Elysian Brewing lastest A-B acquisition

January 24th, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

Anheuser-Busch announced it has agreed to purchase Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Wash., the third craft brewery (as defined by the Brewers Association) the brewing giant has acquired inside of 12 months.

“For two decades, we’ve welcomed guests into our brewpubs and served them creative and impeccably crafted beers,” Elysian CEO Joe Bisacca said for a press release. He and his partners, Dick Cantwell and David Buhler, will continue with the brewery. “After a lot of hard work, we’ve grown from one Seattle brewpub to four pub locations and a production brewery. With the support of Anheuser-Busch, we will build on past successes and share our beers with more beer lovers moving forward.”

Cantwell added, “Throughout our journey we’ve been focused on brewing a portfolio of both classic and groundbreaking beers and supporting innovation and camaraderie in the beer industry through collaboration and experimentation. By joining with Anheuser-Busch we’ll be able to take the next steps to bring that energy and commitment to a larger audience.”

“Elysian’s story includes everything we look for in a partner,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, Anheuser-Busch. “The team has spent their careers brewing distinctive beers in the thriving West Coast beer community and building unique venues that celebrate beer. As the fastest growing brewer in Washington, their recipe is working. Elysian’s brands are an important addition to our high-end beer portfolio, and we look forward to working together.”

In addition to the Seattle Airport Way brewery, the acquisition includes the company’s four Seattle brewpubs, Elysian Capitol Hill, Elysian Tangletown, Elysian Fields and Elysian BAR.

Within the past year, A-B also bought Blue Point Brewing in New York and 10 Barrel Brewing in Oregon.

Cantwell talked at length with Seattle Beer News about the deal, among other things saying, “To be perfectly honest, I have a lot of ambivalence about it. It wasn’t necessarily the outcome I was looking for, but I think it is going to ultimately be a really positive step for us in terms of the capabilities, the resources, the opportunities for our folks to further their educations and their brewing experiences. That’s the side of it that I’m trying to concentrate on.”

He also said the brewery would not stop making Loser, which was first brewed to celebrate Sub Pop Records’ 20th anniversary. The marketing slogan for the beer is “Corporate Beer Still Sucks.” “We’re not going to stop making that, anymore than we’re going to stop doing anything else that we’ve been doing,” he said.

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Lagunitas dropping suit against Sierra Nevada

January 14th, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

A dispute between Lagunitas Brewing Co. and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. that flashed in the public arena on Tuesday basically ended later in the day.

Posting on Twitter, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee wrote, “Today was in the hands of the ultimate court; The Court of Public Opinion and in it I got an answer to my Question; Our IPA’s TM has limits.”

On Monday, the California brewery took Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to court, claiming the brewery’s logo on its new Hop Hunter IPA violated Lagunitas’ trademark. As part of the lawsuit, Lagunitas was seeking a temporary restraining order to block Sierra Nevada’s use of the Hop Hunter design. The case was scheduled to be heard Jan. 20 in an Oakland courtroom in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, according to online records.

After the suit became public on Tuesday, seemingly every human on earth that has ever drank a beer from either of the breweries posted an opinion on some social media site. Some supported Lagunitas’ right to defend its trademark, but Magee obviously saw overall opinion was on the side of Sierra Nevada.

Before announcing he would drop the suit on Wednesday, he also tweeted, “Today, January 13th 2015, has been the worst day ever in 23 years of growing my brewery. Worst. Growing a biz involves defending a biz…”

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Lagunitas claims Sierra Nevada infringes on trademark

January 13th, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

Lagunitas Brewing Co. has sued rival Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., according to the Press Democrat, alleging the Chico-based brewer has engaged in trademark infringement on its new Hop Hunter IPA label. Sierra Nevada is the second-largest craft brewer in the United Sates, while Lagunitas is No. 5.

Lagunitas owner Tony Magee argues Sierra Nevada’s design on Hop Hunter uses all capital, large, bold and black “IPA” lettering that is similar design to his label. The suit was filed Monday in the federal district of northern California.

Lagunitas alleges that the Hop Hunter “IPA” lettering is a “radical departure” from Sierra Nevada’s traditional design.

Lagunitas has filed four claims in its suit: federal trademark infringement; common law trademark infringement; unfair business practices; and unjust enrichment.

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Another American brewery expands into Germany

January 9th, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

St. Louis-based Urban Chestnut Brewing’s plans for brewing in Germany do not quite match the scale of what Stone Brewing has announced in Berlin, but UCBC co-founder Florian Kuplent admits they are nonetheless rather ambitious.

“I’m thinking we might be a little crazy opening our third brewery in (less than) five years,” he said for a press release, but the opportunity to purchase a recently closed brewery in Wolnzach, Germany, was too good to pass on.

UCBC has acquired Bürgerbräu Wolnzach in Wolnzach, which is located about 50 kilometers north of Munich International Airport. Urban Chestnut has been exporting small quantities of beer to Germany since 2013. Co-founder David Wolfe said, “In considering different ways to grow Urban Chestnut in Germany and in Europe as a whole, we believe the U.S. craft beer model of ‘local’ is a more than viable strategy. Actually owning and operating a brewery in Bavaria will provide us with a solid platform for growth.”

Urban Chesnut opened its first brewery in 2011 in midtown St. Louis and a much larger production facility and beer hall a few miles away early in 2014.

The new brewery will be the smallest of the three UCBC breweries. The Wolnzach operation will be utilized to brew beers to distribute in Europe as well as to brew unique, German-brewed beers to export to the U.S. It will also act as the central point of operations for the importing/exporting of raw materials, beer, and other goods to and from the U.S.

“Since my apprenticeship as a teenager at Erharting Brauerei, I’ve always dreamed of owning my own brewery in Bavaria,” Kuplent said.

