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December 17, 2014 - Founders Announces Partnership with Spanish Brewery
Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. plans to better access international markets as part of a deal announced today with a Spanish brewery.

In the deal, Founders Brewing will sell a 30-percent minority stake of the company to Mahou San Miguel, a family-owned company that operates seven brewing operations in Spain and one in India.

The partnership will allow Founders to “open new doors for growth as well as ensure our legacy for years to come,” CEO Mike Stevens said in a statement. The brand has been distributed internationally for years, but the deal will help Founders better access the growing global craft beer market, he said.

“We spent a long time determining who would be the best partner to help us grow Founders while staying true to our beers and our culture,” Stevens stated. “Mahou shares our family values and a commitment to their communities; they also believe in the importance of long-term partnerships.”

Read more.

December 17, 2014 - American Homebrewers Association Gives President Obama Gift Membership
Though beer has long been part of the country’s history and traditions, Obama made history when, as president, he purchased a homebrewing kit and then—alongside chef Kass— spear-headed the effort to brew White House Honey Ale, the first beer known to have been brewed in the White House.

“Homebrewing is a model example of a bipartisan, pro-community and pro-business activity that all kinds of people can be passionate about and enjoy. President Obama and chef Kass are among the nation’s 1.2 million homebrewers, which include both Republicans and Democrats,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “What better way to honor their enthusiasm for the hobby than to give them a lifetime membership to our community, which consists of many leaders, patriots and successful craft beer entrepreneurs.”

More details, including beer recipe and the official gift letters can be found here.

December 09, 2014 - The Year in Beer: 2014 Craft Beer in Review from the Brewers Association
s the year draws to a close, the Brewers Association looked back on how craft brewers fared in 2014.

“It’s remarkable to see how beer has evolved in the past century. Year over year we’re seeing tremendous growth in the craft beer sector and 2014 proved that craft beer is moving into the mainstream,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Consumers are making a conscious choice to buy and try the plethora of options produced by small and independent craft brewers.”

Of note in 2014:

U.S. brewery count returns to historic levels. In November, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers in the country and the number of brewery licenses reached the highest ever, topping 4,500 in the first sixth months of the year. Thirteen states (CA, CO, WA, OR, MI, NY, PA, TX, FL, WI, IL, NC, OH) now have more than 100 breweries each.

Breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day. In addition, there are more than 2,000 breweries in planning.

Craft brewers were the growth point in the overall beer industry. Through June of 2014, craft brewers enjoyed 18 percent growth by volume. Numerous data channels are showing continuing double-digit growth for craft in the second half of the year.

India Pale Ales (IPAs) remained the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival.

Variety packs had a strong year with craft beer lovers. Retail data also indicates that variety packs are up 21 percent by volume and 24 percent by dollar sales, equating to nine percent volume share of craft and seven percent dollar share.

Craft beer appreciators are becoming as diverse as craft beer itself. Data indicates that 38 percent of households bought a craft beer in the last year versus 29 percent in 2010. Additionally, women consume almost 32 percent of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34. Hispanic populations are demonstrating increased craft engagement as well.

“More and more breweries will spur innovation, meaning there will be even more offerings on hand for beer geeks and beginners to enjoy,” Watson added. “Not to mention more opportunities to explore and support local breweries, which has a profound impact on the economy at the regional, state and national level.”