Pretty Beer To Stop Brewing

Sad news. Dann and Martha Paquette, co-owners of the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project posted on their website today their decision to cease the operations of their company. Explaining their decision in For a Beginning, there must be an End, here’s what’s up:

Seven years ago we sold our first glass of beer at The Publick House in Brookline. We didn’t foresee then that our strange project would become such a part of our lives.

It has been a crazy fun time. We’ve dressed up in more costumes than a Bob Hope special. Amazing employees and friends have conspired with us along the way. Bocky, Anya, and John Funke have channeled our project almost better than we have done ourselves. And we found a rag tag group of like-minded creative brewers out there in the world as well.

Brewing our beers has been a great labor and a great joy. But best of all we shared it with so many great beer drinkers. It really feels like we met you all. We’ve stood in shops, bars, restaurants, on stages, in VFW halls. Sometimes you were already fans. Sometimes you spat out our beer. Sometimes you just fancied a chat. We always felt happy to meet you by the end. It was always fun, or funny, or we sold a beer, or learned something. Many of you became friends. We’ve loved drinking beers with you.

We hope our beers brought you joy and brought you closer together. There’s no greater goal for a batch of beer or a project like ours.

After seven years it’s time to draw the curtains and head off to a new adventure. A poorly drawn grain of barley called Jack D’Or made this whole thing possible. He’ll be coming with us.

Besides making great beer, Dann’s thoughtful approach to everything they do has been great to watch, if only from afar. The few times we’ve spent any time together I’ve loved talking philosophically with him and certainly hope his voice won’t be lost as he transitions to whatever adventure awaits him in the next chapter of his journey. And I wish Dann and Martha the best of best wishes going forward.

Pretty Things beer will be available until it runs out, probably sometime in January of next year. If I were you, I’d stock up while you can.

Their parting shot.

Anchor Christmas Day 2015

Time was when today, the Monday before Thanksgiving, was the traditional day on which Anchor’s Our Special Ale — a.k.a. their Christmas Ale — was released each year. Every year since 1975 the brewers at Anchor Brewery have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is now available from early November to mid-January.
From this year’s press release:

This is the forty-first annual Christmas Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid–January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew.

Our tree for 2015 is the Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara), better known as the California Christmas Tree. Native of the Himalayas, it takes its name from the ancient Sanskrit devadaru, meaning timber of the gods. This coniferous evergreen, with its gracefully droopy branches and blue-green needles, has been a San Francisco favorite for over 150 years.

The annual search for the perfect tree for our Christmas Ale label usually takes us far afield. This one began and ended with the search for a parking space near the Brewery! Getting out of the car, we couldn’t help but notice the way the late-afternoon sun danced amid the branches of two lovely Deodars just half a block from Anchor’s front door.

Our longtime label artist Jim Stitt — who has been drawing trees for us since 1975 — loved “our” Deodars and, like us, was amused that they were about as local as local gets! His charming illustration evokes the radiant beauty of our arboreal neighbors as well as the spirit of the season. Cheers from the Anchor brewers!

Even though for the last several years, Anchor’s Christmas Ale is released in early November, I continue to observe Anchor Christmas Day on the Monday before Thanksgiving. I know I’m a sentimental old fool, but I liked that they used to wait that long to release it, even though I understand why they had to abandon it. But some things are worth waiting for. If you agree with me, please join me in drinking a glass of this year’s seasonal release tonight. Happy Anchor Christmas Day!


Craft Beer Product Segmentation 2015: A Tale Of Two Charts

It was the best of charts, it was the worst of charts. So begins every great story. This made me laugh like the Dickens this morning, as fellow beer writer Bryan Roth tweeted a chart showing “Craft Production in the U.S.” apparently as of August 2015.


The data comes from IBISWorld, a company that identifies themselves as “one of the world’s leading publishers of business intelligence, specializing in Industry research and Procurement research.” Their website shows that they have offices in Los Angeles, New York, Melbourne, London and Beijing, although the chart claims they’re “Chicago-based.” The report is entitled “Craft Beer Production in the US: Market Research Report,” and was published in August of this year. If you want to buy yourself a copy, it costs between $925 and $1,595, depending on which purchase option you choose.

Hopefully, the chart was not created by IBISWorld, because besides mis-identifying where the company is located, as Roth points out, “the graphic designer who created alternating sized circles not dependent on their % share is bad at their job.” It’s a terrible chart, on so many levels. First, why use “stencil” as the font for the title in the red center circle? Why are the outer circles different shades of blue, for no apparent rhyme or reason. There’s no discernible pattern to that decision. Bock is the lightest color, at 3.9%, followed by Amber Ale at 10.9%, so you might be tempted to think the color is dependent on market share, lighter for lower and darker for higher percentages. But no, fruit beer is the lowest, at 3.5%, and is medium blue, while Lager, at only 8.6%, is the darkest blue on the chart.

Why are the black lines not emanating from the center of the middle? Instead, it looks like one of the webs from the 1980s video game “Tempest.” They all meet in an outer ring, too, except for Bock and Wheat Beer, which are curiously left hanging. But most egregious, the size of the circles are not even close to being proportional to the percentages expressed in them. The sizes appear to be nothing more than random, just like the color choices. So at first glance, it makes no sense and is, at best, confusing. At worst, it looks like it was designed by a five-year old, and frankly that may be overly insulting to toddlers.

