BA’s Year-End Report: Flexibility Amid Tough Competition
The Brewers Association released its 2022 Year in Beer report, and its conclusions set the stage for another challenging year for independent brewers. The BA’s predictions for 2023 include the lowest number of brewery openings in a decade; zero growth in distributed craft volume; some relief in average prices on materials, even if the supply chain remains unstable; and an increase in total brewery employment. “[For many brewers,] 2023 will be a reset ... as they return to more conscious and thoughtful innovation to balance customer demand and adapt to supply-chain fluctuations,” says Bart Watson, the BA’s chief economist. Among other findings, the report cites a bounce-back in total on-premise sales, while draft-beer sales—long a key to craft beer’s success—have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Smaller taproom-focused breweries and brewpubs proved to be nimble amid supply-chain disruptions, while breweries that distribute found themselves in tough competition for shelf space with other breweries as well as other alcoholic drinks. The full report is available on the BA’s website.
Bell’s Expands Two Hearted Fam with Hazy Hearted, and More
Bell’s Two Hearted IPA is iconic, and the Michigan brewery has capitalized on that beer’s popularity in recent years by establishing a brand family that includes Light Hearted and Double Two Hearted. Coming into 2023, Bell’s announced a wider extension of that family, led by Hazy Hearted IPA at 7.5 percent ABV, described as having “a tropical, fruit-forward flavor with moderate hoppy bitterness and a balanced, slightly sweet finish.” Hazy Hearted also is part of a new Hearted IPA variety pack that also includes Two Hearted, Big Hearted—a new imperial IPA, exclusive to the pack—and Change of Heart, an experimental rotating offering. The first Change of Heart is a cold IPA of 6.8 percent ABV “featuring fruit-forward and piney notes with a clean, dry finish.”
Allagash Releases First Year-Round IPA
Best known for its flagship witbier, Maine-based Allagash Brewing has announced the release of the first IPA to join its year-round core beers. The brewery’s announcement describes Allagash Hop Reach as “balanced, citrusy, and tropical” with “a snap of bitterness.” The beer became available throughout Allagash’s distribution area in January.
Monday Night Launches a Rebrand
Even as Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing prepares to expand to a fifth location in the Southeast, the brewery has announced a full rebranding of its products going into 2023, including its packaging, merch, and taproom décor. Founded in 2011, the brewery hired locally based agency Matchstic to lead the redesign, which includes a new hand-drawn logo. The previous design featured a necktie motif. “We have truly enjoyed seeing the ‘Tie Guy’ connect with beer drinkers throughout our first decade of business,” says cofounder and CEO Jeff Heck in the announcement. “The brewery, brand, and our beers have evolved so much in those 11 years thanks to the diverse groups of people that make up our team and our city. We are thrilled to introduce a more inclusive look and feel to our own teams as well as the communities that we continue to serve and bring together. Not to mention, we hate wearing ties now.”
Heineken Hikes Prices at Home
As brewers worldwide ponder whether or how much to raise prices amid rising costs, the largest beer makers aren’t hesitating. In the Netherlands, Heineken informed hospitality businesses in December that its prices would increase by more than 10 percent at the start of the new year. That was on top of a 5.8 percent increase it enacted in August, according to Dutch news reports. The brewery said it was absorbing some costs while passing on others.
Mail-In Program to Recycle PakTechs Launches in New England
Not sure whether all those plastic can carriers are getting recycled or ending up in the landfill? A new program in New England may be pointing the way toward ensuring that more of them get recycled properly. GreenLabs Recycling, a recycling company that serves the brewing and biotech industries in the Boston area, says it has launched a mail-in program to recycle plastic can carriers from breweries and stores. The mail-in aspect means that businesses outside the Boston area can mail in their PakTechs and other plastic carriers to be recycled. “These can carriers are made of highly recyclable plastic, but they often end up in landfills or incinerators [because of] inefficient sorting technologies at most single-stream recycling facilities,” GreenLabs says in its announcement. Since June 2021, the company says, it has collected more than one ton of can carriers. “We are looking forward to recycling with beer makers and retailers in extended regions,” says GreenLabs cofounder Matt Young. For more information on how to participate, see GreenLabsRecycling.com.
Augusta Releases Updated Resealable Can Lid
Augusta Label and Packaging says it has released a new version of its resealable can top. The Illinois-based company says the “market-disrupting” lid is leak-proof and tamper-proof. The company says the cans are easy to open and reseal and preserve the freshness of the beverage, and that the lids can be run on any canning line or manual seamer.
Arryved and BarTrack Announce Partnership on Front-of-House Integration
The hospitality-focused, data-driven companies Arryved and BarTrack announced in December that they have launched an integration of their software for businesses with bars or taprooms. The integration combines BarTrack’s monitoring of draft beer and quality metrics with Arryved’s point-of-service systems for food and drink sales. The companies say the integration will increase draft-beer efficiencies and save businesses an average of $5,000 per week. A webinar explaining how it works is available by request.
SEA Brew Becomes Brew Asia
Citing its growing profile in the greater region, the former Southeast Asia Brewers Conference (SEA Brew) has announced the change of its name to Brew Asia. The first conference took place in Singapore, and since then it has grown in attendance every year, including many brewers from China, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, among others. The next Brew Asia conference and trade show is scheduled for October 19 and 20 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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