Category Archives: Business

Beer News – March 8, 2013

Anchor Brewing makes major investment in new brewery

San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing will be investing $80 million dollars in their new Pier 48 brewery. The new facility will be right next to AT&T Park and will be a key part of the district.


Anchor will continue to operate its facility in Potrero Hill, but will greatly expand its operations with the development of the Pier 48 facility. The two facilities will allow the company to quadruple its annual production capacity from 180,000 barrels to 680,000 barrels.

“Anchor Steam® Beer is a San Francisco original since 1896 and Anchor Brewing has already called six San Francisco locations home during its rich history,” said Keith Greggor, Co-owner and CEO of Anchor Brewers & Distillers. “It is believed that “Anchor” was chosen as the brewery name for its indirect, but powerful allusion to the booming Port of San Francisco. We’re excited to bring Anchor to our first waterfront home at Pier 48.”

Pier 48, the southern-most structure of the Port’s Embarcadero Historic District, will be fully rehabilitated and re-established as an industrial hub of the central waterfront. The new Anchor facility will feature production facilities for brewing, distilling, packaging, storing, and shipping; a restaurant, museum and educational facility in the headhouse of Pier 48; and a restored walkway around the entire pier apron that will connect pedestrians to the Portwalk and allow views into the Anchor brewhouse.

In addition to Anchor Brewing’s new facility, the Mission Rock Project will include more than eight acres of parks and open space, 650-1,500 residential units, 1-1.7 million square feet office space, parking structure to serve ballpark and Mission Rock patrons, and up to 250,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and public amenities. In total, Mission Rock is expected to create 4,800 construction jobs and 6,400 permanent jobs.

New Belgium Asheville expecting up to 400,000 barrels out of Asheville

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

In its first year, New Belgium will make 50,000-75,000 barrels of beer for sale in the eastern U.S. out of it’s new Asheville brewery, but the facility is expected to have a 400,000-barrel capacity when it is fully operational. Highland Brewing, now the city’s biggest brewery, makes about 30,000 barrels annually.

The brewery will initially employ about 50 workers, with an average salary of $50,000. But the work staff will quickly grow to about 100. In its first years, the brewery will operate a single 8-10 hour shift, but by 2018 or 2020, it will be a round-the-clock operation.

The New Belgium site will include a “liquid center” tasting room that could pull 100,000 tourists a year. But it will not have a restaurant or music hall. Food trucks might operate on the site, spokesman Bryan Simpson said.

Angry Orchard moves to #1 cider spot

Samuel Adams’ cider brand Angry Orchard has cruised past their competitors to become America’s #1 brand of cider. Angry Orchard has been in business for less than a year, but the marketing and distribution muscle of Samuel Adams has most certainly been a part of their success, enabling them to quickly eclipse established, though smaller, brands such as Hornsby’s.

According to SymphonyIRI Group, hard cider sales at supermarkets and other stores hit about $90 million for the 12 months ending Oct. 30. That’s up more than 65% from a year earlier and outpaces the 5.6% growth of wine and the 13% growth of the craft beer segment in 2011, as well the 1.7% growth overall beer sales in 2012.

Cider has nowhere to go but up. In parts of the U.K., cider accounts for almost 20% of the beer market, whereas in the U.S. it’s only about 0.4%.

New Belgium Coming to Alaska and Louisiana

(FORT COLLINS, CO – February 8, 2013) New Belgium Brewing has inked deals with seven distributors to open the state of Louisiana on April 1st, 2013 and will distribute exclusively with the Odom Corporation in Alaska starting March 18th. Louisiana will be New Belgium’s 31st state of distribution along with the District of Columbia. In Louisiana, New Belgium signed deals with Eagle Distributing of Shreveport, Marsala Beverage, Southwest Beverage, Schilling Distributing, Champagne Distributing, Crescent Crown Distributing and Mockler Distributing.

“Louisiana’s got a great beer and food scene and Alaska has a deep beer culture,” said New Belgium Brewing sales director, Joe Menetre. “So we’re getting to see some beautiful country and we’re eating really well, but most importantly both states have a deep appreciation for craft beer and we’re looking forward to becoming part of those communities.”

Brewers Association formally announces reintroduction of Small BREW Act

Reblogged from

(Boulder, CO) – With the 113th Congress underway, the Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies—announced the reintroduction of H.R. 494, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act) in the House of Representatives. The bipartisan legislation, which was reintroduced by Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), seeks to recalibrate the federal beer excise tax that small brewers pay on every barrel of beer they produce.

