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The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes, the Late Summer, Everything Is Expensive Edition

From software price hikes and CO2 scarcity to electrolytes and THC, here is a roundup of some recent news and announcements from around the industry.

Brewing Industry Guide Staff Jul 29, 2022 - 8 min read

The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes, the Late Summer, Everything Is Expensive Edition Primary Image

Ale Asylum in Madison, Wisconsin, open since 2006, recently announced that it would close its doors after failing to find a buyer to take over the brewery. Photo: Joe Stange.

Brewers Scramble for Alternatives as Ekos Hikes Prices for Software Tools
Many breweries that rely on Ekos business management software got an unwelcome surprise in their inboxes earlier this week, with the company announcing dramatic price increases. Some brewers are reporting rate increases of more than 400 percent monthly—for example, from $250 to $1,100 per month—and this at a time when many other input prices are increasing because of supply issues and inflation. The announcement pushed some existing Ekos customers to immediately begin shopping for alternatives. Asked for comment, Ekos CEO Josh McKinney provided this response: “We announced a new pricing structure for all of our customers on July 26. The amount of price increase or decrease depends on many factors unique to each customer. The last time we changed our prices was in 2020, when we rolled out updated pricing for new customers. At the time, we chose to honor the legacy price of our long-time customers, which was well below the market price for new customers, largely [because of] the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are beginning the process of adjusting our legacy pricing to the current market rate for our product. We are providing a gradual pathway to the new price over the next one to two years to lessen the impact to our customers’ cash flow and ease the transition. We have been communicating directly with all of our customers and working with them to make this change as manageable as possible.”

Night Shift Drops Production in Everett, Citing CO2 Issues
Boston-based Night Shift Brewing announced on July 27 that the company would significantly reduce production at its brewery in Everett, Massachusetts, while contracting additional production at Jack’s Abby in Boston and the Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In a statement posted on social media, the brewery said that its supplier would be unable to provide any CO2 “for the foreseeable future, possibly more than a year until we get more.” The statement said that despite “enormous investments,” the brewery in Everett has remained “more inefficient than our business can sustain.” The company already was contracting out some of its largest brands. At risk are the jobs of 12 production employees, whom the company said would be paid at least through October 1.

Maui Moves Ahead with Plans to Acquire Modern Times
In a saga with many twists and turns, the winning bidder in a public auction to acquire San Diego’s Modern Times Beer, Brewery X, apparently has declined to complete the transaction. The backup bidder was Maui Brewing, which announced in May that it would bid to acquire Modern Times. Its plan has been to keep the brand going while leveraging the production capacity for synergy with Maui’s own beers. “We are now even more excited [about] the future of Modern Times,” says Maui CEO and cofounder Garrett Marrero in a news release. “The delays were painful for all; however, it was important that we waited until we had made concrete decisions to avoid any further emotional whiplash for our collective teams. We are beyond stoked to be welcoming Modern Times into the Maui ‘Ohana’ and [working] together to achieve our fullest potential.”

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