Carla Jean Lauter, better known by her nom nom de plume, The Beer Babe, was similarly bothered by the chart, but decided to do something about it. She “fixed” it, making the bubbles proportional to their market share so the chart is easier to read and better represents the reality it’s trying to convey. She also chose the colors of the bubbles to be representative of the beer color of each style, even choosing pumpkin color for seasonal. As Lauter tweeted when she posted her version of the chart, “I feel better now.” Weirdly, so do I. It’s so much better.


Constellation Brands Buys Ballast Point

ballast-point constellation
Constellation Brands announced this morning that they will acquire Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Company for roughly $1 billion. If you’re not familiar with Constellation, they’re “the number three beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands including Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico. Constellation is also the world’s leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Rex Goliath, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and Jackson-Triggs. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka and Black Velvet Canadian Whisky.”

So far, almost all of the news about the deal is from the press release:

Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a leading beverage alcohol company, today announced an agreement to acquire San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. Ballast Point is one of the fastest growing craft beer companies in the U.S. with a beer portfolio that includes more than 40 different styles of beer, led by its popular Sculpin IPA and Grapefruit Sculpin IPA. The partnership with Ballast Point provides a high-growth premium platform that will enable Constellation to compete in the fast-growing craft beer segment, further strengthening its position in the highest end of the U.S. beer market.

Ballast Point started in 1996 as a small group of home brewers and remains dedicated to the art of making better quality craft beer. Ballast Point will continue to operate as a stand-alone company with its existing management team and employees running the day-to-day operations. The company is one of the most successful and respected craft beer companies in the country, with an expertise in brewing the most premium, highest quality award winning products, and a grassroots approach to innovation that engages beer lovers and home brewers in the process. The Ballast Point team will continue to build on its successful expansion across the U.S., and will now have access to Constellation’s strong financial position and willingness to invest in growth.

“We started this business nearly 20 years ago with a vision to produce great beer that consumers love and to do it the right way,” said Jack White, founder of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. “To achieve that vision, we needed to find the right partner. The team at Constellation shares our values, entrepreneurial spirit and passion for beer, and has a proven track record of helping successful premium brands reach the next level of growth and scale.”

“We believe in the vision that Jack and his team have created and we’re excited to welcome Ballast Point, one of the most respected craft brewers in the country, to the Constellation Brands family,” said Rob Sands, chief executive officer, Constellation Brands. “Along with imports, craft beer is a key driver of growth and premiumization within the beer industry, with craft doubling its share of the U.S. beer market in the last five years. Ballast Point has certainly been a key driver of that growth. Their business philosophy and entrepreneurial spirit perfectly align with our culture and we look forward to strengthening our position in the high-end beer segment with what is arguably the most premium major brand in the entire craft beer business.”

Ballast Point is on pace to sell nearly 4 million cases in calendar 2015, which would represent growth of more than 100 percent versus calendar 2014. Net sales for calendar 2015 are expected to approximate $115 million. Volume and net sales growth from calendar 2012 to calendar 2014 averaged over 80 percent. Ballast Point employs more than 500 employees, produces beer in four facilities in the San Diego, CA area, and sells its beer in over 30 states.

Constellation Brands plans to purchase Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for approximately $1 billion. The purchase price values the acquisition multiple of the projected calendar 2016 Ballast Point EBITDA in the mid-to-high teens range. Constellation estimates that on a comparable basis (1), the acquisition is expected to be neutral to diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2016 and $0.05 to $0.06 accretive for fiscal 2017. The transaction will be financed with cash and debt, and is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.


Brussels Beer Challenge 2015

Last Saturday, the winners of the 4th annual Brussels Beer Challenge were announced. A little over 1,100 beers were judged in 66 categories by 75 judges, of which I was again privileged to be one. This year the competition was held in Antwerp, and there was a 36% increase in the number of beers this year over last year’s competition, which also required an additional 15 judges. After two days of judging, the awards were announced at De Koninck.


For the second straight year, the United States came out on top, winning the most medals. Here are the top medal winners, by country.

Medals Won by Country:

  1. United States = 60
  2. Belgium = 46
  3. Italy = 26
  4. Netherlands = 23
  5. TIE: Germany / Spain = 9
  6. France = 6
  7. TIE: Brazil / United Kingdom = 5
  8. Denmark = 4
  9. TIE: Czech Republic / Malta / Poland = 3
  10. TIE: China / Ireland / Japan = 2


The 2015 Brussels Beer Challenge Winners

Category 1: Dark Ale: Abbey / Trappist Style Dubbel
Gold: Nucis, Kamun srl (Italy)
Silver: Diôle Brune, La Brasserie des Carrières (Belgium)
Bronze: Texels Dubbel, Texelse Bierbrouwerij BV (Netherlands)
Bronze: Moreneta Bruna-Brune, Barna Brew (Brouwerij Anders!) (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Terenez Brune, La brasserie du bout du monde (France)
Certificate of Excellence: Bon Secours Brune, Brasserie Caulier SPRL (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Paljas Bruin, Brouwerij Henricus (Belgium)

