The Beer Tourism Index

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Undoubtedly beer tourism is growing phenomenon, and has been for some time. Fifteen years ago, when I was GM of the Celebrator Beer News, the “Hopspots” sections were the most popular in the brewspaper, as many readers reported that they always kept one in their car when they travelled to help them find a beer spot (remember that was before smartphones and GPS were ubiquitous). I know for at least thirty years I’ve been including beer destinations any time I travel, even before I did so as part of my profession. Having that information at your fingertips through apps, websites and GPS has only helped to increase beer travel, I think, and at least part of the success of beer weeks has to do with the goal of bringing tourism to specific geographic areas; essentially making the week the destination rather than a side trip. So it’s interesting to see that a popular travel website, Travelocity, is not only recognizing how beer people travel, but has created a Beer Tourism Index to rank the Top Beer Destinations, dividing them by large and small metro areas (though I’m surprised they consider Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Lancaster PA and a few others as “large”). Also somewhat curious is the total absence of the San Francisco Bay Area, or even San Francisco or Oakland/East Bay in the listings. What’s especially odd about that is that San Francisco is one of the top tourist destination cities (it’s number two according to EscapeHere and #5 according to TripAdvisor and #3 via Business Insider). At any rate, according to their press release.

By examining the location of all breweries in the U.S. and looking at other factors important to a successful “beercation,” including the availability of rideshare services, accessibility via air, and the average cost of lodging, this index identified the best large and small metro areas to sample some of the nation’s best craft beers.

Here’s the full list below:

Travelocity-BeerDestinations

And here’s the criteria used to arrive at this list:

*To find the top metropolitan areas for beer tourism, Travelocity scored the over 300 US MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) on four factors:

  • Breweries per 1 million residents: Working with the Brewers Association (an organization representing the majority of independent brewers in the US), every MSA was scored by the number of breweries and brewpubs per 1 million residents
  • Rideshare availability: To get a full sampling of a region’s beer culture, a beer tourist may need to visit multiple breweries across the area. Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft are invaluable for this, so each MSA was scored on availability of both, either, or neither of these services.
  • Nonstop air destinations: If the MSA has an airport with scheduled air service – from how many destinations is nonstop service available?
  • Lodging score: Each MSA was scored on the price of an average room night for the 2015 calendar year. The lower the price, the higher the score for the MSA.

The Brewers Association also released a joint press release, adding:

Beer tourism is a big deal. We estimate that in 2014, more than 10 million people toured small and independent craft breweries. That’s a lot of brewery tours. Just search “beercations” and you’ll get a plethora of results on where to tour local breweries.

More than 7 percent of craft sales (by volume) now happen at the source—the brewery. Craft brewers are now a main attraction for travelers. For example, in 2015, the Brewers Association’s three-day Great American Beer Festival generated the equivalent of 2 percent of Denver’s GDP, accounting for $28.6 million. Beer tourism is so strong that travel website Travelocity just published a beer tourism index.

In a Travelocity survey of 1,003 people, more than three-quarters said they would like to go on a trip where they visited craft breweries and sampled local beer. With numerous beer trails flourishing across the U.S. and beer events including festivals and special beer releases racking up millions upon millions of tourism trips and dollars, the modern beercation is a boon to beer.

The Brewers Association commissioned a Nielsen Omnibus panel in June 2016 that asked, “How many, if any, craft breweries have you visited at their site in the past 12 months while traveling?” The answer: on average 2.1 breweries. Impressive.

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ABI Buys Brouwerij Bosteels

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I was at a conference in Sacramento most of the day, but it was hard to escape the jaw-dropping news that Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired another brewery to add to its growing portfolio. That kind of news is becoming almost routine, but this time the brewery they bought is a little surprising. Brouwerij Bosteels, who until this deal was a member of the Belgian Family Brewers, makes a trio of high profile, well-known beers: Kwak, Tripel Karmeliet and DeuS. Until now, the brewery had been in the same family — the Bosteels — for over 200 years, and seven generations, having been founded Evarist Bosteels in 1791.

