Taking cues from the pub and taproom model used by smaller breweries, big players in the beer industry, from 10 Barrel to Blue Moon and Lagunitas, attempt to cash in on the convenience and sense of community of urban outposts.
Since launching Victory in 1996, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet have remained true to their founding principles. When it came time to expand, they added a second production facility in Pennsylvania even as their distribution has grown.
This spring Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), a publically traded, Portland, Ore.-based beer company announced a series of expansions. The ninth largest US brewery produces four brands: Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Kona Brewing and Omission Beer.
Few contract brewers start out intending to sell the hapless beer drinker subpar suds. In fact, most contractors have the same dream as every other brewer: to build their brand, win over consumers and open facilities of their own.
Basecamp. Outpost. Those are the two halves of Devils Backbone Brewing Co., one of Virginia’s fastest-growing beermakers. And in their short life span, Devils Backbone’s two brewhouses have garnered 23 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and five more in the World Beer Cup competition.
Founded by several former Anheuser-Busch InBev executives, Brew Hub’s plans include opening five facilities throughout the United States, and with more than $100 million of venture capital being poured into the company, many beer advocates are questioning just how craft-oriented Brew Hub will be.
Auburn University to offer a major in brewing science; Budweiser responds to suit alleging Bud “watered down” brews; Philadelphia sues Yuengling for $6.6 million in back taxes; a brewery expansion roundup; and Scottish brewery chastised by anti-alcohol groups over “breakfast beer.”
There are now over 1,000 brewpubs in the United States. With benefits including more beer, more flexibility in the pubs, the addition of packaging facilities and the ability to distribute further, what challenges do growing brewpubs face?
Increasing sales don’t necessarily translate into easy times for brewery owners. As the craft beer segment grows, many brewers are finding it just as hard to expand, as it was to initially get the doors open.
For many breweries, a regional, cultural identity fosters the brand’s wider appeal. Paradoxically, that popularity might dilute the brand by requiring a large-scale production model that precludes ties to its regional roots—something expanding breweries keep in mind.
Churchkey Can Company ressurrects the flat-top steel can; interstate brewery expansions loom; study finds two drinks a day could be a life saver; Heineken bans branding of local brews during London 2012 Olympics; and new beer laws passed in Indiana and Georgia.
If 2011 was a year for celebrating a return to local beer, 2012 will be a year when consumers and brewers seek to redefine what local really means. This past year saw dozens of breweries, including many well-known names, retreat to their home markets due to supply issues.
Ichabod Pumpkin Ale causes trademark dispute; Miller-Coors buys minority stake in Terrapin Brewing; Pakistan may begin exporting beer; Wells & Young’s acquires McEwan’s and Younger’s; and Smuttynose moves forward with expansion plans.
As demand increases in newer markets, microbreweries are at a crossroads: take out large loans and expand, or sell stakes to larger brewers and distributors. Factor in that a generation of craft brewing legends is approaching retirement, and these questions become even more complicated.
Mark Burford, brewmaster and co-owner of the Long Island-based Blue Point Brewing Company, opened his brewery in 1997 with partner Pete Cotter, and he’s developed a blueprint for surviving the peaks and valleys of turbulent economies and consumer tastes.