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Ratebeer News for March 1, 2006

A roundup of the latest beer news
Brewers/Industry March 1, 2006      
Written by RateBeer

Santa Rosa, CALIFORNIA -

The year 2005 has been another good year for craft beer. In the United States, the craft beer segment is now the fastest growing in the alcoholic beverage industry for a second year in a row. The Brewers Association estimates 2005 sales by craft brewers at 7,112,886 barrels, an increase of 9% over 2004. Compared to craft beer’s increase of 9%, spirits volume grew by 3.3%, wine volumes by 2.9% and imported beer by 7.2%. In 2004, the craft beer volumes increased by 7.2% over 2003.

In Taragi, Japan, an old treasure was discovered. Thousands of liters of barley shochu was discovered in a brewery storage tank, the shochu is more than 20 years old. Shochu is a distilled liquor, this old example is reported to have attained a flavour close to malt whiskey. It will be sold in 300 ml and 720 ml bottles by a sake retailer in Kitakyushu.

Anheuser-Busch has signed a deal to exclusively distribute Grolsch in the United States. It doesn’t seem like the end of the brewery’s plan to distribute imports. August A. Busch IVdeclared the following : “This will be the first selection of high-end, import (brand) portfolio partners that will give us access to that growing part of the U.S. marketplace. Grolsch quickly provides Anheuser-Busch and our wholesalers a competitive product in the European import segment, this is an ideal brand and an ideal partner.”

The Brewer’s Association announced the launch of American Craft Beer Week to be held May 15 to 21, 2006. The theme of the event will be “Visit your local brewery”. The Brewer’s Association’s director of craft beer marketing, Ray Daniels, declared the following : “American Craft Beer Week strives to focus attention on the diverse and flavorful beers produced by small, traditional and independent brewers all over America. "We want to give every American a chance to visit their local brewery and discover why craft beer is the fastest-growing beverage alcohol category in the U.S." During the event the Brewer’s Association expects that breweries will hold tastings, tours, beer dinners and educational sessions. To further encourage brewery visits, the Brewers Association will conduct the Great American Beer Tour during the May 15-21 week. The program will award points to consumers for each brewery visit during the week, allowing them to earn premiums such as beer mugs and logo shirts. The consumer who accumulates the greatest number of points will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to the 25th Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, Colorado, September 28-30, 2006.

In Florida an upstart brewery is waging war with macro breweries. Florida Beer Co. is profiting from a good distribution locally to create a buzz and exposure among beer drinker and provide some measure of competition against the macro breweries. Florida Beer Co’s head of marketing declared that their relationship with the retailers has been instrumental to provide them with growth, they actually produce 12,000 barrels of beer and cider anually. Not content with their actual success, the brewery is preparing a solid marketing campaign, who knows how far this David will bring the battle against Goliath?

A while ago we reported of problems that Carlsberg is having financially. It seems to be going worse, the 2005 fourth quarter results showed another decline in profits and they have decided to take drastic measures. They will close the 159-year-old brewery in the town of Valby, Denmark. They will also cut labor costs and close other breweries. There is a restructuration plan going on, they will invest heavily to upgrade the remaining breweries. The falling Western Europe beer market is at the origin of their problems.

The Irish division of Heineken (formerly known as Murphy’s) has increased their market share in 2005. In Ireland lager volumes grew by 3.5% in 2005 while stout volumes declined by 5%. Heineken now has a market share of 17%.

After enjoying a good success in Syracuse, Sackets Harbor Brewing Company are releasing their latest beer in the North Country of the state of New-York. The Thousand Islands Ale is a pale ale with a Northwest influence. Thanks to their War of 1812 Ale, the brewery has been enjoying a good buzz both locally and in Syracuse. The brewery actually get some success with tourists that are abundant in the Sackets Harbor region.

A Palestinian brewery, Taybeh Brewing, had to do a lot of adaptation in order to survive under a government led by the Islamists of Hamas. Anticipating the rise of the Hamas the only brewer in Palestinia, Nadim Khoury, decided to develop a new product, Taybeh Beer, a non-alcoholic microbrew that sports a label that coordinates perfectly with Hamas’ trademark color. Khoury, said that all customers will notice the green from the Hamas flag. The beer will be brewed at modest levels, a few hundred bottles and will be launched locally next summer. Born in Taybeh, Khoury was spurred to start the brewery in 1993 by a sense of homeland pride and his family’s investment. The brewery’s flagship product, Taybeh Golden Beer, is actually sold in Israel, Britain and Germany.

A Czech brewery did really well with its exports in 2005. Pivovar Nova Paka raised their exports by 86% mostly because of their success in entering the Swedish market. The brewery also enjoyed success in Poland, Germany and the Baltic States. Their objective for 2006 is to increase their production from 57 000 hectolitres to 60 000, to do so they are mainly counting on the domestic market. Overall Czech exports raised by 17% in 2005.

Washington State brewers are uniting to lauch a campaing promoting Washington micro brews. They are beginning with a lobby to provide a modest tax levy for brewers, it seems that it will be given under condition that Washington hops and barley are used. They will also adress the domestic problem, as it seems that a vast majority of all beer consumed in the state comes from Montana, Oregon and California.

Texas’ Saint Arnold brewery enjoyed a record breaking year in 2005. They had their biggest yearly production with 10,946 barrels, an increase of 20 % over 2004. The brewery’s founder, Brock Wagner, declared that they had demand enough to produce more but the production capacity was maxed out. Therefore he is planning an expansion of the brewery premises in order to raise capacity by 66%. Mr Wagner said that he will ensure Texans will always be able to enjoy Saint Arnold beers.

Scottish and Newcastle are in talks to sell their Champigneulles brewery near Nancy. They are talking with unions about the proposal. After closing two iconic brewery in Newcastle and Edinburgh they are continuing their restructuring program. Their operations in France will be focused at the Obernai brewery near Strasbourg.



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