While the price was not disclosed, the rumor is $225 million, or “15 times enterprise value to Ebitda,” according to The Street, by way of reports coming out of Belgium. Antoine Bosteels will continue to run the family business

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Antoine Bosteels (center, with his father to the right) during a visit to the brewery in 2013.

Via Craft Business Daily, Korneel Warlop, who is the Manager External Communication BeLux & Global at Anheuser-Busch InBev, said “Bosteels will continue brewing its heritage brands Tripel Karmeliet, Kwak and DeuS in the original brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium.

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The Bosteels brewery during a second trip there, also in 2013.

MillerCoors Buys Revolver Brewing

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MillerCoors has been in an acquisitive mood here of late. Over the last month, they’ve bought controlling interests in two small breweries — Hop Valley and Terrapin — and last week they announced they’re acquiring a majority interest in Texas’ Revolver Brewing, which opened in 2012. But their brewmaster was Grant Wood, who had previously brewed at the Boston Beer Co. at their Jamaica Plain facility, and was an experienced and talented brewer. I think that really got them off to a fast start, and when I tried their beer at GABF the first year they were there, he was making some terrific beers, not surprisingly.

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Here’s the press release:

Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors, announced today an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Granbury, Texas-based Revolver Brewing. Revolver Brewing is highly regarded in the Texas craft beer community for its flagship brand Blood & Honey, a uniquely approachable craft beer that has quickly become one of the leading craft brands in the Dallas-Fort Worth Market.

“We are excited to be joining the Tenth and Blake family, which shares our commitment to brewing great craft beer,” said Rhett Keisler, Revolver Brewing co-founder and president. “This partnership will allow us to maintain our brewery and operations in Granbury, while providing us with the additional resources to invest in and accelerate the growth of the Revolver brand in Texas.”

Founded in 2012 by father and son Ron and Rhett Keisler, along with seasoned master brewer and cicerone Grant Wood, Revolver Brewing has made incredible waves in the Texas craft beer community in a mere four years. Revolver Brewing calls Granbury home and is currently distributed in Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Austin and surrounding areas.

Revolver Brewing will operate as a separate business unit of Tenth and Blake. Revolver’s management and employees will continue to create, brew, package, market and sell Revolver’s portfolio of brands.

“We have tremendous respect for the quality and innovation that Revolver Brewing has brought to the Texas craft community and are thrilled to have such a terrific team and portfolio join Tenth and Blake,” said Scott Whitley, president and CEO of Tenth and Blake. “Our main priority will be to work with the Revolver team to support its continued success and make sure its beer is enjoyed by even more consumers in Texas.”

Revolver Brewing joins other leading crafts in the Tenth and Blake portfolio, including Blue Moon Brewing Company, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Crispin Cider Company, Saint Archer Brewing Company, and, following expected closes in the third quarter, Terrapin Beer Company and Hop Valley Brewing Company. For more information on Revolver Brewing and its portfolio of brands, visit RevolverBrewing.com.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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Terrapin Co-Founder Buys Asheville Brewery

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After Terrapin Brewing Co. was sold to MillerCoors in July, co-founder John Cochran announced late last week that he’s bought Altamont Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. The name will be changed to UpCountry Brewing, although the staff will remain intact, including brewer Jordan Veale. Apparently, he negotiated a “carve out” in the Terrapin/MillerCoors transaction which allowed the purchase of the brewery in Asheville.

Here’s more information, from the press release:

A new addition to the Asheville brewing scene, UpCountry Brewing, takes over the spot formerly operated by West Asheville favorite Altamont Brewing.

Staff at the brewery includes new owner John Cochran, Brewer Jordan Veale, General Manager James Mayfield, Assistant GM Nicole Flynn and Executive Chef Matt Kovitch.

UpCountry Brewing plans to make beers that are sessionable, thirst-quenching and easy drinking. Mayfield said, “Our customers are active folks who want to come in after a ride and enjoy a beer that cools them down, but doesn’t womp them with high alcohol content.”

