News - Brewers Association (BA)

News - Brewers Association (BA)

Brewers Association (BA)


News - Brewers Association (BA)

Newsgrafik #36045

Understanding and Ensuring CO2 Supply Quality for Brewery Use  (Company news)

As with any other beer ingredient, carbon dioxide (CO2) quality is essential to finished beer quality, contributing to sensory outcomes, beer foam, mouthfeel, and shelf stability. The quality of CO2 is generally managed by the supplier. Brewers have a role in ensuring their CO2 supply is free from contaminants, and appropriately handled in the brewery.

Gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and argon are typically sourced from “air,” but commercial CO2 is generally collected as a by-product from various chemical industries, such as ethanol production, fuel combustion, natural gas production, and chemical synthesis. Over time, a supply shortage in one industry may result in new feed gas sources for carbon dioxide; contaminants and quality can vary based on those sources. Because freight costs can be high, CO2 supplies are customarily relatively local to their customers, and diverse sources are constantly being evaluated for sustainable supply reasons. CO2 manufacturers should routinely test feed gas sources for compositional changes, as well as monitor the quality throughout the production process. Storage and trans-fill depots should also have purity monitoring systems to screen incoming lots for quality.

Standards of purity are controlled by various regulatory bodies such as the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT), European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), and the FDA in the U.S. For instance, the EIGA states that Food Grade CO2 should be at least 99.9% pure and that “each facility producing carbon dioxide for the food and beverage industry should have a documented system for quality management” and “a formal assessment of food safety risk, including the raw gas process and feedstock, using the HACCP methodology is a legal requirement and shall be implemented at all plants producing carbon dioxide for use in foods.”

Brewers may first become aware of a CO2 supply or quality shift through sensory panel results, or in extreme cases, based on customer feedback. In the U.S., beverage grade CO2 will be at least 99.90% pure; many other molecules can comprise the other 0.10%, including water, oxyge,n and hydrocarbons such as benzene, acetaldehyde, and other sensory active molecules. To put that into perspective, 0.10% equates to 1,000 parts per million, which is 1-4 orders of magnitude higher concentration than many flavor-active hop components. So understanding your CO2 supply, source, and purity is important for ensuring the quality of your beer brands.

Managing CO2 Quality
Working with Suppliers:
-For carbonated beverages, use either ISBT Purity Grade (“Beverage grade”) CO2 -Suppliers should provide a certificate of analysis (COA) upon delivery of CO2 to document that the actual lot meets the required purity specifications.
-Periodically audit the quality management practices of your CO2 supplier and request that they verify their quality through an independent ISO-certified lab.
-Inquire about specific supplier steps to ensure beverage grade CO2 purity in the event of supplier feedstock source changes.

Managing Deliveries:
Brewers receiving high pressure cylinders can request an actual COA (rather than a typical COA) to document purity of the CO2 being delivered. Brewers receiving bulk CO2 to refill large receivers may face additional and different issues, and can engage their suppliers in dialogue to understand supplier efforts to ensure beverage grade purity is retained at the time of delivery:
-Inquire about routine delivery truck tank maintenance.
-Inquire about supplier steps to guard against cross contamination of beverage grade CO2 across different customer types.

Preventative Maintenance:
-Liquid CO2 transfer lines and compressor oils should be compatible with liquid CO2 and food grade; hoses from feed storage tanks must be carefully chosen to avoid leaching of plasticizers which could come in contact with beer.
-Users of mini or large bulk storage tanks should periodically test their liquid CO2 for buildup of non-volatile residues: Maintaining CO Quality in Bulk CO Storage Vessels.
-Consider in-line filtration of your CO2 to scrub unwanted chemicals, aromas, and moisture: Brewery Case Study: CO2 Gas Purity and Filtration.
-CO2 gas supply lines in breweries and cellars should never have condensation or standing liquid in them.

Sensory and Quality Testing:
-Sensory testing (easy, inexpensive): slowly bubble CO2 through sanitary brewing liquor for a short time, then assess against untreated liquor for attribute and/or difference testing via sensory panel. Never inhale CO2 directly.
-GC-MS CO2 Analysis: Contaminants found in CO2 that can impact quality are typically found in the parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb) range and require highly sensitive instruments for detection. Third party labs can perform gas trace contaminant analysis, in the absence of a GC-MS in a brewery lab.
(Brewers Association (BA))


USA: Craft beer volume growth steady at nearly 4% in 2019  (

Volume growth for the US small and independent craft breweries held steady at nearly 4% in 2019, as the overall beer industry’s volume declined 2%, according to trade group the Brewers Association’s annual craft beer growth report.

In 2019, craft brewers — those who produce fewer than 6 million barrels annually and less than 25% owned by a non-craft brewer — produced 26.3 million barrels, up from 25.5 million barrels produced in 2018. Total beer volume in the U.S. reached 191.2 million barrels in 2019, down from 194.3 million barrels the previous year (which does not include FMBs/FSBs).

Those numbers are likely to decline, as Nielsen CGA estimated that around 1.3 million barrels of BA-defined craft beer could be lost if the shutdown of all U.S. on-premise outlets forced by COVID-19 lasts through April, which it most likely will and could extend much longer.

Independent craft’s share of the total beer market by volume increased to 13.6% in 2019, up from 13% in 2018 and 12.5% in 2017.

Craft brewers also over-index in dollar share, accounting for more than a quarter (25.2%) of all dollars spent on beer, a 6% increase compared to 2018. U.S. consumers spent an estimated $29.3 billion on craft beer in 2019.

“Although craft brewers entered 2020 on a solid foundation, the beer landscape is dramatically different today than it was just a few months ago,” BA chief economist Bart Watson said in a press release. “Breweries will be facing new realities due to the pandemic with extended closures, tight cash flow, societal shifts, and other economic variables in play. These 2019 figures will allow us to see how much COVID-19 affects small brewer production and jobs.”

In 2019, 8,275 craft breweries operated at some point during the year, which breaks down to:

• 2,058 microbreweries, which produce fewer than 15,000 barrels annually and produce packaged beer for distribution;
• 3,011 brewpubs, which produce beer primarily for consumption on their own premises and operate on-site restaurants;
• 2,966 taproom breweries, which produce beer for consumption on their own premises and package beer for to-go sales, but don’t have restaurants, and;
• 240 regional craft breweries, those producing between 15,000 and 6 million barrels of beer annually.

Since 2015, when 4,670 craft breweries were in operation in the U.S, 3,605 companies have opened for business.

In 2019, 942 breweries opened their doors, while 294 closed. The number of closures was an expected uptick as Watson had projected around 300 breweries would close their doors in 2019. As the majority of states have shutdown on-premise sales in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, there is concern that thousands of craft breweries may shutter.

A survey conducted by the BA in early April found that 46.4% of respondents said their businesses would likely only last between one and three months, while 12.7% said they could stay afloat for just another one to four weeks.

A quarter of respondents said their businesses could survive between three and six months, while 8.3% said they could hang on between six months and a year. Just 5.1% said they would be able to stay in business a year.

The survey found that 2.5% of respondents said they were planning to close their doors.

Craft breweries provided 161,007 direct jobs in 2019, an increase of 7% over2018. However, as concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have forced taprooms, tasting rooms and on-premise retailers nationwide to temporarily shut down, many companies have laid off or furloughed workers. According to the BA’s survey, 66% of respondents said they have laid off or furloughed staff.

Newsgrafik #35967

Craft Brewers Conference canceled   (Company news)

The Brewers Association has been following the situation around COVID-19 as it relates to the Craft Brewers ConferenceⓇ & BrewExpo AmericaⓇ and World Beer Cup™. We have been closely monitoring updates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as state and local governments. We have also been actively following travel advisories and restrictions being placed on health care providers and hospitals and institutions in the U.S. and globally.

Given the developments over the past 24 hours, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America and World Beer Cup. The Brewers Association will provide full refunds of conference registration and booth fees, sponsor payments, and World Beer Cup competition entries.

We are grateful to all of you who made plans to attend this year’s events. It is heartbreaking to miss the annual gathering of our craft brewing community, but the safety and health of attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, staff, volunteers, and the craft brewing community at large is paramount to the Brewers Association.

When/where is CBC 2021?
March 29-April 1, 2021 in San Diego, CA.
(Brewers Association)


Taiwan: Taiwan’s microbrewery scene still very small but flourishing  (

Anyone wandering into the trendy dive bars around Taipei would notice the variety of local craft beers adorning the menus. Visitors and locals alike are drawn to the colorful labels and diverse, regional flavors, The News Lens International reported on February 26.

Taiwan’s microbrewery scene flourished after a substantial series of alcohol deregulations in 2002 ended the government’s monopoly of beer production. The U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service estimated that Taiwan’s craft beer consumption, although small in the overall market share, has an annual growth of 20 percent. Although rising in popularity, Taiwan’s craft beers are still facing fierce competition from commercial brews, imported beers, wine, and spirits like whiskey.

“Craft beer is still very small in Taiwan. The craft beer consumption only makes up around 1 to 3 percent of the total beer market,” said Dr. Shu Wei Huang, urban sociology professor at the National Taiwan University (NTU).

Dr. Huang, who thinks beer tells a story about the society it is produced in, has been teaching workshops on craft beer production at NTU to promote the cultural importance of having local brews in an open society. The beer brewing process serves a multifaceted map of society, connecting its agricultural, transport, processing, and retail sectors, as well as its distinct leisure and culinary culture.

Craft beer is defined by the American Brewers Association as being produced by a small and independent brewer in a historic but unique style. Other key elements include the emphasis on innovation and the use of both traditional and non-traditional ingredients.

One of Taiwan’s biggest craft beer breweries, Sunmai, struck a delicate balance between local and imported ingredients. Its selection of beer is now available in restaurants overseas, and it was the first Taiwanese craft beer brand to be sold in local convenience stores.

Malted barley and hops are two of the four key elements in the beer brewing process alongside water and yeast. Malt allows for beer fermentation and it is responsible for most of the beer flavor, while most hops release bitter-tasting oils and acids that are used to balance out the sweetness of the malt, or to add a poignant citrus flavor in the case of aroma hops.

Sunmai imports malted barley and hops from places like Australia or Germany. However, the company is seeking to keep a hint of Taiwanese flavor in its drafts. One of Sunmai’s master brewers, Marcie Chan, carefully studied the malted wheat-heavy southern German brewing technique, while keeping a close eye on untapped local ingredients. She designed Sunmai’s flagship beer, the honey lager, which blends German malt with Taiwanese Longan honey to create a luscious aftertaste. Sunmai also brews a seasonal pinkish strawberry ale, made with local strawberries.

Despite Sunmai’s rapid growth, the local ingredient suppliers might struggle to catch up. The brewery hinted it might soon need another honey supplier to meet its production demands. The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL), a state-owned brewer, ran into similar problems when trying to meet demands for its wildly popular fruit beers. The local fruit farmers could only deliver 60 percent of the orders, and TTL had to turn the beers into seasonal products due to short supply.

Sunmai has minimized its reliance on local agriculture and managed to grow into a leader in Taiwan’s microbrewery scene. Its fermentation facility is several times the size of similarly aged foreign counterparts, with a bigger domestic market share for craft beer. Australian microbreweries such as Stockade Brew and The Craft kicked off the same year as Sunmai in 2016 but haven’t seen the same production growth.

According to Sunmai’s brewing philosophy, contemporary Taiwan is molded by many influences from Asia and the cultural diversity should be reflected in its craft beer. Sunmai does not shy away from cooperating with other Asian brewers. Together with Japanese craft beer producer Coedo, they created the Shanjiao Kumquat Ale, a nod to the Taiwanese village that supplied the fruits, while the other ingredients are from Japan.

For a popular brand like Sunmai, using imported ingredients is more practical than relying on local farmers who might not offer the same production capacity. But as an industry leader in Taiwan, Sunmai is facing an overarching identity crisis: what makes Taiwanese craft beer Taiwanese then?

Some microbreweries in Taiwan insist on using local ingredients regardless of the challenges, such as the Taipei-based startup Alechemist. Robert and Kai Chen, the co-founders, started the beer company five years ago with a clear focus on domestic agriculture. Robert, 37, a former employee of San Diego’s craft beer phenomena AleSmith, was particularly keen on restoring barley as a domestic crop to keep the entire supply chain in Taiwan.

In the 1920s, Taiwan boasted a large number of brewing facilities under Japan’s Monopoly Bureau. Barley farming in Taiwan was set up during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century to support beer production. Around six breeds of barley, both local and imported from Japan, were grown on the island. The Japanese left behind expensive equipment and brewing techniques after World War II, and the Taiwan Provincial Monopoly Bureau (now TTL) assumed control of the beer production, spawning the national brand Taiwan Beer in 1946.

In the 1960s, Taiwan Beer gradually replaced malted barley with the Ponlai rice (蓬萊米), also known as Formosa rice, because of its abundant and affordable supply. Ponlai rice also gave Taiwan Beer its distinctively sweet flavor. By the ‘90s, barley prices plummeted due to the increase of global trade, and the local barley production was all but vanished in Taiwan.

Robert acquired barley seeds from NTU’s agricultural research center in 2015 and started his own patch at the university campus. He woke every day at 5:30 a.m. to care for the crops and he harvested them manually, yet the micro patch only delivered a few kilograms of barley, barely enough for one or two cases of beer. Determined to revive Taiwanese barley farming, the Alechemist founders acquired a field of 5 acres in Taichung, collaborating with a farmer to manage the operation.

