Craft brewers boost US economy by $33 billion

2012 craft beer impact

The Brewers Association announced that by its calculation craft brewers contributed $33.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012.

The figure is derived from the total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves through the three-tier system (breweries, wholesalers and retailers), as well as all non-beer products that brewpub restaurants sell.

“With a strong presence across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, craft breweries are a vibrant and flourishing economic force at the local, state and national level,” BA staff economist Bart Watson said. The BA is a non-profit organization that most of the 2,000-plus craft breweries in the country belong to.

In addition to the national impact, the BA examined output of the craft brewing industry by state, as well as the state economic contribution per capita for adults over 21.

Top Five States (2012)

State 2012 Output
California $4.7 billion
Texas $2.3 billion
New York $2.2 billion
Pennsylvania     $2 billion
Colorado $1.6 billion

Top Five States in Age 21+ Output per Capita (2012)

State 2012 Output/Capita
Oregon $448.46
Colorado     $436.50
Vermont $418.57
Maine $324.36
Montana $315.37

For some or all of 2012, 2,347 craft breweries operated in the U.S., comprised of 1,132 brewpubs, 1,118 microbreweries and 97 regional craft breweries. During this timeframe, craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels of beer, with a retail dollar value estimated at $11.9 billion* The industry also provided more than 360,000 jobs, with 108,440 jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs, including serving staff at brewpubs.


Brew Hub will brew (some) Cigar City beer

Brew Hub, the largest of recently opened operations that will brew beer for other companies, has announced the first clients that will have beer made in its Florida brewery. They are Cigar City Brewing; Orange Blossom Pilsner; and BJ’s Restaurants.

Brew Hub will brew a variety of beer brands for each company at its Lakeland facility and distribute the beer throughout Florida and eventually other southeastern states. First beers are expected to be shipped in May.

The company refers to this as “partner brewing” — a process that allows craft brewers not only to brew their beer to exact specifications under the supervision of their own brewmaster, but also to package and distribute from the Brew Hub brewery and make their beer available for export to international markets. Brew Hub also offers services including sales, marketing, logistics, compliance and government affairs.

“These guys know what they are doing, and I am excited for the opportunity to be able to grow Cigar City Brewing without sacrificing quality or compromising the brewing process,” Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing founder and CEO, said for a press release. “When you combine Brew Hub’s experience with a new state-of-the-art craft brewery in our home state of Florida, we knew this partnership could help us get more Cigar City beer into the hands of people who love it.”

“The partnerships we’ve formed with Cigar City, Orange Blossom Pilsner and BJ’s Restaurants are exactly why we formed our company,” said Tim Schoen, founder and CEO of Brew Hub.

Brew Hub will brew approximately 40,000 barrels of beer in 2014 for the three partners combined. The Lakeland brewery will have an annual capacity of 75,000 barrels (one million cases). Brew Hub plans to open four additional breweries over the next five years.


New Belgium doubles wood beer capacity

New Belgium Brewing is set to double its wood beer capacity with the addition of 32 new French Oak foeders (large wooden casks for conditioning sour beer) that will bring their total foeder count to 64. Space has been allocated, reinforced concrete flooring has been poured, and the first 12 foeders will be put in place this week.

The expansion will allow New Belgium to double its wood beer production in coming years. The Colorado brewery began began its wood beer program in 1998 and installed its first foeders in 2000. Brewmasteer Peter Bouckaert, who joined New Belgium in 1996, previously worked at Rodenbach in Belgium, famous for its sour beers, themselves aged in massive foeders.

“With this expansion, we’ll get so close to that feeling I had the first time I walked through the forest of foeders at Rodenbach,” said New Belgium’s wood cellar manager/blender, Lauren Salazar. “Just knowing they’re all full of souring beer – ALL of them – is exciting. It’s a destination. Something you have to experience first hand.”

New Belgium has been experimenting with lighter and blended sour beers through its Lips of Faith program since 2003. The brewery will use this expansion to bring Lips of Faith offerings like Tart Lychee and Eric’s Ale into year round production by 2015. The newest set of oak foeders are 130 hectoliters each and come from Sterling vineyards in California. After the initial installation of 12 this month, 20 more foeders will be placed in December. Once rehydration is complete, sour beer from the current wood cellar will be used to inoculate the barrels with resident souring bacteria and wild yeasts. The beer will then age up to two years before it is blended.