Cochran has 21 years experience in the world of craft beer including being co-founder of Terrapin Beer. Cochran says, “I fell in love with the Asheville beer scene and wanted to be a part of it. Altamont is a locals bar and anchor of the West Asheville scene. We look forward to continuing to serve everyone who works, lives and enjoys the scene here.”

As part of the new brewery, UpCountry is refitting the adjacent restaurant space, formerly Nona Mia. A limited menu is available in the bar area until the the restaurant refit is complete. The menu features what Chef Kovitch calls Southern Appalachian Eats.

The brewery is located at 1042 Haywood Road and will also feature a game room with pinball and arcade games.

UpCountry

Lagunitas Announces Several Big Changes & New Ventures

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Damn. Go big or go home, I guess. Tony Magee never does anything small … or halfway. Today Lagunitas Brewing announced a number of big changes and new ventures they’ve undertaken. Here’s the first part of the press release, laying out the general idea.

The Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma CA is excited to announce that we are expanding the way we participate in some of the great communities that have helped us learn and grow as brewers. We believe that beer is the original social media and we know that the best way to connect with beer lovers is face to face, over a beer.

Today we are announcing a set of intense local alliances with very special local brewers whose work we admire and are proud to partner with. They are four completely different partnering situations and in concert we will learn from one another and help build our breweries together culturally and geographically.

We don’t live in a world of either/or, our world is both/and. Drawing from the best of the best to find new possibilities is the most thrilling way forward.

The why and how differs from one cultural region to another but the intention remains the same: Connect with, learn from and support our communities. “We expect to be surprised by the things that we encounter as we grow these relationships. This will be a big learning experience for us” says Tony Magee, Founder of Lagunitas.

And here they are, though I’ve re-ordered them in order of importance to me personally. Not exactly scientific, but hey, this is a personal blog, so there you have it. By far, the most surprising, though exciting one, is a joint venture with Brian Hunt and his Moonlight Brewing Co.

Moonlight Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, CA)

We’re thrilled to be entering into a joint venture with Moonlight Brewing Company. We will work alongside Brian and his people to expand the reach of a genuine national treasure. Moonlight opened in 1992, (the year before Lagunitas) at a time when the term “craft” didn’t even exist. Over the years, we’ve long enjoyed a great friendship with brewer/owner Brian Hunt and have huge respect for is people, the beers he brews and the reputation he has created. We’re looking forward to learning together and having a blast doing it.

Brian Hunt (Moonlight)
Brian Hunt.

Independence Brewing Company (Austin, TX)

Lagunitas will combine resources with the great Independence Brewing of Austin TX to help them grow their brewing capacity and do more of what it is that they already do so well. Independence Brewing founders Amy and Rob Cartwright, along with their great people, will continue to lead their company and will help us deepen our own connection to Austin and the Lone Star State. We’re looking forward to learning from each other and sharing our local connections.

A Non-Profit Fund Raising Community Room #1 (NE Portland, OR)

On August 1st, Lagunitas will open the doors to our first Community Room, dedicated 100% to supporting non-profits with their fundraising efforts. The beer and the space will be completely donated to any bona fide Non-Profit organization so that they can focus on raising the funds they need to carry out their respective missions. A Lagunitas team and live music will be on-hand to ensure turnkey execution of the event and most importantly that all of their guests have a great time!

A 2nd Non-Profit Fund Raising Community Room (San Diego, CA)

Our 2nd Community Room will open January 2017. This space will also be made available exclusively to Non-Profit groups for fund raising.

A Lagunitas Taproom & Beer Sanctuary (Historic District Charleston, SC)

Lagunitas is under contract with the beautiful Southend Brewery and Smokehouse of Charleston, SC to convert the long time brewpub to a new Lagunitas Taproom and Beer Sanctuary in the heart of Old Charleston on famous East Bay Street. This turn-of-the-century landmark will be a cornerstone location for Lagunitas in the Southeast, offering small batch beers that are exclusive to the Charleston Taproom and brewed in the existing 10-barrel brewhouse. The Taproom also offers two different floors of event space which we will make available to local non-profits for their fundraising efforts. A Grand Opening party and more information to come in the near future.