“It took us five years to just have a commercial production of barley,” Robert said.

Although Alechemist made significant progress in keeping the entire cycle of beer production home, the next challenge is already at its doorstep. The malting process of barley has disappeared from Taiwan when the farming ceased three decades ago. Alechemist currently contracts an external company to germinate the barley, a “sloppy solution” that requires too much back-and-forth delivery, Robert said.

It might not even be possible to consistently farm all the required ingredients. Taiwan’s subtropical and sometimes turbulent climate is far from optimal for frequently harvesting the necessary hops and grains, according to Dr. Huang. Alechemist already experienced this first hand with its unsteady barley gains, after a less than successful harvest last year due to extreme weather changes.

The entrepreneurs have sought government funding multiple times to invigorate the malting industry to no avail. The Council of Agriculture (COA) declined on the grounds that there would not be enough economic activity to warrant funding a malting industry.

“There's hardly any stimulation of new industries here. I feel like Taiwan is known for its short-sighted agricultural policies,” Robert said.

Funding a malting industry may not be a priority for the COA, but it has been promoting local agricultural products with promotions like the Kaohsiung Lychee Beer Festival. TTL, the national brewer, has made attempts to incentivize local craft beer producers on a small scale. Its limited edition Red Quinoa Ale, which sources ingredients from indigenous Taiwanese in Taitung, won silver in the specialty beer category at the 2019 World Beer Awards.

Since the late ‘80s, Taiwanese business owners had been moving operations and investments overseas due to the increasing labor and land costs. It was not until 2019 when more Taiwanese firms started bringing their capital home under the pressure of the U.S.-China trade war and the government’s reshoring initiatives.

But for craft beer, something so intrinsically tied to a region’s domestic agriculture and taste, is an industry that relies on Taiwan’s geographical advantage. With the island’s abundance of tropical fruits like longan, dark plum, and mango, the breweries are able to create a variety of distinct flavors and aroma specific to Taiwan. The challenge, however, remains in the insufficient supply for the growing demand.

Alechemist and Sunmai are both trying to create a “Taiwanese classic” in their respective ways. While Sunmai tries to position itself as an industry leader by honing its brewing prowess and cleverly utilizing imported ingredients, Alechemist is trying to root all of its production in Taiwan.

“No matter who buys us in the future, or where we move, our beer will always require the local Taiwanese ingredients and flavor,” Robert said.


USA: Brewers Association highlights continued growth of craft beer sector in 2019  (

As 2019 comes to a close, the Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers — takes a retrospective look at the contributions and major milestones of the country’s craft brewing community during the past year. Continued growth, record brewery count, and craft beers’ museum debut are a few of the highlights from a memorable year for the industry.

“Small and independent breweries continue to be essential contributors to communities across the country, finding new ways to innovate and thrive amid evolving consumer preference and a competitive and maturing beverage market,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director, Brewers Association. “It’s been an exciting year for both brewers and beer lovers alike and we look forward to celebrating new beerworthy moments in 2020.”

Of note in 2019:
Growth Amidst Competition: Craft brewing production grew in 2019, but as with 2018, the continued increase in breweries meant that the market also grew more competitive, particularly in widely distributed channels. The BA 2019 midyear survey measured 4% production growth year-over-year for small and independent brewers, slightly down from 5% in 2018. IRI Group scan data numbers through mid-November showed 2% growth for BA-defined craft brewers, similar to 2018 during the same period, and given reports in the second half of the year, 4% overall growth again seems likely for 2019.

Small Beer’s Big Impact: Brewery growth has driven tremendous job growth as well. The BA’s Economic Impact Report, a biennial analysis featuring economic data of craft brewing for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, showed that craft brewers contributed $79.1 million to the U.S. economy in 2018, a 4% increase from 2017. Craft brewers were responsible for more than 550,000 full-time equivalent jobs, an 11% increase from 2017, with 150,000 of those jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs.

Record Brewery Count: Although final 2019 numbers are still being compiled, it is certain that more than 8,000 American breweries operated in 2019, a record number for the United States. At the same time, the competitive market led to more closures, and an estimated 300 breweries will have closed in 2019.

Certified Independent: More than 4,700 brewing companies have adopted the independent craft brewer seal, representing nearly 80% of craft beer brewed in the United States. In October, Delaware’s 21 small and independent craft breweries became the first state with 100% adoption of the seal.

Beer is Bipartisan: 324 representatives and 74 senators co-sponsored the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act in the 116th Congress, resulting in unprecedented bipartisan support. The BA has been a key player in moving forward this legislation that seeks to permanently recalibrate the federal excise tax for the nation’s brewers and reform burdensome laws regulating America’s brewing industry.


USA: Craft beer output up 4% in H1 2019  (

Growth for small and independent craft brewers in the US remained steady for the first half of 2019, according to new midyear metrics released by the Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.

Production volume for the craft segment increased 4 percent during the first half of 2019, the Association said on August 6.

“Growth continues to follow a similar pattern we have seen in the past few years, with steady rates in the low-to-mid single digits,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “The majority of growth continues to come from microbreweries, taprooms, and brewpubs, whereas the distribution landscape remains more challenging for regional craft brewers.”

As of June 30, there were 7,480 active craft breweries, up from 6,464 during a comparable timeframe last year. An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 breweries are in planning, based on active Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) licenses.

“Overall demand for beers from small and independent brewers continues to increase, but at levels that make it difficult for all breweries to grow simultaneously,” added Watson. “This is a sign of a maturing market that will likely continue in the coming years.”


USA: Brewers Association publishes list of fastest-growing craft breweries of 2018  (

The rankings of the biggest breweries in the US don’t change dramatically from year to year. AB InBev is always atop the list. And Yuengling leads the craft brewing category. But when it comes to the nation’s fastest growing breweries, things get a bit more interesting.

The Brewer’s Association has announced this year’s list of the small and independent beer makers whose production has increased the most in the past year. And Lake Time Brewery from Clear Lake, Iowa tops the list.

There’s a fair chance you haven’t heard of Lake Time, even if you’re a craft beer enthusiast, unless you live in the area. That’s likely true of most of the 50 breweries on the list.

Take a look at the top 10 yourself:
1. Lake Time Brewing, Clear Lake, Iowa
2. Fins Big Oyster Brewery, Rehoboth Beach, Del.
3. Oak Road Brewery, Summerville, S.C.
4. The Dreamchaser’s Brewery, Waxhaw, N.C.
5. Lone Pine Brewing Col, Portland, Maine
6. Shattered Oak Brewing, Oregon City, Ore.
7. New Glory Craft Brewery, Sacramento, Calif.
8. Bonn Place Brewing, Bethlehem, Pa.
9. Borderlands Brewing Co., Tucson, Ariz.
10. Periodic Brewing, Leadville, Colo.

Overall, the brewers on the list experienced a median growth of 163%. Production volumes ranged from 50 barrels per year to over 40,000 per year.

“Even as market competition continues to increase, these small and independent breweries and brewpubs demonstrate there are still growth opportunities across a diverse set of regions and business models,” said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association.


USA: Trouble brewing in craft beer industry over government shutdown  (

There's trouble brewing in the craft beer industry over the government shutdown, reported on January 12.

Because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been furloughed by the partial government shutdown, breweries have been unable to secure necessary approvals from the agency's tax and trade bureau — ranging from permits for new facilities to new labels on cans.

In a business dependent on releasing and marketing new beers regularly to quench its customers' expectations for novelty, those delays could potentially be financially devastating.

"It’s really that question mark that’s the scary part, because we don’t have that end in sight," Mariah Scanlon, brand manager for Smuttlab, a line from Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, New Hampshire, told NBC News.

"You can’t develop a contingency strategy without knowing how long [the shutdown] is going to go on."

To ship beer over state lines, breweries need certificates of label approvals from the ATF's trade bureau for any new packaging or beer branding. Last year alone, the government agency processed 34,166 label applications for malt beverages, an average of 93.6 a day, according to the trade group, the Brewers Association.

Brewers producing new recipes that fall outside the bureau's pre-approved list also require a formula approval.

As the shutdown lingers, a backlog of those requests continue to pile up, ensuring that the approval delays will stretch even after the bureau gets back to work.

“It’s tough being a small owner and the craft beer industry is a tough industry to be in," said Rob Burns, co-founder and president of Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts.

"Business is really so unpredictable and fragile and things that are completely out of control can have a big impact on us," Burns said.

"It’s not just us that gets hurt, it’s also the retailers and bar owners. I think the damage of this situation is going to be really hard to calculate and far reaching.”

Particularly hard-hit have been those waiting for the processing of "brewer’s notices," permits for new breweries or expansions of existing facilities. The latter has left a bad taste in the mouths of the ownership of the Alementary Brewing Company in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Co-owner Michael Roosevelt told "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt on Thursday that the company recently invested $1 million in capital equipment and other costs to lease a new facility across the street from its current brewhouse to increase production.

Without official approval, it's become little more than an anchor threatening to submerge the company deep into debt.

"I'm feeling the pinch right now because ... I was expecting that approval this month," Roosevelt said. "I'm spending about a thousand dollars a day between my lease, utilities and the equipment and I was expecting to start seeing some revenue in the next couple of weeks.

"With the shutdown continuing for who knows how long I don’t know when I'm going to get some revenue which means that I'm going to quickly get to a point where I don't have a thousand dollars a day to keep spending."

In a sign of how much the lapse in appropriations is slowing down the ATF, a representative told NBC News that the agency is no longer officially responding to requests for comment on any subjects not related to national security.

"There is one part of the TTB that is still operational: They’re still collecting beverage excise taxes," said Jen Kimmich, co-owner of Alchemy Beer, the maker of Heady Topper, a favorite of IPA connoisseurs, referring to the tax and trade bureau.

While the permits are necessary for breweries across the industry, the bureaucratic standstill is hitting midsize companies particularly hard, said Burns. Smaller breweries that just serve their beer in taprooms or at local bars do not need the approvals, and the larger industry titans, like Anheuser-Busch, can easily absorb the financial hit with their signature brands. It's the mid-tier breweries that have taken the biggest hit.

"The craft beer industry accounts for more than 23 percent of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market, and small breweries and beermakers introduce new and seasonal products with less lead time than larger breweries, making delays in permits are particularly impactful,” Brewers Association President and CEO Bob Pease said in a statement.

Many of the affected breweries have been forced to improvise.

Cape May Brewing Co. had drawn up plans months ago to introduce a new beer called Eminently Drinkable at Boston's prestigious Extreme Beer Festival — down to the recipe, the design and the label. Once the shutdown threw the applications in limbo, however, the brewery scrambled to come up with a Plan B in time.

"We did have a brand-approved label for a Beer Name Ale that was originally just meant to be a placeholder," says marketing director Alicia Grasso. "So now we're going to Boston under that name."

"We were going to go to that festival no matter what," she said.


USA: Tariff spat with major trade partners a serious issue for US brewers  (

It is unlikely U.S. government officials considered that the tariff spat with its major trade partners would impact America's some 100 million beer drinkers.
But it has.

Beer industry insiders told Xinhua that their industry is being hit in several ways by the escalating trade disputes with Canada, Mexico and China.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Robert Pease, president of the Brewer's Association (BA), voiced his industry's concerns with the imprudent tariffs policies by U.S. government.

"It's a serious issue for us, it's a serious issue," Pease emphasized.

BA represents 4,465 breweries across the country, and its affiliate, the American Homebrewers Association, has 46,000 members.

Pease made the remarks in Denver when the 2018 Great American Beer Festival was held there on Sept. 20-22 and thousands of beer brewers from across the country met to bemoan the negative impact the tariffs are having on their business.

"We support fair trade, we support free trade, but we oppose these tariffs," said Pease, who has been with BA for 27 years.

Craft beer sales grew eight percent in 2017 and now total 26 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 23 percent of the country's 111.4 billion dollar beer market, BA statistics show.

All told, the craft brewing Industry contributed 76.2 billion dollars to the U.S. Economy in 2017 as well as more than 500,000 jobs.

"The tariffs on aluminum impact beer cans and the steel hikes affect the price of kegs," Pease noted.

His words echoed Molson Coors Chairman Pete Coors's warning in May, when the beer industry mogul wrote an opinion article to the Wall Street Journey saying beer and other drinks packaged in aluminum cans will cost more for consumers because of an aluminum tariff implemented by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Gavin Hattersley, CEO of MillerCoors, the second largest beer producer joint-ventured by SABMiller and Molson Coors, also disclosed his company is bracing for a 40 million dollar hit to its profits due to the tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel.

He said the tariffs force the company to scale back investment, hit the pause button on hiring new employees, and increase beer prices, since the company's shareholders won't simply accept the hit.

Moreover, American Keg CEO Paul Czachor had to explain to local media at the end of August why the tariff hurt the Pennsylvania based keg producer, the only U.S. beer keg maker relying entirely on domestic steel.

He said the tariffs did not create more jobs for the company as the White House planned; on the contrary, it dried up steel imports, causing demand and prices to rise for U.S. steel, which then led the company's old customers to use imported kegs.

Czachor told National Public Radio his company had fired 10 of its 30 employees.

Not only have hikes on steel and aluminum hurt their bottom line, commodity losses in America's field crops, which were used to make beer, have also been affected by the tariff frictions.

