Sapporo Buys Anchor Brewing

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This morning Anchor Brewing and Sapporo anounced that Sapporo Holdings Limited was acquiring all of the equity interest in Anchor Brewing Company, and that they’ll take over at the end of the month, August 31. As large as the beer industry is, it’s also a small community where everybody knows everybody, and everybody talks. As a result, there are few secrets. This was one of those rumors that has been circulating around the beer world for months. It’s a rumor everybody was talking about but no one could confirm, though no one was denying it either. Anchor’s press release holds back the amount of the sale, but the news release from Sapporo gives the transaction as $85 million, which seems like a bargain. Sapporo bought only the brewery; Anchor’s distillery business will be spun off into a separate company.

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Here’s Anchor’s press release:

San Francisco, CA (August 3, 2017) – Anchor Brewing Company announces that Sapporo Holdings Limited will be acquiring the company with plans to continue Anchor’s traditions and legacy in San Francisco while growing the brand globally. Anchor Brewing Company’s flagship beer, Anchor Steam® Beer, has been brewed in San Francisco since 1896. Sapporo has a long-standing history in Japan dating back to 1876 and an appreciation for tradition, craftsmanship and provenance which are all fundamental tenets of Anchor.

“Sapporo shares our values and appreciates our unique, time-honored approach to brewing,” said Keith Greggor, Anchor Brewing Co-Owner. “With both a long-term vision and the resources to realize it, Sapporo will keep brewing Anchor’s beers in San Francisco while expanding to new markets worldwide.”

“Anchor Steam Beer is a San Francisco original, inspiring a new generation of brewers and beer lovers around the world,” said Masaki Oga, President and Representative Director, Sapporo Holdings LTD. “Both companies share a brewing philosophy backed by long histories and this transaction enables both Sapporo Group’s US business and Anchor Brewing Company’s global business to make a further leap forward.”

More than 50 years ago, Anchor started the modern craft beer movement with a series of innovations. Anchor brewed the first post-prohibition Porter, ignited todays IPA boom when it introduced dry-hopping and the cascade hop and created the industry’s first seasonal beers. Since then, the emergence of thousands of craft breweries within the United States and around the world has created the need for scale and synergies to compete in a growing global market for craft beer.

Anchor’s experienced management team will continue to run the business but now benefit from superior financing and additional resources. Sapporo is committed to preserving and maintaining Anchor’s operations in San Francisco, including the historic Potrero Hill brewery. Sapporo will invest in the brewery to improve production efficiencies and will strengthen all aspects of management and production to ensure the highest quality of beer is consistently delivered. In addition, Sapporo is fully supportive of Anchor’s new public taproom concept that will be opening soon. Sapporo will also export Anchor to new international markets using its global distribution resources.

The transaction is expected to close on August 31st; subject to customary closing conditions. Terms are not disclosed. Anchor Distilling Company is not part of this transaction and will now become a fully independent company in its own right.

Sapporo first made its way to America in 1964. In 1984, SAPPORO U.S.A., INC. was founded to help preserve our high standard of quality throughout the country. Today, Sapporo stands alone as the best-selling Asian Beer in the United States for more than 30 years.

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Sapporo’s announcement on their website is more perfunctory and all-business, but in some ways more illuminating:

Sapporo Holdings Limited (hereinafter “Sapporo Holdings”) will acquire all of the equity interest of Anchor Brewing Company (California, US; hereinafter “Anchor”).

The Sapporo Group plans to further expand its US beer business by adding Anchor, a prominent beer manufacturer which produces the leading brand “Anchor Steam® Beer,” to its group.

1. Equity transfer agreement

Sapporo Holdings will enter into an equity transfer agreement with Anchor’s parent company Anchor Brewers and Distillers, LLC (hereinafter “ABD”). The transaction will be conducted through Sapporo Holdings’ subsidiary, to be established for the purpose of entering into the agreement. Sapporo will obtain all of ABD’s equity interest in Anchor which will join its group companies.

Execution date of agreement: August 3, 2017 (Thursday)

Equity transfer date: August 31, 2017 (Thursday)

2. Rationale behind Agreement

Last year, the Sapporo Group formulated the new Long-Term Management Vision “SPEED 150” through 2026, the year marking the Group’s 150th anniversary since its founding. The vision set forth in Speed 150 is for the Sapporo Group to be a company with highly unique brands in the fields of “Alcoholic Beverages,” “Food,” and “Soft Drinks” around the world.

Regarding its “Promote Global Business Expansion” policy, a key driver of its group growth strategy, Sapporo Group is pushing forward a distinctive plan that designates North America its business base and the rapidly growing “Southeast Asian” region as its highest-priority markets. In the US where the SAPPORO brand has maintained its position as the No. 1 Asian beer in the country over 30 years, the Group has been considering expanding its beer business through the acquisition of a new brand as well as further growing the SAPPORO brand.

Anchor is a prominent and historic US beer producer founded in 1896 in San Francisco. “Anchor Steam Beer,” its flagship brand, is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the US. Armed with its strong brand power primarily in San Francisco, where it is based, as well as other areas across the US, it has been enjoyed by countless beer lovers throughout the years.

