Sierra Nevada owners donate $2 million to UC Davis program

Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and his wife, Katie Gonser, have presented UC Davis with a $2 million gift to support the campus’s brewing science program. The gift establishes an endowment to provide ongoing funding for a full-time staff brewing position, focused on excellence in hands-on brewing education in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology.

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Endowed Brewer position will be dedicated to mentoring and managing students and teaching assistants, maintaining the campus brewery and its equipment, and assisting in teaching brewing classes.

“This endowed brewer position will allow us to provide outstanding practical brewing experiences for our students as we continue to align hands-on training with the best theoretical education,” Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC-Davis, said for a press release. “Students don’t get that combination in most other brewing programs.”

“My family and I have supported the brewing program at UC Davis for nearly two decades,” Grossman said. “Charlie Bamforth is not only an expert in brewing science, technology and engineering, but a frequent guest speaker at our brewery and a close, personal friend. The ideals that he and the rest of the staff instill in the students are the very same principles that have guided our success in craft brewing for the past 36 years.”

The first Sierra Nevada Endowed Brewer will be Joe Williams, who has been serving as a staff researcher at UC Davis.


Pabst to distribute New Holland beers

New Holland Brewing Co. in Michigan and Pabst Brewing Co. announced today they will enter into a partnership agreement that focuses on the national distribution and sales of New Holland’s full portfolio of craft beer.

“This partnership allows us to distribute our beer brands to more consumers throughout the country by leveraging PBC’s robust sales and distribution platform,” said New Holland president Brett VanderKamp.

Once the partnership is fully implemented, Pabst’s sales force will sell all of New Holland’s beers to wholesalers nationwide. New Holland, entering its 20th year, will remain independent and will continue to manage all other business functions for its beers, including production, marketing, and finance. All beers will continue to be brewed in Holland, Michigan, and New Holland’s spirits, restaurant and retail operations will continue to operate as they currently do.

Pabst will not take an equity statke in New Holland and currently there are no plans in place for Pabst to invest in additional brewing capacity at New Holland. However, the partnership arrangement does contemplate the opportunity for expanded production of New Holland brands at facilities where Pabst already has contract brewing agreements in place, Pabst CEO Simon Thorpe said.


Asahi buys Pilsner Urquell, other brands from A-B InBev

Asahi Group Holdings has struck a deal to acquire five eastern European beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev, including Pilsner Urquell. The €7.3 billion ($7.8 billion) purchase is the largest ever made by a Japanese brewing company. A-B InBev is selling the brands to allay the concerns of European competition regulators after it completed its merger with SABMiller.

The sale includes Czech brewer Plzensky Prazdroy, which brews Pilsner Urquell, and Polish beer brands e Tyskie and Lech. The brands will give more international heft to Japan’s Asahi, which is one of the top beer makers in its home market but only a small player globally.

Asahi spent much more than initially expected – the price driven up from an an anticipated $3 billion to $4 billion by other bidders. Asahi previously bought Peroni and Grolsch from SABMiller, as the company made divestitures to get regulatory clearance for its sale to A-B InBev.


A-B adds Texas brewery to High End portfolio

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.


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

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.


Beer mega deal complete

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.


The billion dollar impact of homebrewing

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.


Tenth & Blake acquires Hop Valley Brewing

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.


Plunging pound endangers AB InBev-Miller deal

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.


US OKs AB InBev-SABMiller deal

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.


Miller takes majority stake in Terrapin Beer

Tenth and Blake Beer Company, a division of MillerCoors, announced an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Terrapin Beer Company. Tenth and Blake has owned a minority interest in the Georgia brewery since 2012.

“Bringing Tenth and Blake on years ago allowed us to get to know each other better and realize the incredible potential of becoming a majority-owned partner with Tenth and Blake and MillerCoors,” Terrapin co-founder said Brian “Spike” Buckowski said in a press release. “With Tenth and Blake’s dedication to helping us grow and their passion for creating high-quality craft beers, we knew it would be the perfect partnership. We look forward to continuing to create innovative beers to share with beer lovers nationwide.”

Terrapin Beer Company will operate as a business unit of Tenth and Blake. Terrapin’s management and team will remain.

“The team at Terrapin is so passionate and committed to brewing such terrific beers that we are thrilled to welcome them deeper into the Tenth and Blake family,” said Scott Whitley, president and CEO of Tenth and Blake. “As owners, our job is to work collaboratively with their team to support their continued success with their innovative, award-winning beers that complement our portfolio perfectly.”

The other components of the Tenth and Blake portfolio include Blue Moon Brewing Company, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company and Saint Archer Brewing Company.


Newest Game of Thrones beer called Valar Dohaeris

Games of Thrones Valar Dohaeris Tripel AleBrewery Ommegang has introduced the newest beer in its Games of Thrones series and will also bring back another. Valar Dohaeris Tripel Ale is the latest beer in the series, and will be available in a variety of different packages as well as alongside previously released sister-brew Valar Morghulis.