Under current federal law, brewers making less than 2 million barrels annually pay $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels they brew, and $18 per barrel on every barrel thereafter. The Small BREW Act would create a new rate structure that reflects the evolution of the craft brewing industry. The rate for the smallest brewers and brewpubs would be $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels. For production between 60,001 and 2 million barrels the rate would be $16.00 per barrel. Any brewer that exceeds 2 million barrels (about 1 percent of the U.S. beer market) would begin paying the full $18 rate. Breweries with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would qualify for these tax rates.
“Small brewers are small business owners and this bipartisan legislation would allow them to remain competitive, protect existing jobs and create new employment opportunities in communities throughout Pennsylvania and the country,” said Congressman Jim Gerlach, co-chairman of the House Small Brewers Caucus. “More than 100 small and craft brewers in Pennsylvania provide jobs, produce world-class products and are active community partners. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House on passing this legislation and providing a boost to all small brewers.”

“I have been a consistent and enthusiastic supporter of America’s craft brewers for many years. These innovative small businesses employ thousands of people across the country. They are independent entrepreneurs who are passionate about the product they make. In western Massachusetts alone, there are scores of proprietors creating great brews with locally produced ingredients,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “As a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will help the growing small brewing industry.”

“There are few industries with more size disparity than the American beer business. There are 2,500 small breweries who together account for only six percent of the U.S. beer business,” said Rob Martin, president, Ipswich Ale Brewery and Massachusetts Brewers Guild. “Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal understands the struggles craft brewers face because of this, and he has championed our effort to help level the playing field a little by supporting an equitable federal excise tax bill. He is keenly aware that craft brewers are looking to grow their small businesses and will create thousands of good jobs across the country if this legislation passes. As president of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, I know I speak for all small brewers when I applaud Congressman Neal’s effort.”

Nationally, small and independent brewers employ over 100,000 full- and part-time employees and generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits and pay more than $2.3 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes.

“Craft brewing has revitalized a once proud American industry with compelling products and, more importantly, stable, fulfilling jobs,” said Bill Covaleski, brewmaster and president, Victory Brewing Company and president, Brewers of Pennsylvania. “This legislative initiative recognizes the investments already made by America’s new brewing entrepreneurs, and promises to help further innovation and product diversity.”

Consumer demand for the bold and innovative beers brewed by America’s small brewers has grown significantly in recent years. However, because of differences in economies of scale, small brewers have higher costs for production, raw materials, packaging and market entry compared to larger, well-established multi-national competitors. Furthermore, efforts to increase state taxes for all brewers continue to threaten jobs and their economic stability.

Adjusting the tax rate would provide small brewers with an additional $60 million per year that would be used to support significant long-term investments in tanks and other equipment and create jobs by growing their businesses on a regional or national scale. Congress has not recalibrated the excise tax on small brewers since 1976. At that time, there were about 30 small brewers. Today, there are over 2,000.

“America’s small brewers are part of a vibrant, growing industry, and really are Main Street manufacturers,” added Bob Pease, chief operating officer, Brewers Association. “The Small BREW Act will help America’s small brewers invest in and grow their businesses—an important part of economic reinvigoration. We look forward to working with the new Congress on the passage of this legislation, which will have a positive impact on agricultural, manufacturing, hospitality and distribution jobs for the future.”

Oskar Blues Brewery celebrates 2012 with ten-year anniversary of Dale’s Pale Ale, 52 % increase in sales and new brewery

Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery, the first craft brewery in the country to brew and can craft beer in November 2002, continued its explosive growth posting a 52 percent increase in sales/depletions and 49 percent increase in revenue in 2012, outpacing industry growth by nearly 40 percent.


Oskar Blues’ continued growth is a result of $4+ million in improvements to its Longmont, CO facility in 2012.  The expansion included 14 additional 200-barrel fermenters and two 400-barrel bright beer tanks which allowed the brewery to go from 59,000 barrels of beer in 2011 to 85,750 BBLs in 2012.  In addition, the Tasty Weasel taproom (Best Taproom: 5280 & Westword Magazines) in Longmont, CO underwent extensive renovations earlier in 2012 resulting in a new patio and additional production space.