Goose Island puts the black in Black Friday

Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Co. once again plans to help make Black Friday, the day otherwise known as a grand shopping event, more beer friendly.

The brewery will release several varieties of its Bourbon County Brand Stouts nationwide and hold special events in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Austin.

Looking for beer gift ideas for the holidays? Visit the Real Beer Guide.

Former brewmaster Greg Hall made first by Bourbon County Stout in 1992 to mark the 1,000th batch of beer brewed a what was then a brewpub. At the time, no other commercial brewery in the country was aging beers in bourbon barrels with the intention of extracting some of the remaining flavors. Now breweries around the world put beer in used spirits barrels.

Friday, Nov. 29, Goose Island will release:

– Bourbon County Brand Stout, an imperial stout, that at 14.5% ABV lives up the the name. It is sold in four packs of 12-ounce bottles.

– Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, brewed using coffee roasted from Intelligentsia Coffee, which is next door to Goose Island’s Fulton Street production brewery. 14.3% ABV and also sold in four packs.

– Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, which is new in 2013 and is aged in the third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then Bourbon County Brand Stout. 14.2% ABV and sold in four packs.

– Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout, also new for 2013. Aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with fresh mulberries, marionberries, and boysenberries. This one is sold in 22-ounce bottles.

– Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout,a small batch brewed exclusively for Chicago. For 2013, it was aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with coconut toasted by hand by the Goose Island brewers. Sold in 22-ounce bottles.

This is the fourth year Goose Island is releasing Bourbon County Brands on Black Friday. More than 400 people lined up in Chicago last year for the special releases, and the company expects similar excitement in other cities this year. To learn more about the events visit the brewery’s Facebook page.


Homebrewers make 1% of beer brewed in US

A survey conducted for the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) indicates that homebrewers produce more than 2 million barrels of beer a year, a barrel being 31 gallons. This represents one percent of total U.S. beer production.

According to the survey, there are an estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States. Two-thirds of them began brewing in 2005 or later.

“The homebrewing community is in every corner of the country and highly engaged in this hobby,” AHA director Gary Glass said for a press release. “From the amount of money spent on supplies to the sheer number of homebrewers, it’s clear this is a growing trend and people are incredibly interested in learning about and making their own brews at home.”

From the survey:

– Demographics: The average homebrewer is 40 years old, with most (60%) falling between 30 and 49 years old. The majority of homebrewers are married or in a domestic partnership (78%), have a college degree or some form of higher education (69%), and are highly affluent — nearly 60% of homebrewers have household incomes of $75,000 or more.

– Location: Homebrewers are fairly evenly spread across the country, with the slight plurality congregated in the West (31%), followed by the South (26%), Midwest (23%) and the fewest in the Northeast (17%).

– Production: In terms of brew production, homebrewers mainly stick to beer — 60 percent of respondents brew only beer at home, compared to wine, mead or cider. AHA members and people affiliated with the AHA on average brewed nearly 10 batches of beer per year, at 7 gallons a batch, which is 15% more batches and nearly 30% more volume than homebrewers who were not affiliated with the AHA.

Retail: Nearly all homebrewers (95%) shop in two local homebrew stores eight or nine times a year, while a majority (80%) also shops in three online stores five times a year. On average, homebrewers spend $800 a year—about $460 on general supplies and ingredients, and $330 on equipment.

The survey was completed by more than 18,000 homebrewers via an online survey from July 30 to September 3, 2013. Of the respondents, 65% were members of the AHA, and 35% were unaffiliated homebrewers.


Budweiser Project 12 offers more ZIP code beers

Budweiser’s Project 12 – the program that produced Budweiser Black Crown – returns with three new ZIP code beers this month.

This is the second year that Anheuser-Busch has packaged three beers that are named for the ZIP codes of the breweries where they were created. Each is fermented with the same yeast strain Budweiser has been using since Adolphus Busch founded the brewery in 1876. The beers are sold in a 12-pack that includes:

Batch 94534 (Fairfield, Calif.): Brewed with a of Northwest American hop varieties, including Cascade and Palisade. 5.5% ABV.

Batch 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.): Aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans. 5.5% ABV.

Batch 43229 (Columbus, Ohio): Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts and finished on Beechwood chips. 6% ABV.

Budweiser served the beers last week at the Great American Beer Festival.

