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Craft Brew News

Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS brings you a new e-letter to cover the hottest segment in the beer biz, craft, in-depth, as it deserves:

CRAFT BREW NEWS


As a subscriber, you get breaking news and much more: numbers, insights, analysis, people, events and perspectives that only BMI can provide. All brought to you in a lively, easy-to-read style. Craft Brew News brings you the knowledge you need to compete effectively in this dynamic segment.

You get accurate, reliable and relevant info to help you make key business decisions: Competitive trends, coverage of key events, interviews with key players, profiles, media coverage and much more. Craft Brew News also includes out-of-the-box features and items only found in the singular world of craft beer, from brand collaborations to unique events and promotions.

Craft Brew News is an e-letter published at least once a week, 60+ times a year, including flashes whenever need-to-know info breaks. CBN will also include occasional forays into the exciting world of specialty imports as well as big brewer efforts to compete in the craft arena. This publication synthesizes what you need to know about craft, helping you avoid information overload, while giving you data and insights you need to maximize your business opportunities.

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While permit count lagged for most of the year, turns out there were another 1,110 US brewery permits issued in 2016, bringing total count to 7,190 as of Dec 31, 2016, NBWA chief economist Lester Jones posted, citing TTB data.  That’s only slightly behind 1,142 new permits issued in 2015 and marks the 3rd straight year that count has grown by over 1K.  There were just over 5K active brewers thru Nov, according to Brewers Assn.  So there are still around 2K permitted brewers that aren’t yet active.  Typical lag is 1.5 to 2 yrs from when a brewery gets permitted to when a brewery actually opens, according to BA chief economist Bart Watson.  And keep in mind, annual permit count typically gets revised upward later in the year as TTB has more time to catch up with the influx of new brewers.  Nearly 5K permits were issued since 2010, meaning “most new brewers have less than 5 years of operating experience and have never weathered a downturn,” Lester notes.  CA Over 900 Permits; 21 States Over 100; Per Capita Count Amazingly, another 139 brewery permits were issued in California, bringing state total to a whopping 927 permitted breweries.  That’s…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 8
  • Issue # 4
PicoBrew wants to make machines for on-premise licensees now, not just home hobbyists. It announced plans to move into “commercial brewing appliances for bars and restaurants” shortly after we broke story that AB-InBev’s global Zx Ventures has stake in the homebrew appliance maker last week (see last issue). Note that at same time, CBN also referenced rumblings that bars and restaurants could look to use homebrew tech to offer house-made beer, moving ever closer to the notion that any bar could be a tiny brewery. And now, ABI-backed PicoBrew will look to make it so. The new “Indy” line of products will fit under counters, some hooking up directly to water supplies, making beer in batches of 5-15 gals. “Our early prototypes of commercial-scale craft brewing equipment have garnered considerable interest in the industry,” CEO Dr. Bill Mitchell said in release. The announcement came soon after PicoBrew also shared launch of more flexible recipe-creation for its existing machines, allowing more skilled brewers to develop customized ingredient packs for the appliances. Obviously, licensing and other regulatory issues could hinder fast expansion of the appliance into retail locations. On the other hand, states like Calif have already dealt with issues related to…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 8
  • Issue # 3
