This story is almost too ironic to be true. Back as the coronavirus was on its way to being a pandemic, internet searches spiked for “corona beer virus.” In hindsight, SARS and MERS weren’t really referenced in main stream media frequently as a strain of coronavirus. So, you Google what you know.
Despite some confused by the name, Corona beer sales didn’t suffer. In fact, they soared. It seemed my Corona was getting the better end of the deal as the world shut down.
Like most peoples jobs and social activities, COVID-19 has come for Corona beer as well. Today, Grupo Modelo announced they will be suspending production after being deemed unessential by the Mexican government.
Constellation Brands, who distributes Corona in the United States states that there is about 70 days of inventory left before it disappears for a while. Depending on the duration, most Americans may not seen any supply disruption at all.
Corona is exported to more than 180 countries worldwide.
America’s 8,000+ breweries are quite popular places to gather with friends. Last week, we were flooded with emails from breweries outlining their enhanced sanitation efforts in order to keep their guests safe.
The next steps were inevitable – full taproom closures.
Last evening, California Governor Gavin Newsome requested that breweries, brewpubs, wineries, and bars close at the end of business hours on Sunday night, March 15th.
According to the California Craft Brewer’s Association, this is how breweries will operate after the mandatory shut down:
- Breweries are NOT required to stop production or cease off-site sales. Breweries are still allowed to continue to manufacture beer, self-distribute beer, conduct off-site sales (to-go orders from the brewery) and deliver beer direct-to-consumers.
- While the Governor used the term “brewpub” to broadly describe breweries with on-site sales, he was likely referring to breweries with only a tasting room. “Brewpubs” are breweries with restaurants.
- While we are still seeking clarity, based on the recommendations of the Governor regarding restaurant operations, CCBA’s understanding is that brewpubs will be allowed to stay open with the directive to maintain “deep social distance” between patrons and reduce capacity by 50 percent to accommodate this.
Since the announcement, The Bruery will only be open for online beer order fulfillment and orders to-go.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced a temporary statewide order to shut down restaurants, bars, entertainment, and recreational facilities statewide due to the coronavirus. Restaurants can only operate in take-out, grab and go, and delivery capacities. Kent, Washington based Airways Brewing’s Bistro & Beer Garden is now only open for to-go orders.
New York City’s bars, theaters, and concert halls are officially closing, with restaurants going to to-go and delivery only.
Illinois, Ohio, Washington, and Massachusetts are also closing bars, restaurants, and theaters. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has closed all bars and restaurants for at least a month, excluding takeout and delivery.
All taprooms in Connecticut are closed until further notice, only selling crowlers and beer to-go.
Other prominent breweries are making business changes at least in the short term. Boston Beer has closed their taprooms and tour centers for a week. Dogfish Head, which is also part of Boston Beer, has canceled all events for the month of March, as well as closed their retail locations for seven days.
Colorado’s Avery Brewing announced today that they have closed their taproom and restaurant until April 5th, which might be subject to change.
Modern Times, Almanac Beer Co, pFriem Family Brewers, Map Brewing, Terrapin Beer Company, Jackalope Brewing, Yards Brewing, Bozeman Brewing, Ratio Brewworks, Brewers Art, Ardent Craft Ales, Virginia Beer Company, Interboro Brewing, Treehouse Brewing, Phillipsburg Brewing, and Port City Brewing have also closed their on-premise locations, only staffing for to-go beer purchases.
Founders Brewing has closed both their taprooms and will continue to pay their employees during the shutdown.
Some of the largest beer releases/festivals across the U.S. are postponing or canceling their events completely. This past weekend’s Hunaphu Day at Cigar City was completely scrapped, bottle pick up extending until June.
The Craft Brewer’s Conference that was to be held in San Antonio, Texas in April has been canceled, as well as Firestone Walker’s from May 2020 to June of 2021.
Ed Note: We at Beer Street Journal want to keep our thoughts and prayers with families affected by COVID-19, either through illness or loss in income through these quarantine requirements. It is important that we keep in mind that this is a very short period in our lives that will be affected by these closures as opposed to the lifetime effect of a lost family member or friend from contracting COVID-19. Please keep this in mind and follow all guidelines recommended by the experts leading us through this crisis.
When Dogfish Head and Boston Beer merged last year, it was nothing short of big news. After the dust settled, we were left wondering what’s next. Will it just be Sam Adams and Dogfish Head, independently but together? The sales team for Dogfish Head grew by more than 400%, and there was talk of seeing the Boston Beer logo on Dogfish Head, and vice versa. All that is just boilerplate business stuff.
This, on the other hand, is pretty freaking crazy. Dogfish Head Utopias Barrel-Aged World Wide Stout.
The combination of those two things might make you a little dizzy. Besides 120 Minute IPA, World Wide Stout is one of Dogfish Head’s strongest beers.
Utopias is a blended strong ale that comes from a plethora of barrels, hovers around 27% alcohol by volume, and runs more than $200 dollars a bottle.
These two big beers have come together in something boozy, rare and special. World Wide Stout rested for 7 months in freshly emptied Utopias barrels.
Utopias Barrel-Aged World Wide Stout, a jet-black, rich and roasty beer with balanced notes of espresso, cocoa, sherry and vanilla.
That’s one hell of a way to intercompany collaborate.
Dogfish Head Utopias Barrel-Aged Utopias World Wide Stout will be available throughout the brewery’s home state of Delaware in limited quantities on March 27th, in 12oz/4 packs
Style: Imperial Stout (Barrel-Aged)
Availability: 12oz Bottles. Limited Release, Delaware Only.
Six people including the suspect are dead after a shooting spree at Molson Coors this afternoon.