Some 1,100 kilometres away from Denver, Montana barley farmer Matt Flikkema told Xinhua he is getting hurt by the increased cost of steel that affects his equipment upgrades and purchases, and by the decreased amount of revenue he gains from selling his product.

"That field of barley goes to Molson-Coors," Flikkema said, pointing to a field of high-grade barley headed to make beer for the world's fifth largest beer company.

But thanks to the trade war, Flikkema will earn much less for the barley he planted. Many wheat and barley farmers are considering alternative crop production, and that could affect the cost and quality of domestic beer.

"We've lobbied our supporters in the U.S. Congress, and tried to educate them about why we think the tariff is not a good policy for small and independent breweries," Pease told Xinhua.

Both Pease and BA Chief Economist Bart Watson emphasized that the tariffs particularly hurt small, independent brewers, who are surviving on tight profit margins.

"We see an annual three-to-five percent closure rate on new breweries," Watson told Xinhua.

Industry officials are holding their breaths to see if more small start-ups fail due to the tariffs.

"The price of steel increasing is not good for our members, especially the smaller businesses," Pease said.

"That's going to inhibit expansions, inhibit innovation, and inhibit job creation in this industry," he added.

Additionally, bigger breweries are holding back on growth and investment due to the tariffs, the industry official said.

"One member told me this week they were looking at an expansion -- that may not be possible because of the big jump in steel prices," Pease said.


USA: Craft beer production growth flattens  (

The heady days of the craft beer industry have given way to slower growth as small and independent brewers face stiffer competition on the retail shelf, especially from the “Big Beer” sector, the Press Democrat reported on September 6.

The news at the fourth annual California Craft Beer Summit in Sacramento on September 6 wasn’t all that bad, though. The United States should reach an all-time high of about 7,000 breweries — the vast majority of them small brewers — by year end and the craft sector is on pace for a 5 percent increase in production compared with 2017, said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, the trade group representing independent and craft breweries nationwide.

Yet, the mood inside the Sacramento Convention Center was more subdued than in past years for an industry that posted 18 percent annual production growth as recently as 2014. Industry officials had conceded that level of robust growth would be unsustainable over the long haul for the $26 billion-a-year U.S. craft beer sector.

The smaller growth numbers this year, however, also coincided with some high-profile setbacks, among them San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. scaling back its national distribution ambition to a few Western states due to financial woes that forced the sale of the company.

The North Bay has not been immune to the changing industry currents, as both Mendocino Brewing Co. in Ukiah and Carneros Brewing Co. in Sonoma closed this year. A local investor is attempting to revive Mendocino Brewing on a much smaller scale.

“It’s a slower growth rate. It’s a changing growth rate from what we have seen. The old order is being disrupted. It’s the order that we thought was in place five years ago,” Watson said.

The craft beer slowdown comes as big wholesalers have consolidated to gain greater market share, making it much harder for smaller brewers to secure local, regional and national retail distribution deals. In addition, the two largest U.S. brewers — Anheuser-Busch Cos. and MillerCoors — have in recent years acquired about 20 smaller craft brewers.

“There are a lot of clouds on the horizon,” said Joe Whitney, chief commercial officer for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of Chico. The family-owned operation is the third-largest craft brewery in the country. “You don’t have to look too far to see what has caused that.”

Still, Sonoma County has a thriving craft beer business with about 30 breweries. By comparison, there are 467 wineries in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. While the local area is noted for its wine tourism, beer tourism is steadily catching up. For example, 400,000 people visited Russian River Brewing Co.’s downtown Santa Rosa taproom last year even with the October wildfires. And that taproom is one of the county’s top tourist destinations.

Despite the headwinds, more craft beer industry expansion activity is scheduled for the fall in the county to specifically capitalize on beer tourism.

“Visiting breweries has become a great business,” Watson said. “It probably provides the majority of dollars for a few people in this room.”

Russian River will open its more than $30 million brewery and restaurant in Windsor and Seismic Brewing Co. of Santa Rosa will debut its first taproom in Sebastopol. Another entry will be 3 Disciples Brewing Co., slated to open a taproom just north of the reunified Old Courthouse Square by November.

“I have people calling late at night asking where they can find our beers,” said James Claus, a co-founder and brewmaster for 3 Disciples, in a phone interview.

The brewery now has a small production facility in Sebastopol and its beers are only available on tap at a few local restaurants and taprooms. The Santa Rosa taproom should have 12 draft beers with at least half of the selection rotating and featuring sour beers and Belgian-style ales. The plan is to eventually add food service.

The local craft brewing business is much more competitive now than four years ago, Claus said, when he and his partners started planning the brewery. The self-financed 3 Disciples was able to generate good word-of-mouth buzz among local craft beer lovers, making it less risky to open the taproom as opposed to being a new entrant, he said.

“We probably wouldn’t jump in the game now seeing the amount of breweries out there,” Claus added.

Brian Hunt, founder of Moonlight Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, said the sector is ending its phase of “irrational exuberance” — borrowing a phrase former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan used to describe the late 1990’s dot-com bubble.

Hunt sold half of his Moonlight stake to Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma in 2016 to help secure its future because his children don’t want to operate the business. Lagunitas is owned by international brewer Heineken International.

“There will always be room for more (breweries) and there will always be failures,” Hunt said.


USA: Craft beer export volume up 3.6% in 2017  (

The Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers of the United States — reported on April 3 export growth data for the American craft beer industry in 2017.

Supported by the BA’s Export Development Program (EDP), craft beer export volume increased by 3.6 percent in 2017, now totaling 482,309 barrels and valued at $125.4 million.

Growth was seen in major markets including in the Asia-Pacific region (not including Japan) which grew 7.4 percent; Japan, which was up 2.6 percent and Western Europe which saw exports increase by 1.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Canada was again the leading international market for American craft beer, accounting for 51.3 percent of total exports. Other leading importers were the United Kingdom, accounting for 10.5 percent; Sweden, 6.7 percent; Korea, 4.6 percent; Australia, with 3.8 percent; and China, with 2.5 percent of exports.

“From innovative styles to international distribution, American craft beer is breaking boundaries,” said Steve Parr, export development program manager, Brewers Association. “Through the Brewers Association Export Development Program, we’re able to take the success of local brewers and showcase them on a global scale.”

The EDP, which generates exposure for American craft beer through trade shows, festivals, seminars, media outreach and competitions, among other activities, was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program (USDA MAP). There are currently more than 100 small and independent brewers exporting their beers from the U.S., by EDP estimates.


USA: Big beer sales continue to slide  (

When it rains, it pours, the old saying goes, but unfortunately for the U.S.' biggest brewers, beer drinkers aren't pouring as many of their pints as they once did. Instead, they've turned to craft beer and, increasingly, Mexican imports, the Motley Fool reported on December 21.

In its third-quarter earnings report last month, Anheuser-Busch InBev saw its own production and sales fall. The megabrewer said North American volumes fell over 6% to 31.9 million hectoliters, while revenues were down 5% to $4.3 billion. Year to date, they're down almost 4% and 2.5%, respectively, suggesting the downturn is accelerating.

In particular, global Budweiser sales were down 2.2% in the third quarter, but if you removed U.S. sales from the picture, they were actually up 4.4%.

Similarly, Molson Coors also reported a decline in volumes and sales in the U.S. for its Miller Lite brand, though global volumes inched ahead 0.7% for the period. The brand was, however, able to gain market share in the U.S. premium light beer segment, the 12th consecutive quarter it had done so.

While big beers like Budweiser and Miller Lite continue to see sales slide, craft beer, which despite the decline in its growth rate is still actually growing, now represents over 12% of the total U.S. beer market. The industry trade group Brewers Association says there are now more than 6,000 breweries operating in the U.S., more than at any time in the country's history, and 95% of them are regional and craft breweries.

But the megabrewers are still that - mega. The Brewers Association's annual list of the biggest brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume, not surprisingly found Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Pabst Blue Ribbon to be the three biggest brewers, though D.G. Yuengling & Son reprised its position as the largest craft brewer and the fourth-largest brewer overall.

And when it comes to 2016 dollar sales, the market researchers at IRI found the biggest brands were the usual suspects, too.

What might not have been expected, however, was the enduring popularity of Miller Lite after MillerCoors was sold as part of Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of SABMiller last year. As noted earlier, although sales have continued to ebb away here in the U.S., management has hinted that Miller Lite was on the rise and was "on track to become the number three beer in America."

And now it's achieved that distinction, though it's more due to Budweiser falling faster than Miller Lite. At a recent area conference for business executives hosted by the Milwaukee Business Journal, the news site reported MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley announced Miller Lite had finally surpassed Budweiser as the third-largest beer. It still has a long way to go before it catches up to No. 2 Coors Light, let alone top-ranked Bud Light, but the achievement is significant nonetheless.

It also suggests Miller Lite may yet move higher. Nielsen data shows Bud Light sales falling by 5.7% over the first nine months of 2017, while Coors Light was down 3.4%. Miller Lite, falling at the much slower rate of just 1.7%, can actually gain position simply by attrition.

This means that although light beer is now solidly the most favored type of beer in the U.S., it is a rapidly shrinking pool. As super-premium beers, wine, and spirits all gain ascendance, Miller Lite might end up king of the mini-keg rather than the beer barrel.


USA: Craft beer contribution to the US economy up more than 20% last year  (

Craft beer’s economic contribution to the United States economy has grown by more than 20% in two years, according to numbers released by the Brewers Association (BA) on September 26.

In announcing the results of its biennial economic impact study, the BA says small and independent American breweries added $67.8 billion to the economy in 2016, a 21.7% increase over 2014. This, despite growth of craft sales and production slowing dramatically over that same period.

“As consumers continue to demand a wide range of high quality, full-flavored beers, small and independent craft brewers are meeting this growing demand with innovative offerings, creating high levels of economic value in the process,” BA Chief Economist Bart Watson said in a statement.

The study covers the total impact of craft-brewed beer as it works its way through the three-tier distribution system, plus food and merchandise sold at brewpubs and brewery taprooms. This production and sales process created more than 456,000 full-time equivalent jobs – a 7.5% increase from 2014 - with breweries and brewpubs directly accounting for more than 128,000 of those jobs.

With $7.3 billion worth of annual output, California leads the nation in economic impact, followed by Pennsylvania ($5.8 billion), Texas ($4.5 billion), New York ($3.4 billion) and Florida ($3.1 billion), which is believed to be the fastest-growing craft beer state in the country.

The per-capita picture for 21+ adults looks quite different, with Colorado ($764 per person), Vermont ($667), Oregon ($659), Pennsylvania ($616) and Montana ($550), with its 1 million residents and 68 craft breweries, comprising the top five.

The U.S. supported 5,301 craft breweries at the end of 2016, compared with 3,780 two years earlier. However, approximately a dozen larger craft breweries sold to global brewery conglomerates in that period, losing them the “craft brewery” designation and removing them from the BA’s statistics.


United Arab Emirates: Craft beer being increasingly offered at Dubai’s bars and restaurants  (

At Dubai’s Black Tap restaurant, the Americana doesn’t stop at the hamburgers cooking on the grill or hip hop pumping from the speakers. It’s also being poured out, one pint at a time, The West Australian reported on September 19.

The new restaurant stocks Dubai’s most-extensive selection of American craft beer, part of a major $US23.5 billion ($30 billion) market for customers wanting a different style of ale.

It represents a new scene for Dubai, long known as the Manhattan of the Mid East, with chic skyscraper bars serving the fanciest of cocktails while the typical tap offers only the standard lagers.

That’s starting to change, with establishments like Black Tap and Dubai’s two main distributors increasingly stocking American craft beer, breaking new ground among Gulf Arab nations, several of which ban alcohol sales entirely.

“In such an eclectic city, we should have such an eclectic range of beers to accommodate instead of just the same beers that you can get all around the world,” said Eric Ballard, the group beverage manager for Sunset Hospitality, which runs Black Tap.

For wine aficionados, teetotallers or those otherwise unaware, a craft brewery is a small, independent beer producer. After World War II, American beer production largely came from major companies. But by the end of the last century, more craft brewers began operations in the US.

Craft beers account for about 15 per cent of sales in Australia. Despite the relatively small share, it is the only segment of the Australian beer market enjoying continuous growth.

The sector grew an annualised 11.7 per cent over the five years to 2016-17, to total A$454 million, and is tipped to jump 6.5 per cent annually until 2022.

It’s a similar story in the US. In 2016, craft beer sales represented about 12.3 per cent of all beer sales in America, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade group. The beers come in a variety of styles from light to dark, though higher-alcohol content styles like hoppy India pale ales are a popular choice.

“Your cans of High Life, your cans of PBR, while that’s cool during college, you want something that tastes a little better afterward,” said Ballard, referring to two mass-market American lagers.

“You become a bit more discerning and your palate becomes a bit more defined.”

That movement didn’t immediately take hold, however, in the United Arab Emirates, home to nearly 1500 bars and pubs, according the most recent count by research firm Euromonitor International. That may not seem like a large number of bars, until you consider Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran ban the purchase of liquor and beer. Even neighbouring Sharjah, another of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms, bans it.

Liquor and beer sales help drive tourism to the UAE and particularly to Dubai, the home of the long-haul carrier Emirates, the world’s tallest building, an indoor ski slope and a number of architectural marvels. Dubai also takes in a 30 per cent tax on every drink sold.

Even so, Dubai primarily has been known as a mass-market suds and cocktail town up to this point.