The addition of Anchor’s strong brand power and network to the Sapporo Group’s US beer business portfolio through the conclusion of this agreement is expected to accelerate its speed of growth in the US.

3. About Anchor

Name: Anchor Brewing Company, LLC (beer manufacturing and sales)
Location: 1705 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, California, USA
Year founded: 1896
Representative: CEO Matt Davenport
Num. of employees: 160 (as of December 2016)
Production plant: One plant (San Francisco, California state)
Sales volume Approximate: 1.75 million cases (equivalent to 355ml × 24 bottles in 2016)
Annual sales Approximate: 33 million U.S. dollars (about ¥3.7 billion in fiscal 12/2016)

(Note 1) Sapporo Holdings acquired Anchor Brewing Company’s “equity” instead of its shares due to the fact that the latter is a limited liability company.

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This is, of course, big news, especially locally. The Chronicle got the exclusive on the story because Fritz Maytag had a good relationship with his local paper and after the Griffon Group bought Anchor they continued that tradition. So my newspaper group, like everyone else, was a little behind, and while their reporters are working on the story itself, they asked me to write an analysis of what the sale means for beer lovers, written for a mainstream audience, so please forgive the explanations of everyday things known by most beer aficionados. After an introduction similar to the one that began this post, here’s my initial thoughts on the acquisition of Anchor:

We know why Sapporo wanted Anchor. Their 150th anniversary is coming in 2026, and they’ve made it policy “to be a company with highly unique brands in the fields of ‘Alcoholic Beverages,’ ‘Food,’ and ‘Soft Drinks’ around the world.” They call it “Speed 150,” or the “Promote Global Business Expansion” policy. For the last thirty years, Sapporo has been the number one beer in the Asian market, but they have plans to expand worldwide through the acquisition of new brands. For example, in 2006, Sapporo bought the third-largest brewer in Canada, Sleeman Breweries.

Sapporo considered Anchor a prime target, characterizing the brewery as “a prominent and historic US beer producer founded in 1896 in San Francisco. ‘Anchor Steam Beer,’ its flagship brand, is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the US. Armed with its strong brand power primarily in San Francisco, where it is based, as well as other areas across the US, it has been enjoyed by countless beer lovers throughout the years.”

So what about Anchor? Why were they interested in being part of Sapporo? According to the rumors, Anchor’s been looking for funding to help fuel their growth for at least a year, as sales faltered somewhat in recent years. They’ve remained a strong brand, but the many new beers they’ve been releasing haven’t all done as well as hoped, and it’s been widely rumored that capacity has been down. Capacity is the maximum amount of beer a brewery can brew in a year, and the closer to 100% a brewery is, the more profitable they are. According to Anchor’s president, Keith Greggor, they’re currently operating at between 55 and 60 percent. The grand Pier 48 plan to build a new brewery and event space near AT&T Park has been on hold for a while now, and it’s unclear if that will change. What will change is Anchor will have access to expansion money and other resources that a company as large as Sapporo can make available for them. For example, they’ve already announced a new public taproom on De Haro St., across the street from the existing brewery will go forward as planned.

As is almost always the case, initially nothing will change at Anchor Brewing. None of the beers will change, they’ll continue to brew at their location on Potrero Hill and the current management team will remain at the helm. When Fritz Maytag sold Anchor to the Griffin Group in 2010, very little changed initially, though many hardcore beer lovers were concerned. As the beer industry is going through a period of time where breweries being bought by other breweries or financial groups is becoming commonplace, these deals are often met with a backlash. After an announced sale, many vow to no longer drink beer from the acquired brewery. It was particularly strong when Anheuser-Busch InBev bought 10 Barrel Brewing, Golden Road Brewing and several others recently or when Constellation Brands bought Ballast Point.

Most beer drinkers will be unaffected. Most don’t follow the beer industry’s news at all, and just buy the beer they like to drink. That’s what recent history has shown. There’s a small subset of all craft beer drinkers who really do follow the beer news, and care deeply about whether or not the brewery is independent. They’re often vicious on social media and once a brewery has “sold out,” they become dead to them. But in almost every case, the new markets and increased distribution that resulted from the acquisition more than makes up for losing their business and sales overall increase, often dramatically.

The trade association for craft breweries — The Brewers Association — has been promoting the value of independent breweries for many years, and rewrote their definition of a “craft brewery” in part to reflect that but also to determine who can be a member. They also recently rolled out an “Independent Craft Beer Seal” that members can put on their labels to indicate that they’re not owned by another company (or at least not more than 25 percent).

Being bought by Sapporo will make Anchor no longer eligible to be a member of the Brewers Association, which is particularly strange since Anchor Brewery is credited with starting the entire craft beer movement that resulted in the conditions that led to a trade group representing small brewers being viable. So as the days and weeks unfold, it will be interesting to see how hardcore beer lovers react. So far this morning, after the announcement, reactions have been fairly tame, at least compared to previous sales. Maybe we’re getting used to these things. They’ve definitely become part of the maturing of the craft beer industry, and we’ll continue to see many more in the coming years. This is simply part of the ups and downs of any industry.

