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Extra beer business news, thoughts and insights from the publishers of Beer Marketer’s Insights, Insights Express, Craft Brew News, Beverage Business Insights and Alcohol Issues Insights.

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What Does US Increasing “Interest” in World Cup Mean for Beer?; US vs Belgium Beer

Despite outcome of yesterday's World Cup match between US and Belgium, CNN reports “how America (already) won the World Cup,” because of US’s rapidly growing “interest” in the world-wide phenomenon. For example, US vs Portugal match was “the most-watched soccer game in American history according to Nielsen figures,” at 25 mil viewers. That’s 10 mil more than the average # of viewers of Major League Baseball World Series this past yr; only college and pro Football (American) have higher avg viewers. Then too, US attendance at World Cup, social media presence and revenue for companies involved in the World Cup are at all-time highs, noted CNN.

What does this mean for beer? For starters, ABI has “hit the jackpot in Brazil,” according to CNN, with all of its sponsorships (and likely its beer sales). Secondly, with more viewers than ever before (see above), gotta think that could be a win for beer, particularly on premise. A larger percentage of young people (ages 19-29) are “closely following” the World Cup compared to all other age groups, found Pew Research. Same survey found that more U.S Hispanics across all age-ranges followed the World Cup at least “fairly closely” or “very closely” than any other race demographic. Tho gotta note, it'll be interesting to see how much US viewers pay attention now that both U.S and Mexico teams eliminated.

Separately, NY Times listed beer 2nd to only tennis when describing ongoing competition between US and Belgium over the yrs. Paper points to growing popularity of “Belgian-style white beers, like Blue Moon,” that “have been co-opted and produced by American brewers.” Editor’s note: not to mention all the craft-brewed Belgian style beers, and the 3rd largest craft brewery, named “New Belgium.” But NY Times seemingly gives Belgium the nod, since “Belgian brewing conglomerate InBev bought Anheuser Busch in 2008, putting a Belgian stamp on some of the most iconic American beer brands.” So Belgium may have won the match, and the NY Times Beer Cup, but US has plenty good to take away from this yr's World Cup.

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My BMI Experience, Part 2

Ok, here goes round 2 update on the BMI experience through the eyes of the 3rd generation.  We’ve sorta slowed down on the whole blog thing, for starters, but that’s partly why I’m here now writing this.   Since my first entry, I’ve done a good bit of traveling for the co.  In early Feb I went to Aruba for Mich & Ill’s annual distrib mtg (somebody’s gotta do the tuff work around here, ya know).  There I got to speak with plenty of wholesalers, and also covered speeches from Independent Beverage Group’s Joe Thompson, Lagunitas’ Tony Magee, and Tenth & Blake prexy Tom Cardella, among others.  A week later my dad and I were off to Chicago, where we managed to squeeze in visits to Reyes HQ, Lagunitas brewery-to-be, Windy City, Two Bros pub brewery & warehouse, and Half Acre.  We met up with as many people as we physically could fit in to our 24 hr schedule that Molly Reilly meticulously planned out for us.   So a week after hearing Joe talk more about “distrib systems of the future,” I got to see it first-hand at Reyes HQ.  And after visiting Tony at his Chicago facility, I can safely say I now know what 300K sq-ft of warehouse space looks like – friggin’ huge!   


Lots happened in Chicago since our visit.  Lagunitas just started shipping IPA outta the new facility and plans to start making Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’ this May.  All while Tony and co scour the country in search of 3d facility (wonder which state will create the 1st “bring Lagunitas to our state” Facebook page, write the 1st song, change a law, build a sandcastle!?).  Half Acre now has a 60K sq-ft 2nd facility in the works within walking distance of current one.  Also, Half Acre managed to switch over to Windy City for Chi metro area distribution while Chicago Beverage Systems holds on to brand downtown (where it does most of its biz).  Two Bros announced JV with Cavalier Distributing in Ariz for a craft-focused distribution operation. Ebel bros “not in a hurry to build a (2nd) brewery” just yet, but expecting 25% growth to 45K bbls in 2014, so quickly using up space at its Chi facility.  And Founders moved to giant AB distrib City Bevs from Louis Glunz Beer throughout Chicagoland, marking yet another hot craft brand making significant distrib change in Chi.


A coupla weeks after returning from Chicago, it was down to Orlando for Crown’s mtg, where they rattled off plenty of impressive numbers, and prepped everyone for the “200 mil case opportunity” they see over the next 6-7 yrs.   Throughout the rest of Mar we saw lotsa action, anything and everything from: BA altering definition of craft, Crown and Boston Beer speedy starts to yr (Modelo, Rebel IPA and Angry Orchard especially), distrib consolidation in upstate NY, big brewers pulling outta St. Patrick’s Day parades.  Then too, continued decline of domestic premium & premium light, MC mtg addressing how to “harness this new era of disruption and fragmentation,” Fortune rollout, expansions everywhere and anywhere, turmoil at state legislature level, and much much more (….breathe).  It’s pretty safe to say, there’s no shortage of material to write about these days.  