Here, I’ll pick up with the remainder of the press release, giving more explanation.

This new thing for us represents our way forward into the brave new world of the brave new world of beer’s brave new world. I say brave thrice because it is exactly that; We don’t know exactly how this will unfold over time or what unforeseen paths forward it will reveal.

These new relationships will be learning experiences for all four of us. We all know that we love beer, we all know that we love brewing and the community that gathers around its fire. We all know that we all want to grow and make new connections. We know we all want to be productive and learn. We know we all want to earn a living and make a home for our employees who’ve put their chips down on the table alongside our own.

As we all learn and begin to grow together in this new paradigm I believe that we will find more partners in other parts of the country that we can also share with and cultivate regional relationships through. If we can get this first step right then it is just the beginning for all of us.

Lagunitas is the lead in the relationship because we gained adequate scale to be able to borrow the money it will take to be the lead and to help, but scale is not insight and money is not creativity. Insight and creativity are everything. They are the cornerstones of small brewing. That is the space where our four teams of brewers and marketers and managers are all standing eye to eye, playing together to try to make magic happen, and I for one am very sure it will. What form it will take will be ours to find out.

One thing is for certain, the future will not be like the past! Furthur….

Cheers all….!!

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And, of course, Tony weighed in with his own take on the changes, though this was originally meant to preface the above information, but I wanted to lead with the news first.

Greetings Fellow Travelers,

Over the last 23 years of running-off the mash and filling the kettle we have come to understand that the new world of small brewing is less a ‘thing’ than it is a ‘journey’. A point on a curve. Jack Joyce, founder of Rogue Brewing in Newport, once said that we’re not in the beer business, we are in the ‘change business’. Ask any brewer older than 5 years and they will tell you that in 2010 small brewing was a whole other place. Ask one older than that and they will tell you the same about 2005, and 2000, and especially 1995. And so it is that 2020 will be unrecognizable to the brewers of 2016.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the personal connection that beer lovers want with the people that make the beer they take into their bodies in the hope it will thrill their tastebuds as it enters their blood enroute to their brains to make it do tricks. This is pretty personal stuff and as brewers our job is to make that connection.

Last September we announced our own way of relating to the world outside of the United States through a joint venture with the last of the largest family-controlled (meet Charlene De Carvalho-Heineken..!) brewer in the world. Most U.S. beer lovers don’t know too much about the family and I really didn’t either until I began to meet them and understand them and their company and grew to love them as people and a company.

There is an old expression friends sometimes use when the go to lunch, ‘Let’s go Dutch’, meaning let’s split the bill. That expression, I’ve learned, comes from a place and a people. You haft’a wonder how it is that a small, mostly flooded, lowland country ever became a global colonial superpower? Most know that New York was once called New Amsterdam but most also don’t know that Brooklyn and Bronx and other local names are actually Dutch names too. The answer to the question is pretty straightforward: The went Dutch. The cooperated, collaborated, shared risk, partnered, co-invested and joint ventured. This is what we built with Heineken, we are pulling on the rope together.

I have seen that one way they achieved their own goals of growing Heineken was and is now to co-invest in local brewers around the globe, not to ‘consolidate’ or dominate or reduce competition, but to expand and nurture the opportunities to the benefit of themselves AND their partners. They do this with big brewers and with brewers far smaller than ourselves in all 24 time zones.

If one were to take a line drawing of a map of the borders of the 50 United States and lay that line drawing over the continent of, say, Europe, it would look a lot like, well, Europe. There’d be spaces the size of France and the UK inside of Nevada and Illinois and there’d be a Rhode Island like there is a Monaco and so on. In Europe nationalism matters and each country has historically meaningful brewers that are important to those individual countries. All over the world, beer is local. It’s gradually becoming more so here too. But Americans still like to think of us all as Americans and we have liked having 50-state nationally distributed brewers.

In the past, before and just after prohibition this wasn’t really so, but it became that way over time. Now it is going back the other way. Small brewing has played a role in re-igniting regional pride the way music and locally-sourced food is doing the same.

