A-B adds Texas brewery to High End portfolio

November 3rd, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

Anheuser-Busch announced Texas brewery Karbach Brewing Co. is the newest addition to The High End, the business unit within A-B that focuses on its craft and import brands.

Ken Goodman and longtime business partner Chuck Robertson said existing management and brewers will remain in place and the Houston company will retain much of its independence while also gaining access to the resources that will help it continue to grow. Brewmaster Eric Warner said the move will allow his team to collaborate with those other craft breweries. “The High End wants to see us innovate,” he said.

Karbach has been one of the fastest growing breweries in the country since it was launched in 2011 and expects to produce 80,000 barrels this year. A-B plans to continue adding brewing capacity, which will reach 150,000 barrels by 2019.

“Chuck and I started the brewery five years ago on Karbach Street in Houston, where the warehouse was located for the beer distribution company we started decades before. After watching so much great beer move through our warehouse over the years we decided it was time to add our own to that list,” Goodman said for a press release. “Karbach is the heart and soul of our beer industry careers, and we are thrilled about this new partnership with The High End and what it will mean for our dream to give more Texans the most unique, unexpected, and exciting beers they’ll have fun drinking.”

The deal comes three months after MillerCoors announced it would take over the Fort Worth area’s Revolver Brewing.

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In St. Louis, a new brewery from an old name

September 28th, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

Griesedieck Brothers, one of the most famous names in St. Louis brewing history, plans to build a new brewery in the city. Eighth generation brewer Raymond A. Griesedieck and his son, Bob, expect to begin brewing in the Baden neighborhood by the middle of next year.

The family’s brewing roots trace back to 1766 when Johann Griesendieck began making beer in Stromberg, Westphalia. About 100 years later Anton Griesedeck moved to America and settled in St. Louis. After he and two partners bought the Thamer Brewing Co. in 1878 his family became enmeshed in St. Louis brewing. When the indsutry consolidation of the 1940s and 1950s left just four major local players operating (Anheuser-Busch, Flastaff, Stag and Griesedeck Brothers) the latter three were still largely controlled by members of the Griesedieck family.

G/B sold nearly a million barrels of beer a year in the early 1950s, but after Edward Griesedieck died in 1955 and the family faced a massive estate tax bill its members decided to sell to Falstaff Brewing. Falstaff was controlled by another branch of the family. Not long after Falstaff bought the G/B brewery it discontinued the brand, then briefly revived it in 1976 for one year.

In 1987, local entrepreneurs resurrected the brand, contracting to have it made in Wisconsin. The Griesediecks later bought it back. Now the plan is to resume brewing in St. Louis. “St. Louisians are proud of their beer, especially the beers that are locally owned and have a story behind them,” Raymond Griesedieck said. “We don’t have to make up a story for G/B Beer, though; we just have to tell the story that already exists. Brewing and packaging a St. Louis beer in St. Louis just adds to the story.”

Bob Griesedieck said the family plans to open a tasting room in the space, but initially, the brewery will primarily focus on production and manufacturing.

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Beer mega deal complete

September 28th, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

SABMiller shareholders have approved the $100 billion deal that allows the company to be taken over by Anheuser-Busch InBev. AB InBev shareholders previously backed the transaction.

“We are committed to driving long-term growth and creating value for all our stakeholders,” Carlos Brito, chief executive of AB InBev, said in a statement.

Regulators around the world have already approved the deal, which AB InBev says will create “the first truly global brewer.” The takeover is expected to be formally completed Oct. 10, AB InBev said.

Acquiring SABMiller gives AB InBev a large presence in Africa while increasing its business in South America and Europe. The combined company will control almost a third of the global beer market. However, AB InBev sold off dozens of brands to gain regulatory approval for the deal, including Miller Lite, Peroni and Snow, the world’s top-selling beer.

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The billion dollar impact of homebrewing

September 22nd, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

Research by the American Homebrewers Association suggests that the total impact of homebrewing on the American economy was $1.225 billion in 2015, and that homebrewing created 11,672 jobs.

An AHA survey found that 815 shops sold home beverage-making supplies to the nation’s estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in 2015, with collective revenues estimated at $764 million. However, Brewers Association economist Bart Watson explained that measures only part of the contribution to the economy.