Fast forward to Apr; I got to attend my first Craft Brewers Conference where I was all over the place attending seminars, jotting down notes, attending events left n right, meeting a whole bunch of people, and seeing a whole lotta familiar faces.  The BMI team was in full force; we went straight to press immediately after the General Session, and throughout the rest of the week spread out to attend as many seminars as we could swing.  After I returned to NY, my grandpa, BMI founder, Mr. Jerry Steinman, told me something along the lines of “you probably learned more about business in one week than you ever did in school.”  I’m paraphrasing, and, of course, it was an exaggeration, but if we’re goin’ by a “usefulness” barometer, he’s prolly not too far off.  Not sure if that’s more of a testament to the seminars or a knock on my studies, but let’s just go with the former.   


The rest of April, I’d say the major news theme that struck was distrib/small brewer tension, tho of course, there were plenty other news topics across the board as well.  Indeed, “there’s a new f-word,” as Eric pointed out in latest BMI edition.  Steve Hindy’s op-ed in NY Times fired off intensified franchise law discussions, CBC carried message further, then NBWA fired back at its conference.  All while Fla bill slowly, and not so surely swung back n forth until state Senate finally voted 30-10 in favor of newly amended bill allowing growlers, packaged sales on-site up to certain % of production, among other things.  But that died in House last Friday.


In these last few mos we also cranked out the 1st edition of a handy little book called Craft Brew Guide.  Lotsa great data and review spanning 10 yrs of incredible growth for overall segment, top cos and top mkts.  I was happy to be able to contribute a good amount to the IRI section of the book, and little snippets elsewhere, and look forward to being able to contribute more in coming yrs too.  Shameless plug, check out the book if you haven’t, place an order while you’re at it.  


Ok, that brings us mostly up to date, so I think I’ll stop here.  Anyways, amidst all the above, I’ve been writing more, stat-keeping more, tweeting more, learning more, and just trying to keep up with all of the crazy.   


Until next time folks.  



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Craft and the Age Old Concept of Beer & Sports

It’s not that we haven’t seen it happen before; it’s that more craft beer/professional sports combinations are starting to make the news more frequently.  This is an age old connection: beer and sports. That’s always been a staple, tho typically most utilized by the Bud, Miller, and Coors families of brands.  


Last week, news broke that Seattle’s Hilliards Beer Co cranked out 12K cases of a Seattle Seahawks themed beer, dubbed “The 12th Can,” a reference to the team’s fans - “The 12th Man” - reported Puget Sound Business Journal.  It was created in September, just in time for the start of the season, after a local radio station “publicly asked for a local beer dedicated to the country’s loudest fans,” co announced in press release earlier today.  Since then, “the brewery had to drastically increase production to keep up with demand” in midst of the Seahawks success, as the team prepares for the Super Bowl this Sunday.  The 12th Can is a sessionable pale ale at 4.5% ABV that “is sold in 12-packs of 16-ounce tallboy cans for about $20 per pack,” added paper.  Less than a week later, Hilliards already sold another 500 cases, and brewers are working 12 hr shifts “just to make sure fans would have enough to drink come Super Bowl Sunday,” sez co.  That’s a fast $500,000 in sales at retail, and with a little under a week til the Super Bowl, who knows how much more Hilliard can tack on! See the article here 


Recall, there was also beer buzz in Denver after Peyton Manning’s post game comment that “what’s on my mind is how soon I could get a Bud Light in my mouth.”  Left Hand Brewing sent a light-hearted letter to the Quarterback, calling for a beer “audible,” along with 3 cases of Left Hand brew.  West Flanders Brewing out of Boulder, CO made a small batch brew dubbed Omaha Omaha Brett, in honor of Peyton.  Actually the first name West Flanders tried, “Brett On The Broncos,” was flagged by the NFL for "engaging in unauthorized promotional use of the NFL Marks (including inter alia, the AFC word mark and the Denver Broncos word mark and color combination) in connection with the promotion of your business."  This week West Flanders made the news again, but this time for its wager on the big game with Seattle’s Elysian Brewing.  Terms of the bet are as follows: “the head brewer for the brewpub of the winning city’s team will be flown to the losing team’s city, at the loser’s expense.  The winning brewer will take over the losing brewery’s equipment and staff and brew a beer of their choice on that brewery’s equipment,” West Flanders announced.  And “to raise the stakes even higher, on tapping day the host brewery must fly…the winning team’s flag for two weeks or until the beer is gone, whichever comes first.” It was not too long ago that Harpoon, Sam Adams, and Schlafly bet some beer based on the outcome of this past World Series.  That was all over the news for some time leading into the Series, and there’ve been plenty other friendly bets between breweries during large sporting events as well.