Having said all that, it’s no secret that the U.S. is a whole lot of places stitched together by a constitution, right? I mean, good people from Florida are very different from good people from South Dakota and Oregonians would never mistake themselves for Texans. Even Wisconsinites sometimes call Illinoisans ‘Flatlanders’ while some Minnesotans still think that grave-robbing is called date-night in North Dakota (it’s an old Johnny Carson joke….all apologies to North Dakota). There will always be nationally distributed brands and I sincerely hope that Lagunitas can continue to find a place in peoples hearts irrespective of geography by working to be something close to the bone, rooted to a fundamental human experience that actually does cross borders fluidly. But local matters, and will matter even more in the future.

This is very cool actually, because it means that if we can be genuinely local we can be part of the future. When we became genuinely local in Chicago we found lots and lots of new friends that we might not have by just shipping it in from the Left Coast. We’re already feeling the same vibe in Southern California even as we construct our new brewery there. It’s a great thing to be able to do. However we can’t do that everywhere. But….we can go Dutch everywhere, and that’s exactly what we are doing right here right now.

Stone Brewing To Open Taproom & Pilot Brewery In Napa

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Stone Brewing announced today that they were renovating the historic 10,000 square foot Borreo building in downtown Napa. Once completed, it will be a tap room and pilot brewery, which will do growler fills, as well as create exclusive beers for that location. The restaurant will use locally sourced food available “on premise or to take away picnic style.” The new Stone taproom is expected to open sometime next year.

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Here’s the press release from Stone Brewing:

Stone Brewing will begin renovations to a 10,000 square-foot iconic building in downtown Napa, bringing its bold and flavorful craft beer to the region well-known for its amazing wine. Stone’s newest outpost, located on 3rd Street and Soscol Avenue, will include a pilot brewing system, a dining experience, growler fills and Stone merchandise.

“The historic Borreo building is the perfect space for us to put down our roots in Napa,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing CEO & co-founder. “Not only is it literally made of stone, it’s one of downtown’s most iconic links to the 19th century and a landmark that’s been vacant for the past 15 years. We recognize the high quality of wine that comes from the region and the appreciation that Napa Valley locals and visitors have for fresh, well-crafted drink. We are elated to become a contributing part of such an artisanal town.”

The 10-barrel pilot brew system will enable brewers to produce Stone’s iconic bold and innovative beer using core recipes as well as indigenous ingredients from the local geography. The Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa will fill growlers and serve Stone’s year-round beers as well as special releases brewed onsite.

Stone’s food philosophy will carry over to its newest Tap Room with a dining experience that incorporates the local Napa flavors for enjoyment on premise or to take away picnic style. Stone proudly specializes in locally grown, small-farm ingredients and features an eclectic menu of world-inspired cuisine and a unique take on comfort food. As strong advocates for environmental responsibility and high-quality food, Stone will purchase local and small-farm organic produce from the Napa region. Making the most of outstanding weather is something the San Diego-based company is quite familiar with. Locals and tourists visiting Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa will enjoy an outdoor seating area complete with communal tables, fire pits and views overlooking downtown Napa.

The historic Borreo building, named for the family that formerly owned the historic stone structure, is an Italianate Renaissance design made from native-cut stone. It was completed in 1877 and has been vacant since 2001. While keeping historic elements in place, Stone plans to transform the building’s western wall, adding expansive doors to a stunning garden facing the Napa River.

“I’m a huge Napa fan,” said Koch. “I’ve been visiting for more than 20 years and I first toured through the Borreo Building nearly five years ago. We’ve tried a few times to make something happen there, and are thrilled to finally see it come to fruition!”

With an anticipated opening in 2017, Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa joins two expansion projects already underway for the growing company. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Berlin will open its doors in Germany this summer. Stone Brewing — Richmond will begin supplying fresh Stone beer from its 250-barrel brewhouse in July.

ABI Buys Devils Backbone

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In what’s becoming almost routine news, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced this morning the acquisition of Devils Backbone Brewing of Roseland, Virginia.