“We think of Project 12 as the innovation arm of Budweiser,” Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser, told CNBC. “We see it not as a competition but a collaboration among our brewers.”

Budweiser has offered samples of the beer at the Made in America Music Festival on Labor Day each of the last two years. “Last year at the Made in America Music Festival, 85 percent of the people that tried the Project 12 beers had a higher perception of Budweiser than they did before they tried those beers,” Perkins said. “This year 93 percent of those that tried the Project 12 beers had a greater appreciation for Budweiser. That’s huge for us.”

Last year, Budweiser introduced Budweiser Black Crown – originally known as Project 12’s Batch 91406 – as a permanent Budweiser brand during Super Bowl XLVI. Perkins did not rule out the possibility of a similar brand extension based on this year’s beers, but said that was not planned currently.


Duvel Moortgat buys Boulevard Brewing

Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery today announced a deal to buy Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, the 12-largest craft brewery in the United States.

Michel Moorgat, whose family owns the Belgian company, indicated that it plans to expand distribution of Boulevard both in the United States and throughout the world. “I see here in Europe that consumers are getting more and more interested in American craft beers,” he told The New York Times. “In the future, with this partnership, we will be able to develop the taste for those beers more substantially here and in other countries like Japan and China.”

Boulevard founder John McDonald will remain a “substantial” shareholder and have a seat on the board in the combined company. Boulevard will sell about 180,000 barrels (a barrels contains 31 gallons of beer) this year, but ultimately, with the investment Moortgat will provide, could make more than 800,000 barrels. Its flagship Unfiltered Wheat accounts for well over half of production, but it is better known among beer fans for its Smokestack series. That includes regular offerings like Tank 7 as well as seasonal releases such as Saison Brett and Bourbon Barrel Quad.

“Since I started Boulevard in 1989, the company’s long-term future has always been top of mind,” McDonald said. “I wanted to find a way to take the business to the next level while retaining its essence, its people, its personality—all the characteristics that make our beer and our brewery so important to Kansas City and the Midwest.”

“Our path for growth became abundantly clear as I got to know John and Boulevard,” Moortgat said. “Our companies share the same values. We have great mutual respect for each other’s achievements and maintain a deeply-held belief in exceptional quality as the platform for long-term success.”

The transaction between the two privately-held companies is expected to close by the end of the year; no financial details will be disclosed. First Beverage Group acted as advisor to Boulevard.

Moortgat was one of the original members of the partnership that started Brewery Ommegang in 1996, and eventually bought 100 percent control of that brewery. As well as brewing the iconic Duvel it owns several other brands in Europe, including La Chouffe and De Knoninck.


Michigan considers 16-ounce ‘pint-size’ law

A bill introduced last week would amend the Michigan Liquor Control Act to require each pint of beer have at least 16 ounces. It would make it an offense to “advertise or sell any glass of beer as a pint in this state unless that glass contains at least 16 ounces of beer.”

Rep. Brandon Dillon, R-Grand Rapids and a co-sponsor of the bill, said short pints aren’t the most pressing issue facing the state, but “a lot of people, I think, would appreciate knowing what they get when they order a pint.”

Some pint-style beer glasses with thicker bottoms hold as little as 12 to 14 ounces.


Pumpkin brewers hold carving contest

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales carved pumpkin

Voting has begun in The Big Craft CarveOff organized by New Belgium Brewing. The Colorado brewery and seven others have put their carving skills on display and consumers may vote for their favorites at New Belgium will donate $5,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. Voting ends Oct. 15.

New Belgium’s carved entry celebrates its current seasonal release, Pumpkick Ale. Pumpkick is brewed with cranberries as well as the other ingredients association with pumpkin pies.

Other breweries participating in the carving contest include: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Cigar City Brewing, Cambridge Brewing Company, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (pictured above), Saint Arnold Brewing and Saint Louis Brewery/Schlafly Beer.

“It was a little tricky for some breweries to find pumpkins this early in the season, so we actually had to ship some from Fort Collins,” said New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson. “The results speak volumes as to how many creative folks we have in our industry. Pretty inspiring.”


More ‘10% for KC’ beneficiaries picked

Boulevard Brewing announced KC Pet Project was the consumer favorite in its first “10% for KC” voting.