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Homebrewers Association gives Obama lifetime membership

December 17th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

The American Homebrewers Association has given special lifetime gift memberships to President Obama and outgoing White House chef Sam Kass.

The president made history when he purchased a homebrewing kit and — along with Kass — headed the effort to brew White House Honey Ale, the first beer known to have been brewed in the White House.

“Homebrewing is a model example of a bipartisan, pro-community and pro-business activity that all kinds of people can be passionate about and enjoy. President Obama and chef Kass are among the nation’s 1.2 million homebrewers, which include both Republicans and Democrats,” AHA director Gary Glass said for a press release announcing the gifts. “What better way to honor their enthusiasm for the hobby than to give them a lifetime membership to our community, which consists of many leaders, patriots and successful craft beer entrepreneurs.”

President Obama and Kass were mailed the letters below from Glass on behalf of the organization.

To President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

As one of the nation’s 1.2 million homebrewers, we would be honored to provide you a complimentary lifetime membership to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), an organization dedicated to promoting the country’s ever-growing community of homebrewers.

Since its founding in 1978, the AHA has worked to educate Americans about the country’s longstanding tradition of homebrewing. Your participation in homebrewing has elevated national awareness for the hobby and has inspired the country’s homebrewers, many of whom have become successful craft beer entrepreneurs.

We thought this membership, which we have also given to chef Sam Kass as he completes his tenure at the White House, would be a fitting and timely holiday gift. Homebrewing is an activity that everybody—regardless of their background or politics—can bond over and enjoy. As part of your holiday celebrations this year, we hope you will brew a batch of the White House Honey Ale or Honey Porter, the brews that have drawn such great national attention to our favorite hobby.

We look forward to you becoming a member of the American Homebrewers Association.

Happy holidays, and cheers to homebrewing.

Yours truly,
Gary Glass
Director
American Homebrewers Association

To chef Kass:

Dear Chef Kass:

As you complete your tenure at the White House, we wanted to send a thank-you gift for all the contributions you have made to the country, and, in particular, to the advancement of our favorite hobby: homebrewing.

We would be honored to provide you a complimentary lifetime membership to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), an organization dedicated to promoting the country’s ever-growing community of homebrewers.

Since its founding in 1978, the AHA has worked to educate Americans about the country’s longstanding tradition of homebrewing. Your enthusiasm for the craft, and your initiative in experimenting with and sharing the White House’s delicious homebrew recipes have been wonderful—and we are deeply grateful.

We thought this membership, which we have also given to President Obama, would be a fitting gift for the holidays. As part of your holiday celebrations this year, we hope you will brew a batch of the White House Honey Ale or Honey Porter, the brews that have drawn such great national attention to our favorite hobby.

We look forward to you becoming a member of the American Homebrewers Association. We hope this membership will allow you to continue to engage in the hobby as you embark on your next endeavor.

Cheers, and happy holidays.

Yours truly,
Gary Glass
Director
American Homebrewers Association

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Founders Brewing sells 30% share to Spanish brewery

December 17th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Founders Brewing Co. in Michigan, one of the fastest growing breweries in the country, has announced a partnership with Mahou San Miguel. The Spanish brewery will take a 30 percent stake in Founders.

A press release stated that the partnership “will help Founders grow through Mahou’s international distribution network to access the emerging craft beer community around the world. Founders and Mahou are focused on long-term strategic growth, with a commitment to brand longevity and product quality. ‘Founders will remain Founders,’ with continuity in their recipes, processes, facility and staff.”

“We knew that taking on a partner was the necessary, responsible thing to do for the future of Founders because it would open up new doors for growth as well as ensure our legacy for years to come,” CEO Mike Stevens said in the press release. “We spent a long time determining who would be the best partner to help us grow Founders while staying true to our beers and our culture. Mahou shares our family values and a commitment to their communities; they also believe in the importance of long-term partnerships. We are honored to be working with a brewer that commands so much respect.”

Javier López del Hierro, president of Mahou San Miguel, added, “Our investment in Founders is a great source of learning, innovation and transformation for Mahou San Miguel to get directly involved in the U.S. craft market.”

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2014 craft beer in review

December 9th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

The numbers are in from the Brewers Association in Colorado.

“It’s remarkable to see how beer has evolved in the past century. Year over year we’re seeing tremendous growth in the craft beer sector and 2014 proved that craft beer is moving into the mainstream,” Bart Watson, BA chief economist said for a press release. “Consumers are making a conscious choice to buy and try the plethora of options produced by small and independent craft brewers.”

The BA recap:

– U.S. brewery count returns to historic levels. In November, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers in the country and the number of brewery licenses reached the highest ever, topping 4,500 in the first sixth months of the year. Thirteen states (CA, CO, WA, OR, MI, NY, PA, TX, FL, WI, IL, NC, OH) now have more than 100 breweries each.

– Breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day. In addition, there are more than 2,000 breweries in planning.

– Craft brewers were the growth point in the overall beer industry. Through June of 2014, craft brewers enjoyed 18 percent growth by volume. Numerous data channels are showing continuing double-digit growth for craft in the second half of the year.

– India Pale Ales (IPAs) remained the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival®.

– Variety packs had a strong year with craft beer lovers. Retail data also indicates that variety packs are up 21 percent by volume and 24 percent by dollar sales, equating to nine percent volume share of craft and seven percent dollar share.

– Craft beer fans are becoming as diverse as craft beer itself. Data indicates that 38 percent of households bought a craft beer in the last year versus 29 percent in 2010. Additionally, women consume almost 32 percent of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34. Hispanic populations are demonstrating increased craft engagement as well.

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