“An increasing number of professional mixologists are relocating to Dubai due to its developing cocktail landscape,” Euromonitor recently said.

“Consumers patronising restaurants and bars are increasingly aware of this and are willing to learn how to pair their food.”

Dubai is home to several successful bars focusing on Belgian beers, a big hit among its European expatriate community.

However, Heineken lager still dominates beer sales in the UAE. The Dutch brewer holds a 20 per cent market share of alcohol sales by volume overall, according to Euromonitor. But it too may be concerned about the rise of craft. It recently introduced a specialty beer called H41 in Dubai after putting it in select markets in Europe.

Shipping the specialty brews can be a challenge. Among the newest beers on tap at Black Tap are two from Rogue Ales, a Newport, Oregon-based craft brewer some 12,250km away from Dubai, the only location it sells to in the Mid East. It ships its kegs of Dead Guy Ale and American Amber Ale by refrigerated containers and keeps them cold in warehouses on arrival to ensure their quality.

“2017 was the right time to launch the brand in the area,” Rogue’s President Brett Joyce said in a statement. “We’re excited to be in the Dubai market.”

But discussing alcohol even in Dubai remains tricky in part over concerns about Islamic propriety. Dubai’s two main alcohol importers, the Emirates Group’s Maritime and Mercantile International and Rogue partner African & Eastern, did not respond to repeated requests. Both now sell American craft beer.

Radio announcers refer to bottles of “bubbly” or “grape” being on hand for the extravagant Friday brunches at luxury hotels for which Dubai is known. Lifestyle magazines routinely feature lifeless, empty pictures of new nightclubs with liquor bottles carefully hidden from view.

At Black Tap, however, Emiratis in traditional robes regularly enjoy meals or massive milkshakes, mixing into the late-night crowds of beer drinkers. Sunset Hospitality has hopes to expand Black Tap into other countries in the Gulf, including those where it would only be a restaurant due to alcohol restrictions, Ballard said.

“We want to create this movement of American craft that’s happening all over the world and then bring it to such a multicultural city, such as Dubai,” said Ballard, who considers his hometown to be Granby, Colorado.

“People are looking for flavours, they are looking for something different.”


Japan & USA: Sapporo Holdings acquires San Francisco’s iconic Anchor Brewing Company  (

Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Limited on August 3 announced that it would acquire iconic San Francisco craft beer maker, Anchor Brewing Company. The news was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The deal, financed through a combination of “own capital [and] external borrowings,” is worth $85 million, according to Sapporo’s second quarter financial statements. It is expected to close on August 31.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sapporo Holdings will acquire “all of the equity interest of Anchor Brewing Company,” which is controlled by a parent company “Anchor Brewers & Distillers.”

Anchor Distilling Company is not included in the deal.

Anchor Brewers & Distillers was formed in 2010 when former Skyy Spirits executives Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio purchased the brewery via the Griffin Group investment and consulting company from Fritz Maytag, who is widely regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of craft microbrewing.

The 121-year old Anchor Brewing Company, known for its Anchor Steam Beer, ranked as the 22nd largest craft brewing company in the US last year, according to industry trade organization the Brewers Association. The company produced 135,000 barrels of beer in 2016, but sales declined 4 percent versus the previous year.

In a press release announcing the purchase, Sapporo said Anchor’s annual sales totaled about $33 million in 2016. The $85 million deal represents about 2.5 times total sales and is significantly smaller than other recent California craft brewery purchases.

In 2015, Ballast Point sold to Constellation Brands for $1 billion. The San Diego-based company made about 277,000 barrels that year. Also in 2015, Heineken purchased a 50 percent stake in Petaluma-based Lagunitas Brewing Company, which made about 791,000 barrels that year. That deal was said to be worth $500 million, and Heineken has since acquired the remainder of the company.

Much of Anchor’s value lies in real estate, however. It owns the property where the brewery resides, as well as a building across the street, a source familiar with the company told Brewbound.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Greggor said the deal had been in the works for a year, and the company held exploratory talks with several larger strategics about purchasing the brewery.

“When you take a brand like Anchor, its very soul exists in the heart of San Francisco,” Greggor told the outlet. “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.”

Anchor will continue its brewing operations at its Potrero Hill production facility, and the company plans to open a new public taproom inside on De Haro Street, the Chronicle reported.

“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 told the outlet. “We are currently running at about 55 to 60 percent of that capacity.”

Plans for a second Anchor Brewing facility on San Francisco’s Pier 48 as part of the $1.6 billion Mission Rock Development project appear to have stalled completely after more than four years of delays, although the brewery wouldn’t comment, according to the Chronicle.

Anchor’s management told the Chronicle that selling complete ownership of Anchor to Sapporo — which was founded in 1876 and is Japan’s oldest beer brand — will strengthen the brewery’s long-term future and enable its continued international expansion. The brewery already exports beer to 20 countries.

In financial filings, Sapporo said the Anchor deal falls into its long-term management plan, “Speed 150,” which is aimed at building a portfolio of “highly unique” alcoholic beverage, food and soft drink brands from around the world. The company said it is prioritizing expanding its North American business.

“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 generate further synergies and accelerate the growth of the Group’s US business,” the company said.

Sapporo previously acquired Canadian beer company Sleeman Breweries Ltd., which includes the Unibroue, Sleeman and Okanagan Spring brands, for $400 million in 2006.

Sapporo is the latest Japanese beer company to show interest in the U.S. market at a time when beer consumption in its home country are at an all-time low, according to Reuters. Last October, Kirin Holdings purchased a 24.5 percent stake in Brooklyn Brewery.


USA: Craft beer output up 5% in H1 2017  (

Small and independent craft brewers demonstrated continued, but slowed, growth, according to new mid-year metrics released by the Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers. American craft beer production volume increased five percent during the first half of 2017.

“The growth pace for small and independent brewers has stabilized at a rate that still reflects progress but in a more mature market. Although more difficult to realize, growth still exists,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “The beer world is highly competitive and there is certainly a mixed bag in terms of performance. Some breweries are continuing to grow, whereas others are having to evolve their position and nurture new opportunities to ensure they keep pace. Many brewers are benefiting from on-premises and taproom sales, and recent state-based reforms have the potential to help brewers in new regions capitalize on this growth.”

As of June 30, there were 5,562 operating breweries in the U.S., an increase of 906 from the same time period the previous year. Additionally, there were approximately 2,739 breweries in planning. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 128,768 full-time and part-time workers in a variety of roles including numerous manufacturing jobs, all of which contribute significantly to the U.S. economy.

“Craft brewers are beacons of innovation, revitalization and collaboration,” added Watson. “Their contributions to not only the brewing community, but the overall economy, are significant and invaluable. From reforming the federal excise tax to ensuring the right to free and fair market access, opportunities exist to help craft brewers continue to thrive.”

Craft brewer definition: An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.


UK: UK's Society of Independent Brewers calls for greater clarity over true craft beer  (

The UK’s Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has called for “greater clarity” over the true craft credentials of brewers, following a multitude of buyouts of previously independent craft brewers by multinational brewers, The Drinks Business reported on July 11.

As the craft beer category has grown, so too has interest in its brewers by large global companies eager to get a slice of its success. Most recently, London Fields Brewers was bought by Carlsberg in a deal worth £1 billion, following similar deals that saw AB InBev snap up Camden Town Brewery for £85 mln in 2015 and Japanese brewer Asahi acquire Meantime in 2016.

While the success of small brands growing into larger companies is commendable, it has led to increasing confusion over the term ‘craft’, with brands typically thought of as ‘craft’ due to their independent nature and small production sharing the term with huge global brewers.

“Buyouts such as that of London Fields by global beer company Carlsberg are made in the hope of capturing the original customers and target market of an established, previously independent craft beer brewery – Customer bases which were built on the back of the brewery being relatively small, independent and brewing quality, flavoursome beer,” said Mike Benner, SIBA chief executive.

“Consumers deserve to know that what they are buying is a genuine craft-brewed beer as research clearly shows that most beer drinkers believe craft beer to be produced by relatively small, independent brewers.”

Market research commissioned by SIBA in 2016 showed that 46% of beer drinkers regard craft beer as “made by small brewers rather than large corporations”, although one in ten beer drinkers are unsure what the term means. 35% regard craft breweries as ‘artisanal’ with 22% associating the term with ‘small’ and 14% with ‘local’.

Across the pond, the US Brewer’s Association – which represents small and independent American craft brewers – is also concerned about this shift, launching a new seal last month to identify beers brewed by independent brewers.

The new seal, accredited by the BA, signals that the brew has been produced by a brewery that is independently owned and “free of influence from other alcohol beverage companies which are not themselves craft brewers”.

“As Big Beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent,” Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association said at the time of its launch.

“Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity – now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent.”

Likewise, SIBA has launched its own “Assured Independent British Craft Brewer” seal for the UK craft beer industry.

“London’s thriving independent craft beer scene has been built on the passion, investment, sweat and tears of genuine independent brewers and we know that beer drinkers care about the provenance of their beer, ” said SIBA‘s south east regional director Ed Mason, who also runs Five Points Brewing Co in London.

“The purchase of the ‘London Fields’ brand by Carlsberg raises a number of questions about genuine independence and ethics in the brewing industry. SIBA’s AIBCB ‘Assured Independent Brewers’ seal will help ensure that customers can tell which beers are truly independent.”


USA: 2017 seen as 'especially slow' for craft beer so far  (

Despite the fact that the number of beer brands has proliferated in the US, the number of drinkers has not. Sales have been flat for a few years and 2017 has been especially slow so far, the Economist reported on July 6.

The volumes of beer sold at stores for the three months to June 17th were 1% lower than in the same period last year, according to Nielsen, a market-research firm. Brewers are now waiting with some anxiety for data about sales during the July 4th holiday. “The start of the year has been as bad as I can remember,” says Trevor Stirling of Sanford C. Bernstein, a research firm.

The dip is the result of two problems, one old and one new. First, the consumption of wine and spirits is growing more quickly than that of beer, and has been for nearly 20 years. Women are drinking more booze but often prefer wine and spirits. Men are turning to a wider range of drinks, including whisky and wine.

The second difficulty is that after years of effervescent growth, craft beer has gone flat. Volumes grew in 2016, but half as quickly as in 2015. In the 13 weeks to June 17th craft-beer sales and volumes both dropped, by 0.7% and 1.5%, respectively. It may be that craft beer has reached its natural limit, both because there are only so many people who want to buy it and because there is only so much shelf-space that stores can provide.

Olivier Nicolai of Morgan Stanley, a bank, notes that many distributors and retailers are weary of dealing with a jumble of brands, with some cases of beer going bad before they can be sold. It is hard for retailers to know which beers to stock because consumers, spoiled for choice, have proved fickle. Sales of Saison farmhouse beers, a spicy pale ale, for example, rose by 28% in 2015, according to Nielsen, only to fall in 2016.

As the market loses its fizz, debates are intensifying about whether independent beer companies can thrive in the shadow of behemoths such as AB InBev, which controls about half the American beer market. Last year the group, which is backed by 3G Capital, a New York-based private-equity firm, bulked up further by buying Britain’s SABMiller. By some measures AB InBev’s American division, Anheuser-Busch, looks less than intimidating. It is experiencing a much steeper drop in beer demand than craft brewers. In the four weeks to June 17th its Bud Light and Budweiser brands each saw volumes drop by more than 8%, declines not seen since 2009, in the depths of the financial crisis.

But small brewers still fret about its scale. It has recently shown interest in buying small brands as well as big ones, downing nine American craft brewers in just the past three years. Some small brewers worry that AB InBev’s craft brands will push aside their own. Bob Pease of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, which represents independent beer firms, argues that AB InBev’s expanding portfolio of beer makers and its relationships with distributors may mean that few rivals make it onto delivery trucks. His group introduced a new seal in June to help consumers find properly independent brewers.

João Castro Neves, head of AB InBev’s American business, disputes the idea that his company has a stranglehold on the market. “There is no way that Anheuser-Busch or anyone else can impose a beer on the consumer,” he insists. Brewers both large and small may find that increasingly hard to contest.


USA: The Brewers Association launches new seal for truly independent craft brewers  (

The craft beer waters are muddied with beer giant Anheuser-Busch buying some small brewers and private equity firms having a hand in others, the Denverite reported on June 27.

The Brewers Association recognizes it might be difficult for some beer drinkers to know if they’re really sipping craft beer. That’s why the Boulder-based promoter of the industry unveiled a new seal aimed at identifying beers that are independently produced.

The seal is available for use free of charge by any of the more than 5,300 small and independent American craft brewers that have permission from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to operate. Brewers must also meet the Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewery to use the seal, but they don’t have to be members of the nonprofit.

In order to qualify as a craft brewer, breweries have to be less than 25 percent owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer, according to the Brewers Association. Colorado’s largest craft brewery, New Belgium Brewing Co., meets that threshold. AB-owned Breckenridge Brewery and 10 Barrel Brewing Co. do not.

Independence has long been a hallmark of the craft brewing industry.

“As big beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association.

“Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity — now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent,” Peas said in a statement.

The fight over what kind of beer people are drinking partly boils down to money. Craft brewers are fighting to carve out a larger share of beer sales while beer giants are working on the opposite end to retain their dominance over the industry.

While small and independent craft brewers represent 99 percent of the more than 5,300 breweries in the U.S., they make just 12 percent of the beer sold in the country, according to the Brewers Association.

