Green Flash to begin brewing in Nebraska

Green Flash Brewing, which opened 15 years ago in San Diego and added a second larger brewery last year in Virginia, has announced it will operate another brewery in Lincoln, Neb.

A press release states the company has purchased a 10,000-square-foot production facility and tasting room with a restaurant in Lincoln. Ploughshare Brewing, which opened in November 2014, closed its doors July 3. “The new brewery was purchased intact, and Green Flash expects the tasting room, restaurant, and brewhouse to be open and operating by the end of this year,” according to the press release. “Upon opening, Green Flash will be able to offer fresh beer with regional prices in the Midwest, and will focus on the consumer connection in their Lincoln tasting room. The move reveals Green Flash’s long-term strategy to increase their strength as a national brand by establishing regional footholds in key cities across the United States.”

“We hope to become a local favorite in our new Nebraska home,” saids Green Flash co-founder Mike Hinkley.

The new brewery has a capacity of 10,000 barrels, much smaller than breweries in San Diego and Virginia Beach. It will produce both Green Flash and Alpine brand beers.


New Belgium, Magnolia, Cantwell, lambic

Write your own headline. The press release New Belgium Brewing issued this afternoon turned the process of picking a lead item into a multiple choice question.

The Colorado brewery will purchase Magnolia Brewing in San Francisco, the 20-year-old brewery that was in bankruptcy. A newly formed partnership, in which New Belgium is the majority shareholder, that includes Elysian Brewing co-founder Dick Cantwell and Belgian lambic producer Oud Beersel, will operate Magnolia. Cantwell will head up brewing operations, working along with Magnolia founder Dave McLean, who will be an employee of the partnership. Cantwell left Elysian in 2015, after the A-B InBev bought the company.

“I’m tremendously excited to be back in the beer business and looking forward to working with the team at Magnolia to develop new beers and new ideas,” Cantwell said in the press release. “This project is the natural evolution of a longstanding strategy of collaboration between myself, New Belgium and Oud Beersel.”

The release explains that Belgian lambic producer Oud Beersel joins the partnership as a contributing experimenter, with the goal of eventually shipping containers of its traditionally-produced and spontaneously fermented beers for blending with Magnolia-crafted beers. Installation of a coolship is planned, along with the wooden aging vessels for which both New Belgium and Oud Beersel are known. To be called lambic a beer must be produced in Belgium, and by shipping lambic to San Francisco, the partnership plans to establish the world’s first dedicated lambic blendery outside of Belgium.

New Belgium already did something similar with Transatlantique Kriek, a beer produced with Oud Beersel and Brouerij Boon, wherein beer was shipped from Belgium for blending with New Belgium wood-aged beers. New Belgium is also likely to ship beer to San Francisco for blending from its Fort Collins, Colorado brewery.

“We’ve been looking for ways to diversify our assets and expand our community,” said New Belgium co-founder and Executive Chair, Kim Jordan. “These two tap rooms are right in the heart of historic San Francisco neighborhoods, a place Dick (Cantwell) and I call home. Magnolia makes excellent beer and plays an important role in the community. We’re excited about the possibilities and look forward to continuing our journey while honoring Magnolia’s history and presence.”

McLean opened Magnolia Brewing in 1997 in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Smokestack, a barbecue restaurant attached to a 30-barrel production brewery, followed in 2014. When its revenue did not meet expectations the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2015.

“Magnolia has had quite a journey in San Francisco for nearly two decades, including some very challenging and difficult times in recent years,” Mclean said. “I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to see Magnolia start a new chapter and to be working with New Belgium, Dick Cantwell and Oud Beersel to preserve what we all love about Magnolia while embarking on some exciting new craft beer adventures together.”


Constellation Brands buys Funky Buddha

Constellation Brands has acquired as second craft brewery, today announcing it has bought Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery. Constellation, which also imports popular Mexican brands such as Corona and Modelo, purchased Ballast Point two years ago.

Ballast Point cost Constellation $1 billion. The terms of the Funky Buddha deal have not been disclosed.

Funky Buddha, founded in 2010 and based in Oakland Park, is projected to produce 35,000 barrels of beer in 2017, up 29% from 27,000 barrels in 2016.

