Industry News

Which Colorado Breweries Are Takeover Targets?

Colorado has some 225 breweries, and the Denver Post’s Eric Gorski is asking the (much more than) $64,000 question: Which of these breweries is going to be acquired? Recent activity suggests that the most attractive takeover targets are breweries that turn out more than 40,000 barrels a year. Colorado has a number of those.

However, the owners of Colorado’s top five breweries insist that they’re not selling out. Oskar Blues Brewery said that it’s going to be a buyer, not a seller. New Belgium Brewing Company’s founder sold her shares to brewery workers, and the company is 100-percent employee owned. Odell Brewing is “not on the market.” Left Hand Brewing is committed to staying independent. And Breckenridge Brewing says it had no intention of selling out.

Despite the breweries’ denials, Gorski maintains that an acquisition is not out of the question. He says, “If the recent industry upheaval shows anything, it’s this: Don’t be surprised by anything.”

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The Friday Mash (Not Mr. Met Edition)

On this day in 1872, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in Manhattan. With more than two million works in its permanent collection, “The Met”—not to be confused with baseball mascot “Mr. Met”—is one of the largest art museums in the world.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Turkey, where security guards red-carded a fan for trying to smuggle beer into a soccer stadium. A whole case of bottles, in an outfit he’d designed for that purpose.

The latest trademark fight pits New Belgium Brewing Company and Oasis, Texas Brewing Company, both of which brew a beer called “Slow Ride”. New Belgium filed its mark ahead of Oasis, but Oasis’s beer hit the market first.

Vietnam’s robust drinking culture—there is no word for “hangover”—is raising concerns about health as citizens grow wealthier. A glass of beer costs just 30 U.S. cents.

Screenwriter and director Matthew Vaughn says that Guinness provided the inspiration for Kingsman: The Secret Service. Over pints, Vaughn and comic book maestro Mark Miller came up with the idea of an old-school spy movie.

The popularity of IPA and other craft beer has forced Iowa lawmakers to revisit the definition of “beer”. Beverages with 5 to 8 percent ABV currently exist in a legal twilight zone.

An Austin, Texas, company has developed a product called Kube, which combines a high-quality portable sound system and a beverage cooler. It’s designed to be used at parties and outdoor events.

Finally, Empire Brewing Company is collaborating with China’s Jingwei Fu Tea Company to brew Two Dragons beer. It starts out mellow and woody, and finishes with a sweet tea-like taste. Empire hopes to export it to China.

The Friday Mash (Railroad Tycoon Edition)

Two hundred years ago today, the state of New Jersey awarded the first-ever railroad franchise to Colonel John Stevens III, the inventor who constructed America’s first steam locomotive.

And the bar car is open!

Fore! We begin at the 16th hole of the Phoenix Open, where rowdy spectators celebrated Francesco Molinari’s hole-in-one by showering him with beer and other flying objects.

A Minnesota brewery found out that it can’t sell “Rated R” beer. Not because of violence or sex, but because the Motion Picture Association of America trademarked the phrase. Molson’s XXX is, presumably, still in the clear.

MillerCoors has installed 10,000 solar panels at its Irwindale, California, brewery. The new system will generate enough electricity to brew seven million cases of beer each year.

Blank Slate Brewing Company joined forces with Oskar Blues Brewery to brew “Cincy 3-Way Porter.” The beer contains cumin, coriander, allspice and cinnamon, which are found in Cincinnati-style chili.

Researchers in China have discovered that xanthohumol, a substance found in hops, contains anti-oxidants that may delay or even prevent the onset of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline.

Ontario’s government plans some changes to its relationship with The Beer Store, the province’s quasi-monopoly. However, those changes won’t bring beer into convenience stores.

Finally, Yeti Coolers has invented a super-luxury koozie. The Colster, which retails for $30, wraps a beer in a stainless steel, double-walled, vacuum-insulated enclosure; and its “No Sweat” design prevents condensation from forming.

Fallout From A-B’s Acquisition of Elysian

Acquisitions are a routine part of business, but the sale of Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Company to Anheuser-Busch InBev has touched a nerve in the local craft-brewing community.