Category 2: Dark Ale: Brown Ale
Gold: Davy Brown Ale, Figueroa Mountain Brewing (US)
Silver: UnderCover – Brown Ale, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Bronze: Jopen 4Granen Bokbier, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Bonfire Brown, Saugatuck Brewing (US)

Category 3: Dark Ale: Dark/Black IPA
Gold: Ebers Hopsfall 2015, Land Food & Beverage Soc. Coop. Agricola (Italy)
Silver: Turmoil, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)
Bronze: Bosuil – Tawny Owl, Brouwerij het Uiltje (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Black, Lucky Bastard (Czech Republic)

Category 4: Dark Ale: Oud Bruin (Flanders Brown Ale)
Silver: Liefmans Goudenband, Brouwerij Liefmans (Belgium)

Category 5: Dark Ale: Strong Dark Ale
Gold: Inglorious Quad, Inglorious Brew Stars (Belgium)
Gold: Edelhert Donker, De Heidebrouwerij 1 (Netherlands)
Bronze: Jopen Ongelovige Thomas – Doubting Thomas, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Eden Quadrupel, De Lustige Brouwers (Belgium)

Category 6: Flavoured Beer: Chocolate
Gold: Zeven Zonden Invidia, Hugel (Belgium)
Silver: Global Mutt Baltic Porter, Wander Brewing (US)
Silver: Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, Epic Brewing (US)
Bronze: 7 Fjell Morgenstemning Coffee Stout, 7 Fjell Bryggeri (Norway)
Certificate of Excellence: Midnight Ritual, Moylan’s Brewing (US)

Category 7: Flavoured Beer: Coffee
Gold: Breakfast Stout, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)

Category 8: Flavoured Beer: Fruit Beer
Gold: Malagrika, Birrificio B94 SRL (Italy)
Silver: Boysenberry Fruit Puncheon, Wander Brewing (US)
Bronze: Red & White, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Mort Subite Oude Kriek Lambic, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)

Category 9: Flavoured Beer: Fruit Lambic
Gold: Kriek Boon Mariage Parfait, Brouwerij Boon N.V. (Belgium)
Silver: Oude Kriek Cuvée René, Brouwerij Lindemans (Belgium)
Bronze: Oude Kriek Oud Beersel, Oud Beersel BVBA (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Timmermans Oude Kriek, Timmermans (Belgium)

Category 10: Flavoured Beer: Herb & Spice
Gold: Fleur Sofronia, MC77 – Birrificio Artigianale (Italy)
Silver: Zinnbach Kung Fu Beer, Shandong ZinnBach Biotechnology Co., LTD (China)
Bronze: Glezia, Glezia Beer (Belgium)

Category 11: Flavoured Beer: Honey Beer
Gold: Humdinger, Joseph Holt Ltd (UK)
Silver: Barbãr Blonde, Brasserie Lefebvre (Belgium)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Honey Queen, Boston Beer Company (US)

Category 12: Flavoured Beer: Pumpkin ale
Silver: Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Fat Jack, Boston Beer Company (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Saranac Pumpkin Ale, FX Matt Brewing (US)

Category 13: Flavoured Beer: Smoked Beer
Gold: Bax Bier Koud Vuur, Bax Bier Groningen (Netherlands)
Silver: Arsa, Birrificio Birranova (Italy)
Bronze: Roulv, Bryggeriet Frejdahl (Denmark)
Certificate of Excellence: Stray Bird Smoked Porter, Stray Bird Brewery (China)
Certificate of Excellence: Smoked Revolution, Birrificio Birranova (Italy)

Category 14: Flavoured Beer: Sweet/Milk Stout
Gold: Nocturna, Kamun SRL (Italy)
Silver: Steel Toe Stout, Ska Brewing (US)
Bronze: Milk Stout, Left Hand Brewing (US)

Category 15: Flavoured Beer: Wood/Barrel Aged
Gold: Black Butte ^ 3, Deschutes Brewing (US)
Silver: Keyte Jubileum, Brouwerij Strubbe (Belgium)
Bronze: Ska Face, Ska Brewing (US)

Category 16: Lager: American-Style Pilsner
Silver: Salamander Hoppy Violet Potato Lager, Browar Stu Mostów (Poland)

Category 17: Lager: Bohemian-Style Pilsner
Silver: Bohemian Pilsner, Brauerei Lemke Berlin (Germany)
Bronze: Maes Pils, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)

Category 18: Lager: Dark/Dunkel (including Schwarzbier)
Gold: Bamberg Schwarzbier, Cervejaria Bamberg (Brazil)
Silver: Vadia Preta, Cerveja Vadia (Portugal)
Bronze: Premium Dark, Primátor a.s. (Czech Republic)

Category 19: Lager: German-Style Dunkel Bock/Doppelbock
Gold: Ezelenbok, SNAB Bierbrouwers (Netherlands)
Silver: Bokkepruik, Brouwerij Hommeles (Netherlands)
Bronze: Cerveza Apóstol Premium Tipo Bock, Indsutria de Cervezas y Bebidas SAS (Colombia)
Certificate of Excellence: St. Christoffel Bock, Christoffel Bieren B.V. (Netherlands)