Here’s the press release:

Today, Anheuser-Busch announced an agreement to acquire Devils Backbone Brewing Company, the leading and fastest-growing craft brewery in the state of Virginia. Devils Backbone will be the latest partner to join the diverse portfolio of craft breweries within The High End, the company’s business unit comprising unique craft and import brands.

“I am extremely pleased to announce the partnership of Devils Backbone Brewing Company with Anheuser-Busch. While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework,” said Steve Crandall, co-founder and CEO of Devils Backbone Brewing Company. “The existing management team plans to stay on board for many years, while continuing to innovate and bring locally crafted Virginia beer to the nation.”

In 2008, founders Steve and Heidi Crandall opened the doors to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in the Virginia Heartland, after being inspired by a ski trip to northern Italy in 1991 where they had their first taste of Germanic style beer. After success with the first brewpub, Basecamp, the decision was made to break ground on the Outpost facility, in Lexington, Virginia. Originally projected to produce 10,000 barrels of beer in its first ten years, the Outpost produced almost 45,000 barrels in its first three. Steve credits much of this early success to the excellent network of distributors within his system, which is weighted heavily towards Anheuser-Busch.

“I congratulate Steve and Heidi Crandall and the entire Devils Backbone team as they partner with Anheuser-Busch,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Through the strength of Anheuser-Busch’s network of distributors, Devils Backbone’s award-winning craft beer will soon be available throughout the country and beyond. I want to thank Devils Backbone for their immense contribution to Virginia’s world-class craft beer industry, and I look forward to the additional exposure for Virginia as a leading state for craft beer lovers.”

Today, the Outpost Brewery & Taproom in Lexington serves as the primary production brewery while the Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows in Roseland, serves as a visitor destination. Devils Backbone takes full advantage of the scenic 100-acre Basecamp property surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering a variety of opportunities for guests to enjoy the outdoors. In 2015, the two locations hosted more than 500,000 guests.

“Devils Backbone has captivated beer drinkers in Virginia since opening its doors eight years ago,” said Felipe Szpigel, President, The High End. “From the beginning, they have shown creativity and talent with the great beers they brew, and they’ve been able to use the authentic offerings at Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows to cultivate a fun, outdoor lifestyle that resonates with everyone. Pair these qualities with dynamic leadership and a dream to do something bigger, and you have the recipe for an even more promising future.”

While best known for its flagship Vienna Lager, which accounted for nearly 60% of Devils Backbone volume in 2015, the portfolio also includes other award-winning year-round favorites like Eight Point IPA and Schwartz Bier. Developing beers with personality and individual integrity of flavor has helped enable Devils Backbone to win four National titles: 2014 Great American Beer Festival Mid-Size Brewery & Brew Team, 2013 Small Brewing Company & Small Brewing Company Brew Team, 2012 Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer, 2010 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery, and the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest Best of Show medals in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with Devils Backbone is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Spring Brews Festival This Weekend

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One of the best Bay Area beer festivals is taking place this Saturday — tomorrow — in Concord. It’s usually a winter festival taking place in January, but because of the brouhaha with SF Beer Week moving because of the Super Bowl in San Francisco sucking up all the event spaces and hotel rooms (or tripling their prices) they decided to move out of the way, and wait until spring. So this year, the Brewing Network is putting on their annual festival, temporarily renamed the Spring Brews Festival. It will take place on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016, from Noon to 4 pm at Todos Santos Plaza.

Here’s more info from the Eventbtrite page where you can also buy tickets:

The Brewing Network’s Winter Brews Festival returns to in Concord to celebrate its seventh year as one of the best craft beer festivals in the Bay Area. And while we are a little late this year due to schedule conflicts and the threat of inclement weather, we’re bringing the same great lineup of amazing beer and another awesome day for beer lovers in Concord!

Tickets are now on sale and are $40 pre-sale or $50 at the gate and include unlimited pours and a commemorative glass. Designated Drivers are just $5, however this is a 21 and over only event so all attendees must be of legal drinking age.