“Craft brewers build communities and the spirit of independent ownership matters,” said Rob Tod, chair of the Brewers Association Board of Directors and founder of Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine.

“When beer lovers buy independent craft beer, they are supporting American entrepreneurs and the risk takers who have long strived not just to be innovative and make truly great beer, but to also build culture and community in the process,” Tod said in a statement.


USA: The Brewers Association reports craft beer industry results for 2016  (

The Brewers Association (BA) — the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers — on March 28 released 2016 data on U.S. craft brewing growth. With over 5,300 breweries operating during the year, small and independent craft brewers represent 12.3 percent market share by volume of the overall beer industry.

In 2016, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels, and saw a 6 percent rise in volume on a comparable base and a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $23.5 billion, representing 21.9 percent market share. By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewer growth.

“Small and independent brewers are operating in a new brewing reality still filled with opportunity, but within a much more competitive landscape,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “As the overall beer market remains static and the large global brewers lose volume, their strategy has been to focus on acquiring craft brewers. This has been a catalyst for slower growth for small and independent brewers and endangered consumer access to certain brands. Small and independent brewers were able to fill in the barrels lost to acquisitions and show steady growth but at a rate more reflective of today’s industry dynamics. The average brewer is getting smaller and growth is more diffuse within the craft category, with producers at the tail helping to drive growth for the overall segment.”

Additionally, in 2016 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 16.6 percent, totaling 5,301 breweries, broken down as follows: 3,132 microbreweries, 1,916 brewpubs, 186 regional craft breweries and 67 large or otherwise non-craft brewers. Small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation. Throughout the year, there were 826 new brewery openings and only 97 closings. Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided nearly 129,000 jobs, an increase of almost 7,000 from the previous year.


USA: US brewery count now exceeds 5,000  (

Reflecting on the significant impact of small and independent craft breweries in 2016, the Brewers Association — the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers — looked back on the defining beer moments of 2016.

“In the face of numerous opportunities and challenges in 2016, small and independent craft brewers continue to thrive,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “This community should be very proud of what it has accomplished and how far it has come.”

Of note in 2016:
● Brewery Count: Five thousand strong and growing, there are now 5,005 breweries in the U.S. compared to 10,000 wineries. Almost all (99%) are small and independent craft brewers.

● Continued Growth for the Segment: By mid-year, small and independent breweries grew by eight percent, reflecting dynamism and a bright spot for the domestic beer market.

● Never Go Out of Styles: IPAs continue to hop up, now accounting for roughly one-quarter of craft volume. More sessionable styles, including golden ales, pilseners and pale lagers, are up 33 percent, totaling nearly five percent of craft.

● Freedom of Choice: As the world’s two largest brewers merged into a multinational conglomerate two and a half times the size of the U.S. beer market, the BA was at the center of the discussion, advocating for fair competition for the nation’s small and independent craft brewers and access to market ensuring beer enthusiasts get to continue to choose from a vast variety of options. Approximately 65 percent of craft beer lovers said they are drinking more craft specifically because it offers more variety.

● Homebrewing Impact: The National Homebrew Competition continues to be the world's largest beer competition with 7,962 entries. A recent measurement of homebrewing found that its 1.2 million participants created over 11,000 jobs, resulting in more than $1 billion in spending and over $700 million in revenues.

● American Craft Beer Abounds Abroad: Craft beer export volume increased by 16.3 percent, totaling 446,151 barrels and worth $116 million. More than 100 small and independent craft brewers export their beer internationally, spreading the culture and community of craft beer and a growing recognition and respect for American brewers.

● Bipartisan Beer Support: With a craft brewery in nearly every congressional district in the country, more than half of the U.S. Congress now supports the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The BA has been a key player in moving forward this bipartisan legislation that seeks to recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for the nation’s brewers and reform burdensome laws regulating America’s brewing industry.

“This has been an exponentially exciting year as the beer community continues to grow and evolve. It is incredible to watch local brewers innovate and validate the new way the world views the U.S. beer scene,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director, Brewers Association. “Much of the dialogue in 2016 centered around the craft brewer definition, who qualifies as a small and independent brewer, what independence means to beer lovers, beer quality and beer appreciation. We will renew our efforts in 2017 on behalf of our members and the beer drinkers around the world and continue to advance the amazing beverage of beer.”

Note: Figures are a compilation of data provided by the Brewers Association, IRI Group and Nielsen and do not represent all craft beer sales. The Brewers Association will release a comprehensive annual analysis of craft brewer production in March of 2017.


USA: Craft beer market may be starting to get stale  (

The craft beer market, for years the lone bright spot in an otherwise sluggish industry, is starting to get stale, Bloomberg reported on October 28.

Sales growth is slowing, once-thriving brewers are laying off workers and the proliferation of new brands all competing for attention hearkens back to the dime-a-dozen startups from the web’s early days. On October 28, the world’s biggest brewer, Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, acknowledged the slowdown for the first time, saying the sector has been decelerating for more than three months.

While many craft brands are still thriving, and few analysts expected the category’s supercharged growth to continue unabated, the cooling market isn’t welcome news for a brewing sector that’s desperate for growth. Mass-market beers such as Budweiser and Coors Light have been suffering for years, and AB InBev now expects U.S. industry volumes to decline this year versus previous expectations of an improvement.

“There’s a natural point where it can’t grow anymore and this might be it,” Anthony Bucalo, an analyst at HSBC, said by phone. “Consumers are overwhelmed by too much choice; the industry has been swamped. There’s too many brands, too many styles, not enough quality.”

Some of the early pioneers of the craft-beer movement in the U.S. are starting to feel the pain. Stone Brewing, the 20-year-old Escondido, California-based brewer of Stone IPA, laid off about 5 percent of its 1,200 employees this month, citing a less predictable business environment. The news came less than two weeks after Craft Brew Alliance Inc., owner of the more than 30-year-old Redhook Brewery, said it was halving the number of workers at its Woodinville brewery in Washington state.

The stress is partly due to the sheer number of beer makers competing to entice drinkers. A thirst for more local and flavorsome beers swelled the number of breweries in the U.S. to a record 4,656 in June, yet the volume of beer produced is growing at less than half the 18 percent rate it boasted two years ago, according to the Brewers Association, a trade body for the American craft beer industry. The U.S. now has more breweries than it did at its high-water mark of 1873, according to the group.

There’s only so much shelf space for craft beers to share, and the abundance of choices could put off some consumers, AB InBev Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito said on a call with analysts on October 28.

The slowdown didn’t put Kirin Holdings Co. off buying a minority stake in Brooklyn Brewery earlier this month.

Amid a stagnant beer market, the faster-growing craft segment has attracted larger players whose brands increasingly have fallen out of favor with consumers. AB InBev has been serially acquisitive, building a roster of small brewers over the past two years that includes Devils Backbone Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery and Four Peaks Brewing.

Those brands, which are more local than national craft-beer makers, are still growing strongly, AB InBev Chief Financial Officer Felipe Dutra said Friday on a call with reporters. Boston Beer Co., the maker of Samuel Adams lager often considered the grandfather of the modern craft beer movement, this month reported third-quarter revenue that missed estimates.

“We see a very recent slowdown in the craft industry; it’s still too early to say whether there’s a trend,” Dutra said.


USA: Big brewers agree to detailed beer labelling  (

Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and other big brewers are backing an initiative to disclose a consistent listing of calories, carbs and other information on beer labels, St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on July 12.

Following debate on the issue stretching several years, the Beer Institute, a national trade group that lobbies on behalf of the country's largest brewers, announced the 'Brewers Voluntary Disclosure Initiative' on July 12.

The initiative encourages brewers to provide more information to consumers on beer labels, the group said, by disclosing calorie, carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol content information on labels. The guidelines also include displaying a freshness date or date of production. Many brewers already disclose some of this information on beer labels.

The voluntary initiative doesn't say all ingredients should be disclosed on each label, however, a measure that some have backed. Instead, the initiative says ingredients should be either disclosed on labels, or the label should include a link or QR code that refers to a website with a list of ingredients.

Some participating brewers are making the changes immediately and the trade group said brewers and importers are encouraged to achieve compliance by the end of 2020.

HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance also have agreed to follow the guidelines, the Beer Institute said. These brewers, A-B and MillerCoors produce more than 81 percent of beer sold in the U.S., based on volume.

“The Beer Institute, and its member companies, believes this is a step in the right direction to demonstrate a commitment to quality and transparency through these voluntary measures," Beer Institute CEO Jim McGreevy said in a statement.

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which oversees beer label approvals, said in 2013 that optional labeling of alcohol content and 'serving fact' statements are permitted.

A-B, which has its U.S. unit based in St. Louis, said it has voluntarily provided information on many of its beers sold domestically on the website, including Budweiser and Bud Light, since December 2012. About half of its 60 core brands list the website on its bottle labels or packaging, and more are being added, A-B said.

"The Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative reflects U.S. consumers’ increasing interest in knowing more about the products they enjoy," A-B spokeswoman Katie Petru said in an email to the Post-Dispatch.

"We will consider consumer interests as they evolve and will continue to find ways to share information with consumers in ways that are most meaningful to them, and depending on our capabilities and local regulatory requirements," she continued.

The beer label changes aren't being adopted by all brewers, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based industry group that represents craft brewers that produce 6 million barrels of beer or less annually. While the group supports transparency in labeling, the BA's president and CEO Bob Pease said in an email, "the approach the large brewers have taken may not be feasible for smaller brewers, many of whom offer dozens of small scale, seasonal products every year."

The Brewers Association said it's working separately with the FDA and the USDA to develop a plan for beer styles rather than specific individual brands to be included in the USDA Nutrient Database to help members comply with FDA rules on menu labeling. "We will continue to work with our members to encourage voluntary compliance with all existing government mandates regarding labeling," Pease said.


USA: Craft beer sales estimated to be up almost 9% from the beginning of the year through May 15  (

After experiencing incredible growth in recent years, there are reports that sales of craft beers are slowing in 2016, Seeking Alpha reported on July 11.

After 19% growth in 2014 and 13% growth by volume in 2015, research firm IRI Worldwide reported that craft beer sales are up 6.5% by volume so far this year.

Bart Wilson, chief economist for the industry trade group The Brewer's Association, says that part of the lower figure is due to how market data is gathered. For instance, IRI includes Blue Moon and Shock Top beers in their calculations. These beers are owned by Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which are a far cry from craft brewers. Excluding those types of brewers, the number climbs to 8.9% growth through May 15. Still, according to Wilson, "If it's 6 percent or 10 percent, that's a number that many industries in the U.S. economy would kill for."

Some big brewers, namely The Boston Beer Company, have seen sales dampened by the emergence of hundreds of new small craft brewers. In general, the maker of Sam Adams beer and Angry Orchard cider is regarded as a founder of the craft brew movement and the biggest craft beer maker in the world with its roots in the space going back 30 years. However, the total number of U.S. beer makers rising from about 100 in the early 1980s to more than 4,200 in 2015 has fragmented the space and is now cutting into Boston Beer's growth.


USA: US craft beer export grows 16.3% in 2015  (

The Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers in the United States — reported on March 29 export growth data for the American craft beer industry in 2015. Supported by the BA’s Export Development Program (EDP), craft beer export volume increased by 16.3 percent in 2015, now totaling 446,151 barrels and worth $116 million.

Growth was seen in all major markets, most notably in Western Europe which saw a 33.4 percent increase. Ireland, the Netherlands, Thailand and Taiwan were the fastest growing markets in 2015.

Canada was again the leading international market for American craft beer, accounting for 51 percent of exports. Meanwhile, Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom each took a market share of approximately 10 percent. The top five was rounded out by Australia, which accounted for 4 percent of exports.

“Small and independent craft brewers are putting American beer on the global map,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association. “There’s a growing thirst from beer lovers in countries around the world for bold, innovative products from American craft brewers. As the demand for American craft beer continues to grow abroad, the Brewers Association is pleased to support our members by increasing their access to international markets.”

The EDP, which generates exposure for American craft beer through trade shows, festivals, seminars, media outreach and competitions, among other activities, was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program (USDA MAP). There are now approximately 80 small and independent brewers exporting their beers from the U.S., by EDP estimates.


USA: The “King of Beers” but suffers from continuous volume decline  (

There's no doubt when it comes to the amount of beer brewed, Anheuser-Busch InBev reigns supreme in the U.S., where it accounts for 46% of the market all by itself, as well as globally, where it is also the largest brewer in the world, The Motley Fool reported.

In 2015 AB InBev brewed 413 million hectolitres of beer - that's some 10.9 billion gallons, or over 351 million barrels - while No. 2 brewer SABMiller reported it produced 324 million hectolitres last year, or 276 million barrels. In comparison, leading US craft brewer Boston Beer produced 4 million barrels. And the 4,100 craft breweries in existence in the U.S. today collectively produced just 22 million barrels.

But if bigger were always better, then Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and No. 3 brewer Molson Coors would be seeing sales grow, and in the USA that is not the case. According to the Brewers Association's mid-year report last July, craft production volumes were up 16% over 2014 and had reached an 11% share of total volume production for beer, which on a retail dollar basis, gave the industry almost 20% market share. Considering the total beer market itself was up just 0.5% in 2014, it's been the craft brewers and not the mass-brewed beers that have been carrying the industry higher.

Although Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser brand terms itself the "King of Beers" and has reveled in its vast size for years, it's obvious volume isn't everything.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index recently released its latest annual survey of more than 70,000 consumers on how satisfied they are with more than 300 companies across 43 industries and 10 economic sectors. Based on the responses, the market researchers assign a score to the companies between 100 and -100.