Category 20: Lager: German-Style Helles-/MaiBock/Doppelbock
Silver: San Miguel Selecta XV, Mahou San Miguel (Spain)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Double Bock, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Alfa Super Dort, Alfa brouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 21: Lager: German-Style Märzen
Gold: Oachkatzlschwoaf, Urban Chestnut Brewing (US)
Silver: Octoberfest, Wormtown Brewery (US)
Bronze: Saranac Adirondack Lager, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 22: Lager: German-Style Pilsner
Gold: Bavik Pils, Brouwerij de Brabandere (Belgium)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Stolz der Bayern Pilsener, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Cisk Export, Simonds Farsons Cisk (Malta)
Certificate of Excellence: ViaEmilia, Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)

Category 23: Lager: Helles
Gold: Birra Ichnusa Cruda, Heineken Italia (Italy)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Bayerisch Hell, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Exquisit, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Brixia Lager, La Curtense (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence: Estaminet, Brouwerij Palm (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Birra Ichnusa, Heineken Italia (Italy)

Category 24: Lager: Ice
Bronze: Corsaire, Brasserie Lorraine (France)

Category 25: Lager: International Style Pilsner
Gold: Asahi Super Dry, Asahi Breweries, Ltd (Japan)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Schweden Pils, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Bierland Pilsen, Cervejaria Bierland (Brazil)
Certificate of Excellence: De Leckere Pilsener, De Leckere BV (Netherlands)

Category 26: Lager: Light Lager
Gold: McGargles Fancy Frank’s Lager, Rye River Brewing (Ireland)
Silver: Heineken Light, Heineken International (Netherlands)
Bronze: San Miguel Fresca, Mahou San Miguel (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Utica Club Pilsener, FX Matt Brewing (US)

Category 27: Pale & Amber Ale: (Belgian style) Tripel
Gold: Hoegaarden Grand Cru, AB Inbev (Belgium)
Silver: Bersalis Tripel, Oud Beersel BVBA (Belgium)
Bronze: Rangsken, Den Houten Molen (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Gouden Carolus Tripel, Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)

Category 28: Pale & Amber Ale: Abbey / Trappist Style Blond
Gold: Maredsous Blond, Duvel Moortgat (Belgium)
Silver: Affligem Blond, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)
Bronze: 7PK, Vzw De Winning Maatwerk / PK (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: ABT Fundum Blond, Columbus Management / Zonderik Beer Company (Belgium)

Category 29: Pale & Amber Ale: Altbier
Gold: Bamberg Altbier, Cervejaria Bamberg (Brazil)
Silver: Samuel Adams Boston Ale, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Flying Bison Rusty Chain, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 30: Pale & Amber Ale: Amber
Gold: Brevis Furor, Birrificio dei Castelli (Italy)
Silver: Palm, Brouwerij Palm (Belgium)
Bronze: Doom Bar, Sharp’s Brewery (UK)
Certificate of Excellence: Blue Label Ale, Simonds Farsons Cisk (Malta)

Category 31: Pale & Amber Ale: American IPA (Greater than 6.5 ABV)
Gold: Capivara Little IPA, Cerveja Blumenau (Brazil)
Silver: Odell IPA, Odell Brewing (US)
Bronze: Sculpin, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Pallet Jack IPA, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)

Category 32: Pale & Amber Ale: American IPA (Less than 6.5 ABV)
Gold: Hopvine IPA, Schooner Exact Brewing (US)
Silver: Be Hoppy, Wormtown Brewery (US)
Bronze: Long White Cloud Pale Ale, Long White Cloud Brewing (New Zealand)

Category 33: Pale & Amber Ale: Best Bitter
Gold: Cutthroat Pale Ale, Uinta Brewing (US)
Silver: 942, Dougall’s (Spain)
Bronze: Punks Do It Bitter, Birrificio Indipendente Elav (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence: Calico, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)

Category 34: Pale & Amber Ale: Bières de Garde ambrée
Gold: Brassin d’hiver, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc (France)
Silver: Terenez Blonde, La brasserie du bout du monde (France)
Bronze: La Rousse, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc (France)
Certificate of Excellence: Rare Vos, Brewery Ommegang (US)

Category 35: Pale & Amber Ale: Bitter
Gold: Jopen Jacobus RPA, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Silver: Patagonia Küne Pale Ale, Cerveza Patagonia (Argentina)
Bronze: ROCK Ale Cut, Schlossbrauerei Friedenfels GmbH (Germany)

Category 36: Pale & Amber Ale: Bitter Blond / Golden Ale
Gold: Seef Bier, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie NV (Belgium)
Silver: Steenbrugge Blond, Brouwerij de Gouden Boom (Belgium)
Bronze: Maneblusser, Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)

Category 37: Pale & Amber Ale: English IPA
Gold: San Blas – English IPA, Lord Chambray (Malta)
Silver: Dales Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Brewery (US)
Bronze: Butcombe Atlantic IPA, Butcombe Brewery (UK)
Certificate of Excellence: BBP Aupa Pale Ale, Basqueland Brewing Company S.L. (Spain)

Category 38: Pale & Amber Ale: Imperial IPA
Silver: The Calling IPA, Boulevard Brewing (US)
Bronze: Dreamcrusher, Deep Ellum Brewing (US)

Category 39: Pale & Amber Ale: Kölsch
Gold: BBP Captain Norbert Kolsch, Basqueland Brewing Company S.L. (Spain)