But many beer lovers tend to be more emotional and feel an attachment to their favorite brewery, much more so than seems to happen in other businesses. Many breweries, in addition to their beer, sell a brand lifestyle that’s a part of the brand’s identity. Small brewers regularly promote themselves as being mavericks, rebels, independent or just different as a way of distinguishing themselves from the larger breweries. And it often works too well, so much so that their fans sometimes feel betrayed when they reveal themselves to have been a savvy business all along. I think with Anchor Brewery, who’s been around since 1896, they’ll be less of a backlash than in some of the more recent high profile sales. Anchor, and Fritz Maytag, re-invented itself in 1965 and sparked a revolution in beer-making. No one can take that away from them as they start the next chapter of their journey. As long as I can still get a fresh Liberty Ale the next time I stop by the brewery, everything will be fine.

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As I’m sure many people are wondering, I asked Anchor’s press contact whether or not Fritz was consulted — not that they’d have to, of course — but just as a courtesy, and if so, what his thoughts were. As far as I can tell, I don’t think they did talk to him (again, not that they had to at all) and this was the response I got:

We think they would recognize the difficult decision we had to make and would approve of the care and diligence we have made in the route chosen. This acquisition and investment insures that Anchor will be able to continue its time-honored brewing tradition in San Francisco for a long time, which was Fritz’s goal when he sold the brewery.

Per Capita Alcohol Consumption By Country

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The website VoucherCloud published an interactive map showing the The World’s Booziest Countries. The source they used for the data is from the recently released World Health Statistics 2017.

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The original story only lists the top fifteen countries, and identifies the United States at No. 27. Happily, they made the full list available in a Google sheet. The first number is their rank, of course, followed by the name of the country and the final number after their name is “Alcohol consumed per capita (litres).”

The Worlds Booziest Countries: Full Data

1 Lithuania 18.2
2 Belarus 16.4
3 Moldova 15.9
4 Russia 13.9
5 Czech Republic 13.7
6 Romania 13.7
7 Croatia 13.6
8 Bulgaria 13.6
9 Belgium 13.2
10 Ukraine 12.8
11 Estonia 12.8
12 Slovakia 12.3
13 Hungary 12.3
14 Latvia 12.3
15 United Kingdom 12.3
16 Poland 12.3
17 South Korea 11.9
18 Serbia 11.8
19 Namibia 11.8
20 Uganda 11.8
21 France 11.7
22 Equatorial Guinea 11.6
23 Rwanda 11.5
24 Germany 11.4
25 Slovenia 11.3
26 Australia 11.2
27 South Africa 11.2
28 Luxembourg 11.1
29 Finland 10.9
30 Ireland 10.9
31 Gabon 10.8
32 Angola 10.8
33 Seychelles 10.8
34 Portugal 10.6
35 Austria 10.6
36 Andorra 10.5
37 New Zealand 10.1
38 Denmark 10.1
39 Switzerland 10
40 Canada 10
25 Cameroon 9.9
26 Montenegro 9.6
27 Cyprus 9.3
27 United States 9.3
28 Spain 9.2
29 Nigeria 9.1
29 Argentina 9.1
30 Chile 9
31 Brazil 8.9
31 Peru 8.9
32 Sweden 8.8
32 São Tomé and Príncipe 8.8
33 Kazakhstan 8.7
33 Netherlands 8.7
33 Guyana 8.7
34 Vietnam 8.6
35 Greece 8.5
35 Zimbabwe 8.5
36 Belize 8.2
36 Botswana 8.2
36 Cape Verde 8.2
37 Grenada 8.1
37 Georgia 8.1
38 Suriname 8
39 Panama 7.9
39 Palau 7.9
39 Trinidad and Tobago 7.9
39 Republic of the Congo 7.9
40 Japan 7.8
40 Norway 7.8
40 Mongolia 7.8
40 Barbados 7.8
40 China 7.8
41 Saint Lucia 7.6
41 Burkina Faso 7.6
41 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7.6
41 Italy 7.6
42 Malta 7.5
42 Iceland 7.5
43 Laos 7.3
44 Thailand 7.2
45 Venezuela 7.1
45 Niue 7.1
45 Mexico 7.1
46 Burundi 6.9
46 Saint Kitts and Nevis 6.9
47 Uruguay 6.8
48 Dominican Republic 6.6
49 Paraguay 6.3
49 Tanzania 6.3
49 Haiti 6.3
50 Swaziland 6
51 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.9
51 Bolivia 5.9
52 Sierra Leone 5.7
52 Albania 5.7
52 Lesotho 5.7
53 Philippines 5.6
54 Jamaica 5.5
54 Kyrgyzstan 5.5
54 Turkmenistan 5.5
55 Puerto Rico 5.4
55 Netherlands Antilles 5.4
55 Armenia 5.4
55 Cuba 5.4
55 Liberia 5.4
55 Bahamas 5.4
55 Guinea-Bissau 5.4
56 Cambodia 5.3
57 Colombia 5.2
57 Ivory Coast 5.2
57 Chad 5.2
58 Ecuador 5.1
58 Cook Islands 5.1
58 Nicaragua 5.1
58 Uzbekistan 5.1
59 Dominica 5
59 India 5
59 Gambia 5
60 Ethiopia 4.6
61 Ghana 4.4
61 Kenya 4.4
62 Costa Rica 4.1
62 Sri Lanka 4.1
63 Mauritius 4
63 Azerbaijan 4
64 Zambia 3.9
64 North Korea 3.9
65 Honduras 3.8
65 Central African Republic 3.8
66 Nauru 3.6
67 El Salvador 3.4
68 Fiji 3.3
68 Sudan 3.3
69 Guatemala 3.1
70 United Arab Emirates 3
70 Democratic Republic of the Congo 3
70 Israel 3
71 Tajikistan 2.9
72 Macedonia 2.8
72 Samoa 2.8
73 Kiribati 2.7
74 Togo 2.6
74 Benin 2.6
75 Nepal 2.5
76 Federated States of Micronesia 2.4
76 Papua New Guinea 2.4
76 Malawi 2.4
77 Mozambique 2.3
78 Myanmar 2.2
79 Singapore 1.9
79 Turkey 1.9
79 Tuvalu 1.9
80 Madagascar 1.8
81 Maldives 1.7
82 Lebanon 1.6
82 Tunisia 1.6
83 Malaysia 1.5
84 Solomon Islands 1.4
84 Tonga 1.4
85 Vanuatu 1.3
85 Brunei 1.3
86 Mali 1.2
86 Eritrea 1.2
87 Qatar 1
87 Algeria 1
87 Iran 1
87 Timor-Leste 1
88 Bahrain 0.9
89 Syria 0.8
89 Morocco 0.8
89 Guinea 0.8
90 Indonesia 0.6
91 Oman 0.5
91 Jordan 0.5
91 Bhutan 0.5
91 Afghanistan 0.5
91 Senegal 0.5
91 Somalia 0.5
91 Niger 0.5
92 Djibouti 0.4
92 Iraq 0.4
92 Egypt 0.4
93 Yemen 0.2
93 Comoros 0.2
93 Saudi Arabia 0.2
93 Bangladesh 0.2
93 Kuwait 0.2
93 Pakistan 0.2
94 Libya 0.1
94 Mauritania 0.1