The latest index results gave Anheuser-Busch InBev a 74 rating in customer satisfaction, a 3.9% drop from last year's ranking of 77, and almost 12% below its score of 84, recorded back in 1994 when ASCI first began tracking customer opinion. Significantly, A-B's score is also below the industry average of 76.

When it comes to mass brewers, there really are only a handful of breweries to compete against. So which one was deemed best? MillerCoors, the joint venture of SABMiller and Molson.

While the survey doesn't break out by brands which beer might have generated such consumer support, by looking at the brewer's financial results, it's probable it was its Coors brand that carried the day.

MillerCoors reported both the Coors Light and Coors Banquet brands grew market share in their respective segments in 2015, with the light beer enjoying its best quarterly volume performance since the second quarter of 2014, while the full-bodied version achieved its ninth consecutive year of growth.

However, in light of the merger that may happen between Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller, this could be the end of the line for MillerCoors. As part of A-B's effort to smooth the regulatory path to approval for its $107 billion takeover of Miller, it hammered out a side agreement to sell to Molson for $12 billion the 42% share in MillerCoors that it doesn't already own, giving Molson the global rights to the Miller brand.

As a result of adding that portfolio to its own, Molson Coors will be launched it into the No. 2 spot in the beer market with about a 25% market share, ahead of Heineken, which is a distant third with a 9% share.

The world of the macro brewers is shrinking as a result of consolidation. Soon, perhaps, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be able to once again make "King of Beers" more than a branding slogan, but that might be because there's nobody left to really compete against it. Whether that leaves consumers satisfied is another question.


Spain & USA: Mahou San Miguel reportedly interested in minority stake in Anchor Brewers & Distillers  (

Spanish Mahou San Miguel is reportedly looking to up its presence in the U.S. craft beer market.

The Spanish brewer, which took a 30% interest in Michigan’s Founders Brewing last year, is now eyeing a potential minority stake in San Francisco-based Anchor Brewers & Distillers, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources. The report added that Mahou San Miguel could invest up to $300 million in Anchor, which is known for its Anchor Steam beer brand. Anchor didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Led by former Skyy Spirits executives Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, Anchor ranks as the 22nd-largest craft brewer in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. Its distilling unit, which has a partnership with the U.K.’s Berry Bros. & Rudd, markets brands including The Glenrothes and BenRiach single malts, Nikka Japanese whisky and The King’s Ginger and Luxardo liqueurs, among others.


USA: AB InBev announces acquisition of Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery  (

Anheuser Busch-InBev is on a craft beer bender, announcing a third acquisition in a five-day span that shows just how important the fast-growing category is to the world’s largest brewer, the Fortune reported on December 22.

On December 22, AB InBev said it agreed to buy Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery, adding a seventh U.S. craft brewer to a portfolio that already includes Goose Island, Blue Point, and Elysian. AB InBev announced a deal with U.K.-based Camden Town Brewery on December 21 and scooped up Arizona’s Four Peaks Brewing on December 18.

The recent deals are meant to add faster-growing beers to AB InBev’s massive portfolio, which already includes Budweiser and Stella Artois. Because the craft brands are tiny in comparison, they won’t move AB InBev’s sales needle much – though the deals give the craft brewers vast distribution potential.

Breckenridge Brewery is one of the larger craft brands InBev has acquired. It ranked No. 50 on the Brewers Association’s 50 largest U.S. craft brewers in 2014, and sales are expected to reach about 70,000 barrels in 2015. With the deal with InBev, it will eventually be removed from that list – as only small, independent brewers can be included.

Breckenridge will continue to produce its current portfolio of beers, ranging from Vanilla Porter to Agave Wheat. Notably, the deal with AB InBev – which is expected to close in the first quarter – includes the company’s new production brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton and original brewpub in the mountain town of Breckenridge. But other assets, including a location in Denver and the Wynkoop Brewing Company, will remain under the current Breckenridge-Wynkoop management group.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.


USA: Congress passes tax reforms benefiting small brewers and TTB expands ...  (

... updates formula rule for breweries using spices and fruit in their beer

This week in Washington, DC, a couple of different things happened that help small breweries. First up, Congress passed tax reforms that will provide substantial benefits for small breweries. Next, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) expanded and updated the formula rule, which previously encumbered breweries that use stuff like spices and fruit in their beers, reported on December 22.

Today, breweries file their federal taxes every two weeks. The reform allows them to do it quarterly. But that’s just the beginning. Below, the Brewers Association explains it in more details.

The tax extenders package for small beverage alcohol producers includes favorable reforms related to bond requirements and extended filing periods. The plan makes the tax cuts for equipment permanent, while also significantly raising the qualifying threshold. Additionally, the bill includes language that would keep any of the funds made available by this or any other act to be used to implement or enforce any provision of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

“These filing and bonding requirements are an important victory for small and independent brewers, and we are thrilled that these provisions have been included in the tax extenders bill,” said Bob Pease, chief executive officer, Brewers Association. “We are extremely grateful to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) for his leadership in bringing the entire beverage alcohol space behind well thought out proposals that benefit us all. We also appreciate Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) making this legislation a priority to help small alcohol producers across the country.”

“Small brewers, vintners and distillers are fermenting economic growth in every corner of Oregon and across the United States,” Wyden said. “Passing this bill means less red tape for small business that are such an important economic multiplier. I hope this is only the first round of common sense legislation to cut taxes and unnecessary regulations for America’s craft beverage industry.”

“As co-chairman of the Small Brewers Caucus, I’m pleased to have worked on this bipartisan legislation to simplify the paperwork that small brewers in Pennsylvania have to file with the IRS,” Kelly said. “Now they’ll be able to file their excise taxes quarterly instead of every two weeks, which means they’ll be able to spend less time filing out tax forms‎ and can get back to what they do best—brewing quality craft beverages in the Commonwealth.”

“From cider to wine, beer and spirits, the craft beverage industry holds an important and growing role in Oregon’s and the nation’s economy,” said Blumenauer. “Passage of this bill will better target the rules governing these industries and will expand opportunities for small entrepreneurs across the country.”

Separately, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) updated and expanded the formula rule, exempting ingredients and processes used in the production of beer from being subjected to formula requirements.

“This is also a key win, given the revival and growing popularity of numerous beer styles, such as fruit and spice beers,” added Pease. “It takes a substantial burden off the brewer of having to specifically label ingredients that are already well known to the trade and consumers by their flavor designation.”

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.


USA: History suggests there could be more room for craft industry growth - experts  (

There are more U.S. breweries than ever before. And they are opening at a record pace of two-a-day, SCTimes reported on December 17.

Yet history suggest there could be more room for growth.

“We are still way off the all-time per capita total," argues Bart Watson, economist for the Brewer's Association. "We have a long ways to catch the 1870s.

"People talk about bubble (burst) but they don't understand what it means. The key is to continuing to find a local demand."

By the end of 2013, there were 2,863 craft breweries, a growth of about 400 from 2012.

In 2015, the total number surpassed 4,000. And specifically at the end of November, the number of U.S. breweries surpassed the previous high total of 4,131 set in 1873.

Watson said the industry saw the biggest growth in IPA styles — he refers to it the 'IPA-fication' of beer. Also growing is lower-alcohol "sessionable" beers. Watson speculates the next style growth could come in lighter blonde ale and gose-style beers.

Much of the brewery growth is coming outside of communities like Denver and Seattle, cities known for their established craft beer scenes. Many are also setting up in smaller communities, often without an extensive previous brewing history.

"To me that signals craft is more in the mainstream," Watson said. "Craft is now reaching the larger population.

"The majority of these breweries opening are independents, small and locally focused. They aren't large regional production facilities. Yet they are still finding a niche market."

Still, with all the growth there are bound to be challenges.

A CNBC report speculates that 2016 could feature a hop shortage due to a higher demand combined with the impact from the summer drought on the West Coast. A Forbes report also speculates an aluminum can shortage could impact the craft industry.

There's also concern in the industry over how proposed calorie listing laws and recent Anheuser-Busch InBev acquisitions could impact craft beer in 2016.

The biggest challenges for craft brewers could come with distribution.

"(Distribution) is more competitive now than ever before," Watson said. "The large brewers have already started to flex their muscles a bit with incentive programs. It will be interesting to see (how the distribution industry evolves)."


USA: Number of breweries reaches record level this year  (

The total number of U.S. breweries reached a record level in 2015, according to a year-end review from the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers. As of the end of November, there are now 4,144 breweries in the country, topping the historic high of 4,131 breweries in 1873, the Brewers Association reported on December 2.

“This is a remarkable achievement, and it’s just the beginning,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Beer has always been a hallmark of this country and it is even more apparent today as America’s beer culture continues to expand.”

Of note in 2015:
•Brewery openings now exceed two a day.
•Fifteen states are now home to more than 100 breweries: California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana.
•IPA remained the top style sold by independent craft brewers, and continues to grow faster than the overall craft category.
•Data shows that “locally made” is important to over half of craft beer buyers.
•Similarly, knowing that the beer is made by a small and independent brewery is important to a majority of craft drinkers in their purchase decision.

“Craft breweries are a part of their communities, operating in neighborhoods and towns, returning us to a localized beer culture,” added Watson. “There are still thousands of towns currently without a brewery--but with populations potentially large enough to support one. With beer lovers continuing to desire more full-flavored, innovative options from small and independent local breweries, ample opportunities exist for well-differentiated, high-quality entrants in the marketplace.”


USA: AB InBev-SABMiller merger will hardly affect US beer distributors  (

The world's largest brewers — Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller — announced earlier this week that they've agreed to merge, but the mega-deal likely won't have many impacts on the US beer distribution chain, South Bend Tribune reported on October 16.

Analysts who follow the beer industry assume the merged company will need to sell its interest in MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing, to satisfy federal regulators' antitrust concerns. AB InBev and SABMiller, combined, already control 70 percent of the U.S. beer market.

For that reason, local beer distributors aren't concerned about the merger affecting their businesses.

"We do not anticipate major changes locally at all," said Jon Leetz, president of Indiana Beverage, a Valparaiso company that distributes MillerCoors beers and other products.

"Because Anheuser-Busch is so big from an antitrust standpoint," Leetz said, "it is not likely that the Department of Justice would allow them to own SABMiller in the United States."

The $106 billion merger isn't really about the U.S. market anyway.

AB InBev's primary motivation for purchasing SABMiller is to gain access to beer drinkers in Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world. The merged company would control about a third of the global beer market.

"I don't foresee anything changing at our business," said Steve Infalt, executive vice president at South Bend-based United Beverage Co., which is affiliated with Anheuser-Busch products.

"This is mostly a global-positioning situation for Anheuser-Busch," Infalt said. "They're more interested, I believe, in Africa and South America and China."

Infalt said the most likely outcome is that Denver-based Molson Coors, which already owns a 42 percent stake in MillerCoors, will buy SABMiller's remaining share of the joint venture. That scenario would give Molson Coors control over a quarter of U.S. beer sales and leave AB InBev with about 45 percent of the U.S. market.

All of the large beer companies have been losing market share in recent years to small craft brewers — a trend that is playing out in Michiana as well. More than 20 small breweries are operating in northcentral Indiana and southwest Michigan, and many of those have opened in just the past few years.

Craft beer accounted for 11 percent of U.S. beer sales in 2014, up from about 8 percent of sales in 2013, according to the Brewers Association.


Canada: Molson Coors to launch its US Blue Moon beer nationally  (

Molson Coors Canada is hoping that a beer by another name will be a sweet selling point for discerning drinkers, The Globe and Mail reported on July 29.

The brewing giant announced on July 29 that it is bringing its US “craft” beer brand, Blue Moon, to Canada starting August 15. The wheat beer will be sold nationally at bars and restaurants, under the name Belgian Moon.

The brand, which launched in 1995, has come under criticism in the U.S. in recent years for not making its link to MillerCoors LLC known on its packaging – a tactic that some believe indicates a big brewer trying to pass off one of its products as a smaller-scale craft beer. Other brands have encountered similar scepticism, such as Shock Top, which is sold by Anheuser-Busch InBev; and the Granville Island Brewing Co. brand, which Molson purchased in 2009.

The Brewers Association, a craft industry group in the U.S., defines craft beer as having an annual production of six million barrels or less, produced by a brewery that is less than one-quarter owned or controlled by another company in the alcoholic beverage industry that is not a craft brewer. While there is no official definition, industry groups in Canada generally have similar guidelines.

Craft brewers are still far from dominating the market – giants such as Molson Coors and Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd. still rake in the lion’s share of sales – but smaller artisanal brands pose a very real threat to the big brewers. Craft beer is guzzling all of the growth in a segment where overall beer consumption is declining.

The beer market in Canada is worth $9.1-billion, but sales are flat, and losing out to other types of alcoholic beverages such as wine. Beer’s market share in Canada fell from 50 per cent in 2003 to 43 per cent in 2013, according to Statistics Canada.

According to its most recently reported financials, Molson Coors’ worldwide beer volume fell by 3.5 per cent in the three months ended March 31. Net sales in Canada fell 9.7 per cent in the same period.

The big brewers have been attempting to keep up with the appetite for new, more complex flavours. Competitor Labatt launched a “hop series” brand extension on its Alexander Keith’s line in 2013, to capitalize on the trend for more hoppy, flavourful brews. Molson Coors created a new division in 2011 called Six Pints Specialty Beer Company, which was solely responsible for marketing “specialty” brands such as Creemore and Granville Island.