The increased capacity catapulted Oskar Blues to one of the three “Biggest Momentum Gainers” on the Brewers Association annual Top 50 Craft Brewers List this past spring and grabbed them the Denver Business Journal’s “Fastest Growing Private Companies” in August.  It also allowed Oskar Blues to expand distribution to new markets for the first time in four years.  The markets: Chicago, Ohio, Northern Kentucky and founder Dale Katechis’ home state of Alabama each established the largest craft beer launch in territory history topped with 14,000+ case equivalents during the first week in Ohio.

The Colorado brewery also installed a new canning line capable of filling 300 cans per minute.  This allowed the company to introduce 16oz cans of Deviant Dale’s IPA and G’Knight Imperial Red IPA while being the first American brewery to offer beer drinkers a 19.2oz. Imperial Pint can.  Oskar Blues celebrated the 10 year CANiversary of Dale’s Pale Ale by launching the original craft beer in-a-can in the 19.2 oz. Imperial Pint can package during this year’s Great American Beer Festival.  The package is available across the country for 2013.

In addition, Oskar Blues became the first craft brewer to introduce Ball Corporation’s 16oz. Alumi-tek resealable can this year at the Craft Brewers Conference by debuting “CHAKA Belgian-Style Ale”, a CANlaboration with Sun King Brewery from Indianapolis.  Since that debut, they have used the Alumi-tek can for another CANlaboration with Sun King, a hoppy brown ale called “The Deuce”.  They are also canning and distributing their own B.Stiff and Sons Old Fashioned Root Beer in the innovative package.

Oskar Blues keeps employees healthy with an “In the Core” workout program 3 times a week with a personal trainer, massage twice a week and Yoga once a week.  The outdoor centric company also hosts a running club and group bike rides throughout the year.  In 2012, Oskar Blues instituted a 6% matching 401K program and provided employees 100% health care coverage, offerings that earned them the Denver Post “Top Workplaces Award”.

The accomplishments of 2012 became a springboard for 2013 when, in December, Oskar Blues began brewing at its new brewery and taproom in Brevard, NC.  The brewery plans to include a separate restaurant and live music venue in the small town as well.  The addition of the 30,000 sq. foot Brevard brewery will expand overall brewing capacity to nearly 130,000 barrels in 2013 and allow the brewery to enter additional markets.

“We continue to have as much fun as we CAN to enjoy this ride” said Katechis. “I am proud of our team as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Dale’s Pale Ale and we look to include Pisgah, NC singletrack as part of the Oskar Blues backyard.”  The fun includes two award winning Colorado restaurant locations (Grill & Brew, Home Made Liquids & Solids), Bonewagon food truck, Hops & Heifers Farm, REEB Cycles (Outside Magazine’s Top 9 Mountain Bikes of Spring 2012) and the upcoming March opening of CHUBurger in Longmont, CO.

U.S. added a brewery a day in 2012

From The Brewers Association:

The Brewers Association makes a count on the last day of each month of number of operating U.S. breweries, Brewers Association members and breweries-in-planning. The growth has been fast and steady over the past year. The December 31, 2012 count came in at 2,336 breweries–an increase of 387 more than the year-end 2011 count of 1,949. That’s more than one new brewery for all 366 days in the calendar year. Happy New Year!

The Brewers Association also has reached out recently to principals connected to our brewery-in-planning list to ascertain whether the plans are still moving along and/or when the expected opening date is for the new brewery. As a result of our ability to inactivate some of those brewery-in-planning records and convert many to operational brewery status, our brewery-in-planning count has declined to 1,254 from a high of 1,381 at the end of October. Thanks to Erin Glass, Sarah White and Tami the Temp for their efforts to clarify the intentions of some of these people/entities.

A couple months ago, Beer Institute’s Lester Jones publicized the U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB’s) count of active brewery notices of 2,751. What is the difference in the two numbers? The TTB number is of brewers notices. Brewers who operate as alternating proprietors have brewers notices. Multiple brewers may have notices but use the same brick-and-mortar brewery to make their beers in that alternating proprietor relationship. Contract brewing companies do not have brewers notices and are not in either the TTB or Brewers Association count.  Also, the TTB tends not to quickly inactivate notices from brewers that have closed in the past couple of years, in hopes that they may revive and pay excise taxes again. So the number of breweries in the U.S. is 2,336 until the count gets updated at the end of January.

The count of operating U.S. breweries who are Brewers Association members is now at 1,650, up almost 300 breweries and 22 percent from the year before, and up from 1,000 four years ago. Seventy-one percent of U.S. breweries are members, up from 69 percent the year before. On the brewery-in-planning rolls, we have 995 members, up from 582 the year before. So the wave of openings appears that it will continue. Other membership numbers we have include 154 international breweries, 64 contract brewing companies, 7 companies that function only as alternating proprietors, 580 allied trade companies, 432 craft beer distributors and 704 individuals. American Homebrewers Association membership has climbed over 35,000.

