Modist to Sell THC Seltzers at its Taproom
In the wake of Minnesota legalizing hemp-derived THC products in July—amid some controversy, as it was unclear whether that was what many lawmakers had intended to do—Modist Brewing in Minneapolis says it will now begin offering a line of cannabis-infused, fruit-flavored seltzers. Called TINT—an acronym for “Thanks, I needed that”—the seltzers are nonalcoholic and contain just 3 mg of THC per 16 oz serving. The new Minnesota law allows up to 5 mg per serving, and the brewery says a version of the seltzer at that dose is in the works. TINT’s two debut flavors are Mango Passionfruit and Blackberry Lime. “We’re excited to play our part in changing the narrative around THC in Minnesota,” says Modist co-owner and head of marketing Daniel Paul Wellendorf. “We believe that THC can play a safe and important role in Minnesota’s social world, and we’re happy that our state has taken steps to make it happen. We needed that.”
Hopsteiner and CLS Farms Make Deal on Proprietary Hops
CLS Farms in Moxee, Washington, now has a license to grow and market Altus, Calypso, Lotus, and Sultana hops, after reaching an agreement with Hopsteiner. This is the first time that Hopsteiner has expanded these proprietary varieties to an outside grower. CLS Farms says that all four varieties are dual-purpose with strong, distinctive aromas. They tend toward higher yields, higher alpha acids, and stronger resistance to viruses. They also grow efficiently on a per-acre basis, making them a sensible choice amid pressures from climate change and cost inflation.
FoBAB Festival Returns (In Person) in November
The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild has announced that the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers, in its 20th year, will once again be an in-person event on November 4 and 5 at Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago. As usual, the popular festival will showcase some of the country’s best and rarest barrel-aged beers, ciders, meads, and perries. Besides the annual competition—which continued virtually the past two years—there will be an award ceremony and two in-person tasting sessions featuring hundreds of barrel-aged beers. Tickets to attend cost $85. For information on the competition, contact [email protected].
Mikkeller Closes San Diego Brewery and Taproom
Danish beer firm Mikkeller has said it will close the brewery and taproom it has been running in San Diego since 2016, when it took over the original AleSmith location. Citing two years of pandemic and rising costs, the company says it will “return to its contract-brewing roots” and have its beers made at AleSmith’s current brewery. Mikkeller has been a client firm that hires contract breweries since 2006, when Mikkel Bjergsø founded it, and it still hires more than 90 percent of its beer from contract breweries, primarily from the Proef brewery in Belgium. Mikkeller says it is seeking interested buyers for its San Diego brewery, which it says has an annual capacity of 30,000 hectoliters. In 2017, Mikkeller also opened a brewery at Citi Field in New York City. That location closed in 2020.
Amid Rising Costs and Flat Demand, Ball Closes Two Can Plants
The Colorado-based Ball Corporation announced in August that it would close two aluminum-can manufacturing plants—one in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the other in Phoenix—blaming regional imbalances in supply and demand, slowing demand overall, and rising costs because of inflation. The company also said it would delay its plans to build a new plant in Las Vegas. On August 4, Ball reported a second-quarter net loss of $174 million. In North America, the corporation said that volumes were flat, as its customers passed on inflationary costs to end consumers. Late last year, in a blow to many smaller breweries, Ball announced quintupling of minimum orders and price increases for customers of its beverage cans.
