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March 24, 2015 - American Craft Beer Exports Near $100 Million
The Brewers Association today reported export growth data for the American craft beer industry in 2014. Supported by the BA’s Export Development Program (EDP), craft beer export volume increased by 35.7 percent in 2014, representing 383,422 barrels and an estimated $99.7 million.

In 2014, the fastest growing markets were Brazil, South Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The strongest growth was found in Brazil, which was up 63.9 percent; Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan), up 38.1 percent; Western Europe, up 36.6 percent; Canada, up 32.3 percent; and Japan, up 31.7 percent.

The top five markets for American craft beer remained nearly the same in 2014, with South Korea surpassing Japan for fifth place. In terms of market share, Canada accounted for 53 percent of exports, Sweden for 12 percent, the United Kingdom for 10.7 percent, Australia for 5.1 percent, and Korea for 3.4 percent.

Complete Press Release.

March 18, 2015 - Brewers Association, Beer Institute & MicroStar Ask eBay To Stop Listing Stolen Beer Kegs
The Brewers Association led an effort with MicroStar Logistics and the Beer Institute today to request that eBay no longer allow the sale of used kegs without proof of sale. The letter on combined letterhead to eBay’s President John J. Donahoe starts: “On behalf of the members of the Brewers Association, the Beer Institute, and clients of MicroStar Logistics, we write to ask that eBay immediately stop facilitating the sale of stolen beer kegs by allowing unauthorized individuals to sell them using your service.”

The letter references 27 CFR § 25.141, which requires that beer kegs are to be permanently marked with the name of the owner.

The impetus behind the letter started in the Brewers Association (BA) technical committee. Staff brought the project to McDermott Will & Emery’s Art DeCelle who composed the first draft, and BA staff, led by Programs Manager Pete Johnson, incorporated input from the Beer Institute and MicroStar Logistics...

The letter was mailed on March 6...[and] also discusses the financial realities of keg loss to the companies that own them and the safety issues related to pressurized kegs, removal of keg valves or components and tampering. [It] includes an invitation to eBay: “We would be happy to collaborate with eBay to check lawful ownership of kegs, prevent the sale of stolen kegs and to restore kegs to their rightful owners.”

March 16, 2015 - Craft Brewer Volume Share of U.S. Beer Market Reaches Double Digits
The Brewers Association today released 2014 data on U.S. craft brewing1 growth. For the first-time ever, craft brewers reached double-digit (11 percent) volume share of the marketplace.

In 2014, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels, and saw an 18 percent rise in volume and a 22 percent increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $19.6 billion representing 19.3 percent market share.

“With the total beer market up only 0.5 percent in 2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the overall industry innovative and growing. This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture—a shift that will help craft brewers achieve their ambitious goal of 20 percent market share by 2020,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Small and independent brewers are deepening their connection to local beer lovers while continuing to create excitement and attract even more appreciators.”

Additionally, the number of operating breweries in the U.S. in 2014 grew 19 percent, totaling 3,464 breweries, with 3,418 considered craft broken down as follows: 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412 brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 615 new brewery openings and only 46 closings.

Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided 115,469 jobs, an increase of almost 5,000 from the previous year.

Complete News Release.

March 06, 2015 - PLCB Says Pennsylvania Beer Distributors Can Now Sell 12-packs
Beer distributors can now sell 12-packs in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

The PLCB’s Office of Chief Counsel issued a legal advisory today “informing brewers that they may sell ‘original containers’ as long as the container contains at least 128 fluid ounces — for example a 12-pack — to distributors that may be resold ‘as is’ to consumers.”

For years, beer distributors have been able to sell beer only by the case or keg, while groceries, bars and convenience stores have gained the ability to sell six-packs, 12-packs, and individual bottles for consumption on premises.

The Post-Gazette reported today that the PLCB was set to issue the advisory opinion in response to questions from two area beer distributors and an area brewer.

[ ... ]

Two local distributors have played a major role in forcing the PLCB to confront the case-size question. Pistella Beer Distributors in Friendship, owned by Frank Pistella — who also is the first vice president of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania — and Save-Mor Beer in Squirrel Hill sued the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in the state’s Commonwealth Court last year. They also posed the question directly to the PLCB, as did Rivertowne Brewing, seeking an opinion on the case-size issue.

“It’s really the first real big change for us in 60 or 70 years,” said Steve Klein, owner of Sav-Mor. “It’s more variety for the consumer. People want the ability to buy different things.”

Read all the good news here.

Also read our Store Note on this breakthrough for more details.
March 05, 2015 - IPAs Continue Driving Craft Growth
Dan Wandel of IRI - a research firm that provides clients with consumer, shopper, and retail market information - recently provided data about how the IPA styles is leading beer sales growth. Sales of craft beers, as defined by the Brewers Association, were up 21.3% in 2015 in the outlets IRI tracks, which account for almost all off-premise beer sales. IPA sales accounted for almost half that growth.

Speaking to BA members via a conference call Wandel added that IPA sales were up 38% in supermarkets so far in 2015, increasing share of craft sales from 23% to 26%.

Among other details Wandel provided:
Los Angeles is now the No. 1 large city market for IPA. IPA sales were up more than 50% in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City respectively.
Craft accounts for 39.3% of dollar sales in Portland supermarkets and 35% in Seattle-Tacoma.
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA was the most successful craft brand rollout since IRI has been tracking sales.
Although Session IPA sales increased almost 300% last year they still account for only 3% of overall IPA sales.
Sierra Nevada sales are up 28% so far this year.
The fastest growing "up and coming brands" are, in order, Rhinegeist Brewery in Ohio, Griffin Claw Brewing in Michigan, Small Town Brewery in Illinois, Gilgamesh Brewing in Oregon, Exile Brewing in Iowa.

March 03, 2015 - Dogfish Head Deck at PPL Park Opens Saturday
Between offering more than a half-dozen craft brews on the concourse and Yards’ creation of a special Sons of Ben-themed ale last year, it’s clear that the Philadelphia Union are down with the craft beer movement. This season, that connection will deepen with the opening of the Dogfish River Deck.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery will take their off-centered ales to PPL Park at the start of the Union’s season this coming Saturday, March 7, to give the stadium a “destination beer garden.” The Union actually announced the move late last year, with news that Dogfish Head had joined the team’s list of corporate sponsors alongside the likes of Delaware Express and Musselman’s applesauce.

Now, though, the home opener is coming up, and PPL Park can hear thirsty fans fast approaching. For them, the stadium will provide Dogfish Head brews including Namaste, Aprihop, and their famous 60 Minute IPA alongside the standard options. What’s more, though, is that Dogfish will name an “Off-Centered Fan of the Match” for each home game, with winners taking home a Union/Dogfish Head goodie bag.

Read more here.