“Introducing this iconic brand to Canada is a significant milestone for both Molson Coors, and our drinkers, whose tastebuds continue to evolve,” Six Pints general manager Will Meijer said in a statement.

Molson’s announcement touted the brand as the best-selling wheat beer in the U.S., and emphasized its “aromatic citrus notes” and “creamy, inviting finish.”

Not all of the big brewers’ attempts to respond to the popularity of craft beers have been successful, however. Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch faced a backlash when it ran a Super Bowl commercial that appeared to mock craft beer drinkers as snobs.

Molson sells another wheat beer in Canada that is based on the Blue Moon recipe: Rickard's White. However, according to the company, the Rickard’s brand uses some different ingredients. As a result, the colour of the two beers is different, and Molson says the Rickard’s variety is much sweeter than Blue Moon.

Newsgrafik #30030

Craft Brewers Conference 2015 Commences in Portland, Ore.  (Company news)

The 2015 Craft Brewers Conference, hosted by the Brewers Association (BA), kicked off on Tuesday with the Welcome Reception, held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The event brought together over 8,000 beer professionals with a theme of “Keep Portland Weird.” Attendees enjoyed their choice of beers from 59 different Oregon breweries, as well as over 138 dozen (roughly 1,656) Voodoo doughnuts and 21,000 oysters.

Wednesday morning’s General Session began with a welcome and other thoughts from BA President Charlie Papazian. Following the State of the Craft Beer Industry address by Director Paul Gatza and Chief Economist Bart Watson, BA Event Committee Chair Steve Bradt announced this years Brewers Association Award winners.

Author Simon Sinek, renowned leadership expert and anthropologist, delivered the keynote address and memorable words on cooperation and leadership to a packed house. Sinek focused on themes from his most recent publication, Leaders Eat Last: authenticity and being genuine in the workplace; work being a place where people can be creative and take chances.

The conference continues through Friday, with 79 educational seminars, diverse sponsored demonstrations and the largest BrewExpo America ® trade show to date.
(Brewers Association (BA))


USA: Strong dollar does not reduce global thirst for US craft beer  (

A strong dollar may be harming the competitiveness of US exports but it has failed to damp the world’s thirst for US-brewed craft beer, The Financial Times reported on April 5.

Led by increased consumption in Europe and emerging markets, total exports of US craft beer surged 36 per cent in 2014, topping $100 mln for the first time ever.

“The growth is being driven by the beer drinker,” said Bob Pease, president of the Brewers Association, which represents small, independently owned brewers in the US. “The American craft beer revolution is not restricted to the US. It’s a global phenomenon.”

Though trade in the product hardly existed just a decade ago as US brewers struggled to satisfy domestic demand, exports have posted double-digit growth in recent years as brewers have expanded their production capacity.

Backed by a US Department of Agriculture grant and, in some cases, the Export-Import Bank, more than 80 US craft brewers exported in 2014, increasing their sales to Brazil by 64 per cent over the previous year and to the Asia-Pacific region by 38 per cent. Sales to Western Europe and Canada were also up 37 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively.

Mr Pease pointed out that brewing tastes have now come full circle, as many US craft brewers initially began by trying to emulate what they felt were the superior beer styles they encountered in European countries.

“Thirty years ago, US beer in terms of flavour was pretty much considered a joke – an industrial lager. [European] countries did not take American beer seriously. American craft brewers have changed that,” he added.

The surging demand for craft comes as exports of more traditional US beers, including those mass produced by AB InBev and MillerCoors, have tapered off, growing just 4 per cent from 2013-14 after experiencing double-digit growth in the previous two years.

The trend is indicative of changing consumer tastes around the world as well as a shift toward “premiumisation” in consumer goods sectors.

In 2014, total sales of US craft beer increased to $19.6 bln, a 37 per cent increase from 2013. Craft beer now comprises nearly 20 per cent of the domestic beer market, a jump from 14.3 per cent the previous year.

Still, US beer exports on the whole topped $542 mln in 2014 — about tripling in size since 2004, according to data from the US International Trade Commission. The majority of these sales have gone to the Nafta countries as well as emerging market economies in Latin America and Asia. In 2011, developing nations overtook western ones as the primary export markets for US beer.


USA: AB InBev buying another US craft brewer  (

Anheuser-Busch is buying Seattle's Elysian Brewing Co., further expanding its collection of craft brewers as it tries to offset sagging sales of its flagship beers, ABC News reported.

The financial terms of the deal announced on January 23 were not disclosed.

Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, a Belgian company that is the world's largest brewer. The company, which makes Budweiser and Bud Lite, has been combatting soft sales by buying up increasingly popular craft brewers.

While nationwide beer sales declined 1.9 percent in 2013, craft beer sales rose 17 percent, according to the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers.

Anheuser-Busch announced in November that it was buying 10 Barrel Brewing of Oregon, raising the ire of many of its fans. That follows the purchase of Blue Point Brewing Co. on Long Island, New York, earlier in the year. It bought Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago in 2011. InBev also has a one-third share in a Northwest group that produces Red Hook, Widmer and Kona beers.

Anheuser-Busch and Elysian say the deal will bring the brewer's popular beers — most notably Immortal IPA — to a larger audience. The deal includes Elysian's brewery business and its four Seattle brewpubs. It is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

"Throughout our journey we've been focused on brewing a portfolio of both classic and groundbreaking beers and supporting innovation and camaraderie in the beer industry," Dick Cantwell, Elysian co-founder and head brewer, said. "By joining with Anheuser-Busch we'll be able to take the next steps to bring that energy and commitment to a larger audience."

Elysian was founded in 1995 by Cantwell along with partners Joe Bisacca and David Buhler, who will stay on following the acquisition.

The company is the fastest-growing brewery in Washington state. It sold more than 50,000 barrels of beer in 2014, with Immortal IPA accounting for more than a quarter of the company's total volume.

It also makes a beer called Loser Pale Ale, which says "Corporate Beer Still Sucks" on its packaging. The beer celebrates Seattle-based independent music label Sub Pop Records and the line is a nod to the "Corporate Magazines Still Suck" T-shirt Nirvana's Kurt Cobain once wore on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Cantwell acknowledges that now the joke has another layer, but says the Elysian will keep brewing Loser Pale Ale after the acquisition is complete. The founders say they recognize some fans may be upset by their decision to sell to Anheuser-Busch, but say little will change.

"We have some loyal fans that are questioning it, but we are hoping they will take a breath ... and see that what is still in the glass is amazing," Buhler said.

Elysian's beer is distributed in 11 states in the U.S. as well as Canada, Taiwan, Australia and Japan.


USA: The Brewers Association sums up craft beer industry’s preliminary annual results  (

As the year draws to a close, the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers—looked back on how craft brewers fared in 2014.

“It’s remarkable to see how beer has evolved in the past century. Year over year we’re seeing tremendous growth in the craft beer sector and 2014 proved that craft beer is moving into the mainstream,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Consumers are making a conscious choice to buy and try the plethora of options produced by small and independent craft brewers.”

Of note in 2014:

•U.S. brewery count returns to historic levels. In November, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers in the country and the number of brewery licenses reached the highest ever, topping 4,500 in the first sixth months of the year. Thirteen states (CA, CO, WA, OR, MI, NY, PA, TX, FL, WI, IL, NC, OH) now have more than 100 breweries each.

•Breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day. In addition, there are more than 2,000 breweries in planning.

•Craft brewers were the growth point in the overall beer industry. Through June of 2014, craft brewers enjoyed 18 percent growth by volume. Numerous data channels are showing continuing double-digit growth for craft in the second half of the year.

•India Pale Ales (IPAs) remained the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival®.

•Variety packs had a strong year with craft beer lovers. Retail data also indicates that variety packs are up 21 percent by volume and 24 percent by dollar sales, equating to nine percent volume share of craft and seven percent dollar share.

•Craft beer appreciators are becoming as diverse as craft beer itself. Data indicates that 38 percent of households bought a craft beer in the last year versus 29 percent in 2010. Additionally, women consume almost 32 percent of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34. Hispanic populations are demonstrating increased craft engagement as well.

“More and more breweries will spur innovation, meaning there will be even more offerings on hand for beer geeks and beginners to enjoy,” Watson added. “Not to mention more opportunities to explore and support local breweries, which has a profound impact on the economy at the regional, state and national level.”

Note: Figures are a compilation of data provided by the Brewers Association, Symphony IRI and Nielsen. The Brewers Association will release a comprehensive annual analysis of craft brewer production in March of 2015.

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S.


USA & UK: US beer exports at their highest value since 2002 owing to craft brands  (

US beer exports to the UK have increased tenfold in the past decade and are at their highest value since 2002, according to US trade data. The trend is driven in part by the rise of small craft brewers, who make stronger-tasting beers, The Financial Times reported on October 19.

The renaissance in beer brewing in the US has been nothing short of remarkable.

Small brewers promising relief from weak, mainstream lagers have moved from the realms of hobbyists to 15 per cent of the market by value in the US, according to the Brewers Association, a US trade group. There are now over 4,500 breweries in the US, more than double the number in 2004.

“The craft ale scene in the US is incredibly vibrant,” says Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, a UK brewery. In March this year, the company became the UK distributor for Sierra Nevada, the second-largest US craft beer producer.

The UK is the third-biggest destination for US craft beer after Canada and Sweden, but as a proportion of overall UK sales it is still a niche market.

“Although it only represents 2.5 per cent of total beer sales, it has provided a degree of invigoration to the [market], with a heady combination of hype, relevance and genuine differentiation,” says Tom Lynch, commercial director at CGA Strategy, a food and drink consultancy.

The UK has its own, older, beer movement championing “real ale”, generally defined as beer that continues to ferment in the cask or bottle.

It is also distinguished by strong flavours and it lacks the artificial fizz of lagers. Camra, the UK real ale campaign group, makes it clear that much US craft beer does not meet its standards.
However, proponents of both types of beer share a disdain for mainstream beers and a sense of plucky determination against larger, better-funded brewers. “Most real ales and the US craft beer that’s coming in have literally no advertising behind them. It’s almost an underground movement,” says Colin Valentine, Camra chairman.

Craft beers have been boosted by changing drinking habits. Although the UK has a reputation for heavy drinking, the number of people who say they drink or drink frequently has been in decline since at least 2005.

At the same time, drinkers have become more discerning and willing to pay more for “premium” beers, according to Mintel, a market research company.

It is a trend that craft brewers have been keen to capitalise on, with the Brewers Association promoting the motto “Savour the Flavour”.

“Drink a little slower, maybe drink a little less, but really savour and explore the flavours you’re experiencing,” says Bob Pease, BA president.

When he began promoting US craft beers to overseas buyers in the early 2000s, they laughed at him.

“They’re not laughing now,” he says.


World: The Brewers Association invites breweries from around the globe to enter the ...  (

... World Beer Cup® competition

In 2014, the Brewers Association (BA) will host the tenth edition of the World Beer Cup® (established in 1996). The BA is inviting breweries from around the globe to enter the competition.

The mission of the World Beer Cup is to create greater consumer awareness around the world about the quality and diversity of beers brewed around the world.

Breweries from dozens of countries and every continent have won awards at the World Beer Cup. They proudly use their prestigious awards to promote their beer and to grow a following of enthusiastic beer lovers.

Entries for the 2014 World Beer Cup will be accepted online starting November, 2013. More information will be found at The competition is predicted to be completely full again in 2014, so please plan to register early.

Judging will take place April 7 and 8, 2014. Awards will be presented at the World Beer Cup Gala Awards Ceremony on April 11, 2014, during the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Please join your fellow brewers in the World Beer Cup, the “Olympics” of beer and the most prestigious beer competition in the world.

Here are the key dates:
• Call for Entries: Oct. 28, 2013-Nov. 1, 2013
• Judging: April 7-8, 2014 in Denver, Colorado
• Gala Awards Ceremony: April 11, 2014 in Denver, Colorado


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries’ licensing agreement with a boutique beer brand seen as not ..  (

... transparent enough

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is unmoved by a social media campaign calling on the brewer to be more transparent about its licensing agreement with boutique beer brand, Byron Bay Brewing Company, The Shout reported on January, 29.

CUB’s public relations agency, Liquid Ideas, last week issued a press release announcing that Byron Bay Brewing Co, a small northern NSW brewery that is independently owned by Barry Schadel, had released its Pale Lager in packaged format.

The bottled beer was in fact produced by CUB at its brewery in Warnervale under a new licensing agreement with Byron Bay Brewing Company.

But as with the packaging of the beer itself, the press release did not disclose that CUB had any involvement in the production or rollout of the new beer.

In an open letter to Carlton & United Breweries CEO Ari Mervis, beer writer Matt Kirkegaard called for the brewer to be more transparent in its marketing of the beer.

“When I read the media release, it seemed to be strongly suggesting that the beer was being brewed and bottled solely by the Byron Bay Brewing Company,” Kirkegaard says.

“Without an intimate knowledge of the Australian beer market, anyone reading the media release or seeing the beer’s packaging would be very surprised to learn that the beer is actually being made, marketed and distributed by Carlton and United Breweries, albeit under licence,” he says.

“The way that your company is marketing this beer, at the very least, lacks transparency. At its worst, it could appear that your company is actively seeking to hide your involvement from the consumer.”

