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Beer Insights Extras

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.

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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Beer, Craft Beer and Beverage Insights, All in 140 Characters or Less

You guessed it: Beer Marketer’s Insights has entered the Twitter-sphere.

If you’re a regular tweeter chirping away out into space, check us out for updates, links, breaking news and of course, top-notch beer business and beverage business insights from not one but 3 different BMI-operated handles.

We’ll be tweeting from @BeerInsights about topics influencing the US beer industry and anything from our flagship publication and Insights Express.  Check out @CraftInsights if you want to stay up to date with our Craft Brew News editors and the fast-changing craft beer business.  And don’t forget about @BevInsights, which began its Twitter-life late last month by helping Beverage Business Insights break its story about the end of Coca-Cola Co and Campbell Soup Co’s distribution agreement for V8.

Follow one or all three, but don’t miss out on even more exclusive coverage and commentary.

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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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Introducing Our Contributors

While everything here is still new and shiny, some introductions are in order.  Posts here will generally come from one of 6 experienced staff writers that all contribute to our beer publications.

Publisher Benj Steinman and exec editor Eric Shepard are each into their 4th decade as beer journalists.  Benj of course is the son of BMI founder Jerry Steinman, now runs the family business and has the best contacts in the beer industry.  Eric came in to the business back in 1977 and has covered most of the major beer biz legal scuffles and regulatory shifts in the time since.

Another veteran biz journalist, Gerry Khermouch focuses mostly on our non-alc bev letter, Beverage Business INSIGHTS, but contributes in-depth features to Craft Brew News from time to time.  Jim Sullivan is a 20-yr vet with BMI and works on all of our pubs, runs the state stats and keeps one eye on the wires at all times.

Newbie Christopher Shepard is Eric’s son, adding a new dimension to this family biz.  He came on when we launched Craft Brew News in 2010 and brings with him a healthy dose of beer geekery and home brewing chops to our shop.  Also expect to see Benj’s son David Steinman posting here.  After spending a couple years working in marketing for a craft brewer, he’s joined the BMI Team and made us a 3rd generation family business.


And if you’re just getting to know us, we’ve got some other friendly folks for you to meet too.

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