Then too, there’s been a handful of articles that have created a Beer Super Bowl of sorts, comparing Denver’s beer scene to Seattle’s beer scene (and/or Colo’s beer scene to Wash’s beer scene).  One article by the Herald-Review, looks at the # of breweries within each city, as well as the different “cutting edge” and “adventuresome” styles being brewed: Denver has a whopping 44 breweries, while Seattle has 32, according to Beer Advocate.  Both are impressive numbers when you compare to NYC’s 15 breweries, LA’s 13; Seattle’s 32 breweries are greater than Chicago and St Louis combined, noted paper.   Since both cities “support thriving beer cultures that are on the cutting edge of the modern beer scene,” paper proposes “we simply allow the winner to be decided by the Super Bowl victors.”   


And if all the above wasn’t enough craft/sport combos, an extensive piece by Sports Business Journal was recently written that shed light on continued shift of US sports stadiums towards more craft beer.


UPDATE                   UPDATE                   UPDATE                       UPDATE

Since this post, there have been some further developments to Seattle’s 12th man beer references.  Two other Washington state breweries have created beers referencing Seattle Seahawks 12th man.  One, Dick's Brewing, has named its beer “12 Man Pale Ale,” and sold “6,000 cans and 300 kegs” in January as of Jan 28, reported Komo News. This brew has reportedly been 2 years in the making, “and much of the process has involved legal red tape,” noted paper.  Recall, Texas A&M has trademark on the phrase, “12th Man.”  Yet with the simple omission of “th” in 12th, Dick’s Brewing got the go ahead and is reaping the benefits amidst the Seahawk’s success.  Both Hilliard's and Dick's apparently did their homework, tactfully referencing the 12th man without raising any yellow flags with Texas A&M. However Foggy Noggin Brewing, a WA nano brewery, did not have such luck.  It brewed a one off, “12th Man Skittles IPA,” that was meant to “only serve around 55 people,” on Super Bowl Sunday, and quickly received a Cease and Desist order from the University, reported Bothell Reporter.  The Seattle Seahawks went through a similar suit for using the “12th man” in February 2006, tho “the university and the Seahawks ended up settling out of court, as the Seahawks agreed to pay a licensing fee and acknowledge Texas A&M’s ownership rights of the trademarked phrase,” added Bothell Reporter.  “I was blown away that this university even heard about us using that name for our beer,” Manager of Foggy Noggin, Jim Jamison told paper.  Foggy Noggin has since asked folks not to use the original name, and has apologized for “any perceived infringement on any trademarks.” 




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My BMI Experience (So Far)

Hi everyone. I’ve met some of you, have yet to meet many of you, but here I am: David Steinman, 3rd generation BMI.  It’s been 4 mos and change since I started working full time, and, well, time flies.  Christopher Shepard (Eric’s son), and I are what my dad often refers to as “the youth movement.”  Admittedly, it will take some time before I can contribute my end of “the youth movement” the way that I want to be able to, but you may be surprised at how much of my writing you’ve seen thus far, albeit with a good chunk of editing.  Throughout my youth I’ve worked for the family business, whether it be labelling and stuffing envelopes with those vintage orange newsletters, or “interning” during the summers to better learn the beer biz.  I also had a 3 yr stint working for local Vermont breweries, Long Trail and Otter Creek, where I started as a sales & mktg intern and eventually hired on full time as the co’s Marketing Coordinator.  There my job included anything from tracking and managing POS, to creating sales reports for the sales team company wide, to repping the co at local events and promotions.  Now I’m learning on the fly at BMI, and trying to apply whatever random knowledge I’ve picked up along the way to the biz.

A few things I’ve been able to learn and/or contribute since I started: 

•  Everything’s off the record until it’s on the record: a lesson learned that is preached here at BMI.  It’s still early and I’ve yet to form relationships with many of my own “sources,” if you will, but I know that once I do, I need to approach every working relationship with this motto.  Building work relationships is perhaps the most important skill/asset I’ve yet to acquire, and is key to my growth within the company, as I’ve witnessed through my dad’s ample allotment of hours spent on the phone any given day.

•  The numbas are the numbas: A point my father and grandfather have always instilled in the company, as far as I can tell.  And I’ll flat out tell ya: I like writing about numbers.  You can’t argue the numbers.  They’re something tangible that I can understand right away, and are so essential to understanding what’s happening out there in the mkt for all of us.  I may not have 30+ yrs of experience to help cultivate my beer insights, but at least I have the numbas.