BA Launches “Indie Beer” Marketing Campaign
The Brewers Association announced a new campaign called “This Is Indie Beer,” meant to promote independent brewing and raise awareness of the association’s craft-brewer seal. “Neighborhood breweries are expanding flavor profiles, unearthing novel ingredients, pushing production methods, reimagining physical spaces, and deepening community connections,” the BA says in the announcement. “Because of indie brewers, beer simply is not what it used to be—it’s more.” To kick off the campaign, the BA is spotlighting seven breweries: Bale Breaker in Yakima, Washington; Green Bench in St. Petersburg, Florida; Maine Beer in Freeport, Maine; NoDa in Charlotte, North Carolina; Pilot Project in Chicago; Streetcar 82 in Hyattsville, Maryland; and White Lion in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Run the Jewels Launches Online Beer Shop
The hip hop duo Run the Jewels—known craft-beer enthusiasts—announced the launch of a web shop that can ship its collaboration beers as well as spirits and other merchandise to 45 states. The BaRTJ delivery service launched with three beers: 36" Chain, brewed at Brooklyn Brewery in collaboration with Garrett Oliver; Get It, brewed by Collective Arts in Ontario; and All My Life, brewed with Briana Brake at Spaceway Brewing in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
Chicago Breweries Cooperate to Reuse PakTechs
Several Chicago-area breweries and beer shops are working together to collect and re-use plastic, snap-on four-pack and six-pack carriers, according to Block Club Chicago. While marketed as fully recyclable, the holders are often thrown away or rejected by recycling facilities, so more than 90 percent end up in landfills. By setting up collection points and redistributing the carriers, the Chicagoland Can Carrier Reuse and Recycling Co-op aims to keep more of them in circulation and out of the landfills.
The Power of Pliny, Locally
Russian River Brewing in Windsor and Santa Rosa, California, estimates that its release of Pliny the Younger in 2022 had a local economic impact of $6.1 million. In an email to regular customers, founders Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo say that the release attracted almost 12,000 visitors from 42 states and five countries to the two pubs over a two-week period. They canceled the 2021 event because of the pandemic, but the 2022 impact is $1 million higher than their estimate from 2020. The next Pliny the Younger release is scheduled for March 24 to April 6, 2023.
Roadhouse Gets B Corp “Best for the World” Honor
Every year, B Lab recognizes the top 5 percent of its Certified B corporations in “social and environmental performance.” For the second year running, B Lab named Roadhouse Brewing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a Best for the World B Corp based on its positive impact on the environment. “Our goal in everything we do centers around being good for the environment and good for business,” says Jon Courtois, production manager and sustainability coordinator at Roadhouse. “These categories have long been seen as mutually exclusive, and at Roadhouse we aim to change that way of thinking.”
Jiant Kombucha Hires Sales Chief with Notable Beer Experience
David Macon, previously chief sales officer at Firestone Walker, has moved to a similar position at Jiant, the Los Angeles–based hard kombucha company, founded in 2019. Jiant says that Macon is joining the company after it has had a year of “unprecedented growth” as the country’s fastest-growing hard-kombucha brand. After spending 15 years in various sales roles at New Belgium, Macon spent six years as VP of sales and marketing at Firestone Walker before his promotion to chief sales officer in 2020.
Branding Firm Offers Free Beyond Beer Handbook
Indianapolis-based CODO Design, a branding design firm, has published an online resource meant to help breweries decide how and when to get into non-beer beverage categories. The Beyond Beer Handbook outlines what CODO calls “brand architecture” as a framework for thinking about how beverage companies plan and sell their products—whether all under the same brand, under sub-brands, families of brands, or other arrangements. The resource is available online at beyondbeerbook.com.
Harpoon Releases First NA Beer
One of the country’s longest-running craft breweries announced the release of its first nonalcoholic beer. Based in Boston since 1986, Harpoon Brewing says its Open League hazy IPA has no alcohol and only 35 calories per serving. “With people now more focused than ever on leading an active, healthy lifestyle, we felt there was a real opportunity to add to our League family with another better-for-you beverage that tastes like traditional beer, but without the alcohol,” says CEO Dan Kenary.
Firm Launches Software to Help Breweries Manage Self-Distribution
San Francisco–based startup SimpleCircle announced the launch of a new platform aimed at helping breweries manage self-distribution. The venture-backed company says that initially it has focused on “streamlining sales and distribution, placing serious capabilities for managing inventory, sales, and routing behind a fast and intuitive interface that anyone can operate.” For more information, visit simplecircle.io.
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