The new program, which donates 10% of the proceeds from KC Pils sales in the Kansas City area, splits the donation among three charities based on online voting. KC Pet Project had 56% of the votes and will receive 60% of the funds raised through the program. The American Jazz Museum and the KC Care Clinic will get 20% each of the total contributions.

Though final dollar figures will not be available until next week, approximately $30,000 will be divided among the organizations.

“Response from the organizations and consumers has been overwhelming,” said Jeremy Ragonese, Boulevard’s director of marketing. “KC Pet Project took the opportunity and ran with it. Their enthusiasm, along with the creativity and passion demonstrated by the other two participants, fulfilled our desire to bring attention to these worthy causes and give back to hometown charities.”

Boulevard will donate to three different groups each quarter. Consumers will be able to vote for First Downs for Down Syndrome, the Midwest Music Foundation, or Synergy Services in the fourth quarter.


A ‘pumpkin beer like no other’

Once in a very rare while a press release shows up that simply must be run in it’s entirety. Witness:

He Said let’s brew a dark beer with pumpkin and spices and put it in a light colored can. He Said let’s brew a light beer with pumpkin and spices and put it in a dark colored can. So they did both and produced a pumpkin beer collaboration like no other: two black pumpkin beers and two white pumpkin beers, together in one box.

Brewing up a pumpkin collaboration beer should be a piece of cake for Dick Cantwell, the pumpkin king at Elysian Brewing and a slam dunk for Shaun O’Sullivan, the 21st Amendment Brewery brewmaster who brought the world Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer. In truth, brewing up He Said wasn’t that hard. What proved to be more difficult was getting their story about its inception straight.

Here, straight from the mouths of the pumpkin king and one of the watermelon guys, is exactly what He Said:

Shaun: “I met Dick in 2010. He walked into our San Francisco pub, came over to Nico and me and said he’d always wanted to meet the watermelon guys.”

Dick: “I met Shaun in 1999. He walked into my Seattle pub, came over to me and said he’d always wanted to meet the pumpkin king.”

Shaun: “Later on, while I was knocking his block off at Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Dick mentioned his little pumpkin fest and suggested we attend.”

Dick: “Later on, while hatching a plan to colonize a planet entirely devoted to watermelons and pumpkins I invited him to my massive pumpkin fest.”

Shaun: “One year later, Dick asked me again. Then he kicked me in the shins until I said yes.”

Dick: “Ten years later, Shaun asked me if the invitation still stood. I punched him in the ribs and said yes.”

Shaun: “After drinking the pumpkin elixirs, I told Dick we should do a pumpkin collaboration sometime.”

Dick: “After some cajolery, Shaun and Nico begged me to do a pumpkin collaboration as soon as possible. I said we should brew a pumpkin beer like no other. A Baltic Porter with caraway and cinnamon in a light colored can. Courage!”

Shaun: “I said we should brew a pumpkin beer like no other. A Belgian Tripel with spices in a dark colored can. That’s as big time as it gets.”

He Said is a white Belgian-Style Tripel ale brewed with pumpkin, tarragon and galangal. He Said is also a black Baltic-Style Porter lager brewed with pumpkin, Vietnamese cinnamon and ground caraway. Both beers have an ABV of 8.2%.

Try them both. Two 12oz cans of each version of He Said will be packaged together in a pumpkin-colored carrier that features the likenesses of the two brewers, each telling his side of the He Said story.

Shaun O’Sullivan, Brewmaster and Co-Founder of 21st Amendment Brewery, said, “Last year I attended Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest – and this is the truth as it happened – I lobbied Nico hard for us to brew a pumpkin ale and release it in a can.”

Nico Freccia, Co-Founder of 21st Amendment Brewery, said, “I agreed to the endeavor, but only if we could collaborate with the pumpkin king, himself: Dick Cantwell of Elysian.”

Dick Cantwell, Founder of Elysian Brewing and the Elysian Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, said, “Well, it went something like that. In the end, we decided that it would be fun to brew two unusual types of pumpkin beers – a dark and a light – and package them together. And that’s how it happened.”

He Said, part of 21st Amendment Brewery’s Insurrection Series of once-in-awhile four packs, will be available in four-packs and on draft starting in late September.


Oregon Brewers Festival impact = $31 million

The economic impact of the 2013 Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) was $31.2 million, according to a study conducted by an Eastern Oregon University class.

