations this week, and a limited number of kegs will also be available where exceptional beer is sold.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Five Boroughs Brewing Co. is excited to release Crosstown Pollination, a Brett Saison with honey brewed in collaboration with fellow Brooklynites All-Wise Meadery and Bee Raw. This draft-only beer will make its debut on June 22nd— the penultimate day of National Pollinator Week — from 1-5pm at a release party in the Five Boroughs taproom.
The seeds for Crosstown Pollination were planted in 2018 when Nick Griffin and Dylan Sprouse — head brewers at Five Boroughs and All-Wise, respectively — discovered that they had a shared love for unique, off-beat brews. Eventually, they joined forces to brew a Honey Lager, a hit release that set the table for future honey-based collaborations.
“Last year, we had the opportunity to brew a beer with All-Wise and were thrilled with how it turned out,” said Griffin. “We knew we wanted to join forces again in 2019 to make a Belgian-style brew and, this time around, up the local ante.”
Enter Bee Raw. Located in Sunset Park’s Industry City and less than a mile from the Five Boroughs taproom, Bee Raw was a perfect addition to the collaboration crew. Their stock of hard-to-get, high-quality honey and their demonstrated commitment to sustainability, made them an ideal partner.
“Bee Raw is highly conscious of the origin and environmental impact of every hive-based ingredient we use,” said Melissa Cohn, Marketing Manager at Bee Raw. “Crosstown Pollination was brewed using our Sweet Yellow Clover Honey sourced from a small family-owned apiary in Colorado. We’re excited to celebrate Pollinator Week with two sustainably minded partners and to honor the honey bee with some delicious beer!”
For All-Wise, the Crosstown Pollination collaboration encapsulates what the beverage industry is all about.
“Nothing beats good beer and great friends,” said Matt Kwan, CFO at All-Wise. “We’re excited for this brew, as it incorporates both Nick and Dylan’s favorite styles and showcases Bee Raw’s delicious honey.”
For more information about Crosstown Pollination, including tasting notes and release party specifics, visit the official Facebook event.
Questions? Feel free to reach out to the Five Boroughs team on social media or via email at email@example.com.
The on-again, off-again effort to improve category health through an industry-wide campaign for beer is on once again.
During the Beer Institute’s annual meeting, held Tuesday in St. Louis, president and CEO Jim McGreevy said the industry’s three top trade associations — the BI, the Brewers Association (BA) and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) — have agreed to launch a pro-beer marketing campaign this summer.
Category health was just one of several themes to develop during the two-day meeting, as multiple speakers touched on the growth opportunity in home delivery of food and booze, as well as the growing number of jobs open in the manufacturing and hospitality industries.
Here are three takeaways from this week’s BI meeting:
Beer Category Health Campaign Set for Summer
The nearly four-year effort to put together a pro-beer campaign has finally moved beyond the “navel gazing” stage to action, McGreevy explained during an interview for a future episode of the Brewbound Podcast.
“Today, we were able to say in a clear voice that the three trade associations were going to work on finding solutions,” he said.
Specifics were sparse, and McGreevy admitted “a lot of details” were still being worked out. Nevertheless, he called the forthcoming marketing campaign “a seminal moment in beer.”
“We’re not afraid to fight with each other in beer,” he said, “but we’re also growing the muscle of working together more and more, and I think this is an example of that.”
Indeed, the future of the so-called “Beer Growth Initiative,” a year-long effort announced during the NBWA’s annual convention in September 2018, was jeopardized following Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Super Bowl ads for Bud Light, which denigrated the use of corn syrup in competitor offerings Coors Light and Miller Lite, made by MillerCoors.
Those ads and a subsequent lawsuit by MillerCoors have left the fragile alliance among the beer industry’s largest producers on the verge of crumbling. Even though the trade groups are pushing forward with a pro-beer marketing campaign this summer, MillerCoors and Heineken, along with the BI, have each said they won’t be providing funding for the effort, while A-B and Constellation Brands have both pledged contribute financially.
During an opening address Tuesday, A-B North American CEO Michel Doukeris said the world’s largest beer manufacturer “remains committed to working alongside other brewers and our wholesaler partners to reach consumers with a positive industry message that elevates beer.”
Although the BI isn’t contributing money to the effort, the trade group is devoting resources to developing the plan and its execution, McGreevy said. He added that the three trade groups have been discussing plans with advertising agencies, although the final product is “still in development.”
“We have some very good ideas about ways to promote beer to a broad audience of consumers who we hope will buy more beer,” McGreevy said.
The Future is in Beer Delivery
Nearly two thirds of all restaurant traffic comes from delivery, carryout or drive-thrus, according to Hudson Riehle, the National Restaurant Association’s senior vice president of research and knowledge group.
Those “off-premise” dining occasions — including takeout, delivery, drive-thru and curbside orders, as well as food trucks — are expected to growth over the next decade, as more consumers, especially millennials, want the restaurant experience to come to them, Riehle said. A big part of those orders is going to be alcoholic beverages, due to the high margins, he added.
“It is the new frontier for restaurants,” he said.
One way restaurants anticipate growing sales of beer to-go, is through so-called “suggestive selling,” with artificial intelligence suggesting alcohol and food pairings, Riehle said. He called on beer companies and wholesalers to work with third-party delivery services and restaurants to develop those suggestions and “direct that dollar.”
“It will be a very big deal for the beer industry going forward,” he said.
Another emerging business model for restaurants will be “meal plans,” which Riehle described as a more technologically advanced version of those used in college dormitories.