Current counts by market segment are 24 breweries that are part of the two large brewers, 109 regional brewing companies, 1,084 microbreweries and 1,119 brewpubs. These numbers are a snapshot in time. Note that when we compile the 2012 brewery numbers as part of our Beer Industry Production Survey, the totals will be different because they will also include companies that closed during the year (because they did operate in 2012) as well as new information on openings and closings that come my way during the research and number crunching parts of the project. Final numbers will be presented at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, DC on March 27, 2013 and in the May/June issue of The New Brewer. You can also expect a growth press release in March and the top 50 craft breweries and top 50 U.S. breweries lists to come out in April.

New Belgium Brewing Becomes 100% Employee-Owned Company

New Belgium LogoNew Belgium Brewing is excited to announce that the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) has purchased the balance of company shares, making it 100% employee-owned. New Belgium, brewer of a wide variety of award-winning beers including Fat Tire Amber Ale, has been a partial ESOP since 2000 with a controlling interest held by co-founder Kim Jordan and her family. This transition will put the company on a path to control their destiny into the foreseeable future.

“There are few times in life where you get to make choices that will have multi-generational impact – this is one of those times.  We have an opportunity to write the next chapter of this incredible story and we’re really excited about that,” said New Belgium CEO and co-founder, Kim Jordan. “We have always had a high involvement ownership culture and this allows us to take that to the next logical level. It will provide an elegant succession framework that keeps the executive team in tact ensuring our vision stays true going forward.”

Jordan plans to remain CEO for the long-term and the executive team at New Belgium will continue in its current form. The Fort Collins brewer is currently building a second facility in Asheville, North Carolina that will begin beer production in 2015. More than 150 additional hires are expected by full build out in Asheville.

New Belgium was advised by Eureka Capital Markets, a middle market investment-banking firm with expertise in both the food & beverage sector and ESOP transactions, which assisted in structuring and completing the second stage ESOP buyout transaction.

“It was an honor to work with a craft brewing leader like New Belgium and help them transition the ownership of the business to its tight culture of employee owners,” said Michael Harden, Managing Director.  “Given all of the consolidation occurring in the craft brew sector, we expect that many other craft brewers will investigate how using an ESOP might help them achieve their transition goals while enabling them to remain independent companies.”

The Fort Collins brewer is currently building a second facility in Asheville, North Carolina that will begin beer production in 2015. The transition to 100% ownership will enable New Belgium to include their future co-workers in Asheville, NC in the plan and will drive an even deeper commitment to progressive business practices for the company.  More than 150 additional hires are expected by full build out in Asheville.

The deal was completed on the 28th of December with a companywide announcement made during New Belgium’s annual winter retreat on the 14th of January.  All 456 employee-owners were present for the celebration.  Prior to this deal, New Belgium co-workers held 41% of the company’s shares.

My take on “craft” vs. “craft-y”

There’s been a lot of debate in the beer press lately over what a craft beer is or is not. The Brewer’s Association, essentially the trade group for “craft” brewers, is drawing a line in the sand about the production and promotion of craft-like beers by large, non-craft breweries.

This basically means Blue Moon, Shock Top and the like are excluded from the craft beer boy’s club.

My question – does it really matter? To use the words of Ronald Reagan’s supply-side economics, “a rising tide lifts all ships”. While some of the “craft-y” beers might be a little “crappy”, they still represent a shift away from watered down American light lager (a.k.a. Budweiser, Miller and Coors) to beers that offer more flavor and variety. Ultimately, the more variety that is being produced, the more choices consumers have and that makes a better environment for craft beers to find new customers.

The Bud Light drinker of 2010 tries a Blue Moon in 2012 and by 2013 is trying Harpoon, Breckenridge or Southern Tier. I don’t see anything wrong with that side of the picture.

Where I think that the Brewer’s Association might have some issue with “craft-y” beers is in  getting into new markets. If a bar puts Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Miller, Shock Top and Blue Moon on their taps (all pushed by a distributor that doesn’t care to bother to stock craft beers), why does that bar have any motivation to find a craft distributor to fill out their beer menu?

