The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes

From our upcoming Spring issue of the Brewing Industry Guide, here’s a roundup of some recent news, notes, and announcements from around the industry.

Brewing Industry Guide Staff Mar 18, 2022 - 13 min read

The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Weathered Souls

Black Is Beautiful Gets Added Reach—Via Walmart.

The retail giant says it will expand the availability of Black Is Beautiful beers made by San Antonio’s Weathered Souls and 12 other breweries. The beers will be available in more than 600 Walmart locations in 21 states. Those brewers are expected to donate proceeds to the Harriet Baskerville Incubation program, which aims to support women and people of color in the brewing industry. Late last year, Weathered Souls cofounder and head brewer Marcus Baskerville—who launched the Black Is Beautiful initiative in 2020 to call attention to racial-justice issues—announced that he would open the brewery and incubator in 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The program is named for his grandmother, who brewed during Prohibition.

Heineken Warns of Higher Beer Prices.

Blaming rising costs and inflation, the world’s second-largest beer company said prices would go up—but it did not say when or by how much. “These kind[s] of price increases and inflation, I think we have not seen in a generation,” said CEO Dolf van den Brink, according to BBC News. He also said higher prices and living costs could lead to “softer beer consumption.” Pandemic-era beer-buying habits sent Heineken sales up 17.4 percent in 2021, while the company’s profits rose 80 percent.

Feds Look at Leveling Beer’s Playing Field.

The U.S. Treasury Department released a report, Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits, with recommendations on how to improve competition in the alcohol industry. Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, released a statement that applauded the recommendations, many of which aligned with the BA’s submitted comments. Among other comments, Pease praised “the report’s focus on the federal Alcohol Administration Act’s trade practice provisions and the continued need to combat practices like slotting fees and discriminatory conduct.” He also said there was a lot of work to do at the state and federal levels, including scrutiny of state franchise laws, direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales access, preventing exclusionary practices, and the effects of small brewery acquisitions on distribution. On the subject of DTC shipping, the Treasury report says that it “offers distinct distribution opportunities for small producers, opportunities for innovation, and the possibility of serving small niches.” Read the full Treasury report at

THRIVE to Thrive at CBC 2022.

As part of the Craft Brewers Conference in Minneapolis, the Brewers Association is organizing a one-day track of speakers, seminars, and other events focused on supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the brewing industry. The THRIVE Workshop, a “conference within a conference,” is aimed at breweries of all sizes and includes networking opportunities and micro-consultations. Registration costs $15 for BA members and $20 for non-members. More info:


Deal to Facilitate NZ Hops in North America.

The hop supplier Charles Faram and New Zealand hop-grower cooperative NZ Hops recently announced a new partnership to supply hops to North American brewers. They said the deal means that brewers in Canada and the United States can better access sales and logistical support with “the benefits of a grower-direct supplier relationship.” According to NZ Hops CEO Craig Orr, “This partnership creates a viable and sustainable feedback loop between the customer and the farms, as well as greatly simplified and responsive logistics.” Charles Matt, president and CEO of Charles Faram, said the next step is to streamline the supply chain.

Amid Can Crunch, American Canning to Expand Capacity.

Austin-based American Canning—which began as a mobile canning service in 2013 but has since expanded to packaging supply and manufacturing—announced that it was adding a new manufacturing plant and a second line for shrink-sleeve labels. The company said the new headquarters would triple its production capacity and be operational this spring.

Iron Heart Canning Adds Program for Mixed-Culture Canning.

The country’s largest mobile canning company—with lines active in 26 states—said in January that it had launched a dedicated program for canning mixed-culture beverages, including those with Brettanomyces or other wild yeasts. Iron Heart said it would maintain a “clear line of separation” between the mixed-culture lines and its core canning service. The company debuted the mixed-culture program in 15 states and said it would expand according to demand.

New CEO at Founders.

Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced that Elton Andres Knight stepped into the role of CEO on February 1. Knight has worked for Mahou, Founders’ parent company, since 2014, and has been the CEO at Avery Brewing—also a Mahou subsidiary—since 2019. The company said Knight will remain in his role at Avery. In January, the company announced that cofounder Mike Stevens would transition from his role as CEO to board member.

NA Beer to Benefit Diversity.

The nonprofit Beer Kulture and nonalcoholic specialist Athletic Brewing announced the release of a collaboration to mark Black History Month in February. The Soul Sour beer—with flavors of blueberry, lemon, and mango (BLM)—is available from Athletic’s website ( for shipping nationwide. The collaborators said that 100 percent of the proceeds would go toward fostering initiatives that support diversity, education, and inclusion in the beer community.


Deschutes Launches NA Black Butte.

One of the country’s legacy craft beers—and one of its top-selling porters—is getting a nonalcoholic (NA) version. Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes announced in January that it would launch an NA version of Black Butte, calling it a “high-quality nonalcoholic beer that rivals the experience of a full-strength craft beer.” The brewery has partnered with Sustainable Beverage Technologies to produce the beer using its BrewVo technology, calling it “a unique method that gently manages alcohol while maintaining flavor and aroma. The beer fully ferments to create the most mentally satisfying alcoholic beer–drinking experience.”