Jeff Dense, professor of political science at Eastern Oregon University, and his POLS 316 Politics and Beer class, administered 748 on-site interviews at the event in downtown Portland between July 24 and 27.

Respondents were queried on demographic factors, along with estimates of OBF related expenditures in tourism-related categories, including transportation, lodging, meals, gasoline purchases, non-beer related recreation, beer purchased to take home, and expenditures at OBF.

Findings of the study include:

  • A majority (52.5%) of OBF patrons were out-of-town visitors.
  • Visitors from Washington, California and Canada comprised 27.1% of total OBF patrons.
  • 40% of respondents were attending OBF for the first time
  • 36% of attendees were female, a 10% increase from 2012.
  • 25% of OBF patrons were 50 years or older.
  • The average out-of-town visitor spent $587.
  • Lodging ($11.1 Million) accounted for the largest share of OBF expenditures.
  • State and local government received $1.5 Million in indirect business taxes.
  • Nearly half (45.9%) of OBF patrons utilized mass transit to attend the festival.
  • This was the third year of the study.


    Great American Beer Bars honored — the Brewers Association website for beer lovers — has announced the winners in voting for “Great American Beer Bar.” Readers selected their favorite bars in each of five U.S. geographical regions as well as picking overall winners.

    Great American Beer Bars

    Overall Winners
    First Place: Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
    Second Place: HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
    Third Place: Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ

    Regional Winners
    First Place: Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
    Second Place: The Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC
    Third Place: Oak St. Drafthouse, Denton, TX

    Mountain West
    First Place: Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO
    Second Place: Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids, Longmont, CO
    Third Place: Tap & Bottle, Tucson, AZ

    First Place: The Bier Stein, Eugene, OR
    Second Place: Toronado, San Francisco, CA
    Third Place: Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse, Denali National Park, AK

    North Central
    First Place: HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
    Second Place: The Bavarian Lodge, Lisle, IL
    Third Place: Ashley’s, Ann Arbor, MI

    First Place: Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ
    Second Place: ChurchKey, Washington, DC
    Third Place: The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT

    This is how the winners were chosen: asked readers to nominate their favorite craft beer bars in the country, and received over 5,000 nominations. Site visitors than coast their votes (more than 37,000) for the 10 most nominated bars in each of the five regions.


    Saint Arnold to host GABF weddings

    Weddings aren’t exactly new to the Great American Beer Festival. In one of the better known ones, Dave Keene of the Toronado Pub and Jennifer Smith got married in 2010.

    However, Saint Arnold Brewing in Texas wants to take it to a new level, constructing a chapel at its booth at this year’s GABF and inviting couples to use it. A Saint Arnold employee who has officiated weddings in the past will preside over the nuptials dressed as Saint Arnold of Metz, the patron saint of brewers.

    “One of my favorite toasts is, ‘May your heart always be full and your glass never empty,’ and I expect to hear that toast a lot at the GABF weddings,” said Saint Arnold director of marketing and events, Lennie Ambrose. “Saint Arnold is closely associated with the legend of the miraculous mug that never ran dry, so I expect he will be right at home at GABF.”

    Saint Arnold will also perform civil ceremonies and vow renewals.

    “This will be a lot of fun and we expect there will be no shortage of people taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the love with thousands of fellow craft beer enthusiasts,” said Ambrose. “While it is a relatively simple process to get married in Colorado, a Colorado marriage license is required, so this will require a little planning for those wishing to wed. Fortunately, the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder, which provides marriage licenses, is conveniently located within four blocks of the chapel we’re planning to build at GABF.”


    Alchemy & Science acquires Coney Island brands

    Alchemy & Science announced that it has acquired all rights to the Coney Island beer brands.

    Jeremy Cowan, who founded He’brew Beer in 1996, launched the Coney Island brand in 2007. Alan Newman, president of Alchemy & Science, said that as part of the transaction, Cowan will join Alchemy & Science in an advisory capacity. He’brew Beer is not part of the deal and Cowan will continue to operate his own, new, brewery in upstate New York.

    “Jeremy is very excited to join us and be an important part of the future of Coney Island brands,” Newman said for a press release. “We are thrilled to collaborate with him to build on his hard work. He is a talented brewer with a flair for eye-catching branding. And personally, I am thrilled to re-visit my youth spent in Coney Island.”

    Alchemy & Science – located in Burlington, Vt. – describes itself as a craft beer incubator.