The main concern is A-B’s economic clout. It can sell kegs to retailers at a lower price than smaller breweries, and command more shelf space in supermarkets, crowding smaller concerns out of the market.

What made the deal even more puzzling is that Elysian’s owner, Dick Cantwell, is held in high regard by Washington State’ s brewers. Some think that Cantwell betrayed his colleagues. However, Matt Lincecum, the founder of Fremont Brewing Company, said, “anyone who says Dick sold us out needs to think twice.”

Kendall Jones, a Seattle beer blogger, urged beer lovers not to panic. “There are 3,400 breweries in the country,” he said. “That’s still 3,396 that Anheuser-Busch does not own.”

In Florida, A Fight Over Tasting Rooms

In recent years, dozens of small breweries have opened in Florida. However, a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the Florida Retail Federation could put them in jeopardy.

The suit alleges that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which issues liquor licenses, overstepped its legal authority in allowing breweries to open tasting rooms. Many breweries depend on tasting-room traffic to stay viable.

Currently, there are two exceptions to the three-tier licensing scheme under which a brewery can sell directly to customers. One exception applies to breweries that offered tourist amenities. (The exception was originally create for the Busch Gardens theme park.) The other applies to brewpubs. According to the Retail Federation, some breweries fall under neither exemption but operate tasting rooms anyway.

The Friday Mash (Liechtenstein Edition)

On this day in 1719, the Principality of Liechtenstein was created within the Holy Roman Empire. A couple of fun facts about this tiny country: it is the world’s leading producer of false teeth; and its capital, Vaduz, is one of only two in the world that ends with the letter “z”.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Pennsylvania, whose incoming governor turned down an offer of free Yuengling for his inauguration. A state senator says the governor snubbed the brewery because of its CEO’s political views.

MillerCoors plans to offer a gluten-free beer. The beer, Coors Peak Copper Lager, will be brewed with brown rice and protein from peas instead of barley.

A New Hampshire lawmaker wants to repeal a Liquor Commission rule banning pictures of children from beer labels. Founders Breakfast Stout’s label features a baby eating cereal.

The Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company in Clearwater, Florida, wanted a really distinctive tap for its Fowler’s Bluff IPA, so it hired Tangible Labs, a 3-D printing company, to fashion one.

A new South Carolina law that allows breweries to sell pints has given the state’s economy a $13.7 million boost. Twelve breweries have opened in the state since the law took effect.

Grease from that slice of pizza you just ate can kill the foam on your beer. It lowers the surface tension on the foam, which tears apart the structure of the bubbles and releases their gases.

Finally, an outcry from angry beer fans forced Lagunitas Brewing Company to drop its trademark suit against Stone Brewing Company. Lagunitas claimed that Stone’s logo for Hop Hunter IPA was too similar to the Lagunitas IPA logo.

Exiles on Beer Street

Last year, the Brewers Association liberalized its criteria for what qualifies as a “craft brewery,” and welcomed Boston Beer Company, D.G. Yuengling & Son, Straub Brewing, August Schell Brewing, and Minhas Craft Brewery into the fold.

However, five well-known breweries—which aren’t called Anheuser-Busch, Miller, or Coors—still fail to qualify:

  • Craft Brew Alliance. Reason: It’s 32.2-percent owned by Anehuser-Busch InBev (the BA’s ceiling is 25 percent).
  • Pyramid Brewery/Magic Hat Brewing. “Imported adjunct beer sales exceed domestic production.”
  • 10 Barrel Brewing. Owned by A-B InBev
  • Mendocino Brewing. Owned by UB Group in Bangalore, India.
  • Goose Island Brewery. Owned by A-B InBev.
  • The Friday Mash (Constitution State Edition)

    On this day in 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to be admitted to the United States. The long list of famous residents of the “Constitution State” includes P.T. Barnum, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and Eli Whitney.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Belgium, where traditional brewers are foaming mad about “beer architects” who create recipes, then contract with other brewers to make the final product.

