Lagunitas Brewing and Elk Rapids, Michigan based Short's Brewing have formed a new partnership. Lagunitas has purchased a 19.99% equity stake in Short's Brewing.
According to Short's, this partnership will allow the brewery to gain access to additional resources (besides cash) and, "continued opportunity to invest in Short's staff, and the northern Michigan community."
The equity stake will be managed by Lagunitas U.S. Holdings (LUSH).
Joe Short, founder of Short's Brewing characterizes this partnership an evolution in the cycle of their dynamic and growing business:
”I never imagined Short’s would become such a successful regional brewery. The secret to that success has always been to surround myself with good people. The best people; who in many ways are smarter and more talented than myself. I'm confident all successful businesses would tell you a similar story. This partnership with Lagunitas is just another part of evolution in the cycle of our dynamic and growing business. I've grown so much personally and professionally during my time at the helm of Short’s Brewing Company that I understand now, more than ever – the continued success of Short’s and its people rely on me to make smart and strategic decisions. This is just one of them.”
Lagunitas sold a 50% stake of the brewery to Heineken in 2015. Earlier this year, Lagunitas "fully merged" with Heineken, selling the remaining 50% stake.
According to the Brewers Association, Short's Brewing will remain an independent craft brewery. Per their definition of Independent:
Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
The Need For Equity.
Beer Street Journal spoke with Scott Newman-Bale, a partner in Short's Brewing. For nearly six months now, Short's has been operating at 100% capacity. The brewery has less than 2 days of reserves, with trouble keeping beer on shelves in all of their current markets. A great position to be in, but also – financially complicated. Newman-Bale was wary of turning to a traditional financial institution, citing past horror stories of bankers asserting control in what a brewery does.
Lagunitas founder Tony Magee and the folks at the brewery are good friends with Short's. "They don't take themselves too seriously and really understand us," Newman-Bale said. "An equity partnership with Lagunitas would be with folks that would financially help us meet our goals, but really just leave us alone to do what we want. That's rare," he said.
So what's in it for LUSH? Newman-Bale states that Magee is still very supportive of America's burgeoning beer scene. LASH exists to be a strategic partner for growth opportunities like this. Not global domination. When asked the "complicated" question about the stigma of accepting cash from Lagunitas, which is owned by Heineken, Newman-Bale simply replied, "Yeah, we know what that means. We get that. That doesn't matter to us. Over time you'll see how well this works out."
The 19.99% is actually regulatory and not made up for fun marketing purposes. As far as Short's is concerned, there will be no more equity buy-in to the brewery. This will hopefully be it.
The future holds minor capital expansions to the Elk Rapids production facility. This will allow fresh beer to flow in current Short's markets, especially ones that are currently running dry. Right now, beer goes from packaging to shelves in less than a week. There will be no production outsourcing, no leadership changes, no recipe changes.
Even with the small brewery expansions, Newman-Bale states there are no new territories planned. "We have to keep our promises to our current markets first."
Short's opened their brewpub in Bellaire, Michigan in 2004. In 2009, the brewery opened their Elk Rapids production facility. Short's is expected to produce 50,000 barrels (1.5 million gallons) of beer in 2017.
Short’s Brewing Cup Of Joe hits shelves this month for its 2016 seasonal release. Cup of Joe, a coffee cream stout, is brewed with fair trade espresso beans from Higher Grounds Trading Company.
Cup Of Joe started as a home brew recipe called Java The Stout in 2000. From there it became the first stout brewed at Short’s.
Cup A Joe is brewed with locally roasted fair trade espresso beans from Higher Grounds, a coffee bar and roastery located in Traverse City, Michigan. Cup A Joe is a true Coffee Cream Stout, in that we add powdered milk sugar during the brewing process to give it a slight creaminess throughout.
Taste: (Per Short’s) Prominent aromatics of malt, espresso, and cocoa are abundant and create a flavor robust with big malt characters fused with cream and coffee. The “perfect morning night capper.”
Short’s Cup of Joe hit shelves in 6-packs of 12oz. bottles in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin earlier this month.
Short’s Tequila Sauna debuted Friday, September 23rd – a golden sour ale.
As the name suggests, Short’s Tequila Sauna is aged in tequila barrels. Addtionally, the beer was fermented with orange and pomegrantes,
This beer has a dark gold hue and a big nose of tequila, oak, and wisps of tangy fruit. Tequila and oak flavors are present at first sip followed by a mouth coating acidity. Mild flavors of pomegranate and orange peak through before a dry and slightly funky finish.
Short’s Tequila Sauna is part of Short’s Private Stache Series, originally launched in 2015. The pub-only releases are experimental, barrel-aged, sour, or really anything the brewers can dream up. Available in bottles exclusively at the Bellaire Pub.
Short’s Psychedelic Cat Grass hits distribution starting today. The brewery has been packaging since dawn this morning. This beer is all about fresh.
Triple dry-hopped India pale get your attention? Just wait, it gets better. Short’s Psychedelic Cat Grass is being packaged and shipped within 24 hours.
The idea came from brewery partner Scott Newman-Bale. Take an over-the-top India pale ale, and get it out to the pub patrons within a day. Being the bold brewery that they are, Short’s has decided to push the envelope and put this beer into distribution for the first time.
Aromas of pineapple, mango, and grapefruit accompany the brew’s slightly hazy, pale orange color and lasting white head. A dry finish is preceded by balanced flavors of tropical fruit and bitter hops.
Newman-Bale mentions that Short’s Psychedelic Cat Grass will be sent to any distributor willing to undertake the challenge of same-day distribution. Currently, Michigan’s Imperial Beverage has accepted the challenge.
Short’s Psychedelic Cat Grass is a 12 ounce bottle and draft release, debuting August 17th. Each six pack will contain a pair of 3-D glasses for good psychedelic fun.
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft
7.1% ABV, 91 IBUs
Short’s Guess The Dry Hop Local’s
Short’s Strawberry Short’s Cake is back for Summer 2016.
The base beer for this perennial favorite a golden ale, brewed with fresh strawberries and milk sugar. (That’s lactose for those science-y folks). The end result is a creamy dessert beer that smells and tastes just as it’s billed.
The flavors of shortcake and fresh strawberries transform this beer into rose-colored party nectar that is pleasingly sweet with hints of cream. Biscuit flavors and aromas arise from the use of large amounts of Victory malt.
Summer of 2016 is when we finally got to try this beer for the first time. The strawberries are fresh, the beer is smooth (thanks to the milk sugar), and really reminds us of a a dessert at a hot summer barbecue. So much so, there was a point where you almost want to chew it. Trust us, drinking it is easier.
Short’s Strawberry Short’s Cake is a 12 ounce bottle and draft offering. Seasonally.
Style: Fruit Beer (w/ Strawberries)
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft. Summer Seasonal.
Latest Return: Late June, 2016
5% ABV, 10 IBUs
Image: Beer Street Journal
Short’s Power of Love is a new shandy that is perfect for summer as well as Back to the Future fans.
Because it’s Short’s Brewing, Power of Love is not just any shandy. The base beer is a wheat beer, brewed with raspberries and rosemary. It is then blended with Williamsburg, Michigan’s Northwoods Soda & Syrup Co.’s Gourmet Lemonade. The resulting beer tastes a bit like a grapefruit.
Very sweet lemon flavors give way to a shock of tart raspberry before turning sharply dry, as if eating a piece of grapefruit.
Short’s Power of Love is available starting July 13th in 12 ounce bottles and draft.
3.1% ABV, 20 IBUs
Image: Short’s Brewing