Zx Ventures, the private equity investment arm of Anheuser Busch InBev’s global disruption unit, has a minority stake in PicoBrew, countertop homebrewing appliance often ballyhooed as “Keurig of homebrew,” the co confirmed today. That confirmation came at same time as announcment of ABI’s new JV with Keurig Green Mountain to develop an “in-home alcohol drink system,” as reported in sister-pubs INSIGHTS Express and Beverage Business INSIGHTS earlier today. But for craft lovers, investment in PicoBrew likely to generate a bit more interest as it represents at least the 3d investment by ABI’s Zx into innovations targeted at expanding accessibility to home beer making. Recall, Zx also invested in largest online homebrew supply retailer, Northern Brewer/Midwest Supplies, a story Craft Brew News broke in Oct (see vol 7, #86). In late Nov, we also wrote of Zx’s investment in Whym, a co that sells specialty ingredients alongside pre-brewed “beer base” to personalize at home. And now PicoBrew. The appliance simplifies homebrewing significantly, allowing users to insert pre-packaged ingredients into the machine and basically leave it alone as it brews, transfers liquid to attached fermentation and serving vessels. The co works with dozens of small brewers, including Rogue, Abita and 21st Amendment,…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 8
  • Issue # 2
Small US brewers quickly jumped on board when Oskar Blues and Ball Corp announced debut of Crowler package and custom sealing machines for the 32-oz cans in 2014 and now one of top US grocery chains is trying it out too. Kroger is testing Crowler fills at the 12-tap station set up for growler fills in its Memphis store, The Commercial Appeal reported this week. That test competes with nearby indie liquor store that started up with Crowlers 2 yrs ago and fills 135-200 of the large cans per week. And so far, so good, a Kroger spokesperson said. Tennessee now has 25 Crowler-sealing machines, Oskar Blues spokesperson Jason Dan told the paper. But it ain’t anywhere close to other top states, he shared with Craft Brew News. As with most products, Calif is home to most Crowler machines, at almost 100. But top craft states like Oreg and Colo, plus big Pennsy and NY markets also among top states for Crowlers, according to Jason. He estimates about a quarter of the machines out there are at retail accounts. At $3,900 a pop, Oskar’s sold almost a thousand of the machines nationally since launching in 2014, he told the paper.…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 8
  • Issue # 1
Another year-end recap for one of AB’s acquisitions hit the wires recently.  Devils Backbone “produced about 75,000 barrels” in 2016 and next year it expects “somewhere around 95,000 barrels,” reported Lynchburg News & Advance after talking to founder Steve Crandall.  So DBB grew about 21% in 2016 vs last yr.  Revenue growth rate reportedly a bit behind, up 18-20%, according to paper.  Keep in mind, before acquisition was announced in Apr, Steve and co told CBN it could reach 95K bbls in 2016 (see Mar 1 issue), so growth trajectory slowed quite a bit since.  Deal didn’t close until Sep, which perhaps stalled DBB’s expansion plans.  But now it’s all systems go.  AB’s “funding our dream,” as Steve put it, including cap expansions at outpost facility to 150K bbls (“deal basically included $25 million for us to build out the dream,” he said), a $3 mil distillery, souring/barrel-aging capabilities, new mkts and new jobs (among other things).  Gotta note, this will be AB’s first fully-owned distillery that we know of.      As you’d prolly expect, Devils Backbone will enter several new mkts in 2017 including SC, GA, FL, KY, OH, NJ, NY and more of PA and TN, noted paper. …

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 7
  • Issue # 108
More signs that Dec not so hot turned up in quick update from Morgan Stanley’s Dara Mohsenian based on Nielsen all-outlet plus convenience data thru 12/17. First, total beer slipped into negative territory for 4 wks, $$ sales down just slightly, even tho it’s still up over 2% for 12 wks. Trends of couple of largest craft brand families headed in wrong direction too. Sam Adams brands had been doing a bit better: -6.4% for 12 wks compared to -7.1% for 52 wks thru 12/17. But 4-wk decline actually slightly steeper than 52-wks, -7.4%. So now Boston Beer’s oldest brand family just 40% of the co’s brand mix in Nielsen data (tho Sam a much bigger part of Boston’s on-premise biz still). Note very similar pattern for Blue Moon during same periods. Short- and long-term trends almost identical -2.8% and -2.7% for 4- and 52-wks, respectively, while 12-wk trend over a point better. At same time, Ballast Point still strong and up double-digits for all periods. But it’s not maintaining massive 77% gain for 52 wks. For 12 wks, Ballast up about 43% in off-premise scans, +27% for 4 wks.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 7
  • Issue # 108
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