“To estimate the total impact of that spending, we need to think about all the other ripples those dollars create,” he wrote at the AHA website. “Equipment suppliers buy raw materials to make the equipment. Homebrewing shops employ people, and those employees spend money. This is called the ‘multiplier effect.’ Retail multipliers are typically lower than those in manufacturing industries, but they can still add 20% to the total impact.

“To estimate the total impact, I put these spending numbers into economic impact modeling software called IMPLAN. For simplicity, I assigned the $764 million to a retail category that includes hobby shops. In addition, I put $50 million in building material and garden supply stores (I’m sure some of you have bought homebrew supplies at Home Depot) and another $50 million in food and beverage stores. The final $136 million I evenly divided between hotels, travel, restaurants, and entertainment (to estimate travel and other expenses).”

The AHA is a division of the Brewers Association.

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Tenth & Blake acquires Hop Valley Brewing

July 29th, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors, announced today an agreement to obtain a majority interest in Eugene, Ore.-based Hop Valley Brewing Company.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved to date, and even more excited about the future for our company and our employees,” co-founder Chuck Hare in a press release announcing the deal. “From the get-go, it has always been about the beer, and we are looking forward to working with Tenth and Blake to get our beers – made right here – to even more consumers.”

Hop Valley sold 38,500 barrels in 2015 and is on track to make 60,000 barrels in 2016, selling its beer in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho and Vermont.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with the Hop Valley team, to add an incredible roster of brands that complement our portfolio perfectly,” said Scott Whitley, president and CEO of Tenth and Blake. “I’m looking forward to working with Chuck and his team to support the continued growth and success of their innovative IPAs and award-winning beers.”

Last week Tenth and Blake announced it had acquired the majority interest in Terrapin Beer Company, a Georgia brewery it already had a minority stake in. Its porfolio also includes Blue Moon Brewing Company, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, and Saint Archer Brewing Company.

Hop Valley Brewing Company will operate as a separate business unit of Tenth and Blake. The management team at Hop Valley will continue to lead the business and will retain an ownership interest.

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Plunging pound endangers AB InBev-Miller deal

July 26th, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

Anheuser-Busch InBev has increased its offer for SABMiller because the decline in the value of the British pound has made the deal less attractive to SABMiller shareholders. AB InBev raised the cash-only component of its offer to 44 pounds per share to 45 pounds per share.

Previously it appeared the approval from the U.S. Justice Department, which came last week, was the biggest obstacle the deal faced. SABMiller said that its board “will meet in due course formally to review” the new deal.

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US OKs AB InBev-SABMiller deal

July 20th, 2016 | Posted by Real Beer

Anheuser-Busch InBev has won U.S. antitrust approval for its takeover of SABMiller. Bloomberg News reports the company will sell SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors and refrain from practices that restrict distribution of smaller, competing brands, according to a court filing Wednesday in Washington.

AB InBev will be required to seek DOJ review of any future acquisitions of beer distributors or craft beer brands. “The remedy we secured will help preserve and promote competition in the multi-billion dollar U.S. beer industry,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sonia Pfaffenroth of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

Following the announcement, Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, released the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to approve the acquisition of SABMiller by ABI stipulates many of the safeguards the Brewers Association requested to preserve fair competition and access to market for America’s small and independent craft brewers.

“While we continue to believe that the merger of the world’s two largest brewers is bad for both the beer industry and consumers, the DOJ’s significant requirements, including the termination of incentive programs such as the Voluntary Anheuser Busch Incentive for Performance Program (VAIP), a cap on ABI’s self-distribution volume and other measures to protect distributor independence, appear to address some of our major apprehensions with the merger. With effective enforcement of these provisions, small brewers can rely on their independent distributor partners to access the market. This will help ensure that beer enthusiasts can continue to enjoy a vast variety of options from the more than 4,600 breweries in the U.S.

“The Brewers Association will closely examine the consent decree and compliance with its provisions, as well as monitor ABI’s actions, specifically with regard to the acquisition of independent craft brewers. We remain concerned about how past, pending and future acquisitions may shift the dynamics of the current beer market. We will continue to encourage the DOJ to monitor and, where necessary, take action to remedy any anticompetitive effects of ABI’s behavior in the U.S.”

AB InBev still needs clearance from China before the deal can close. Last month, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that Chinese officials were close to an agreement after the companies agreed to divest the maker of Snow beer, the world’s top-selling brand.

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