Festivus

Why Some Breweries Avoid Distributors

For a start-up brewery, Denver is a challenging market. The area is not only awash in breweries, but demand has driven up the price of cans. This has caused some small breweries to adopt a different business model: bypass packaging altogether, and sell fresh beer only to the immediate neighborhood. Breweries that adopt this model avoid the expense of buying a canning or bottling line, hiring sales personnel, and hiring a distributor. And they have the option to package if market conditions change.

Breweries that sell directly to customers enjoy a greater return on investment. They have more freedom to experiment with beer styles, and brewery owners contend that their product is fresher than the packaged variety. Many have won a devoted following in their neighborhoods. Small breweries have even created their own beer festival, called Festivaus. It attracts more than 60 Denver breweries, and a crowd of over 2,000 attendees.

In two decades, Denver’s craft brewing industry has come full circle. In 1994, when Great Divide Brewing Company opened, it faced stiff competition from four nearby brewpubs; and, at the time, a brewery that opened a taproom was expected to operate it as a restaurant. Instead, Great Divide packaged its beer and didn’t open a taproom for 13 years.

The Friday Mash (Toledo Strip Edition)

On this day in 1836, delegates from Michigan Territory ceded the Toledo Strip to Ohio, meeting a condition laid down by Congress for becoming a state. Michigan’s consolation prize was the Upper Peninsula, which turned out to contain billions of dollars worth of iron and copper.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where the city fathers have given Chaz Stevens the go-ahead to put up a Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans.

Next year, Deschutes Brewery will celebrate 25 years in business with a series of collaborative anniversary beers. The collaborators are breweries that, like Deschutes, opened in 1988.

Hurricane Sandy delayed it, but Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s expansion should be complete by the end of next summer. The expansion will increase capacity to 600,000 barrels per year.

A Colorado lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell craft beer. Currently, these stores are limited to selling 3.2 beer.

Bloomington’s Upland Brewing Company plans to revive Indiana’s all-time most beloved beer, Champagne Velvet, which was brewed in Terre Haute during the first half of the 20th century.

There’s a new board game called Beer and Vikings. To win, a character must drink the most beer from the communal barrel. In case of a tie, whoever killed the most opponents wins.

Finally, it’s that time of the year again. Wynkoop Brewing Company has put out a call for entries for its 17th annual Beerdrinker of the Year Competition. The winner will get free Wynkoop beer for life.

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