Fans of Game of Thrones know that “Valar Morghulis” means “All Men Must Die” in High Valyrian and is traditionally answered with the phrase “Valar Dohaeris,” which means “All Men Must Serve.” Label art for both bottles features the two-headed coin, given to Arya Stark by Jaqen H’ghar, which gained her passage to Braavos at the end of Season 5. Arya spent most of Season 6 in Braavos training to become a faceless assassin, making the naming of the latest beer and the decision to re-release Valar Morghulis a no-brainer.

“Of the classic Belgian styles, the dubbel and the tripel are two of our favorites to brew, and both are styles we’re particularly well known for,” Ommegang brewmaster Phil Leinhart said for a company press release. “I love the idea of releasing them together side-by-side. It is such a great way to experience them. They are also pretty hearty and should age nicely over time, so fans can stock up to last them through the winter and to fill the void until next season.”


Lagunitas buys stake in three smaller breweries

Lagunitas Brewing announced that it is taking a stake in three breweries in different parts of the country and it will open up buildings in Portland, Oregon, and San Diego that nonprofits can use for fundraisers. Financial terms of the investments were not disclosed. The purchases were all funded by Lagunitas and did not require any capital outlay from Heineken, which bought a 50 percent share of Lagunitas last year.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee said, “I would call it expansion. In consolidation, you’re looking for synergies and bringing efficiencies and trying to shrink the pool of competitors. This is really about all of us expanding our experience base, our understanding of things and growing our businesses at the same time.”

The stakes are in Southend Brewery and Smokehouse in Charleston, S.C., Independence Brewing Co. in Austin, Texas, and Moonlight Brewing in Santa Rosa, Calif.

“These aren’t conquests … it’s not for scale,” Magee told a local newspaper. “This a thread to make more local connections.”

Moonlight founder Brian Hunt said the opportunity “to secure Moonlight’s future into the next generation” was the driving factor along with his friendship of Magee, who he has known since 1993.

“I’m almost 60 now and I don’t know how long I’m going to keep doing this,” said Hunt. “I got other things going on my life. I don’t want to run a brewery until the day I fall under.”

When asked by the Tribune if there would be more deals, Magee answered, “Oh, yeah. I want to do more than three. I want to make a bunch of these relationships. This is a beginning, not an end point of anything.”


Ballast Point to build Virginia brewery

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits will invest $47.8 million to establish an East Coast brewing operation in Botetourt County.

“I am thrilled to announce that Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits will join the Commonwealth’s world-class, award-winning roster of craft breweries,”the governor said in a press release. “Winning this significant project was a top priority, and we are proud that Botetourt County will be home to the company’s East Coast brewing operation. Virginia has truly become a leader in the industry and a destination for craft beer lovers. Today is another milestone of our ongoing success in diversifying and building a new Virginia economy, and we look forward to Ballast Point thriving in the Commonwealth.”

“This project is great news for the growing tourism, manufacturing and craft beverage sectors in the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said in the press release. “Ballast Point’s decision to locate its East Coast operation in Virginia is a strong testament to our great talent, strategic location and superior business climate. Additionally, the company will benefit from our outstanding workforce training programs. Congratulations to Botetourt County and Ballast Point. We look forward to a long, prosperous partnership.”

Ballast Point began selling beer in 1996, brewing in the back of a San Diego homebrew shop.

Last November, Constellation Brands acquired the company for approximately $1 billion. Ballast Point is one of the fastest growing craft beer companies in the U.S., its best sellers being Sculpin IPA and Grapefruit Sculpin IPA. At that time, it was announced Ballast Point will continue to operate as a stand-alone company with its existing management team and employees running the day-to-day operations.


Brooklyn Brewery to move into Navy Yard

Brooklyn Brewery will move its headquarters to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Wall Street Journal reports the company is leasing 75,000 square feet at Building 77, a 1-million-square-foot industrial warehouse. Plans call for for the Brooklyn Brewery’s space to open in 2018.

The space is slated to include offices and a beer garden, as well as an area for manufacturing and a pub in the building’s food-manufacturing hub.

The Navy Yard, established in 1801, produced warships for the U.S. Navy through World War II. After closing as a naval yard in 1966, the site has emerged as a popular hub for manufacturing, industrial and creative businesses.

“For generations, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was behind a wall,” Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. president David Ehrenberg said. “But the nature of the yard is really changing. We want to open it up to the public to show that things are still being made in Brooklyn.” Brooklyn Brewery has signed a 40-year lease.

Brooklyn Brewery will remain in Williamsburg until its three leases end in 2025, co-founder Steve Hindy said. After that, he hopes to maintain a retail space or potentially a brewpub at that location.