Category 40: Pale & Amber Ale: Light Bitter Blond / Golden Ale
Gold: Atlantic, Sharp’s Brewery (UK)
Silver: Bax Bier Kon Minder, Bax Bier Groningen (Netherlands)
Bronze: Wild Jo, Brouwerij de Koninck (Belgium)

Category 41: Pale & Amber Ale: Saison
Gold: Saison Dupont Biologique, Brasserie Dupont (Belgium)
Silver: Biir – Country Belgian Farmhouse Ale, Brouwerij Montaigu – BIIR Brewer Assoc. (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Saison, Brouwerij Maximus B.V. (Netherlands)

Category 42: Pale & Amber Ale: Strong Blonde / Golden Ale
Gold: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, Boulevard Brewing (US)
Silver: St-Feuillien Grand Cru, Brasserie St-Feuillien (Belgium)
Bronze: Hopruiter, Scheldebrouwerij bvba (BElgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Caulier Triple / Gluten Free, Caulier Developpement SA / NV (Belgium)

Category 43: Pale & Amber Ale: Strong / Extra Special Bitter
Gold: ESB/Amber, Saugatuck Brewing (US)
Silver: Leyenda, Dougall’s (Spain)

Category 44: Red Ale: American Red Ale
Gold: Daylight, Track 7 Brewing (US)
Silver: Route 77, Birrificio il Mastio (Italy)
Bronze: Pastorale, Van Moll (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Ebers American Pale Ale 2015, Land Food & Beverage Soc. Coop. Agricola (Italy)

Category 45: Red Ale: Irish Red Ale
Gold: McGargles Granny Mary’s Red Ale, Rye River Brewing (Ireland)
Silver: Red Cap Irish Style Red Ale, Kulshan Brewing (US)
Bronze: Barbarossa, Birrificio Svevo di Cisco Vito (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 46: Red Ale: Oud Rood (Flanders Red Ale)
Gold: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Brouwerij Rodenbach (Belgium)
Silver: Samuel Adams Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, Boston Beer Company (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Rodenbach, Brouwerij Rodenbach (Belgium)

Category 47: Speciality Beer: Barley Wine
Gold: Olde School Barley Wine, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (US)
Silver: Fathead Barley Wine, Nebraska Brewing (US)
Bronze: Bohemia Reserva, Ambev S.A. (Brazil)
Certificate of Excellence: SEVEN, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)

Category 48: Speciality Beer: Brut Beer
Bronze: Broeder Jacob Brut Rosé, Brouwerij Broeder Jacob (Belgium)

Category 49: Speciality Beer: Hybrid
Gold: Sun Barley Bio Blonde, Micro Birrificio Castel del Monte (Italy)
Silver: Karibu, Piccolo Birrificio Indipendente Decimoprimo (Italy)
Bronze: Brutus, Brouwerij Maximus B.V. (Netherlands)

Category 50: Speciality Beer: Lambic & Gueuze
Gold: Timmermans Oude Gueuze, Timmermans (Belgium)
Silver: Coolship Resurgam, Allagash Brewing (US)
Bronze: Sour Opal, Firestone Walker Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Gueuze Boon VAT 77, Brouwerij Boon N.V. (Belgium)

Category 51: Speciality Beer: Speciality Beer
Gold: Nonniversaire, HopSaSam (Belgium)
Silver: Petrus Aged Pale, Brouwerij de Brabandere (Belgium)
Bronze: Gulpener Ur-Hop, Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 52: Speciality Beer: Winter Ales
Gold: Gulpener Wintervrund, Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Silver: UnderCover – Christmas Ale, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 53: Stout/Porter: American Stout
Gold: Calix Niger, Birrificio dei Castelli (Italy)
Silver: Obsidian Stout, Deschutes Brewing (US)
Bronze: Darker than your Soul, Saugatuck Brewing (US)

Category 54: Stout/Porter: Baltic Porter
Gold: Ballast Point Baltic Porter, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Bronze: Cornelius Porter, Sulimar Sp z o.o. (Poland)

Category 55: Stout/Porter: Dry Stout
Gold: Stringers Dry Stout, Stringers Beer (UK)
Silver: Dry Stout, Reuben’s Brews (US)
Silver: Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout, Moylan’s Brewing (US)

Category 56: Stout/Porter: Oatmeal Stout
Gold: De Poet, New Holland Brewing (US)
Silver: Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Oatmeal Stout, Blue Point Brewing (US)

Category 57: Stout/Porter: Porter
Gold: Magarìa, ‘a Magara (Italy)
Silver: Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing (US)
Bronze: Transporter, Kulshan Brewing (US)
Bronze: Arriaca Imperial Porter, Cervezas Arriaca SL (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Malvados Porter, Malvados Beer by Crevezart (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Turkunara, P3 Brewing (Italy)

Category 58: Stout/Porter: Russian Imperial Stout
Gold: Ten Fidy, Oskar Blues Brewery (US)
Silver: Mìerula, ‘a Magara (Italy)
Bronze: Ukrainian Imperial Stout, Pravda Beer Theatre (Ukraine)
Certificate of Excellence: Nautilus, Birrificio Mezzavia (Italy)

