Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More specuation about finance for AB / InBev deal

More chatter and rumor speculating about the possibility of InBev failing to raise the capital for AB takeover.


"Brewery" sponsors art competition, for promotion


Why didn't I think of that? An art competition, with a decent yet affordable cash prize, featuring a beer brand. Hmmm

Craft Beer Video Site Launches

Site Link: Beer America TV

Beer geeks have a new way to waste time online. It's a video site dedicated to craft beer and general beer-geekery.

I didn't spend a lot of time with it yet but it looks promising. Most of the handful of videos are a video tasting/blog that covers one beer per episode.

It would make a good podcast, but iTunes won't recognize the RSS feed. I guess beer guys aren't as computer-savvy as they are drinking-savy.

Homebrewing popularity is expanding... to women


An interesting article about a female homebrewer competition in California.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Learn something new every day: Green Hopping?

There is a really fun interesting story at the KC Beer Blog about making Boulevard Nutcracker.

Honestly, I've never even heard the term "Green Hopping" before. There is a decent article on it here. (FYI: the Beaujolais nouveau reference in the article is stupid. Nouveau is terrible hurry-up wine. It is closer to using freshly picked spices in a recipe)

It seems that hops spoil within a day or two if not dried after picking. Wet Hopping must be done very soon after harvest.

Link: The KC beer blog story, about the brewery visit where bloggers witnessed the annual Nutcracker-brew.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Opinion from the marketplace

If you are a brewer:

Q: how do you temporarily lose all of your draft distribution, overnight

A: switch distributors

This is my observation after watching all of the InBev brands move from the Liquor houses to the AB house, and watching Grolsch move to the Coors house.

Yep, this business is all about relationships. There are few brand handles, there are just sales-rep handles.

On a related note (that will definitely get me in trouble if my bosses bother to read this): salesman turnover isn't great for on-premise distribution either.

Blah blah, this is my opinion and not that of the people I work for, blah blah

Smart long-term investors bet on beer

I love the Motley Fool. I'm an NPR junkie. If you're a beer guy worried about the future give this a read.

From the linked story
Ignore what the experts project will happen to the economy over the next three, six, or 12 months. Instead, set your mind on owning enduring businesses that will continue to earn high returns on capital, through good times and bad, over the next five, 10, and 25 years.

Still concerned about the macro forecast? Some industries don't suffer as much as the overall economy during a recession, because the demand for their products is pretty stable. After all, when was the last time you stopped yourself from ordering a Beck's or Labatt from brewer AmBev (NYSE: ABV) because you thought GDP growth was at risk?

Companies like AmBev that sell strongly branded food and beverages often meet that criteria, but they also come with an added perk. These companies are often best able to pass on price increases to their customers, so inflation doesn't scare them.

Hey shitty brewery: you're top-shelf overseas

A pretty interesting story from Businessweek.

Brands: Moving Overseas to Move Upmarket

I have a story I clipped from the WSJ back in about 2000 around here somewhere. It's about how Stella was the Old Mil of Belgium, and Manhattan hipsters couldn't get enough of it.

Funny how the Dist I work for seems to have an ability to buy import brands that fall flat on their faces. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that our in-house marketing geniuses once held a Cinco de Mayo promotion with a Central American brew.

Miller begins testing aluminum 16oz bottles.

Story Link

AB shareholders vote Oct 3rd on InBev deal.

Story from St Louis Business Journal

Who started modern beer culture?

Oh yea, it was Papazian. I'm guessing that he never has to buy a beer. He is Mr Beer: people are always giving him beer or buying him a beer. Turns out, not only did he start the homebrewing revolution that lead to modern commercial craft beer, he still brews at home (and grows his own hops!).

Be inspired. Read this story in the Beer Examiner.

If you have an iPod and a few minutes of drive-time to kill, download this episode of the Brewing Network's Sunday Session and get to know Charlie.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bill Leinenkugal dies at 87

From the story in the Chippewa Herald

Taking a new job was not the only good thing to happen to Bill Leinenkugel in 1947.

He would also meet and marry Mary Lou Larson, a Chippewa Falls girl who loved to play cards.

Bill took his new job seriously.

He would keep scrapbooks of the tavern owners he was working with and their families.

He would be appointed vice president of sales and advertising in 1965 and as executive vice president in 1970.

A year later the brewery’s president an sales manager suffered a stroke, and Bill Leinenkugel was needed to lead the company founded by his great-grandfather, Jacob.

“All of a sudden, I was in a leadership role. It was on-the-job training,” he told the Herald in 2002.

He would eventually become the brewery’s sales manager, ad manager, public relations manager, credit manager and governmental affairs manager.

“You were a jack of all trades and really, you were a master of none,” he said.

Under his guidance, the company expanded the beer’s markets to the Twin Cities and Chicago.

He would go on to serve as a director and president of the Brewers Association of America, and director and secretary of the Wisconsin State Brewers Association.

He also created the concept of the Leinie Lodge by coming up with the idea to open the Leinenkugel’s Hospitality and Tour Center in 1979.

By 1986, he was 65, and had been in the business for 40 years. “I was kind of burned out and I couldn’t take the travel like I used to,”

Is the AB-Inbev deal threatened by finance industry crisis?

There are several stories floating around claiming that the AB-InBev deal may be at risk. Inbev is quoted claiming the capital is still in place.

Link 1
Link 2

I'm kind of bored with the whole story. It won't effect my local market, the AB house already has the InBev brands here, and you can already buy Stella in the filthy dirtbag karaoke bar near my house (price soon to fall on that "exclusive" brand?). I do get a bit of satisfaction from thinking about the AB bullies in St Louis being afraid for their jobs, considering the way they have abused their monopoly of the white-trash alcoholic market (and thus, most of the domestic beer volume).

Small brewers become hop farmers amid shortage

Not a new story, but it's new-to-me. Interesting story about a frustrated brewer deciding to try growing hops on his own.

From that story:

Herb Pluemer, owner of Tractor Brewing Co. in Los Lunas, N.M., bought 10,000 hop stems from Wills' Oregon nursery to try growing the crop himself after hearing how much farmers wanted this year.

"We had to lay out $16,000 for the hops for next year, and now they want the following year upfront and it's just going higher," he said. "I have a lot of land, so I got the idea, why not try hops myself?"

Pluemer is still waiting to see if New Mexico's soil and climate lend themselves to hops. Weeds have been a problem in the early going, and the small crop in the plants' first year was disappointing.

Pluemer won't say what he has spent on the adventure but believes the investment will pay off.

"Next year will be the proof of the pudding," he said. "If they say hops are going to $50 a pound, I'm going to quit the brewery and just grow hops."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why are AB execs shitting themselves?

Because they have all seen this; Brito's talk at Stanford. It's a pretty interesting lecture. I can't say that I like the guy or agree with it 100%, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I really don't think it was an agreement on corporate culture that made this deal happen (see previous post).

Inbev/AB "merger" hit low-dollar sweet spot.

American companies are on sale now!
Story Link

AB thinks that suit seeking to block Inbev merger lacks merit (shocking)

from Columbus Business First
Story link

MillerCoors puts plans for "Sparks" energy FMB on hold

From the Associated Press
MillerCoors to put Sparks Red on hold after attorneys general take issue