Craft beer surpasses 10% market share

March 16th, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

The Brewers Association announced today that for the first time craft breweries reached double-digit share of the beer marketplace. Back in 2003, Kim Jordan of New Belgium Brewing had challenged industry members during her keynote address at the Craft Brewers Conference to strive to reach 10% share. To many that looked to a goal that might take decades to reach. Now the BA has set a target to reach 20% share in just five more years.

In 2014, craft breweries — as defined by the BA — produced 22.2 million barrels, and 18% increase in volume. Retail dollar value was estimated at $19.6 billion, representing 19.3% market share.

Craft brewing growth - Brewers Association

“With the total beer market up only 0.5 percent in 2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the overall industry innovative and growing. This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture—a shift that will help craft brewers achieve their ambitious goal of 20 percent market share by 2020,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.

The number of operating breweries in the U.S. in 2014 grew 19%, totaling 3,464 breweries, with 3,418 defeined as craft. They include 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412 brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 615 new brewery openings and only 46 closings.

Combined with already existing and established breweries and brew pubs, craft brewers provided 115,469 jobs, an increase of almost 5,000 from the previous year.

“These small businesses are one of the bright spots in both our economy and culture. Craft brewers are serving their local communities, brewing up jobs and boosting tourism,” Watson said.

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Brewers Association promotes Small BREW Act, opposes BEER Act

February 5th, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

The Brewers Association has issued a press released indicates it opposed the BEER Act, legislation introduced in the U.S. house and supported by the Beer Institute.

It begins by explaining that legislation was introduced in Congress that is supported by the BA and called the Small BREW Act. Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association, issued the following statement on the BEER Act:

“While the Brewers Association supports lowering excise taxes for small brewers, the BEER Act is not the way to do it. There are several problematic issues with this legislation including cost to the country, job creation and fairness.

“The BEER Act gives further tax advantages to multinational brewing companies that not only already pay lower rates than purely domestic brewers, but also have cut thousands of U.S. jobs in the past six years and export and shelter their U.S. profits.

“We stand firmly rooted in our support for the Small BREW Act, fair legislation that will allow small brewers to remain competitive in the marketplace, reinvest in their businesses, reinvigorate local economies and continue their role in rejuvenating the job market in the U.S.”

The BA has created an infographic that compares the two measures (enlarge the graphic by click anywhere on it).

Comparing Small BREW Act and BEER Act

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About THAT Super Bowl commercial

February 2nd, 2015 | Posted by Real Beer

In case you missed the Budweiser commercial everybody is talking about, here it is:

And here are a few things people are saying:

Bud Is Proudly ‘Macro’ Amid Micro-Brews in Swagger-Filled Super Bowl Ad.
Why the pro-macro beer Budweiser ad is so dangerous.
Budweiser Ad Declares War… On Itself?
Analyzing Budweiser’s Hypocritical, Anti-Craft Beer Super Bowl Ad.
Did Budweiser misfire with its anti-craft beer Super Bowl ad?
Super Bowl Commercial Shootaround: All the Fast Cars, Cool Insurance, and Unfathomable Sadness We Can Sell You Between Timeouts.

You have to scroll to the bottom of the last one to get to the point, so here it is:

“This commercial is great because it makes fun of Brooklyn. Brooklyn is where I live. And yes, it does at times feature bearded gentlemen sitting in well-lit bars on Sunday afternoons — their dogs within petting range, their children a stroller handle away — enjoying some meticulously brewed craft beer. This is, by most accounts, a perfectly great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. But then you see this bit of jumbled fast-cut nonsense and all you really wanna do is sit on a porch and have someone literally toss you a Bud you unself-consciously refer to as a “cold one.” And even though you’re draped in the star-spangled banner in a manner so emphatic that it’s covering your eyes a bit, and even though you have Revolutionary War–era muskets in both hands because what if the British come back, you catch it perfectly and you glug down that sweet taste of nothing and then you stand up and salute your dog — who is also holding two muskets, and who is winking at you with pride — and you say GOD BLESS AMERICA and GOD BLESS THE INBEV CORPORATION, the BELGIUM-HEADQUARTERED PARENT COMPANY OF THE MIGHTY BUDWEISER (TM).”

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Elysian Brewing latest A-B acquisition

January 23rd, 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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