The event is conveniently located just two blocks away from the Concord BART station so mark your calendars for a craft beer infused day for a wonderful cause.

We are very proud that this year’s event is a benefit for the TSBA Arts Foundation, which helps fund the summer music program in Todos Santos Park, as well as youth music programs around Concord.

Unlimited Tasting From Over 50 Craft Breweries

Live Music From Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix Tribute Band

The brewery list is still being built so stay tuned, but below is a look at who will be there as of now to give you a good idea of how many wonderful breweries attend:

21st Amendment Brewery – San Leandro
Drake’s Brewing Co.
White Labs
Ale Industries
Almanac Beer Co
Altamont Beer Works
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
Beechwood Bbq & Brewing
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Berryessa Brewing co
Black Diamond Brewery
Cali Craft Brewing Co.
Cider Brothers
Cleophus Quealy Beer Company
Coronado Brewing Company
Deschutes Brewery & Public House
Dust Bowl Brewing Company
Eagle Rock Brewery
Eight Bridges Brewing
E.J. Phair Brewing Company
Epidemic Ales
Faction Brewing
Fieldwork Brewing Company
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Flat Tail Brewing
Gillman Brewing Company
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Heretic Brewing Company
Hermitage Brewing Company
Highwater Brewing Company
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery
Kinetic Brewing Company
Lagunitas Brewing Co
Libertine Brewing Company
Linden Street Brewery
Lost Coast Brewery
Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery
Marin Brewing Company
Moonlight Brewing Company
Moylan’s Brewing Company
Mraz Brewing Company
Nectar Creek
New Belgium Brewing
North Coast Brewing Company
Pizza Port Brewing Co.
The Rare Barrel
Russian River Brewing Company
Sierra Nevada
Societe Brewing Company
Sonoma Springs Brewing Company
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Sudwerk Brewing Co.
Three Weavers Brewing Company
Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse
Working Man Brewing Company

For more information on the event please visit: BNbrewfest.com.

Rain or shine, we’ve got you covered. And with the Concord BART station just two blocks away, this afternoon event will be sure to satisfy locals wanting to enjoy some beers for a great cause. SORRY, NO DOGS OR CHLDREN WITHIN FESTIVAL GATES. NO SMOKING IN TODOS SANTOS PARK OR DOWNTOWN CONCORD (INCLUDING E-CIGARETTES).

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Deschutes Announces New Brewery In Virginia

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In the rumor mill for several months, today Deschutes Brewing of Bend, Oregon announced that they’ll be building a second brewery in Roanoke, Virginia. They’ve set up a separate page for information about the new facility in Roanoke. Here’s the press release:

Deschutes Brewery announced its much anticipated decision on an east coast location today at an event in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. The growing brewery, which was founded in Oregon in 1988 by Gary Fish, has explored hundreds of potential locations in the region over the last two years. The company selected Roanoke based on several criteria including a culture and community that fit well with Deschutes’ decades-deep roots.

“We started Deschutes Brewery when craft beer wasn’t burgeoning and led with a beer style that wasn’t popular at the time – Black Butte Porter,” said Gary Fish, CEO and founder of the brewery. “This pioneering approach was a key driver behind our decision to go with Roanoke, as that same spirit exists in this community and its fast-growing beer culture.”

The future Roanoke facility has been lovingly dubbed “Brew 4” as it takes its place in line after the original Bend, Oregon public house (Brew 1), the brewery’s production facility in Bend (Brew 2) and the Portland, Oregon public house (Brew 3). Brew 4 will be located at the eastern edge of Roanoke with construction on the site beginning in 2019. Eventually, a little over 100 new jobs will be created for the region, and the new brewery will produce approximately 150,000 barrels to start, with a design to increase capacity as needed. Deschutes expects to start shipping beer from the Roanoke location in about five years.

“Roanoke is honored to be chosen as Deschutes Brewery’s East Coast location after a very thorough review of several communities in the Southeast,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill. “It is a company with a strong culture of community engagement, recognized for its craftsmanship and will be a perfect fit for Roanoke’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle. We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes as we continue to build a diverse, resilient economy.”