And here are the notes for each of the Top 15:

  1. Lithuania is the booziest country in the world. Lithuanians consume 18.2 litres of pure alcohol per capita or the equivalent to 186 bottles of wine.
  2. Belarus comes in second behind Lithuania. The country drinks 168 bottles of wine or 16.4 litres per capita.
  3. Moldovans consume 15.9 litres of pure alcohol per capita or 163 bottles of wine.
  4. Russia takes fourth place in the booziest country stakes. Russians consume the equivalent of 1390 vodka shots per capita.
  5. The Czech Republic drink a huge 482 pints of beer per capita! That’s 13.7 litres of pure alcohol.
  6. Tie for 6th:
    • In Romania people consume 13.7 litres of pure alcohol per capita.
    • Croatia follows closely behind Romania, consuming 13.6 per capita.
    • Bulgarians drink 13.6 litres of pure alcohol or 479 pints of lager per capita.
  7. Belgians drink 478 pints of beer per capita! That’s 13.2 litres of pure alcohol.
  8. Tie for 8th:
    • Ukranians consume 12.8 litres of pure alcohol per capita or 131 bottles of wine.
    • Estonia is joint eighth with people drinking 12.8 litres of pure alcohol per capita.
  9. Tie for 9th:
    • Solvakia is joint ninth place with people consuming 12.3 litres of pure alcohol per capita.
    • Hugarians consume 12.3 litres of pure alcohol per capita and take join tninth place.
    • Latvians drink 12.3 litres of pure alcohol per capita which is equal to 433 pints!
    • The UK is in the top 10 booziest countries. We each consume 12.3 litres of pure alcohol a year – the equivalent of around 126 bottles of wine.
    • Poland is also in joint ninth place with the UK, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia.
  10. South Koreans drink 11.9 litres of pure alcohol per person and take the tenth place in the booziest countries place!

And here’s the note for the U.S.

  1. The US lags behind us on 9.3 litres per person – that’s the same as 564 330ml bottles of Budweiser.

Ukrainian Brewery Releases Trump Beer

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Just in time for Trump’s first visit to foreign countries as President of the U.S., a Ukrainian brewery, Pravda Beer Theatre, has just announced the release of a new beer, a 7.2% a.b.v. beer called “Trump.” On the website, it’s initially referred to as a “blonde” although on the label it’s listed as an “Imperial Mexican Lager.” Here’s the description from the brewery’s website:

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And here’s the label, where Trump is said to be the President of the Divided States of America:

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From what I can tell about their portfolio of beers, they like to have a bit of fun with both their beer and the labels for them. This may be their first political beer, but it doesn’t appear to be their last, as several more are listed as “Upcoming” or “Maybe in Future.” UPDATE: I’ve heard from brewmaster Cory McGuinness, who wrote to me to let me know that in fact all four of their political series beers are, in fact, available now. Apparently, with English being not their first language, the English-language portion of the website has not been updated recently.

So the first beer in their politicam series is Frau Ribbentrop, a 4.5% Belgian Wit featuring German chancellor Angela Merkel:

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And then there’s Obama Hope, a 7.2% stout, featuring former U.S. president Barack Obama:

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And finally, the brewery has released Putin Huilo, an 8% Dry-Hopped Golden Ale, featuring Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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Does anyone want to bet that Trump will be most upset about this because Putin’s beer is stronger than his?

