The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes, The Pay It Forward Edition

From growing down to Rising Hope, here are some recent news and announcements from around the industry.

Brewing Industry Guide Staff Nov 4, 2022 - 6 min read

The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes, The Pay It Forward Edition Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Sierra Nevada

BA Announces CBC Travel Grants

Aimed at those who might otherwise have little chance to attend the Craft Brewers Conference, the Brewers Association says it will award 25 people with travel grants of up to $1,500 to attend the next CBC in Nashville, scheduled for May 7 to 10, 2023. Conceived by the BA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, the applications are open to BA members who are planning breweries or who work at breweries that produce 15,000 barrels per year or less. Preference goes to applicants who would be first-time attendees, who have been approved to present a seminar, and to those who’ve faced cultural barriers or other social obstacles to attending the conference. The DEI Committee also invites established breweries to contribute to the Travel Grants fund via a “Pay It Forward” option that will be available when they register for CBC.

Lost Abbey Slims Down for the Longer Term

The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California, plans to scale down its production capacity and footprint to cut costs, cofounder Tomme Arthur says. “Growing down isn’t about less beer,” Arthur tells the San Diego Beer News. “It’s functionally about less space, mitigating overhead and gaining control of costs.” That includes selling its 30-barrel brewhouse to replace it with a smaller kit that will provide more flexibility. The move occurs amid the current headwinds of higher costs and lower beer-sales volumes. “We still believe in the craft-beer industry and in what we do and produce,” Arthur says. “This is about making the right amount of beer so our artistry stays true, not pursuing things we’ve never done before or deviating from what we’re known for.”

Octopi Expands and Adds Solar

In Waunakee, Wisconsin, Octopi Brewing—a specialist in contract brewing—is completing a $72 million expansion that includes a 200,000-square-foot redistribution center plus 120,000 more square feet to its current production facility. The expansion also includes a rooftop solar installation and energy-storage project partially funded by grants. The brewery says it expects the expansion to be complete and in use in November.

American Canning Signs Deal with Ball

Breweries can order printed cans by the single truckload, instead of five truckloads, via a supply deal that Austin-based American Canning has reached with Ball Corp. The deal makes American Canning an official distributor of Ball cans, whether brites or printed. American Canning purchasing manager Monica Christmas says the deal allows a wider portfolio for their customers, via printed cans, as well as more consistent supply and lead times. Late last year, Ball stunned many independent brewers when it announced that minimum orders for printed cans would go from one to five truckloads, sending many scrambling to find new suppliers or alternative arrangements.


EU Grants Protection to Oktoberfestbier

After no other country objected, the European Commission on October 21 approved Germany’s application to have “Oktoberfestbier” protected as a geographic indicator. Per the application, the protection means that no brewery should sell a beer labeled as such unless it’s made in Munich from the city’s own aquifers. The request includes some stylistic leeway, ranging from golden to brown and from 5.3 to 6.6 percent ABV, among other specs. Beer types with geographic protection in the EU include Kölsch, České pivo, and Lithuania’s kaimiškas jovarų alus, among many others.

Sierra Nevada Launches Year-Round Fresh-Hop Beer

Sierra Nevada has released the first fresh-hop beer to be available nationwide and year-round. Cryo Fresh Torpedo Wet Hop IPA includes Yakima Chief’s new 301 Trial hop, which applies the Cryo process—isolating the aromatic lupulin from excess vegetal matter—to freshly harvested hops. The brewery describes the beer as having “extreme notes of passion fruit, citrus, and harvest magic.” For now, the beer is available only in the brewery’s Hoppy Sampler Pack.

Rising Hope Beers Fight Cancer

For the third year, breweries across the country—but no more than one per state, for now—are brewing Rising Hope beers to raise funds for pediatric-cancer research. This year’s Rising Hope recipe is a hazy IPA of 6.5 percent ABV including white peach flavors. Participating breweries receive the ingredients free of charge from Yakima Chief Hops, Country Malt Group, and Amoretti Flavors. The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation also runs a Tap Handle Program, whereby any brewery can receive the special tap handle and choose a beer to raise funds for research, donating $1 from each pour. See Brewing Funds the Cure for more info.

Keep an Eye out for the AleBlazer

A membership program for RVers called Harvest Hosts, with more than 500 camp-worthy breweries and distilleries in its network, says it is looking to name its first “AleBlazer” to visit and drink beer at all those locations. Harvest Hosts says it will provide the RV, comp some beverages, provide a $50 daily stipend, and include a lifetime membership to its network for the AleBlazer. More info—including how to become a brewery host, to potentially attract more RV-driving customers—is here.

Ontario’s Escarpment Labs, Ready for Visitors

Escarpment Labs in Guelph, Ontario, about 58 miles (93 kilometers) west of central Toronto, says it has dedicated a new space to hosting visiting brewers and other clients. The visitors’ lounge features experimental beers fermented by the lab’s yeasts as well as a designated area for brewers to apply their brewery stickers.