•  Throw me to the “lions”: Since starting, I’ve attended my first BMI Conferences, NBWA Convention, state distrib mtgs, and brewer annual sales mtgs as a BMI employee.  From what I can tell, these kinds of events are crucial to the industry from a networking standpoint as well as an educational standpoint, and are also crucial for my development as an employee here at BMI.  Not to mention, these meetings are almost always held in great spots, and always a great time.  Sure Dad, I’ll go if I have to.  

•  Facebook and Twitter and more social hoopla: BMI isn’t exactly the most tech-savvy company in the world, but despite being fairly behind on the tech-front, we’ve started to increase our play in social media, just like the rest of ya.  As the youngest member of the BMI team, you’d think I would be at the forefront of our social media movement, but so far that ain’t the case.  Jim has taken on that role, especially on Twitter, where basically every news source needs to be these days, no matter how small a niche.  And Christopher has been, for the most part, our voice on Facebook.  But I’ve played my part too, with Facebook posts, CBN tweets, and so-on.  



In 2014 we’ll look to add plenty more tweets and posts, a BMI/Express Facebook page (not just our CBN page), numerous graphs and charts depicting trends old and new from our ocean of data, and we’ve even started a Throwback Thursday social media initiative to celebrate our co’s 40+ yrs of history.  So it’s a start!  Onwards and upwards for BMI in social media. 

•  Basic knowledge of Excel has come in handy (Data Filters and Freeze Panes):  I’m no computer whiz, but as a millennial there are certain computer “tricks” that I’ve picked up inherently that most boomers and beyond would never learn.  For instance, the moment I looked at an IRI report, I knew that my dad and Eric had never used the “freeze panes” function in Excel to view this data, and never once sorted data via data “filters.”    A couple of simple little trick that makes viewing big data clumps a helluva lot easier – right Dad?  

Recently we’ve started to focus on creating more graphics, charts, images and what-have-yous with the plethora of data we have access to from 40+ yrs of following the beer biz.  I’ll look to create plenty more of those going forward. 




•  21 Express articles, 36 CBN articles, 1 BBI article, 2 Blog Posts and counting:  That’s how many articles I’ve written that have been published thus far.  Not too many considering how many articles per issue and how frequently we churn out issue after issue, but a solid start that I feel pretty good about.  Writing anything ranging from IRI data to conference coverage, to what’s hot in the news wires, and more.  Many more articles to come – see if you can guess which ones are me.

As I continue to find my voice as a writer, and we discover more ways for me to help BMI, I look forward to learning more about this industry that we’re all so lucky to be a part of.  Until next time.




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Brooklyn Distrib Meeting

Earlier this week Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS attended Brooklyn Brewery’s annual distrib meeting.  Sunday night, we hopped around from a rooftop bar and restaurant with plenty of Brooklyn brews to choose from, to a boat ride on the Hudson, sight-seeing the NYC skyscrapers, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty, and back to land, roof and beer.

The following day everyone congregated at Brooklyn Bowl for multiple presentations on beer industry trends, including consultant, Joe Thompson, dubbed “sage” of the industry by Brooklyn co-founder Steve Hindy, talking about distrib systems of the future, plus a lively panel including Steve, Joe and our own Benj Steinman, moderated by Brooklyn’s Robin Ottaway.  Lunch at the brewery was just around the corner from the Brooklyn Bowl.  A handful of us were able to get a quick tour of the brewhouse to see some of the recent additions: new tanks, new bottling line (yet to be installed), new barrel aged stations for Garrett Oliver and team to experiment.  Currently they have a cognac barrel aged brew in the works.

Brooklyn had plenty of good news to announce.  Up 25% ytd thru Aug, likely to enter BA’s top 10 Craft in 2013.  Should end the year up 22-23%, which will put Brooklyn around 210-215k bbls, said sales veep Robin Ottaway.  Another 2 yrs of 18% growth and they’ll already be at 300k bbls, Robin noted.  Brooklyn announced entry into Vegas mkt in 2014, enticed, among other reasons, by #1 on-premise account, Brooklyn Bowl, opening a new Vegas facility.  Then too, impressive MASH program is bringing “an adventurous mixof the best cultural happenings from our neighborhood and yours; dinner parties, concerts, comedy, readings and humanity's favorite beverage,” to 11 different cities in 2013. Check out the promotional video, made by local Brooklyn filmmakers:

See pictures below.







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 2020 The Year in Beer

By Beer Marketer’s Insights
Presented by Benj Steinman and
the Editors of Beer Marketer's Insights
January 27, 2021
1pm Eastern Time
90-minutes including Q&A

Click Here to Register