Category 59: Stout/Porter: Stout Export
Gold: Tsunami Stout, Pelican Pub & Brewery (US)
Silver: Duits & Lauret Stout, Duits & Lauret (Netherlands)
Bronze: Voreia Stout, SIRIS Microbrewery (Greece)
Certificate of Excellence: Asahi Stout, Asahi Breweries, Ltd (Japan)

Category 60: Wheat: Dubbel Wit / Imperial White
Gold: IJwit, Brouwerij ‘t IJ (Netherlands)

Category 61: Wheat: Dunkel Weizen
Bronze: Friedenfelser Dunkles Weizen, Schlossbrauerei Friedenfels GmbH (Germany)

Category 62: Wheat: Dunkel Weizen(doppel)bock
Gold: Texels Bock, Texelse Bierbrouwerij BV (Netherlands)
Bronze: TAP6 Unser Aventinus, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Germany)
Certificate of Excellence: Jopen Johannieter, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)

Category 63: Wheat: Gose
Gold: Gose, pFriem Family Brewers (US)
Silver: Sun Barley Bio Blanche, Micro Birrificio Castel del Monte (Italy)

Category 64: Wheat: Weizen
Gold: Weizenbier, Primátor a.s. (Czech Republic)
Bronze: Cornelius Pszeniczny, Sulimar Sp z o.o. (Poland)
Bronze: TAP1 Meine Blonde Weisse, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Germany)

Category 65: Wheat: White IPA / Hoppy Weizen
Gold: Weiss Weiss Baby, Figueroa Mountain Brewing (US)
Silver: Lunette, Brasserie de la Pleine Lune (France)
Bronze: Les 4 Surfeurs de l’Apocalypso, Le Trou du diable (Canada)
Certificate of Excellence: Sirena, Birrificio Della Granda (Italy)

Category 66: Wheat: Witbier
Gold: Alkali Wit, Track 7 Brewing (US)
Gold: Montelago Litha, Birrificio il Mastio (Italy)
Silver: Blanche de Namur, Brasserie du Bocq (Belgium)
Bronze: St. Paul White, Brouwerij Sterkens Bierparadijs (Belgium)

Best Belgian Beer

Best Belgian Beer
Saison Dupont Biologique, Brasserie Dupont (Belgium)

The Comac Trophy: Best in Show

The Comac Trophy: Best in Show
Hopvine IPA, Schooner Exact Brewing (US)

SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev Reach “Agreement In Principle”

abib sabmiller
While most of us were sleeping, it appears SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev were quite busy, and announced this morning SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev [Reach] Agreement in principle and extension of PUSU. The New York Times has an analysis of the deal, or you can read the entire Press Release from SABMiller:


LONDON–The Boards of AB InBev (Euronext: ABI) (NYSE: BUD) and SABMiller (LSE: SAB) (JSE: SAB) announce that they have reached agreement in principle on the key terms of a possible recommended offer to be made by AB InBev for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of SABMiller (the “Possible Offer”).

Terms of Possible Offer

Under the terms of the Possible Offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to receive GBP 44.00 per share in cash, with a partial share alternative (“PSA”) available for approximately 41% of the SABMiller shares.

The all-cash offer represents a premium of approximately 50% to SABMiller’s closing share price of GBP 29.34 on 14 September 2015 (being the last business day prior to renewed speculation of an approach from AB InBev).

The PSA consists of 0.483969 unlisted shares and GBP 3.7788 in cash for each SABMiller share, equivalent to a value of GBP 39.03 per SABMiller share on 12 October 2015, representing a premium of approximately 33% to the closing SABMiller share price of GBP 29.34 as of 14 September 2015. Further details of the PSA are set out below.

In addition, under the Possible Offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to any dividends declared or paid by SABMiller in the ordinary course in respect of any completed six-month period ended 30 September or 31 March prior to completion of the possible transaction, which shall not exceed USD 0.2825 per share for the period ended 30 September 2015 and a further USD 0.9375 per share for the period ended 31 March 2016 (totalling USD 1.22 per share) and shall not exceed an amount to be agreed between AB InBev and SABMiller in respect of periods thereafter (which shall be disclosed in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer).

The Board of SABMiller has indicated to AB InBev that it would be prepared unanimously to recommend the all-cash offer of GBP 44.00 per SABMiller share to SABMiller shareholders, subject to their fiduciary duties and satisfactory resolution of the other terms and conditions of the Possible Offer.

Antitrust and reverse break fee

In connection with the Possible Offer, AB InBev would agree to a “best efforts” commitment to obtain any regulatory clearances required to proceed to closing of the transaction. In addition, AB InBev would agree to a reverse break fee of USD 3 billion payable to SABMiller in the event that the transaction fails to close as a result of the failure to obtain regulatory clearances or the approval of AB InBev shareholders.


The announcement of a formal transaction would be subject to the following matters:

  1. a) unanimous recommendation by the Board of SABMiller in respect of the all-cash offer, and the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction from members of the SABMiller Board, in a form acceptable to AB InBev;
  2. b) the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction and to elect for the PSA from SABMiller’s two major shareholders, Altria Group, Inc. and BevCo Ltd., in each case in respect of all of their shareholding and in a form acceptable to AB InBev and SABMiller;
  3. c) the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction from AB InBev’s largest shareholders, the Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev, EPS Participations SaRL and BRC SaRL in a form acceptable to AB InBev and SABMiller;
  4. d) satisfactory completion of customary due diligence; and
  5. e) final approval by the Board of AB InBev.

