Ballast Point Brewing, who was purchased for a whopping $1 billion dollars in 2015, is downsizing.
“Trade Street”, Ballast Point’s 80,000 square foot barrel-aging facility which includes a good bit of the brewery’s sour/wild ale program will close. Addtionally, the brewery’s Temecula, California location will also close.
Last night, a future ex-employee of Ballast Point Brewing contacted us at Beer Street Journal, speaking off the record in regards to the recent moves. Last August, Constellation surprised more than 60 people, some who had only worked for Constellation a few weeks (we know of folks that left other craft breweries for positions at Constellation just weeks) were all laid off. Constellation reportedly handed the craft sales over to the Modelo import team going forward.
These recent closures and job cuts are, what is characterized by our now unemployed Ballast Point source, as Constellation “right-sizing” the Ballast Point business wing. Or – Ballast Point was not profitable as-is. It’s corporate speak for firing people. This downsizing is seemingly a direct correlation to a reported $86 million dollar impairment charge Constellation recorded for Ballast Point trademarks last summer.
An impairment charge is entered as an expense in the profit & loss account. The carrying amount of the asset is reduced by the impairment amount. This reduces the company’s net worth or book value. The net profit, too, is adversely affected in the year the charge is made. In other words, Ballast Point was grossly overvalued by Constellation Brands, prompting this “right-sizing” move.
The future Ballast Point location in San Francisco has also been scrapped.
There is no confirmed number of the employees affected by the immediate closure of the Temecula location and gradual closure Trade Street facility.
Emails to Constellation have not been returned.
Stone Brewing Berlin, Stone’s international production facility and bistro that opened in 2016, has been sold to Brewdog. The last operation day as Stone’s brewery is April 30th.
In 2010, Stone’s co-founder walked thorough the gasworks property and instantly wanted it to be the international home for America’s fiercely independent brewery. It took a few years, but Koch and team turned the historic building into Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Berlin.
According to Koch, German beer prices are the cheapest in Western Europe, and the more expensive craft beers aren’t getting the foothold in the country as they planned.
Amazing beer is being brewed by amazing brewers all over the country. Unfortunately, according to the stats, most Germans are still ignoring these wonderful beers and buying the cheap stuff. – Greg Koch
Besides Germans reluctance to pay premium craft beer prices, Koch explains in a blog post that issues run a bit deeper than per-ounce prices. Disregarding the advice of his professional council, Koch outlines issues with his German contractors. Stone Berlin was a big project, and his Berlin contractors apparently didn’t adjust to unforeseen build-out challenges, construction questions, or slight changes in build scope. When these issues arose, construction was immediately halted. These shut-downs hurt the Stone Berlin project greatly.
“It cost us dearly. After talking with fellow business owners in Berlin, seems we’re not alone in that experience. The documentary film “The Beer Jesus from America” chronicled our journey in getting the place built and opened, and in it you can see some of the struggles I’m talking about,” Koch writes.
Scottish craft brewer Brewdog, who operates a series of pubs around the world, including a production facility in Ohio, has acquired the brewery from Stone. They take ownership on May 1st. James Watt, BrewDog co-founder writes “After a certain time for evaluation we will be closed for a little bit as we turn the building into a BrewDog space, similar to the vibe we have created at our Columbus brewery”.
Stone will continue to be distributed around Europe, currently available in 26 countries as well as a large portion of Germany. According to Koch, that will not change.
Stone Brewing was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in San Diego, California. The brewery now operates locations in Escondido, Liberty Station, Pasadena (California) and Richmond, Virginia.
Pabst Blue Ribbon made headlines earlier this year with news of PBR whiskey headed to shelves this summer. While you wait for the whiskey, Pabst fans can sip on a boozier version of the 175-year-old lager, Pabst Blue Ribbon Extra.
6.5% alcohol by volume “Extra” will be found in black cans, billed as a “light, crisp, higher ABV alternative to heavy drinking beers”. Regular Pabst Blue Ribbon is 4.74% ABV.
This is the Extra Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer inspired by the original, nature’s choicest provide its full-bodied flavor. Only the finest of hops and grains have been used to create our strongest brew.