Deschutes Brewery chose to add an east coast location after the company’s distribution footprint (which currently includes 28 states and the District of Columbia) reached the east coast. By having a production facility on the eastern seaboard, the brewery will be able to deliver beers – such as its flagship Black Butte Porter – to states east of the Mississippi quickly and more sustainably.

Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes Brewery, who was an integral part of the east coast location selection team, said, “Although it was a tough decision – we loved so many of the communities that we visited over the past two years – we are very excited to be heading to Roanoke. We love the region and everyone we’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with during this process has been incredible. We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome. #Deschutes2Rke we’re on our way and proud to be able to now call Roanoke our second home.”

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Cigar City Bought By Fireman Capital

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In an exclusive this morning, Brewbound is reporting that Fireman Capital to Purchase Cigar City. According to Brewbound, “Cigar City, a leading independent brewery based in Tampa, Fla., has agreed to sell controlling interest to Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which already owns majority stakes in Oskar Blues, Perrin Brewing and the Utah Brewers Cooperative outfit that includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands.”

The overall entity created by Fireman Capital for their brewery acquisitions is United Craft Brews LLC, incorporated in Delaware. The SEC Form D lists Fireman Capital’s address is Waltham, Massachusetts, but information on OpenLEIs lists a registered address in Delaware, but Oskar Blues’ Longmont address as Headquarters for United Craft Brews. Last year, Westwood was still asking Does Oskar Blues Still Own Oskar Blues? This will undoubtedly continue to muddy the waters surrounding the answer to that question.

Rumors had been swirling that ABI was considering Cigar City as their next target for acquisition, and founder Joey Redner confirmed that he’d gotten as far as signing an LOI. But ABI let their exclusivity period pass without executing a formal purchase agreement, leaving Cigar City free to entertain other potential buyers.

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Cigar City’s website posted a joint press release about the transaction:

Oskar Blues Brewery Rolls up a Cigar City Blunt

Longmont, CO, & Tampa Bay, FL — Oskar Blues Brewery announced the acquisition of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Putting months of acquirement rumors to rest, the decision is driven by mutual irreverence, respect and desire to stay true to craft beer roots.

The combination stems from the want to take risks, sniff out bullsh*t and grow against-the-grain in an era of increasing competition within craft beer. The collaboration will match years of large-scale growth, expansion expertise and resources of Oskar Blues with the strength of Cigar City’s local following to help both breweries strengthen their future position. Similarly to Oskar Blues, Cigar City’s award-winning brews are well known and respected within the craft community.

“Cigar City is facing next-level challenges and we needed to develop next-level skills and resources to meet them. But, we got into beer out of passion and an unwavering desire to travel our own path. We didn’t want to just shove our round peg into some f*cking square hole and hope for the best. Florida craft beer drinkers want something they can proudly stand behind. These guys get that. They wrote the book on keeping it real,” says Joey, founder of Cigar City Brewing. Joey will remain as CEO of Cigar City following the transaction.

Since 2009, Cigar City Brewing achieved a near constant growth pattern reaching nearly 60,000 barrels in 2015, placing the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida on the craft beer map. The partnership will provide additional investment for Cigar City’s infrastructure growth within Florida.

“What Cigar City has done for the community of Florida craft beer is impressive. It’s important for our culture to do business with people we want to hang out with and Joey and the gang fit,” Dale Katechis, Soul Founder of Oskar Blues, stated about the new partnership.

Oskar Blues Brewery is the funky brewpub that started brewing beer in 1999 in the small town of Lyons, CO and is responsible for starting the craft beer in-a-can movement in 2002 with Dale’s Pale Ale. In 2008, the brewery expanded down the street to Longmont, CO. and added an additional brewery in Brevard, NC in 2012. Oskar Blues brewed 192,000 barrels in 2015 and announced another brewery in Austin, TX scheduled to open in May of 2016.

Terms of the acquisition are not disclosed.

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