Restaurateur plans to open Rwanda’s first local brewery; first US brewery medals in German-style Pilsner at European awards; changes in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania benefit beer drinkers; and Night Shift Brewery launches own wholesaler.
As craft brewers push to distinguish themselves from Big Beer, revenue from higher-priced premium beers is increasing faster than any other craft segment. Will that make the $8 six-pack a thing of the past?
Brewers and their distributors need to stop saturating markets, brewers need to date stamp their packaged beers, stores need to get control of their inventory and consumers need to look for dates and buy accordingly.
While Anheuser-Busch’s spree of brewery acquisitions makes headlines, its wholesaler purchases have spawned a war at the distribution level that could be one of craft brewing’s most important fights yet.
Victory and Southern Tier unite under Artisanal Brewing Ventures; Massachusetts distributor faces pay-to-play penalty; southern states push to update beer laws; and Slovenian town building public beer fountain.
On Aril 29, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) charged Everett-based distributor Craft Beer Guild LLC with violating two rules preventing unfair practices that limit consumer choices, like offering inducements to favor some beer brands over others.
Georgia’s Senate Bill 63, more commonly known as the Beer Jobs Bill, passed the state Senate in early April. Meanwhile, Kentucky has banned breweries from self-distributing throughout the state, reversing a 1978 court decision permitting Anheuser-Busch to purchase a Louisville distributorship.
Two breweries with self-distribution arms, Stone Brewing of San Diego and Harpoon Brewery of Boston, have begun distributing other craft brands in addition to their own in states where the practice is legal.
Instead of targeting a seemingly endless stream of macro tap handles, as they once could, craft brewers find themselves reluctantly attacking the established marketplace achievements of their so-called craft beer brethren.
Pay to play is basically the act of bribing a bar to put your beer on tap. Once thought to be solely a macro brewer tactic, all sizes of brewers and distributors now use it to bump competition and gain valuable exposure at bars, restaurants and other retail outlets. Yes, even your small, local, independent brewer.
When a beer is labeled “best by,” the brewery makes a judgment weighing freshness against shelf life, and, presumably, the brewery’s bottom line. With “bottled on” dates, buyers must decide for themselves.
Craft exports currently represent about $73 million in yearly sales. And with newly announced trade partnerships in place, and more on the way in South America and Asia, the craft beer-export industry is poised for further growth.
At a time when our beer culture is increasingly dominated by consumer proclivities toward promiscuity, the watchword is more. But when the industry chases new beers in the absence of the smart curation, the resulting expansion of bottle and tap selections leads to bloat and a lot of stale beer.
Plenty of beer advocates out there are grateful to the retail Robin Hoods who risk their businesses and gamble their licenses by selling rare beers to loyal customers, or offering illegal beer to attract new beer geeks. But who stands to lose?