“Think of the Netflix model,” he explained. “You would agree to a subscription plan whereby you could have a minimum amount of guaranteed food and beverage services, and then you can add additional add-ons to that going forward. That takes the pain of payment from every single occasion.”
One company that has jumped into the beer delivery business is Pizza Hut, which began testing its service in late 2017.
Marianne Radley, Pizza Hut chief brand officer, said the chain restaurant plans to make beer delivery a bigger slice of its business moving forward. Currently, 500 of Pizza Hut’s more than 6,500 stores offer beer delivery. Radley’s goal is to offer delivery in 1,000 stores by September 2019 and 60 percent of its system by the end of 2020.
“We are fully built for scale,” she said, noting the company already has the existing infrastructure, with beer licenses and a delivery fleet with more than 7,000 drivers.
According to Radley, offering beer delivery with pizza meets a growing need for consumers who are increasingly staying at home rather than going out. In fact, Radley said 21 percent of consumers have confessed to replacing carryout with delivery. That number is even higher — 30 percent — among 18- to 34-year-olds.
And a growing number of consumers — 41 percent — are using aggregator apps, such as Grubhub and DoorDash, for delivery orders. Radley added that 63 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they used a mobile application to place a delivery order.
Although Radley declined to share the threshold for launching a national advertising campaign, she expects Pizza Hut’s beer delivery sales to grow once the campaign does launch.
“As soon as we get to that threshold, we’ll have a much bigger voice and platform and more eyes on it and more awareness of beer delivery,” she said.
Millions of Job Openings in Manufacturing and Hospitality Industries
Although there are millions of jobs open in the manufacturing and hospitality industries, the U.S. is struggling to fill them.
During a keynote address Monday, Tara Sinclair, an associate professor of economics and international affairs at George Washington University, explained that there is less than one person per job vacancy in the U.S. One reason why is the country’s aging population. Sinclair said 10,000 people are turning 65 years old every day, thinning out the workforce.
According to Riehle of the National Restaurant Association, there are now more than 1 million unfilled jobs within the hospitality industry. And Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said there are half a million unfilled manufacturing jobs.
Over the next decade, Timmons said the manufacturing industry would need to fill 4.6 million jobs. If it fails to recruit more workers, 2.6 million of those jobs will go unfilled, he added.
“That dispels the narrative that manufacturing jobs are a thing of the past,” he said, adding that the notion that robots and artificial intelligence are replacing human workers is a “false narrative.”
“We’re always going to need human ingenuity,” he said, adding that the type of work is evolving. “That’s true. That’s the real narrative.
“We still need creators and innovators to make it all possible.”
DEXTER, Mich. — North Peak Brewing Company is excited to announce the launch of Tropical Diabolical, a take on the classic Diabolical IPA with a tropical twist. Brewed with generous amounts of passion fruit, pineapple, guava, tangerine and sweet orange peel combined with seven hop varietals for a hoppy bite and exotic flavors and aromas. Diabolical goes tropical for a limited time.
Tropical Diabolical is a fruit IPA with 66.6 IBU’s | 6.66% ABV and will be available in 12 oz cans, 6 packs, and draft in 1/6 and 1/2 barrels.
You can purchase Tropical Diabolical at craft beer retailers, restaurants and bars throughout Michigan, including North Peak Brewing Company and Jolly Pumpkin, in Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Royal Oak, Dexter, and Grand Rapids. It can also be purchased at Jolly Pumpkin in Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois.
About North Peak
In 1997, North Peak Brewing Company opened in Traverse City, MI with the mission of brewing beer that captures the essence of Northern Michigan. The North Peak mantra is “Get Outside” because in Northern Michigan there is so much life to live outdoors. In 2013, North Peak beer production moved from Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City MI, to a 70,000-square-foot production brewery in Dexter MI, where it would have the capacity to meet the rising demand for the beer.
No matter where the beer is brewed or distributed one thing will never change, the heart and roots of North Peak will always be in Northern Michigan. Every sip of North Peak beer transports you to the wonders of Northern Michigan. To learn more about the North Peak Brewing Company and its beers, visit www.northpeakbeer.com.
Prior to launching Athletic Brewing in 2017, co-founder Bill Shufelt spent about 12 years working in the hedge fund world. During that time, he found that drinking alcohol, staying up late and waking up early made it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
So Shufelt went sober. And in the process of abstaining from the craft beers he had grown to love, Shufelt wondered why nobody was making a high-quality, non-alcoholic option for craft drinkers.
His idea was to produce a fully fermented beer to under 0.5 percent ABV without the need for dealcoholization equipment.
“If any of the traditional technologies worked, to make a good non-alcoholic beer, one of these very well-funded mega breweries or craft breweries would already be making it that way,” he said.
Shufelt, along with co-founder John Walker, experimented with hundreds of batches of homebrew before dialing in their process. About a year ago, Athletic brought a range of non-alcoholic craft beer to market, from golden ales to goses.
The company’s timing was perfect, as a growing number of consumers are beginning to cut back on boozing. According to Nielsen, 66 percent of legal-drinking-age consumers between the ages of 21 and 34 are making efforts to reduce their overall consumption. At the same time, 25 percent of beer drinkers are more interested in consuming alcoholic beverages that were produced with wellness in mind versus “a couple years ago,” the firm recently told Brewbound.
“In the next five or 10 years, it’s going to be everywhere,” Shufelt contends.
In episode 40 of the Brewbound Podcast, Shufelt discusses his outlook on the emerging non-alcoholic beer sector in the U.S., and the occasions in which his products — and others like it — play.
Listen to episode 40 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.
Episode 41, featuring Matt Katase, the co-founder of The Brew Gentlemen, will be released on Thursday, June 20.