The Board of AB InBev fully supports the terms of this Possible Offer and expects (subject to the matters above) to give its formal approval immediately prior to announcement.

AB InBev reserves the right to waive in whole or in part any of the pre-conditions to making an offer set out in this announcement, other than c) above which will not be waived.

The conditions of the transaction will be customary for a combination of this nature, and will include approval by both companies’ shareholders and receipt of antitrust and regulatory approvals.

In view of the timetable for obtaining some of these approvals, AB InBev envisages proceeding by way of a pre-conditional scheme of arrangement in accordance with the Code.

The cash consideration under the transaction would be financed through a combination of AB InBev’s internal financial resources and new third party debt.

Further details of the PSA

The PSA comprises up to 326 million shares, which will be available for approximately 41% of the SABMiller shares. These shares would take the form of a separate class of AB InBev shares (the “Restricted Shares”)[1], with the following characteristics:

  • Unlisted and not admitted to trading on any stock exchange;
  • Subject to a five-year lock-up from closing;
  • Convertible into AB InBev ordinary shares on a one for one basis after the end of that five year period;
  • Ranking equally with AB InBev ordinary shares with regards to dividends and voting rights; and
  • Director nomination rights.

SABMiller shareholders who elect for the partial share alternative will receive 0.483969 Restricted Shares[2] and GBP 3.7788 in cash for each SABMiller share.

Extension of the PUSU deadline

In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, AB InBev was required, by not later than 5.00 pm on 14 October 2015, to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for SABMiller, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies.

In accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code, the Board of SABMiller has requested that the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Panel”) extends the relevant deadline, as referred to above, to enable the parties to continue their talks regarding the Possible Offer. In the light of this request, an extension has been granted by the Panel and AB InBev must, by not later than 5.00 pm on 28 October 2015, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for SABMiller, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline will only be extended with the consent of the Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code.

AB InBev reserves the following rights:

  1. a) to introduce other forms of consideration and/or to vary the composition of consideration;
  2. b) to implement the transaction through or together with a subsidiary of AB InBev or NewCo or a company which will become a subsidiary of AB InBev or NewCo;
  3. c) to make an offer (including the all-cash offer and PSA) for SABMiller at any time on less favourable terms:

(i) with the agreement or recommendation of the Board of SABMiller;
(ii) if a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller on less favourable terms; or
(iii) following the announcement by SABMiller of a whitewash transaction pursuant to the Code; and

  1. d) to reduce its offer (including the all-cash offer and PSA) by the amount of any dividend that is announced, declared, made or paid by SABMiller prior to completion, save for ordinary course dividends declared or paid prior to completion, which shall not exceed USD 0.2825 per share for the period ended 30 September 2015 and a further USD 0.9375 per share for the period ended 31 March 2016 (totalling USD 1.22 per share) and shall not exceed an amount to be agreed between AB InBev and SABMiller in respect of periods thereafter (which shall be disclosed in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer).

The announcement does not constitute an offer or impose any obligation on AB InBev to make an offer, nor does it evidence a firm intention to make an offer within the meaning of the Code. There can be no certainty that a formal offer will be made.

A further announcement will be made when appropriate.


Kurt Widmer Announces His Retirement

Kurt Widmer, the older brother in Widmer Brothers Brewing, announced today he will be retiring at the end of 2015 from the day-to-day work with the business he founded with his brother Rob in 1984, 31 years ago.

Here’s the press release from the Craft Brew Alliance:

Kurt R. Widmer, 63, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing, announced today that he will retire from Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (“CBA”) and will be leaving CBA’s Board of Directors at the end of the year. At that time, he will assume the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Widmer has served as Chairman of the Board since Craft Brew Alliance was formed in 2008 through the merger of pioneering Pacific Northwest craft brewing companies Redhook Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing. Previously, Mr. Widmer served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Widmer Brothers Brewing Company from 1984 until 2008.

Mr. Widmer will remain in his role through December 31, 2015 to support the transition as CBA’s Board of Directors engages in the process of selecting a new Chairperson.

“Since my brother Rob and I founded Widmer Brothers Brewing over 31 years ago, this extraordinary industry that we helped create has grown and evolved in ways I couldn’t even imagine,” said Mr. Widmer. “Many of us who set the foundation for today’s booming craft beer market are thinking about the next chapter in our lives, and my wife Ann and I have been discussing the fact that there’s still a lot we want to do. So while I’ll miss walking into my office at the brewery every day, I’m admittedly looking forward to more time with my family and doing more of what I love to do – whether it’s traveling around the world or home brewing in the basement.”

He continued, “In terms of timing, I feel really good about where CBA is today. Looking back on how CBA has grown from two craft beer companies to a powerful alliance of great beers, brands, breweries and partners, I couldn’t be more confident in the future. The focus, expertise, and vision of the leadership team, under the helm of Andy Thomas, are further proof that CBA, its people, and its shareholders are in great hands. People who know me will probably not believe that I’m stepping away from Widmer Brothers and CBA. As a Widmer Brother, I will always look forward to that next innovative collaboration or a chance to connect with Widmer fans over a pint of Hefe at a local account.”