But Byron Bay Brewing Company owner Barry Schadel said he didn’t understand why he should have to declare CUB’s involvement in expanding the distribution of a brand that he created and continues to own outright.

“It’s not their product, it’s my product. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

CUB spokesman Jeremy Griffith said he would understand the reaction if Byron Bay Brewing Company was owned by CUB, but it’s still Barry Schadel’s brand.

“We are providing the opportunity for a small craft brewery to expand its distribution and bring its beer to a national market,” he said.

“We think this a positive step. The beer and brewery remain independently owned by Barry Schadel.”

The incident continues an international debate over transparency in labelling of beers.

The Brewers Association – which represents small and independent American craft brewers – recently said large, multinational brewers “appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers”.


USA: The Brewers Association warns against a hike in beer duty  (

A hike in beer duty could ruin the craft beer movement, according to the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association has hit out a proposal to raise beer taxes in the US, warning it would “devastate” independent breweries while helping multinational rivals.

In a blog by the group's COO, Bob Pease, published by Washington newspaper The Hill, he warns against the measure floated by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) last month. Two CSPI members called for US legislators to look at raising tax on all alcohol and soda to help avoid the country's fiscal cliff.

In his response, however, Pease wrote: “Their (the CSPI's) proposal to increase the federal excise tax on beer would devastate – if not destroy – the small, independent Main Street American breweries that have developed all across our nation during the last 35 years and which have created thousands and thousands of jobs for American workers.”

Currently, small brewers, defined as companies that produce less than 15,000 barrels annually, pay US$7 in federal excise tax on each barrel.

Pease added: “Do we really think that these small American brewers will be able to compete effectively, and grow and hire more workers, if the federal excise tax they pay increases from $7 per barrel to, say, $50 per barrel, as would be likely under the Jacobsen-Hacker proposal?

“Meanwhile, the large multi-national brewers – Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors – likely would be strengthened by such a change through reduction in competition.”

The potential revenue that would be raised from small brewers is “simply not justified by the economic harm such a proposal would cause”, Pease said.

The US has more than 2,000 small and independent brewers, compared to around 40 in the late 1970s.

Last month, the Brewers Association accused global beer companies of trying to “blur the lines” between the products they produce and "genuine" craft beers.

Newsgrafik #25852

Great American Beer Festival® Toasts the World's Most Diverse Brewing Nation  (Company news)

Nearly 50,000 beer lovers ascend to the Mile High City for the Brewers Association's annual celebration of American beer

Over the course of three days, 49,000 attendees will sample beer from approximately 580 U.S. breweries at the 31st annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). As America's premier beer festival and competition, GABF represents the largest ticketed beer event in the country, bringing together the brewers and beers that make the U.S. the world's most diverse brewing nation.

Thursday, October 11: 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday, October 12: 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 13*: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
*Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members-only session
Saturday, October 13: 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street
Denver, Colorado

With more than 2,000 breweries currently producing countless styles and varieties of beer, the U.S. is a world leader in brewing. Annually, the GABF gathers about one quarter of the country's breweries to Denver for a public tasting event, as well as one of the most esteemed beer competitions and judge panels in the country.

New for 2012:
-Brewpub Pavilion: About half of today's 2,000 plus breweries are considered brewpubs, and this year's GABF recognizes that trend with a brand new Brewpub Pavilion, located in the central area of the festival hall. The pavilion will include approximately 24 breweries representing all regions of the country and will be set up to replicate the brewpub atmosphere that craft beer enthusiasts enjoy, including seating and bite-sized snacks available for purchase.
-More Breweries: With some changes to the festival floor plan, GABF will have 110 more breweries pouring their beers in the hall this year, which is a 23 percent increase over 2011.
-Fresh Hop Ale Competition Category: This year's GABF competition will feature a brand new "Fresh Hop Ale" category. The addition of this category signifies not only growing interest in this beer style, but also increased appreciation in the role of beer ingredients.
(Brewers Association)

Newsgrafik #25785

Brewers Association Reports 2012 Mid-Year Growth for U.S. Craft Brewers  (Company news)

Dollar growth up 14% in first six months of 2012; Total brewery count hits 125-year high

The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, has released strong mid-year numbers for America’s small and independent craft brewers1. Dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012, while volume of craft brewed beer sold jumped 12 percent during that same time period.
Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first six months of 2012 are an estimated 6.0 million barrels. Despite a number of challenges, including decreased overall beer sales, the mid-year numbers show signs of continued growth for craft breweries. The industry currently provides an estimated 104,000 full-time and part-time jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.
“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. "Plus it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”
The U.S. now boasts 2,126 breweries—an increase of 350 additional breweries since June 2011. The BA also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2,075 as of June 30, 2012 showing that 97 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.
“Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation,” Gatza added. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”
(Brewers Association)


China: World’s most popular beer, Snow is hardly ever known of outside China  (

Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev is the world's largest brewer. And its top brand isn't Budweiser - it's actually Bud Light. Even so, Bud Light is only the world's second-most popular beer, Street Authority posted on August, 2.

The correct answer is a product some people haven’t ever heard of - Snow beer, the most popular beer in China.

Snow is a product of China Resources Snow Breweries, a joint venture owned by U.K.-based SABMiller and Chinese conglomerate China Resources Enterprise.

Snow is estimated to control 5% of the global beer market by sales volume, more than both Bud Light and Budweiser combined. Five percent may not sound like much, but it comes to more than 17 billion bottles of beer a year.

In the past few months, companies that produce alcohol have been on a tear. Thanks to global economic concerns, investors have flocked to this stable corner of the market. Of course, this is nothing new. Defensive stocks tend to do well in a volatile market.

But what most people don't realize is that some of the world's best defensive stocks aren't based in the United States.

As disposable income and middle classes expand in China and other emerging markets, so does demand for goods and services, including alcohol and tobacco products.

In the case of beer, China is by far the largest beer market in the world, more than twice the size of the United States, the world's No. 2, with 6.3 billion gallons in annual sales.

And while sales languish in the United States (down 1% in 2011, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group) and much of the West, sales are on the rise in China and other emerging-market countries - and they have plenty of room to run.

On a per-capita basis, Chinese consumers drink just a little more than 37 litres of beer per year, compared with 77 litres in the United States, 72 in Brazil and 115 for Germany.

That's good news for SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer.

In the fiscal year ending March 31, more than three-fourths of SABMiller's earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came from emerging markets.

About a third of SABMiller's EBITDA originated in Latin America, and the company had the strongest position of any brewer in the fast-growing African market. Of course, it also owns a large stake in the world's most-popular beer, Snow. All told, SABMiller owns more than 200 individual beer brands.

Better yet, since the start of June the shares are up 21%.


USA: More than 50 breweries opened in the United States this spring  (

According to the Brewers Association (BA), 250 breweries opened in 2011 while only 37 closed.

The BA also reported that 1,989 breweries, employing approximately 103,585 workers, were operating in the U.S. in 2011—an 11 percent increase from the previous year.

“We saw rapid growth in brewery openings last year, particularly with microbrewery start-ups, and these numbers are poised to rise even more in 2012,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “In February 2012, we already topped 2,000 operating breweries—a truly remarkable milestone. We look forward to even more success and the continued expansion of the craft beer market.”

In the past three months (March, April, May) the BA's research shows that more than 50 breweries in 25 states have opened. These breweries make craft beer more accessible to beer drinkers across the country and often create much needed jobs for their local economies.

2012 Spring Brewery Openings have been registered in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin.


USA: Anheuser-Busch InBev to debut 19 new products this year  (

In an ambitious effort to win back drinkers, Anheuser-Busch InBev has 19 new products on tap to debut this year, reported on March, 30.
Luiz Edmond, president of the company’s North American division, has bet that new smaller craft beers, malt beverages and cider will stem the flow of drinkers to smaller brews or liquor.
Other strategies include increasing the alcohol in light beer, marketing more with Clydesdale draught horses, and revamping distribution. Anheuser’s slice of the U.S. beer market has dropped to 48.9% in 2011.
New products already in stores include Bud Light Platinum. “Platinum, that's a game changer for us,” said Edmond. A wheat IPA under the Shock Top label debuted in February. Next month, Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, a malt beverage, will be in stores along with an alcoholic tea-and-lemonade beverage. May brings a cider drink.
Meanwhile, the Brewers Association released 2011 data on U.S. craft brewing that showed craft brewing volume hopped 13%, with a 15% bump in retail sales from 2010 to 2011. Increased retail sales represented 9.1% of the $95.5 bln dollar U.S. beer market.
“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 percent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five percent total market volume share for the first time,” said Paul Gatza, director of Brewers Association, in a press release. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”


US: Brewers Association announces establishment of Senate Small Brewers Caucus  (

The Brewers Association (BA) announced on June, 20 that the Senate Small Brewers Caucus has been established. The formation of the Caucus was led by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who support the role of America's small and independent brewers as an engine of economic growth in the country.
In a Dear Colleague letter, Senators Baucus and Crapo noted, "In recent years, the more than 1,700 craft brewers all across America have met growing consumer demand for their products by brewing flavorful and innovative beers which they encourage Americans to enjoy in a responsible manner. These small and independent brewers...generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits, and pay more than $2.3 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes."
Mirroring the House Small Brewers Caucus, formed in 2007, the Senate Small Brewers Caucus provides a forum for members of the Senate and their staffs to discuss the issues important to small brewers while exploring what lawmakers can do to strengthen the growth and role of these small businesses in local economies across the country.
The caucus will also provide opportunities for Senators and staff to learn about the science and art of brewing beer, and the unique cultural and economic contributions made by small brewers to their communities.
Currently, the 1,700+ small American breweries account for about five percent of all the beer enjoyed in the United States and 50 percent of brewery jobs - totaling some 100,000 good-paying part- and full-time positions across the country.
"Montana's small brewers don't just make great beer out of the best Montana grains - they also support good-paying Montana jobs," said Senator Baucus. "I'm so proud to create the bipartisan Senate Small Brewers Caucus - because as the state with the second highest number of craft brewers per capita in the country, Montana small brewers need a voice in Congress who'll keep looking out for them." Montana boasts a strong brewing community, which generates and pays taxes on approximately $20 million of revenue, according to the Montana Brewers Association.
"As a major producer of barley, wheat and hops, Idaho has a growing role in the craft brewing business," Senator Crapo said. "While advocating for the excise tax relief bill, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many of Idaho’s small craft brewers and heard firsthand from local entrepreneurs about the opportunities for economic growth and job creation that the industry can provide. This caucus will provide Senators with a better understanding of all aspects of small brewing and the positive impact it has on their communities.” Senator Crapo, along with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), introduced this session's Senate bill S. 534, which would recalibrate excise taxes on America's small brewers. Joining Senators Kerry and Crapo were 17 of their Senate colleagues who signed on as original co-sponsors.
"Small craft brewers are growing, creating jobs and contributing in small and big ways to the recovery of the American economy," said Charlie Papazian, president, Brewers Association. "The bipartisan establishment of the Senate Small Brewers Caucus reflects the collaborative, grassroots community spirit in which the nation's small brewers contribute to their local communities."
The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S.


US: The Brewers Association announces the top 50 brewing companies in the country   (

The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group that tabulates production statistics for U.S. breweries, has released its annual lists reporting the top 50 brewing companies in the country, based on 2010 beer sales volume. Thirty-six of the top 50 brewing companies are small and independent craft brewing companies, The Brewers Association said.
"At more than 1,700, the number of breweries in the U.S. is higher than any time since the late 1800s," said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. "Beer lovers' appreciation for American craft brewers and their craft beers continue to grow."
The top 5 craft brewing companies are:
1 Boston Beer Co. (Boston, MA)
2 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA)
3 New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO)
4 Spoetzl Brewery (part of Gambrinus Company) (Shiner, TX)
5 Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR).

The top 5 overall brewing companies are:
1 Anheuser-Busch Inc. (St. Louis, MO)
2 MillerCoors Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL)
3 Pabst (Woodbridge, IL)
4 D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc. (Pottsville, PA)
5 Boston Beer Co. (Boston, MA)
California is ranked first with a total of 11 craft breweries working on the state's territory, Colorado and Oregon are ranked second with 5 craft brewers each.

Newsgrafik #12203

Michigan’s Imperial Beverage named Craft Beer Distributor of the Year  (Company news)

The state of Michigan is very proud of their craft breweries, but during the Saturday afternoon session of this past Great American Beer Festival (GABF), residents of the Great Lakes State had another accolade to celebrate, they boast the nation’s Craft Distributor of the Year.
Imperial Beverage of Kalamazoo was honored with the award which is announced during the Awards ceremony of the GABF, is presented jointly by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Brewers Association (BA). The award that has been given out for four years has become quite an honor for members of the 2nd tier who take pride in their craft beer accounts and work to educate consumers on their many styles and the importance of quality.
Imperial’s Owner and President remarked in the company’s press release, “We are incredibly proud of our level of support for Craft Beer. When describing our company to newcomers or positioning ourselves in the market, Craft Beer is the one device that is most crucial to describing our identity. We are innovative in how we train our team, particular about how we partner and assist our key craft accounts, and strive to ever-enhance our ongoing brewery relationships.”
Imperial Beverage represents many of Michigan’s most recognized craft brewers, as well as nationally recognized craft brewers. Cekola said that it meant a lot to be able to share the award with their friends and accounts. (Brewers Association)

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