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Craft Brew News

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Craft Brew News

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What a week in Washington. Uncertainty that started last week with questions about whether or not Congress would act on widely-supported federal excise tax reduction provisions washed away late Friday night. President Trump signed bill that funds gov’t and includes a 1-yr extension of lower excise tax rates for alc bev producers of all kinds. So plenty of big sighs of relief across US. Citing $80 mil in annual tax savings for his members, Brewers Assn CEO/prexy Bob Pease reminded of reinvestment by breweries in equipment and facilities and highlighted industry passing 150K jobs across US in 2018 due to lower tax rates. They’ve “been a boon to small and independent brewers located in all 50 states and nearly every congressional district,” he pointed out. Meanwhile, “more than 2,000 craft distillers no longer have to worry about waking up to a huge tax increase come January. Instead, they can focus on creating more jobs, buying more grains from farmers and stimulating local economies,” CEO of Distilled Spirits Council, Chris Swonger, commented. Note that smallest distillers in US received biggest tax cut, so faced biggest hike if bill hadn’t passed. Yet relaxation brought by 1-yr extension likely to be relatively short-lived.…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 118
Concerns over proposed franchise law in California got majority of attention at CCBA fall meeting in Sacramento recently (see above), but a number of other notable legislative wins and losses laid out for small brewers in state by org leadership. This yr’s legislative session in CA saw frustrating return of issue small brewers in a number of states have faced in recent years. The “glassware giveaway bill was back to haunt us,” exec director Tom McCormick shared at meeting. Backed by AB, bill allows beer suppliers to give limited number of cases of glassware to on-premise retailers. It also passed in 2018, Tom reminded. But prior Gov Brown vetoed bill. New Gov, Gavin Newsom, signed this yr’s version. It takes effect Jan 1. Seeing bill as “erosion” of state’s tied house laws that would create new challenges for small indie brewers in tough on-premise biz, CCBA negotiated some “restrictions” so that it’s not “a complete free-for-all,” Tom shared. First, amendments supported by CCBA “flipped it onto the retailer,” so that each licensee limited to take “up to 10 cases of glassware per year,” per location. That’s in addition to language that stops brewers from giving more than 5 cases of…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 117
After reporting 4% volume gain for small & independent US craft brewers in 1st half, Brewers Assn expects that trend to hold thru 2nd half, for full 2019, it shared in release this wk. Scan trends suggest slower growth, even for isolated BA-defined indie brewers, +2% thru Nov 3 in IRI, the org shared. But that’s “similar” to last yr, when total BA-defined craft growth also up 4%. In meantime, record number of breweries continues to rise, topped 8,000 operating US breweries, BA wrote. Org also seeing many more closings, as CBN’s coverage this yr can also attest to. BA expects around 300 brewery closings this yr, an uptick from last couple yrs but still fairly low as % of total. Org celebrated other 2019 achievements, including usage of its Certified Independent seal, inclusion of important craft/beer artifacts and stories in new Smithsonian National Museum of American History food/drink history exhibit (which BA helped sponsor) and expansion of its diversity & inclusion resources and event grant program. BA release also highlighted 324 US representatives and 74 senators who co-sponsor Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. However, despite such widespread support and continued effort from BA and other alc bev…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 113
Another day, another deal. And this week, unique is perhaps the best word to describe latest tweaks in craft M&A. Anderson Valley Brewing of Boonville, CA expects to change hands once more with the McGee family acquiring the co in a deal expected to close Dec 14. Terms not disclosed, but deal driven by longtime wine and beer industry vet, Kevin McGee, who will take on role of prexy/CEO at AVBC once deal closes. But no layoffs expected as Kevin largely looking to build on work AVBC already doing, bring on new folks to ramp up marketing efforts to help the 32-yr old co navigate increasingly competitive craft space. The co shipped about 39K bbls in 2018, according to state tax reports, selling a little less than half of that within Calif. That total was down about 14% from over 45K bbls in 2017. Tho Calif obviously an important piece of its biz, AVBC still distributes beer, including highly regarded takes on gose style, to 33 states. Kevin will take over for current AVBC owner and leader Trey White, who acquired the brewery with HMB Holdings from founding Allen family in 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reminds. “We are proud…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 111
Want to help drive continued trade up in US beer? Looking to not just grow with other above premium beers, but gain share of above premium biz too? Gotta grow strong double digits for that these days. In milestone year when above premium beer segments (imports, craft, superpremium, FMBs, cider) passed half of total beer $$ in off-premise scans, craft as a whole is not participating in that growth. That’s seltzer for ya. Total above premium (AP) biz up 10.7% by $$ in Nielsen all outlet + convenience yr-to-date thru Nov 16. Gained 3.3 share of beer $$ to 51.9. Nearing 40 share of off-premise beer volume too. But within the high end of beer biz, FMBs gobbling up basically all of that and then some. Even imports, still easily the biggest high-end segment and up solid mid-to-high single digits YTD, losing share of high end biz. Imports shed 1.2 share of AP $$, slipping below 40 share of high end sales. Now just 40 share of AP volume too. Since craft basically flat by volume, up just 1% by $$ in Nielsen scans, it’s losing even more share of above premium biz, -1.8 to 18.7 share of high-end volume.…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 109
The deals keep comin’. Artisanal Brewing Ventures is venturing outside of craft beer realm, acquiring Bold Rock Hard Cider, the #2 hard cider brand in the US. Bold Rock “signed a partnership agreement to become part of Artisanal Brewing Ventures,” marking ABVs 4th brand family along with Southern Tier, Victory and Sixpoint, co announced. Deal expected to close by end of yr. Founders John Washburn and Brian Shanks will remain in “leadership roles” while Bold Rock integrates into ABV platform. (ABV backed by PE firm/family office Ulysses Management.) This “signals ABV’s move to continue to extend beyond craft beer” and catapults ABV platform to new heights among US alc bev suppliers, co touts. Recall, ABV surpassed 300K bbls last yr after acquiring Sixpoint, shipping 311K bbls in total. Bold Rock is growing low-double-digits again this yr and expects to finish near 80K bbls in 2019, ABV CEO John Coleman told CBN. And current ABV platform is growing mid-to-high single digits YTD. So ABV on pace to surpass 400K bbls. That puts em among “top-10 regional craft adult alcohol beverage platforms,” sez co. ABV has already been dabbling in beyond beer categories with Southern Tier spirits, RTD canned cocktails, vodka-based hard…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 106
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