Six Top Equipment Makers Merge to Form Lotus
A half-dozen of the leading companies in beverage-equipment manufacturing have merged to form the Lotus Beverage Alliance, the company announced on April 20.
The six companies joining forces to form the “one-stop shop” are Alpha Brewing Operations, Automated Extractions, Brewmation, GW Kent, Stout Tanks and Kettles, and Twin Monkeys. The new company says in its announcement that this collective of expertise will allow breweries of all sizes “to access the most comprehensive array of products spanning every step of production” for a wide range of beverages.
Lotus calls itself an end-to-end provider for brewers and other beverage producers of all size, from enthusiasts up to nationally distributed brands. Its products run the gamut from turnkey brewhouses to packaging lines and include other supplies such as raw ingredients, IBC totes, parts, and more. The company also is introducing what it says is a proprietary financing plan aimed at “removing cost barriers for startups and smaller beverage producers.” It says credit approvals for this program should typically take less than 24 hours.
Lotus says that the founders of the six companies will stay on in senior leadership positions, while industry veteran John Ansbro has been named CEO. “LOTUS has everything craft-beverage creators need to produce the amazing artisanal products they love, for people who love them,” Ansbro says in the announcement. “Our team’s proven industry experience includes a deep bench of experts helping to optimize the production of handcrafted beverages for consumers to enjoy.”
Lotus also will be an exhibitor at the BrewExpo America trade show at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville from May 7 to 10, at booths 500 and 945.
Jackie O’s Opens Columbus Taproom
Almost three years since buying the site of the former Elevator Brewing in Columbus, Ohio, Jackie O’s is preparing to celebrate the grand opening of its brewery and taproom there on May 5. While construction was ongoing, Jackie O’s on Fourth was the site of a shopfront where locals could buy beer to go but not stay and drink on premises. The newly renovated facility, however, has plenty of room to do just that, including 6,000 square feet of indoor public space plus 8,000 more on a double-decker outdoor patio, each level with its own bar. Brewery improvements also include rainwater collection, 32 solar panels, and a CO2 recapture system. Headquartered in Athens, Ohio, Jackie O’s says it expects its 15-barrel brewhouse at the new facility in Columbus to be operational in July.
Full Circle Acquires Speakeasy in California
Two Black-owned breweries and their brands have merged in California, as Fresno’s Full Circle Brand family announced that it has acquired San Francisco’s Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. Besides Full Circle Brewing in Fresno, the company’s brands also include Sonoma Cider. Combined, Full Circle says it now has a production capacity of more than 20,000 barrels. Full Circle CEO Arthur Moye, a CPA when he bought Full Circle Brewing in 2016, says they plan to breathe new life into Speakeasy’s beers and expand its range. “We are excited to apply what we learned from revitalizing Full Circle and increasing sales by 5,000 percent to San Francisco’s longest-running independent brewery,” Moye says in the announcement. Speakeasy CEO Ces Butner will remain in an advisory role. “I am excited for the passing of the baton to the next generation of Black entrepreneurs in the craft-beer space,” Butner says.
Dokkaebier Acquires Federation Brewing
Asian-inspired brewery Dokkaebier, founded in 2020, says it has acquired fellow Oakland brewery Federation. Dokkaebier says it will keep on Federation’s staff and continue to brew its beers, even while rebranding its brewery and taproom. Dokkabier also says it will partner with local Black-owned breweries Hella Coastal and Brewing with Brothas as part of the deal. A spokesman for the company says “the acquisition is part of Dokkaebier's aggressive growth,” as the brewery is aiming for nationwide distribution by the end of 2024. (Disclosure: Dokkabier is a client of Unfiltered Creative, owned by the Unfiltered Media Group, publisher of the Brewing Industry Guide.)
New Book Focuses on Human Resources for Smaller Breweries
Brewers Publications announced the released of a new book titled Crafting Brewery Culture: A Human Resources Guide for Small Breweries, calling it the only book dedicated to human resources at craft breweries. Author Gary Nicholas is an industry veteran and the current operations manager at SanTan Brewing in Chandler, Arizona. “People management and leadership are not always intuitive skills, so I wrote Crafting Brewery Culture to provide brewery teams with scalable tools for building, sustaining, and growing a resilient company culture,” Nicholas says. “I’ve also included templates for everything from hiring to training plans, writing standard operating procedures, and performance assessments to goal setting. It’s easy to get started, with or without a dedicated human resources department.” The retail price is $99, available at brewerspublications.com.
Beerwork App Launches for Industry Job Seekers
The website Beerwork.com says it has launched the first mobile app dedicated to helping people find jobs in the beer industry. The Beerwork app is available in the Apple App Store. The website launched in 2022 with free-to-access, customizable listings. Employers can register for free and optionally pay for sponsored listings; job seekers need not register, but if they sign up, they can optionally upload their resumes. For more info, see Beerwork.com.
Mothfire to Open New Brewery and Tap in Ann Arbor
Three years since getting started in a nearby industrial building, Mothfire Brewing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is preparing to open its new brewery and 6,000-square-foot taproom in June. The brewery is partnering with local chefs on wood-fired pizzas, with a large patio expected to open later in the summer.
Diageo Closes Guinness Brewery in Maryland
Diageo North America has shut down its Guinness production facility in Relay, Maryland, just southwest of Baltimore, laying off about 100 workers. The announcement comes ahead of the company preparing to open a new Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Chicago. The Maryland brewery was the first for Guinness in the United States. Its restaurant and taproom at the Maryland location are to remain open, with a 10-barrel brewhouse in the visitor’s center to get some limited use for experimental beers. Formerly the home of the Maryland Distilling Company, Diageo acquired the site in 2001 and continued to produce spirits there until 2015.
Deschutes Expands Capacity for NA Brewing
Citing its new Black Butte Non-Alcoholic as “the highest-velocity product in our portfolio,” Deschutes is adding and expanding its ability to brew nonalcoholic beers at its brewery in Bend, Oregon. The brewery has partnered with Sustainable Beverage Technologies (SBT), based in Golden, Colorado, to use SBT’s BewVo technology to produce the beer. “Bringing nonalcoholic production in-house opens the door to expansion in a top-growing sub-category of craft,” says Peter Skrbek, Deschutes CEO.
Boston Contract Brewery Partners with Yakima Chief
Dorchester Brewing in Boston says it is partnering with Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) to offer quality hops and production discounts to its client brewers. Able to brew 30- to 120-barrel batches on contract, Dorchester says it is offering discounts of up to $1,000 per batch in partnership with YCH. “Through increased yield and lower raw-material pricing, small and growing breweries can now appreciate margins similar to much larger breweries,” the brewery says in its announcement.