Pabst Blue Ribbon Extra will be available in 12-ounce cans and draft in Spring 2019.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Debut: Spring 2019
Massachusetts based Trillium Brewing has announced a new build in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston. Trillium Fenway will be a year-round, indoor/outdoor taproom.
The 1,500 square foot, greenhouse inspired design will be found on the front lawn of 401 Park, a mixed-use office and retail renovation the historic building. Studio Troika has been tapped for the design, touted to “blur the lines between outdoor beer garden and cozy indoor taproom”. Trillium Fenway will offer draft beer, cans, and bottles to-go. Food can be purchased from nearby Time Out Market.
The brewery has not shared a grand opening date.
Additionally, Trillium will be moving its production facility to a new building in Canton. Currently, the brewery is running their brewing, barrel-aging, quality control lab, office, and warehouse out of four different buildings.
Over next few years, Trillium will be slowly building out their “forever home” at a new site across town in Canton, featuring an expanded taproom, full-service restaurant, larger production facility, and event space. The move will take a time to complete according to the brewery.
Trillium was opened by JC and Esther Tetreault, a self-described “dumb couple in love” in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston in 2013.
The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade organization that represents the craft brewing industry, has released their list of the top 50 fastest growing craft breweries in America.
Per the BA, the list spans 27 states, covering breweries from 50 barrels annually, to 40,000 barrels. As far as growth, these breweries grew from less than 70,000 barrels collectively in 2017 to more than 170,000 barrels in 2018.
Topping the list is Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake, Iowa, followed by Fins Big Oystery Brewery in Rehoboth, Delaware.
“Even as market competition continues to increase, these small and independent breweries and brewpubs demonstrate there are still growth opportunities across a diverse set of regions and business models,” Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.
In total, these brewing companies represent nearly 10 percent of total craft brewery growth by volume for the year. The list includes 13 brewpubs, 35 microbreweries, and two regional craft breweries. The full list can be found below (click to enlarge).
Ten-Fidy has a pretty epic reputation in craft beer. This April, you are going to see it a whole new way, in the form of Oskar Blues JAHVanilla.
This edition of Ten-Fidy is a blend of bourbon barrel-aged stout and double bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, with HotBox Roasters cold brew coffee and Madagascar vanilla beans. The brewery aged it slightly until the flavors blended well. Last year’s release was not blended with the double-barrel.
“The blending of double-barrel aged FIDY and barrel-aged FIDY this year is pretty special. It adds to the complexity and depth of JAHvanilla. Then we hit it with premium vanilla and cold brew and the beer hulks out with flavor.” Tim Matthews, Head of Brewing Operations
Oskar Blues JAHvanilla Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy Imperial Stout will only available in the brewery’s Longmont, Colorado and Brevard, North Carolina taprooms on April 20th.
Style: Imperial Stout (Barrel Aged. Vanilla Beans. Coffee.)
Availability: 19.2 Cans
Cream Ale is a uniquely American style. Sure, the American IPA might be the envy of the world’s brewing community, but it didn’t start in the United States. Let’s talk about one of the most well-known – Genesee Cream Ale. First introduced in 1960, “Genny Cream” might be the most recognizable for the style out there.
Here’s something you didn’t expect. A dry-hopped edition the decades-old cream ale, a collaboration with New York’s Other Half Brewing.
Other Half’s fame was born in New York City. As far as we know, the lines for Other Half beers are pretty much a standard, 24 hours a day. The brewery is in the process of opening a new 20-line taproom in Rochester, New York and ahead of they have teamed up with Genesee Brewery.
Cream Ale now has a sibling, Dream Ale. Using the classic Genesee Cream Ale recipe, the brewing teams added oats and dry-hopped it with a “massive dose” of Citra hops.
We are huge fans of the all-time NY classic Cream Ale and couldn’t imagine a better way to pay respect to the historic brewing traditions of Rochester while putting an OH twist on an all-time favorite recipe. – Other Half Brewing
Genesee Dream Ale will be available in 16-ounce cans at the Genesee Brewery on Friday, March 22nd starting at 11 am.
Style: Cream Ale
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft. Limited (170 Cases)