Sign Up Today For The Brookston Hitting Derby

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I confess I completely forgot about the baseball season starting tomorrow. I’d set up the annual Brookston Hitting Derby, but promptly forgot about it again. We used to call it a Home Run Derby because to keep things simpler, we only counted those, but more recently I monkeyed with the scoring (because I generally can’t keep well enough alone) so while it’s still simpler than being in a full-blown fantasy baseball league, there are now more ways to get points. Still, we do it just for fun, and there are twenty spaces available if you want to play along, although we only need four to draft (two more now). But hurry up, the league will draft late tonight since the season starts tomorrow, so sign up today if you want to join.

In order to join the league, follow this link, and I think that’s all you have to do, other then follow the on-screen instructions. If that’s not right, or you’re having trouble, leave a comment below and a way to reach you. Otherwise, see you on the diamond.

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Peter Hoey Returns To His Urban Roots With New Brewery

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I got a heads up from my friend Peter Hoey a few days ago that he’s leaving Brewer’s Supply Group and embarking on a new venture in Sacramento. I’ve known Peter since he was brewing at Bison Brewing, and he’s been brewing and consulting around the Bay Area for many years, including at Sierra Nevada and Sacramento Brewing. He announced today that coming this fall, he’ll be brewing again at his own place in downtown Sacramento, which will be called Urban Roots Brewing. Their Facebook page went live this morning, too. Peter’s partnering with Rob Archie, who also owns the Pangaea Bier Cafe. I’ve met Rob at several beer events over the years, and I think he’ll be a great partner in this, and will appreciate how talented a brewer Peter is. The lease is already signed and they’re fairly well along in the process. Fall seems reasonable, actually, even though most such predictions, in my experience, tend to be twice as long as originally thought. But Peter has opened breweries before, and knows what he’s up against, so I think we’ll be able to sample his new beer before the end of the year, which is terrific news.

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Here’s the press release that came out today:

Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse announces plans to open a 15,600 sq. ft. facility incorporating a 15-barrel craft beer production brewery, tasting bar and a 300-seat smokehouse restaurant, including a 2,400 sq. ft. outdoor patio in the Downtown Sacramento/Southside Park area at 1322 V Street.

A joint venture between Sacramento area natives and co-owners, Brewmaster Peter Hoey and Rob Archie, owner of regional favorite Pangaea Bier Café, Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse plans to open fall 2017 and estimates to employ approximately 50 people.

Peter Hoey has worked toward this moment for over two decades. He has practiced his craft alongside the legends at Sierra Nevada, led the charge at Sacramento Brewing Company, and currently consults with the top beer brands in the country for BSG CraftBrewing, an industry supplier of brewing ingredients. Recent production collaborations include the highly sought after Hoeybeer with Santé Adairius Rustic Ales.

After a decade of collaborating together in the industry, partnering with Rob Archie on Urban Roots will fulfill Hoey’s life-long dream of producing some of the finest beers in the world, pairing them with simple, clean and delicious food, and showcasing Sacramento’s regional farm-to-fork ingredients.

A pioneer of national and international craft beer promotion in Sacramento, Rob Archie’s concept, Pangaea Bier Café, has earned the respect of top brewers in the country and a fiercely devoted clientele—not to mention being the culinary critics’ darling with back-to-back Sacramento Burger Battle judges’ choice wins, being named a Top Beer Destination every year since its opening in 2008, and receiving numerous accolades from both print and broadcast media.

Bringing their combined national and international beer travel experience and expertise home, Urban Roots will produce a myriad of beer varieties, with a focus on farmhouse style ales, oak aged beers and collaborative releases. The smokehouse will continue the culinary excellence practiced at Pangaea Bier Café focusing on regional ingredients and smoked meats. The Urban Roots name is intended to represent its location in the city’s center and its proud roots in both the Sacramento urban and farming communities.

Hoey and Archie believe that the V Street location is a key ingredient in creating their vision for Urban Roots—and their vision for Sacramento. Investing in the Downtown Sacramento/Southside Park neighborhood, and in Sacramento in general, is a reflection of both partners’ beliefs and passion for their community. Both Hoey and Archie have individual and shared histories of uniting Curtis Park and Oak Park through a successful neighborhood business, hosting sold-out beer dinners to support local philanthropy, as well as taking and sharing the Sacramento region’s talents and tastes with a global audience.

1322 V Street is exactly where Hoey and Archie want to build Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse, an immersive craft-beer brewery experience that doesn’t currently exist in the Capital City. In doing so, they will offer a one-of-a-kind destination for Sacramentans to come together and create a bevy of food and beer tastes for the world to enjoy.

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Rob Archie and Peter Hoey, owners of the new Urban Roots Brewery.

Linden Street Brewery Becomes Oakland United Beerworks

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When Adam Lamoreaux opened the Linden Street Brewery in 2009, it was the first production brewery in the city since 1959. But it proved to be quite popular, and successful, but closed late last summer due to management changes to the company. Lamoreaux has moved on to a new venture, and the brewery has been rebranded starting today as Oakland United Beerworks.

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Current owner John Karnay, a longtime Oakland resident and businessman and award-winning brewmaster Shane Aldrich revealed today their new website, core brews and plans for the future.