    Mea culpa! The New England Brewing Company has apologized for putting Mahatma Gandhi on a beer label. Gandhi, “the father of India,” abstained from alcohol.

    Soweto, South Africa, is synonymous with poverty. However, a microbrewery there is turning out “Soweto Gold”. Ndumiso Madlala, the owner, is targeting his country’s growing black middle class.

    Heavy rains in the West resulted in a smaller-than-expected barley crop. But that won’t make your beer more expensive because today’s breweries anticipate shortages.

    How did BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie become so successful? One reason: when they needed funds, they “lied through their teeth” to the bank. And yes, they got the loan.

    Ttrademark battles rage on in craft brewing because “virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America” has been trademarked by someone.

    Finally, Adam Hartung of Forbes magazine sorts out America’s beer market. He notes that Baby Boomers have forsaken Bud and Miller, and that Hispanics are a powerful but overlooked constituency.

    The Friday Mash (Double Nickel Edition)

    On this day in 1974, President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum speed limit to 55 miles per hour in order to conserve gasoline during the OPEC embargo. The unpopular “double nickel” stayed on the books for more than 20 years.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Hawaii, where Kona Brewing is celebrating its 21st birthday by releasing a series of Hawaii-only beers. First in Kona’s Makana series is Aina Brown Ale, brewed with taro root.

    New York City’s two largest beer distributors plan to merge. The merger threatens the existence of the city’s 13,000 bodegas, which are small, mostly minority-owned convenience stores.

    Craft beer is gaining ground in South Korea thanks to new laws. For years, the country’s beer market has been dominated by two large brewing companies.

    A blog post by Bryan Roth delves into the economics of beer-buying decisions. Roth wonders whether price will become a bigger factor in what craft beer drinkers buy.

    Outside the United States, non-alcoholic beers are growing in popularity. Reasons include anti-alcohol laws in Muslim countries, fear of a DUI arrest, and better-tasting products.

    Is your local beer bar serious about beer? Thrillist’s Dan Gentile tells you what to look for. For example, bubbles on the side of your glass means the glass is dirty.

    Finally, Argentina’s Andes Brewery offers a a “Message in a Bottle”. Andes bottles are imprinted with QR codes which, together with a mobile app, allow a person to record a video and assign it to a specific bottle. The recipient scans the QR code and plays the video back.

    The Friday Mash (Boxing Day Edition)

    Today is Boxing Day in Great Britain, Canada, much of the Commonwealth, and several countries in continental Europe. The origins of the name are unclear, but one thing is for certain: most people living in those countries get the day off from work. Cheers, everyone!

    And now….The Mash!

    Fittingly we begin in Canada, where Gerald Comeau is challenging the constitutionality of laws limiting how much alcohol one may bring across provincial lines. Comeau’s legal team thinks he has a good chance of winning.

    The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has approved home delivery of beer by food retailers. The maximum deliverable quantity is 192 ounces, and the beer must be paid for with a credit card while ordering.

    Russia’s economic woes could be bad news for beer drinkers. In an effort to keep bread affordable at home, President Vladimir Putin has slapped a tax on exports of barley and other grains.

    Jennifer Wiley, a University of Illinois scientist, has found that a person with a BAC near .08 reaches a creative peak because he or she is less able to over-think during a task. A new Danish beer aims to help drinkers reach that intellectual sweet spot.

    Dos Equis is America’s fastest-growing beer brand, thanks to ads featuring “the most interesting man in the world.” On the other hand, #2 brand Modelo Especial does very little advertising in English.

    Zane Lamprey, the host of National Geographic’s TV show “Chug”, has developed a “drinking jacket”. It has a “beer koozie” breast pocket, a zipper that doubles as a bottle opener, and slip-resistant drinking gloves. And it comes in four colors.

    Finally, Modern Farmer magazine answers your burning questions about beer-drinking donkeys. Heading the list: can donkeys get drunk? Answer: Yes*, but because they weigh more than 200 pounds, they require more than the average human.

    * Ludwig would like to state for the record that he drinks responsibly.

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