I applaud some of our Cincinnati bars that have taken their taps “all local”. When in Akron on Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of dining at a restaurant that had over 100 beers available, BUT NO BUDWEISER! Amen! I can only hope that once beer drinkers get a taste for better beer, they’ll start to ask their favorite watering hole to carry more variety.

To close, a question for the Brewer’s Association… If craft beer grows so strong as to dominate the market, causing Budweiser to have to dramatically cut distribution, do they get to call themselves a craft brewer? Let’s not argue over semantics. Let’s sit down with a good beer and talk about what makes a good beer.

Cincinnati Beer News – October 29, 2012

I’ve been tied up with being out of town the last couple of weeks, so here’s a couple of beer news highlights from the area featuring Stagnaro, Blank Slate and Triple Digit.

Stagnaro Does It Half Right:

Cheers to local craft beer distributor Stagnaro for picking up the Ohio and Kentucky distribution for the fantastic beers of Oskar Blues. It’s great to have some new options in the region.

Stagnaro managed to do something right on the marketing side, making both local and national news for what was called Ohio’s “biggest craft beer launch”.

If you were a local beer nut, you have every reason to be excited, about the planned “series of events, interviews and tastings”, but here’s where Stagnaro got it wrong. Down to the day that the rollout was to take place, there were no event listings on Stagnaro’s website. Facebook? Yes, but shouldn’t your company website be the major source of news?

This is what I sometimes call “getting it right and getting it wrong”. Companies will occasionally focus on the big national picture without taking care of things locally – I saw it all the time in the cycling industry – a big trade show rollout of a new product, plenty of hype, but when I go home to write about this cool new thing, there’s nothing on their website to link to. It’s as simple as this don’t create excitement and traffic if you’re not ready for customers to beat a path to your door.

As it goes, I didn’t make to any local outlets for the rollout. I was in Akron on business. There were some events taking place up around Cleveland, but after a long day in the office I didn’t want to make the drive.

Speaking of Akron, it needs to be on your beer tour list. Plenty of good stuff happening up there. Separate post on that coming soon.

More Good News, Growth for Blank Slate

First up for Blank Slate is that they have picked a distributor. Owner Scott announced just last week that he decided to go with Stagnaro for distribution around the area. It seems like a good fit. They seem to have knowledge of craft beer as well as good reach around the greater Cincinnati area. Since Scott has been self-distributing since he opened, hopefully this will take some of that work off of his back so he can focus more time on developing his beers. I know that both companies are located close to Lunken Airport so that may help matters as well.

Blank Slate also got to be part of a tap takeover at Arthur’s Cafe in Hyde Park.  In what I hope is a growing trend, Arthur’s is going to have all local beers on tap. There’s plenty of good breweries in town now, and enough varieties rolling out to keep things interesting for fickle customers. Will Arthur’s possibly lose some customers that will be upset about not being able to get Bud Light on tap? Maybe so, but I’ve never been there before, and I’m sure to make a trip there now.

Triple Digit’s Chickow To Make Return

Triple Digit’s Chickow! was a big hit and the Craft Beer Oktoberfest, so they decided to brew another batch. They’ve split the wort between their 7 barrel fermenter and a bourbon barrel, so it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast when it becomes available. It’s supposed to be ready in a couple of weeks.


So, here’s what this is all about

I really, really love to ride bikes.

My love of riding bikes got me into blogging, which got me into building a website about bikes and cycling that more or less became a huge animal that consumed all of my time and kept me from riding my bike. Beyond that, I just want my evenings back to play with the kids and occasionally have a grown up conversation with my wife. It would be nice to not have to turn the computer on every night.

It was time to simplify. I’m turning the reins over to someone else that loves bicycle racing as much as I do and is willing to give Bike World News the love and content that it deserves. I’m confident that she will be a good steward of it and will cover much of the same topics that I did.

So what’s La Phlegm Rouge? It’s… wait for it… a blog about riding bikes. But that’s it. Me. Riding Bikes. With my friends. A little pizza, a little beer, some good times and so on. I don’t care to be looking at Google Analytics every day to monitor my traffic. This site is for me and hopefully for some like minded people.

So, way fewer press releases (unless its something I personally use and find to be very cool). No stage by stage race coverage (though I won’t ignore racing). No ads (more of a visual blog roll).

It just occurred to me that this whole seven year process that brought me here started with a Blogger site called We Love Bikes. Guess what? I still love bikes. I hope you do too. If you do, join me on my journey.

The name? A (hopefully humorous) take on la flamme rouge. French for the red flame and in racing terms, the last kilometer.