Behaviors Are Changing, Says New NA Drinks Group.

The Adult Nonalcoholic Beverage Association (ANBA)—just formed in December—aims to be the voice of nonalcoholic drinks manufacturers, including brewers of NA beer. The group says that NA beers and other NA drinks are seeing more sales as consumer behavior trends away from alcohol. Citing Nielsen, ANBA says that more than half of Americans are trying to drink less alcohol, while that rate increases to almost two-thirds of Gen Z and millennial drinkers.

Dogfish Head Drops New Whiskey, Expands Liquor to NY.

The Delaware brewer’s distillery announced the release of a limited-edition whiskey, Alternate Takes Volume 3, finished in apple-brandy and Angry Orchard–cider barrels. The company also said its whiskey offerings, currently available in D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington, would expand into New York this spring.

Alaska Looks at Easing Laws (Slightly) for Taprooms.

Currently, Alaskan businesses with a brewery retail license aren’t allowed to sell beer later than 8 p.m., can’t host live music or other entertainment, and aren’t supposed to sell more than three 12 oz beers to any one person. However, the Alaska Legislature is considering several changes to the state’s alcohol laws—including a provision that would extend those hours to 10 p.m. and allow up to four live music events per year. However, the per-person drink limit would remain at three. Local brewers say the proposed changes don’t go far enough.

Bread Beer to Fight Food Waste and Hunger.

Cinderlands Beer of Pittsburgh is teaming up with local Italian restaurant DiAnoia’s Eatery on a beer made with extra bread from the kitchens. The idea behind the Con Pane hazy IPA is to raise awareness of food waste and help make the food industry more sustainable. Proceeds go to 412 Food Rescue, which works to get surplus food from Pittsburgh-area stores and restaurants into the hands of those who don’t have enough to eat.


Revolution Brewing Expands Distribution to Iowa and Michigan.

The 12-year-old Chicago-based brewery announced that it would partner with distributors Johnson Brothers of Iowa beginning in March and Minnesota’s Artisan Beer Company beginning in April. Those will be the 10th and 11th states in Revolution’s distribution footprint and the first two located west of the Mississippi River.

Hi-Wire Grows Higher.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Hi-Wire Brewing says it will expand its production brewery in Biltmore Village—bringing its potential capacity up to 40,000 barrels per year—while adding three new taprooms. The brewery says it produced 23,500 barrels in 2021.

BA Receives OSHA Grant to Support Brewer Safety.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Labor Department’s occupational safety agency awarded the Brewers Association a grant to support safety training and educational resources for independent brewers. The association says that the $132,664 grant will go toward updating safety-training materials and providing free training sessions on cleaning draft lines.

Craft Beverage Warehouse Adds Digital Can Printing.

Milwaukee-based packaging distributor CBW recently announced that it would expand while adding digital print-to-can capability. The move comes in a tight market for aluminum cans, making it more difficult and expensive for smaller breweries to get printed cans in the quantities they need. The company says it is doubling its footprint, hiring more staff, and planning to begin manufacturing in the second quarter of 2022.

Siebel Marks 150 Years with Beer and Events.

Founded in 1872, one of the country’s most-respected brewing schools is celebrating a century and a half. The Chicago- based Siebel Institute of Technology says it is organizing several events, including happy hours and alumni gatherings, plus a collaboration beer to mark the anniversary. Watch the institute’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages for information about upcoming events.


Coors Light Ditches Plastic Sixer Rings.

One of the country’s most popular beer brands will stop using plastic six-pack rings later this year, opting instead for recyclable cardboard packaging. The plastic rings have been a fixture for decades; Molson Coors cites their risk to wildlife and contribution to ocean pollution for the change.

Modern Times Cuts Back on Locations.

The San Diego–based brewery announced in February that it would close four taprooms, citing fallout from the COVID pandemic and “global declines in the craft-beer industry.” In a blog post, Modern Times said it would close its satellite taprooms in Los Angeles, Oakland, Santa Barbara, and Portland, Oregon.

“Our Point Loma, North Park, Encinitas, and Anaheim locations will remain open,” the brewery says, “and we will be turning our distribution and hospitality efforts back to Southern California and the Southwest as we do everything we can to step away from the opacity and unanchored optimism of the past and build a smaller, smarter, more focused, and more equitable company for the future. … We’ve arrived at this current moment as the result of a combination of factors: four straight years of rapid, costly expansion followed by an unforeseen and financially devastating global health crisis and an industry-wide decline in sales. Taken together, these factors have stretched our finances and company culture to a point that is simply no longer sustainable.”

As recently as 2020, Modern Times ranked 40th among craft breweries by volume, according to the Brewers Association. Less than two weeks after the taproom closure announcement, CEO Jennifer Briggs told Good Beer Hunting that the company would be willing to entertain offers from investors or potential buyers as the company reorganizes, facing debt that outpaced any revenues gained from expansion in recent years. Modern Times founder Jacob McKean stepped down from the CEO position in May 2021 amid multiple employee accounts of a toxic work environment and allegations that management was indifferent to harassment.

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