“Oakland United Beerworks is born and bred in Oakland,” said Karnay. “From the beginning, our mission has been to bring Oaklanders — old and new — together with great brews. Oakland has evolved and grown, and so have we.”

Brewmaster Shane Aldrich originally joined Linden Street in 2016. He learned the brewing craft from Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Beer and Tim Gossack of Bell’s Brewing. He’s brewed at some of the Bay Area’s most popular and enduring brands, including Lagunitas, Moylan’s, Half Moon Bay Brewing, and Marin Brewing Company, where he won a prestigious World Beer Cup award.

“Oakland’s diversity, artistry and authenticity inspires me and our recipes,” says Aldrich. “We love this town – and we’re excited about growing an Oakland community of beer drinkers and beer makers.”

Aldrich brews Oakland United’s beer in small batches, and is currently offering four core beers, and will also offer seasonal ales in the coming months. The inaugural line-up of core beers includes:

  • Black Lager: A flavorful and surprisingly light tribute to the classic German Schwarzbier with notes of coffee and toast.
  • Pilsner: The best floor-malted German Bohemian Pilsner malt creates a crisp, well-balanced lager that pairs with everything from pizza to pate.
  • Common Lager: The original Bay Area Beer, California Common Lagers were invented following the Gold Rush by homesick Germans looking to replicate the lagers of Germany and the East Coast. This robust, amber beer adapts well to its surroundings – perfect for any time and place.
  • IPA: The signature Oakland version of the West Coast IPA mixes five different hops into a flavorful, year-round beer that gives off hints of citrus and tropical fruit. A great beer to pair with a savory menu.

Oakland United Beerworks is currently brewing on Alameda while it builds a brewery and tasting room on 2nd Street, near Jack London Square, with plans to open the doors by late summer. A new tap room will play host to the Oakland Beer Drinkers Association, launched by the brewery to introduce beer lovers to Oakland’s best breweries. Aldrich will collaborate with fellow Oakland and East Bay brewmasters to create and test new brews.

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Brewmaster Shane Aldrich

Mitch Steele’s New Atlanta Brewery Has A Name: New Realm Brewing

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As you probably knew, former Stone Brewing’s head brewer, and one-time AB brewer, Mitch Steele, is opening a new brewery, which will be located in Atlanta. The official business name from the beginning has been the purposely generic American Beerworks LLC, a placeholder while they worked on the actual name the business will operate under. Today they made it official. The new brewery will be called “New Realm Brewing.”

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Here’s more information from the press release that was issued this morning:

Combining a collective passion for craft beer, partners Mitch Steele, Carey Falcone and Bob Powers will bring a “New Realm” to Atlanta’s brewing community later this year. The trio announced their new venture in the Atlanta Beltline area in the fall of last year and has spent many hours coming up with the appropriate name to suit it.

“We could not be more thrilled to announce our name, New Realm,” said Carey Falcone Co-Founder and CEO. “It has taken us quite a bit of time (over many beers, of course) to create our vision and land on the right name for our future brewery and restaurant. New Realm speaks to our desire to create a new realm in brewing and dining experiences, and to support an outstanding and dynamic local craft beer community.”

At the core of New Realm Brewing is Co-Founder, Brewmaster and COO, Mitch Steele formerly Brewmaster for 10 years at Stone Brewing. Steele, referred by many as an authority on brewing IPA’s, has decades of experience developing and brewing innovative and delicious beers. Steele authored a book in 2012 titled, “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale.” Currently Steele is busy developing recipes and has shared that craft fans can “count on IPAs being poured at New Realm as well as barrel-aged beers and traditional lagers”.

New Realm Brewing will break ground soon in preparation to open the 20,000 square foot space located at 820 Ralph McGill Avenue in the growing Beltline area. “Plans are underway to bring Atlanta and its visitors a distinctive venue to enjoy craft beer and great artisanal foods in an inviting, unique and fun atmosphere,” said Bob Powers Co-Founder and CCO. “In addition to our production brewery, we will have a restaurant, as well as both a rooftop bar and an outdoor beer garden at New Realm and we look forward to unveiling design plans in the near future.”

Mitch, Carey, Bob skyline
New Realm Owners Mitch Steele, Carey Falcone and Bob Powers in front of the Atlanta skyline.

Top 50 Craft Breweries For 2016

ba
The Brewers Association just announced the top 50 craft breweries in the U.S. based on sales, by volume, for 2016, which is listed below here. I should also mention that this represents “craft breweries” according to the BA’s membership definition, and not necessarily how most of us would define them, as there’s no universally agreed upon way to differentiate the two. For the ninth year, they’ve also released a list of the top 50 breweries, which includes all breweries. Here is this year’s craft brewery list:


Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc Pottsville PA
2 Boston Beer Co Boston MA
3 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
4 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
5 Gambrinus San Antonio TX
6 Duvel Moortgat Paso Robles/Kansas City/Cooperstown CA/MO/NY
7 Bell’s Brewery, Inc Comstock MI
8 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
9 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
10 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co Longmont CO
11 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
12 Minhas Craft Brewery Monroe WI
13 Artisanal Brewing Ventures Downington/Lakewood PA/NY
14 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
15 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
16 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
17 Matt Brewing Co Utica NY
18 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
19 Alaskan Brewing Juneau AK
20 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
21 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
22 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
23 Stevens Point Brewery Stevens Point WI
24 August Schell Brewing Co New Ulm MN
24 Long Trail Brewing Co Bridgewater Corners VT
26 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
27 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
28 Shipyard Brewing Co Portland ME
29 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
30 Rogue Ales Newport OR
31 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
32 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
33 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
34 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co San Jose CA
35 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME
36 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
37 Green Flash Brewing Co San Diego CA
38 Tröegs Brewing Co Hershey PA
39 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
40 Bear Republic Brewing Co Cloverdale CA
41 Karl Strauss Brewing Co San Diego CA
42 Surly Brewing Co Minneapolis MN
43 Sixpoint Brewery Brooklyn NY
44 Left Hand Brewing Co Longmont CO
45 Lost Coast Brewery Eureka CA
46 Revolution Brewing Chicago IL
47 North Coast Brewing Co Fort Bragg CA
48 Avery Brewing Co Boulder CO
49 Real Ale Brewing Co Blanco TX
50 BJ’s Brewery Huntington Beach CA

Here is this year’s press release. The last couple of years, the BA has helpfully annotated the list, saving me lots of time, since I’ve been annotating the list for the last nine years, but they’ve abandoned that practice for a second year. So for the ninth consecutive year, I’ll also posted an annotated list, showing the changes in each brewery’s rank from year to year, but it will take me some time to put together so I’ll have that again later tonight or tomorrow.

And similar to last year, the BA created a map showing the relative location of each of the breweries that made the list.

Top_50_Craft_Breweries_2016

Top 50 Breweries For 2016

ba
The Brewers Association has also just announced the top 50 breweries in the U.S. based on sales, by volume, for 2016, which this year they’re calling the “Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies.” This includes all breweries, regardless of size or any other definitions or parameters. Here is the new list:


Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies

Breweries in bold are considered to be “small and independent craft brewers” under the BA’s current definition. That there are so many footnotes (23 in total, or almost half of the list) explaining exceptions or reasons for the specific entry, seems illustrative of a growing problem with the definition of what is a craft brewery. I certainly understand the need for a trade group to have a clearly defined set of criteria for membership, but I think the current one is getting increasingly outdated again, and it’s only been a few years since the contentious debate that resulted in the current BA one. But it may be time to revisit that again.

six-glasses

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 Anheuser-Busch, Inc (a) Saint Louis MO
2 MillerCoors (b) Chicago IL
3 Pabst Brewing Co (c) Los Angeles CA
4 D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc Pottsville PA
5 North American Breweries (d) Rochester NY
6 Boston Beer Co (e) Boston MA
7 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
8 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
9 Lagunitas Brewing Co (f) Petaluma CA
10 Craft Brew Alliance (g) Portland OR
11 Gambrinus (h) San Antonio TX
12 Duvel Moortgat (i) Paso Robles/Kansas City/Cooperstown CA/MO/NY
13 Ballast Point Brewing Co (j) San Diego CA
14 Bell’s Brewery, Inc (k) Comstock MI
15 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
16 Founders Brewing Co (l) Grand Rapids MI
17 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
18 Oskar Blues Brewing
Holding Co
(m)
Longmont CO
19 Sapporo USA (n) La Crosse WI
20 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
21 Minhas Craft Brewery (o) Monroe WI
22 Artisanal Brewing Ventures (p) Downington/Lakewood PA/NY
23 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
24 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
25 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
26 Matt Brewing Co (q) Utica NY
27 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
28 Alaskan Brewing Co Juneau AK
29 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
30 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
31 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
32 Stevens Point Brewery (r) Stevens Point WI
33 August Schell Brewing Co (s) New Ulm MN
33 Long Trail Brewing Co (t) Bridgewater Corners VT
35 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
36 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
37 Shipyard Brewing Co (u) Portland ME
38 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
39 Rogue Ales Newport OR
40 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
41 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
42 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
43 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co San Jose CA
44 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME
45 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
46 Green Flash Brewing Co (v) San Diego CA
47 Tröegs Brewing Co Hershey PA
48 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
49 Bear Republic Brewing Co Cloverdale CA
50 Pittsburgh Brewing Co (w) Pittsburgh PA

six-glasses


2016 Top 50 Overall U.S.
Brewing Companies Notes

Details from brand lists are illustrative and may not be exhaustive. Ownership stakes reflect
greater than 25% ownership:

(a) Anheuser-Busch, Inc includes 10 Barrel, Bass, Beck’s, Blue Point, Bud Light,
Budweiser, Breckenridge, Busch, Devils Backbone (partial year), Elysian, Four Peaks,
Golden Road, Goose Island, Karbach (partial year), King Cobra, Landshark, Michelob,
Natural Rolling Rock, Shock Top, Wild Series brands and Ziegenbock brands. Does not
include partially owned Coastal, Craft Brew Alliance, Fordham, Kona, Old Dominion,
Omission, Red Hook, and Widmer Brothers brands;
(b) MillerCoors includes A.C. Golden, Batch 19, Blue Moon, Colorado Native, Coors,
Hamms, Hop Valley (partial year), Icehouse, Keystone, Killian’s, Leinenkugel’s,
Mickey’s, Milwaukee’s Best, Miller, Olde English, Revolver (partial year), Saint Archer,
Steel Reserve, Tenth & Blake, and Terrapin (partial year) brands;
(c) Pabst Brewing Co includes Ballantine, Lone Star, Pabst, Pearl, Primo, Rainier, Schlitz
and Small Town brands;
(d) North American Breweries includes Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Mactarnahan’s,
Magic Hat, Portland and Pyramid brands as well as import volume;
(e) Boston Beer Co includes Alchemy & Science and Sam Adams brands. Does not include
Twisted Tea or Angry Orchard brands;
(f) Lagunitas Brewing Co ownership stake by Heineken;
(g) Craft Brew Alliance includes Kona, Omission, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands;
(h) Gambrinus includes BridgePort, Shiner and Trumer brands;
(i) Duvel Moortgat USA includes Boulevard, Firestone Walker, and Ommegang brands;
(j) Ballast Point Brewing Co owned by Constellation brands;
(k) Bell’s Brewery, Inc includes Bell’s and Upper Hand brands;
(l) Founders ownership stake by Mahou San Miguel;
(m) Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co includes Cigar City, Perrin and Utah Brewers
Cooperative brands;
(n) Sapporo USA includes Sapporo and Sleeman brands as well as export volume;
(o) Minhas Craft Brewery includes Huber, Mountain Crest and Rhinelander brands as well as
export volume;
(p) Artisanal Brewing Ventures includes Victory and Southern Tier brands;
(q) Matt Brewing Co includes Flying Bison, Saranac and Utica Club brands;
(r) Stevens Point Brewery includes James Page and Point brands;
(s) August Schell Brewing Co includes Grain Belt and Schell’s brands;
(t) Long Trail Brewing Co includes Long Trail, Otter Creek, The Shed and Wolaver’s
brands;
(u) Shipyard Brewing Co includes Casco Bay, Sea Dog and Shipyard brands;
(v) Green Flash Brewing Co includes Alpine and Green Flash brands;
(w)Pittsburgh Brewing Co includes Iron City and Old German brands

BEER-generic

Here is this year’s press release.

The Price Of A Beer: 1952-2016

beer-money
I saw a slideshow recently on a genealogy website that took data from the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and showed the price of a pint beginning in 1952 through last year, along with what that price would be in today’s money, in other words adjusted for inflation. I took it from a slideshow and turned into a table so you could more easily see the changes over time. Perhaps most surprising is that the average price of a beer is one-third less now than it was 64 years ago.

1-drink-bill

According to the data, the adjusted price for a pint peaked in the mid-1950s, 1956-57 to be specific. After that, the price has been coming down slowly but surely (with a few blips here and there) ever since. Part of that is undoubtedly efficiencies in both brewing and distribution. The on-and-off price wars that the big brewers engaged in over the last few decades must certainly have played a roll, as it kept prices artificially low across the board. At any rate, it’s interesting to see the prices all laid out like this over six decades. I’m sure others will see a lot more in the data, too.

wooden-nickel

Year
Price of Beer
Adjusted for Inflation
1952
$0.65
$5.93
1953
$0.65
$5.80
1954
$0.67
$5.93
1955
$0.67
$5.91
1956
$0.68
$6.01
1957
$0.69
$6.01
1958
$0.69
$5.82
1959
$0.70
$5.74
1960
$0.71
$5.77
1961
$0.71
$5.68
1962
$0.71
$5.62
1963
$0.72
$5.64
1964
$0.73
$5.64
1965
$0.74
$5.65
1966
$0.75
$5.63
1967
$0.76
$5.54
1968
$0.79
$5.61
1969
$0.82
$5.58
1970
$0.86
$5.58
1971
$0.89
$5.43
1972
$0.91
$5.32
1973
$0.94
$5.32
1974
$1.01
$5.38
1975
$1.09
$5.23
1976
$1.12
$4.93
1977
$1.15
$4.78
1978
$1.22
$4.76
1979
$1.32
$4.79
1980
$1.42
$4.63
1981
$1.52
$4.37
1982
$1.59
$4.14
1983
$1.65
$4.05
1984
$1.70
$4.04
1985
$1.75
$3.99
1986
$1.83
$4.03
1987
$1.88
$4.06
1988
$1.95
$4.06
1989
$2.03
$4.06
1990
$2.13
$4.07
1991
$2.35
$4.26
1992
$2.43
$4.22
1993
$2.47
$4.17
1994
$2.50
$4.10
1995
$2.54
$4.06
1996
$2.61
$4.05
1997
$2.68
$4.04
1998
$2.73
$4.08
1999
$2.80
$4.07
2000
$2.88
$4.09
2001
$2.95
$4.06
2002
$3.02
$4.04
2003
$3.08
$4.05
2004
$3.17
$4.08
2005
$3.23
$4.05
2006
$3.31
$4.01
2007
$3.41
$4.00
2008
$3.53
$4.03
2009
$3.64
$4.00
2010
$3.68
$4.06
2011
$3.73
$4.05
2012
$3.88
$4.00
2013
$3.87
$3.99
2014
$3.91
$3.97
2015
$3.95
$3.95
2016
$3.99
$3.99

nickel-beer