“Adding a fantastic regional brand such as Funky Buddha to our craft beer portfolio, along with Ballast Point, advances our strategy in continuing to lead the high-end beer segment,” Paul Hetterich, president of Constellation Brands’ beer division, said in a press release.

Funky Buddha is known for beers such as Hop Gun IPA and Floridian Hefeweizen, as well as its Maple Bacon Coffee Porter and Last Snow Coconut Coffee Porter.


Goat’s Milk Champion Beer of Britain

A Warwickshire brewery, originally located in an old coffin shop, has won the Campaign for Real Ale’s Champion Beer of Britain award on the opening day of the Great British Beer Festival.

Church End originally brewed the bitter as a one-off for a local festival at the Goat pub, thus the champion’s name, Goat’s Milk. Head brewer Carl Graves said the 3.8% beer has a simple recipe of Maris Otter pale malt with a touch of crystal malt and malted wheat and is hopped with American Cascade and Chinook hops.

Final judging for the competition was held at the festival in London, which will attract 50,000 drinkers to sample from more than 900 beers, ciders, perries and wines.

The results:

Gold-Church End Goats Milk
Silver-Bishop Nick Ridley’s Rite
Bronze-Tiny Rebel Cwtch

Gold-Rudgate Ruby Mild
Silver-West Berkshire Maggs Magnificent Mild
Bronze-Winter’s Mild

Gold-Church End Goats Milk
Silver-Bishop Nick Ridley’s Rite
Bronze-Triple fff Alton’s Pride and Sambrook’s Wandle Ale

Best Bitter
Gold-Tiny Rebel Cwtch
Silver-Blackedge Pike
Bronze-Surrey Hills Shere Drop and West Berkshire Good Old Boy

Golden Ale
Gold-Blue Monkey Infinity
Silver-Fyne Ales Jarl
Bronze-Oakham Citra and Ludlow Gold

Strong Bitter
Gold-Greytrees Afghan Pale Ale
Silver-Barngates Red Bull Terrier
Bronze-Salopian Automaton

Gold-Saltaire Triple Chocoholic
Silver-Blackedge Black Port Porter
Silver-Cromarty Red Rocker


Sapporo buys Anchor Brewing

Japan’s Sapporo Holdings has purchased Anchor Brewing, the San Francisco brewery credited with igniting the American craft beer renaissance. Sapporo reportedly paid $88 million for the brewery, considerably more than AB InBev spent ($38 million) to acquire Goose Island but much less than Constellation brands paid ($1 billion) for Ballast Point Brewing.

Sapporo’s statement announcing the deal describes Anchor in a most modest way:

“Anchor is a prominent and historic US beer producer founded in 1896 in San Francisco. ‘Anchor Steam Beer,’ its flagship brand, is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the US. Armed with its strong brand power primarily in San Francisco, where it is based, as well as other areas across the US, it has been enjoyed by countless beer lovers throughout the years.

“The addition of Anchor’s strong brand power and network to the Sapporo Group’s US beer business portfolio through the conclusion of this agreement is expected to accelerate its speed of growth in the US.”

Although Anchor was founded 121 years ago, American beer enthusiasts focus on its history since 1965, when Fritz Maytag took a stake in the struggling business. He took full control of the company in 1969, first reviving the “steam beer” style the brewery is best known for, but then many others not brewed in the United States. The brewery, and its beers, inspired a new wave of small breweries — that would later be called craft breweries — including Sierra Nevada Brewing.

The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company headed by Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, purchased Anchor in 2010. According to Greggor, the sale to Sapporo comes after a year during which the company spoke with “many, many” larger breweries all over the world to find the right fit. “When you take a brand like Anchor, its very soul exists in the heart of San Francisco,” Greggor said. “Of all the people we spoke to, (Sapporo) respected Anchor the most, what it stood for and the importance of its connection with San Francisco.”

SFGate asked Greggor what does the deal means for the future. Greggor replied that Sapporto agreed to keep using the Potrero Hill brew house — at least for the time being. “Sapporo committed to investing in the Potrero Hill brewery until we exceed capacity of that brewery, but I have no idea when that would be,” Greggor said. “We are currently running at about 55 to 60 percent of that capacity.” The deal also likely means that Anchor’s long-delayed Pier 48 expansion is likely to be dead in the water, though Anchor would not comment on the status of the project.