Kurt and Rob Widmer co-founded Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon in 1984 with help from their father Ray. They are among a handful of brewers in the United States credited with creating a universally recognized new style in 1986 with Hefe, the original American-style Hefeweizen and the #1 selling craft beer in Oregon.

“I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of truly remarkable people in this industry, and Kurt Widmer is definitely at the top of the list,” said Andy Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, CBA. “From his role in creating the craft beer category, to his foresight and vision in bringing together CBA to secure his brands’ route to market — and the adversity he faced as a direct result — to the role he continues to play as an impassioned advocate of our industry, Kurt has made a profound impact on many of us. CBA wouldn’t be CBA without Kurt Widmer, and I am grateful for his support and confidence as we continue forward.”

Kurt (center) with Gary Fish and Fred Eckhardt at the Horse Brass for Don Younger’s memorial in 2011.

Labatt Breweries Buys Mill Street

Mill-Street labatt
This morning, Labatt Breweries, itself part of the family of brands owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, announced that they were purchasing Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery.

From the press release:

Labatt Breweries of Canada today announced that it has purchased Mill Street Brewery, an award-winning craft brewer based in Toronto. The deal will allow Mill Street to deepen its traction with consumers in the fast growing craft beer segment, where it has an extraordinary variety of unique beers, as well as brew pubs in both Toronto and Ottawa. To help achieve this, Labatt will immediately invest $10 million in Mill Street’s Toronto brewery, which includes a state-of-the-art brewhouse and packaging capabilities.

“Mill Street has continually distinguished itself with its energy and success in innovation, and powerful commitment to great-tasting quality beer,” said Labatt president Jan Craps. “Our partnership and investment will accelerate its growth in one of the most dynamic beer segments, while fully preserving Mill Street’s creative character and pioneering spirit.”

“With the success of Mill Street has come the challenge of serving a growing demand for our brands,” said Irvine Weitzman, Mill Street CEO, who will continue with Mill Street along with co-founder Steve Abrams and famed brewmaster Joel Manning. “Our partnership with Labatt is a natural evolution in our growth that will allow more Canadians to enjoy our beer and secure the legacy of our brands by allowing us to remain focused on the authentic characteristics that have made Mill Street what it is today.”

Founded in Toronto’s Distillery District in 2002, Mill Street is an award-winning craft brewery and the largest producer of certified organic beer in Canada. It has won numerous beer quality awards including the Canadian Brewery of the Year Award in three consecutive years. Core brands include Ontario’s first organic beer, Mill Street Original Organic Lager, along with 100th Meridian, Tankhouse Ale, and Cobblestone Stout. The brewer is also renowned for permanent specialties including a strong golden ale Betelgeuse, an Irish-style red ale Bob’s Bearded Red and nitrogen-charged Vanilla Porter, as well as for several small-batch specialty beers.

“Throughout our history, our dedication to our craft and our passion for pushing the envelope have allowed Mill Street to make waves in Canada’s craft beer segment,” said Abrams. “We are excited about the prospect of working with Labatt to build even further on our successes and sharing our brands with more beer lovers across Canada.”

Mill Street brands will continue to be brewed under the expertise of brewmaster Joel Manning.
“This investment in a state-of-the-art brewhouse that Mill Street will run on a stand-alone basis positions us to reach the very top of our craft,” added Manning. “We couldn’t be more pleased by this fantastic opportunity to further entrench our reputation for innovation and quality, and bring more great brands to more consumers.”

Labatt and Mill Street Brewery announce purchase agreement
From left to right: Irvine Weitzman, Mill Street CEO, Jan Craps, President of Labatt, Joel Manning, Brewmaster at Mill Street, and Steve Abrams, Co-Founder of Mill Street. (CNW Group/Labatt Breweries of Canada)

SABMiller Rejects Buyout Offer From A-B InBev

abib sabmiller
SABMiller released a statement this morning rejecting the latest takeover offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev. You may, or may not, be able to read the statements released by SABMiller on their website, and there are some fairly scary disclaimers including language that, depending on your jurisdiction, claims that the publicly available information may not be legal to read, and in such case advise you to “exit this web page.” Which while I’m sure is required by some law, probably UK law, also feels fairly ridiculous. At any rate, quite a few news outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the New York Times are all reporting on it, so it must be okay for the likes of me.

The gist of it is the SABMiller board unanimously rejected ABI’s latest takeover offer, for the primary reason that they believe ABI’s offer “substantially” undervalues their company (currently the offer values SABMiller at $104 billion), among a few other technical reasons having to do with the timing, regulatory issues and others. The current offer is for roughly £65.14 billion, which is $99.76 billion dollars.

The Wall Street Journal helpfully created a graphic showing the recent history of the potential deal as it’s been unfolding.


There’s little doubt this is not the end of it, but there will continue to be a back and forth as this high-stakes game unfolds. And it really is a game, sad to say. Apparently negotiations have been tense, which really should not come as a shock to anybody, yet you see statements like this. “AB InBev is disappointed that the board of SABMiller has rejected both of these prior approaches without any meaningful engagement.” The absurdity of that reveals the gamesmanship involved, as it plays out in the media. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.