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.”
Wisconsin’s Ale Asylum Shuts
Founded in 2006, the Ale Asylum brewery in Madison, Wisconsin, announced that it has gone out of business. A sale was in the works earlier this year, but that sale apparently fell through, and the brewery’s equipment will be auctioned. In a brief statement on its website and social media accounts, meant for its customers, the brewery said “the past couple [of] years have been difficult for all businesses, but with your support we were able to weather the storm. However, under circumstances we cannot control, we have made the decision to close our doors.”
Beer Kulture Invites Breweries to Join Nationwide School-Supply Drive
For the fourth year running, Beer Kulture is inviting breweries and other businesses to join its Kulture 4 Da Kids drive to collect donations for school supplies and get them to the neighborhoods where they’re most needed. The organization says the collaborative effort has impacted more than 20,000 families in the past three years. To participate, a brewery agrees to offer its space as a drop-off center and invites customers and people in the community to donate supplies. (It’s also possible to sponsor backpacks full of supplies for $50 each.) The brewery then becomes a pick-up point for local families in need to get the supplies. For more information about the drive and to register, see beerkulture.com.
Upslope’s Electrolyte Hard Seltzers Face Lawsuit
Lawyers found a Denver man and Illinois woman to initiate a class-action lawsuit against Colorado’s Upslope Brewing over its Spiked Snowmelt Craft Hard Seltzer Electrolyte Series. Electrolytes are essential minerals lost through dehydration, and drinks that include them often promote their benefits after exercise. Boulder-based Upslope had positioned its hard seltzers with electrolytes as a post-adventure drink. “Of course, adding an insignificant amount of nutrients to an alcoholic beverage will do little to overcome the harmful effects of alcohol,” the lawsuit says, alleging that the labels are misleading.
Haas Releases Haze Stabilizer Made from Hops
John I. Haas recently announced the release of HopHaze, designed to add a stable haze to beer without adding flavor. The company says the liquid product is 100 percent hop-derived and and requires no additional mixing before use. HopHaze is available to brewers worldwide. For more info, see johnihaas.com.
UK’s ABER Now Selling Fermentation Tech Directly to North American Breweries
The British company ABER Instruments, founded in 1988 and known for yeast-monitoring technology, has announced that it can now sell its devices directly to brewers in Canada and the United States. ABER’s portfolio includes the in-line Compact Yeast Monitor, which measures live yeast concentrations in real time, and the PerfectPitch, a portable yeast-pitching skid for measuring and dialing in yeast pitches.
YCH 2022 Veterans Blend Now Up for Presale
Yakima Chief Hops says its fifth annual Veterans Blend is now available for advance orders. This year’s blend includes Chinook, Ekuanot, Idaho 7, Triumph, and HBC 586. “It will perform well in any hop-forward beer, providing a well-balanced mix of tropical, citrus, woody, and sweet aromas,” the company says. The alpha-acid content is about 12.4 percent. This year, YCH is donating up to $3 per pound to the HunterSeven Foundation, which specializes in medical research and education for post-9/11 veterans. Pre-orders are possible at yakimachief.com.
Minnesota’s Indeed Launches a THC-Infused Seltzer
After the Minnesota legislature recently legalized edibles and drinks with up to 5 mg of hemp-derived THC for adults, Indeed Brewing of Minneapolis soon announced that it would be launching a sparkling water infused with CBD and THC. Indeed already has a CBD seltzer—Lull—in its portfolio. Its new Two Good seltzer water has 2 mg each of THC and CBD.
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