New York based Brooklyn Brewery has taken minority stakes in both San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery (21A) and Fort Collins, Colorado’s Funkwerks. The trio is creating a combined sales team.
The baseline purpose of this deal is competition. The beer industry in the United States is rapidly changing as big beer companies, like Anheuser Busch InBev and Heineken, are purchasing craft breweries, plus the growth of private equity-backed breweries.
Rather than shop for a buyout, it is time to join forces.
Brad Lincoln, co-founder of Funkwerks tells Beer Street Journal that their brewery only has two salespeople, both in Colorado, yet ships to seven states. “We can’t afford more employees to compete in the markets that sustain us,” he said.
It’s a known fact that sales generally increase in distribution territories that have salespeople. 21A ships to 24 states, and boasts a 20 person sales team. Brooklyn touts nearly that many for just New York City.
The search for a solution rather than a cash-out led Lincoln to his close friend Dave Duffy, who is the vice-president of business development at Brooklyn Brewery. “Brooklyn is seasoned in brewery partnerships both here and abroad. They understand the challenges,” Lincoln said.
Yesterday, Michigan’s Short’s Brewing announced Heineken backed Lagunitas is buying a minority share in their brewery for similar reasons. Both Lincoln and Scott Newman-Bale of Short’s said nearly the same thing about their new financial associates: “They are a partner that will leave us alone and let us be us.”
Per Lincoln, “This is how we grow, fight, and compete, and eventually – grow.”
Throughout the rest of 2017, Brooklyn, 21st Amendment, and Funkwerks will be hard at work creating a national sales platform, slated to go live in January 2018. The idea of sharing brewing operations (ex. 21A brewing at Brooklyn) has been thrown out there, but no immediate plans to do so.
The equity percentages or value of Brooklyn’s financial investment were not disclosed.
According to Brooklyn Brewery, being cool is a complicated thing. Perhaps unattainable if you try. It’s just something that you just are. Some people just experience a flash of cool. A fleeting moment. That’s where Brooklyn Bel Air Sour comes in. It’s intended to taste how cool feels. If just for a few moments. Whatever that means.
This month, Brooklyn Bel Air Sour will appear in 12 ounce bottles for the first time. Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver created the recipe, and Lab manger Drew Bombard used his specially cultivated thermophilic Lactobacillus bacteria souring culture. This particulur strain is very unique to the brewery and its fermentation processes. (In other words, you home brewers won’t be able to purchase this commercially.) The result is something cool and tart.
Brooklyn saw great success in the dry-hopped Bel Air Sour last summer – a hoppy and tart reward for months of hard work.
Simply put, Bel Air Sour tastes like being cool feels. It’s genuine, un-ironic, and surprisingly inviting. There’s a peachy, fruity tartness to it that feels like having someone compliment you on your choice of Hawaiian shirt. The eye-catching gold color turns your glass into a fashion statement.
Brooklyn Bel Air Sour debuts in 12 ounce bottles for the first time in January.
Style: American Wild Ale
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Bottle Debut: January, 2017
Brooklyn Tripel Burner, a future big bottle from the New York based brewery.
This is no regular tripel. Brooklyn Tripel Burner features licorice, a bevy of spices, and bourbon barrel oak aging.
According to ancient Chinese beliefs,the “Triple Burner” was responsible for the flow of energy throughout the body. Triple Burner tonics often included licorice root to encourage “natural sweetness & a light, joyful presence.” Bourbon oak barrels, a licorice spice blend from the wizard lior Lev Sercarz, & a robust tripel base create Tripe! Burner, a heady, aromatic ale to be paired with a state of serenity.
Brooklyn Tripel Burner will be a 750 milliliter bottle release.
Brooklyn The Discreet Charm of the Framboise
Brooklyn Improved Old Fashioned
This source of the suit might be a little more obvious than brewery legal entanglements. Brooklyn Black Ops, (the brewery’s barrel aged beer that doesn’t exist, but does if you’ve seen the marketing) was first released in 2007. Brooklyn owns a trademark for Black Ops.
Recently, Black Ops Brewing applied for a trademark for the brewery name, but was denied the mark in July, due to the potential brand confusing with Brooklyn’s beer. Brendan Palfreyman, lawyer friend of Beer Street Journal clarifies for us:
Brooklyn Brewery has a solid case here as its trademarks – BROOKLYN BLACK OPS and/or BLACK OPS – are similar to the BLACK OPS BREWING trademark. This is especially true given that courts typically discount portions of trademarks that are merely descriptive of the associated goods and services, like “brewing” in the BLACK OPS BREWING trademark. Also, notably, Black Ops Brewing applied for a federal trademark registration for its name, but the application was rejected based on Brooklyn Brewery’s trademark registration for BROOKLYN BLACK OPS.
Brooklyn Brewing mentions in the suit, a cease and desist was issued in August. Below, the proposed artwork for Black Ops Brewing’s Bayonet Brown Ale.
Brooklyn Red Sumac Wit