Gambrinus Company

Who’s Getting Hurt by Flat Sales?

Data compiled by the Brewers Association show that the bigger craft breweries bore the brunt of last year’s slump.

Twenty-five of the top 50 craft breweries, as defined by the BA, didn’t grow in 2016; and more then one-third of BA-defined regional breweries had either flat or declining sales. The damage was heaviest at the top of the standings: four of the five biggest crafts—D.G. Yuengling & Sons, Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and Gambrinus Company—suffered a sales decline. The top five’s only gainer was New Belgium Brewing Company.

According to the BA’s Bart Watson, the regionals are getting squeezed by both ends of the industry. Anheuser-Busch Companies, whose acquisition of craft brands has stirred up controversy, is snapping up retail space at the expense of the regionals. Meanwhile, many retailers are focused on getting the products of small local breweries on their shelves, again to the regionals’ detriment.

There were some bright spots, however. Regionals that upped production in 2016 include Bell’s Brewery, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, and Rheingeist Brewery. Several others that no longer meet the BA’s definition of “craft”, such as Founders Brewing Company and Lagunitas Brewing Company, also posted gains for the year.

The Friday Mash (For the Boys Edition)

On this day in 1941, the United Service Organizations, Inc., was created. During World War II, the USO presented hundreds of thousands of shows featuring the greatest names in entertainment history. Those shows were brought back to life in the 1991 film For the Boys, which starred Bette Midler.

And now…The Mash!

We begin at the University of California, Davis, which has opened a $20 million winery, brewery and food processing complex. The facility also has earned a LEED Platinum certification.

Jack Curtin reviews Dethroning the King, an account of InBev’s successful hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch. He points out that A-B committed a series of blunders that led to its being taken over.

Prague’s U Fleku is more than 500 years old, and is the world’s oldest continually-operating brewpub. Charlie Papazian caught up with Ivan Chramosil, who’s been its brewmaster for 40 years.

Evan Hansen of Underground Detroit magazine introduces his readers to lambic. Did you know that a beer with only 10 percent lambic can be labeled “lambic”?

It appears that something Wicked this way will no longer come. Gambrinus Company has announced that it will stop distribution of Pete’s Wicked Ale on March 1.

Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, has a bone to pick with RateBeer.com’s best beer list. Actually, his target is extreme-beer fans, who’ve voted so many high-gravity beers onto the list.

Finally, a quiz question. What do Apollo, Boadicea, Citra, and El Dorado have in common? Time’s up. They’re new varieties of hops.

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