Gathering information from various sources, police responded to the Molson Coors campus at 4115 W. State St. a little after 2 pm. Roads and nearby businesses and schools were locked down after the active shooter report.
Employees were notified by email that an active shooter was in or near the second-floor stairwell of Building 4. According to police, nearly 1000 people were working at the facility at the time of the incident.
According to an inter-office memo from the CEO Gavin Hattersley, the shooter who is now deceased was an active brewery employee.
The scene was finally declared safe at 4:47 pm CST by the Milwaukee Police.
Update 6:30 pm CDT: Per Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, there is no other threat at this time. At 2:08, police responded to a shooting at Molson Coors Brewery. Officers found a 51-year-old brewery employee deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 5 additional employees have been found deceased on scene. No other injuries have been reported.
Update 2/27, 3pm: The shooter has been identified as Anthony Ferrill.
According to a source with Molson, leadership is flying back to Milwaukee from Houston, where a conference was being held.
Developing Story. We are in contact with employees at Molson Coors and will have updates.
There is an active situation at our Milwaukee facility and we are working closely with the Milwaukee Police Department. Our top priority is our employees and we’ll provide updates in conjunction with the police as we are able.
— Molson Coors Beverage Company (@MolsonCoors) February 26, 2020
Bell’s Brewery’s Two Hearted Ale is known epically as one of the best (if not the best) India pale ale in America. Double Two Hearted Ale, which is is basically Two Hearted turned into the hoppy Incredible Hulk, was bottled last year and brewery fans couldn’t’ get enough. Then it was revealed that the “Hearted Ale” series had a lesser-known, lovable lighter side – Light Hearted Ale.
The 110 calorie, 8.7 carb, 3.7% alcohol by volume “light” ale has been a Bell’s General Store exclusive release, showing up on social media as early as last summer.
Gearing up for a wide-scale release, Bell’s has overhauled Light Hearted’s artwork. This lighter approach to one of America’s most popular India pale ales utilizes two hops – Centennial and Galaxy.
A light IPA Success
As 2020 gets underway, this beer joins the ranks of a growing segment of lighter, lower calorie, lower alcohol by volume creations by craft brewers. The category is growing every month, but much like any India pale ale, the light IPAs are not created equal. Without naming names, some of the releases are either too thin, low flavor, or even worse – tastes like hoppy water. You might be saving the calories but you’ve also thrown flavor out the window. Bell’s solved the calorie over flavor equation, and they did it beautifully.
Light Hearted Ale is born of the same creative expertise that pushed Two Hearted Ale to elite status in American brewing. Centennial and Galaxy hops walk hand in hand through each sip, bolstered by an actual malt backbone (a term brewers hate) that his been missing in a string lactose and adjunct heavy IPAs hitting shelves coast to coast. Those looking to make a more health-conscious beer choice, look no further.
Bell’s Light Hearted Ale will be available year-round in 12-ounce cans and draft starting in late-January
Image: Beer Street Journal
Tenth & Blake Beer Company, a division of Molson Coors (previously Miller Coors) has acquired Detroit-based Atwater Brewery.
Atwater Block Brewery was founded in 1997 in Detroit’s Rivertown District. in 2005, Mark Rieth purchased the brewery outright.
Since the brewery’s inception, Atwater now operates three taphouse locations in Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park, and Grand Rapids.
Today, the brewery announced they have signed an agreement with Tenth & Blake to join their growing portfolio which includes Saint Archer, Terrapin Beer Company, Hop Valley Brewing, Revolver Brewing, and AC Golden.
“The agreement with Tenth and Blake is both the culmination of our past and the catapult to our future. For Atwater to continue to grow, it will require both capital and brewing expertise. Tenth and Blake brings both, which makes them the ideal strategic partner to help us continue to live our mantra ‘Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere.'” – Mark Rieth, Atwater Brewery owner
Tenth & Blake’s last acquisition was in 2016 with Revolver.
Atwater produced just over 20,000 barrels of beer (620,000 gallons) in 2019. Recently, the brewery increased its production of hard seltzers. Atwater currently distributes to 12 states.
SweetWater Brewing Company, Georgia’s largest craft brewery made changes over the past few years. After the laws in Georgia changed to allow for the direct sale of beer to customers, the brewery ripped out their current taproom and added an in-house restaurant.
Additionally, SweetWater all-stars 420 Extra Pale Ale and IPA were joined by massively successful “420 Strain” series of beers filled with marijuana flavored organic terpenes. The 420 Strain “G13” IPA jumped to SweetWater’s second best-selling beer in their year-round lineup.
2020 at SweetWater is already revealing even more additions to the brewery operations, most notably a distillery. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, SweetWater has acquired a distillery license with the state of Georgia. Currently, the brewery is located across the street from another distillery, American Spirit Whiskey on Ottley Drive.
At least two other breweries in Georgia hold distilling licenses, including Dry County Brewing in Kennesaw, and Wild Leap Brewing in LaGrange.
Also this month, SweetWater will be debuting fruited, terpene heavy hard seltzers. The marijuana-themed series of releases inspired by legacy weed strains have been extremely successful for the brewery, and with massive growth in the hard seltzer category, the brewery is marrying the two into one new product line.
Test batches of “Hydroponics” Terpene Infused Hard & Heady Seltzer have been available on tap in the brewery’s taproom over the past few weeks. Flavors include Black Cherry, Forbidden Fruit, and Lime Haze. The seltzers are 5% alcohol by volume – no confirmation of the calorie content. Category leaders White Claw and Truly are around 100 calories per serving.
SweetWater Hydroponics Hard Seltzer will be available in both cans and draft by the end of January.
Artwork subject to change.