News and Brews

You’ve come to the right place. As the region’s largest beer wholesaler we help you stay up-to-date on the latest beer news and special events. You will find everything you need to know about the latest beer news.

Hop Dreams: Lagunitas Looks to Global Future for Craft Beer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON CHICAGOTONIGHT

WRITTEN BY ERICA GUNDERSON

Lagunitas Brewing Company became a major presence in the Chicago craft beer scene when it opened its second brewery on the city’s West Side in 2014.

The company grabbed headlines again the following year when it sold a 50-percent stake in its business to the massive Dutch brewer Heineken. And last week, Lagunitas made another splash when founder Tony Magee announced in a blog post the brewer had sold the remaining 50-percent stake to Heineken in order to help the company “go farther more quickly than we could have on our own,” Magee wrote.

Magee joins host Phil Ponce to talk about the future of Lagunitas as a global craft beer presence.

Below, a Q&A with Magee.

Why sell the rest of the company to Heineken now?

Well, in the first place, we called Heineken. Heineken wasn’t shopping. And Heineken was not planning to invest in any craft breweries. They knew that they wouldn’t know what to do with it – it’s not what they do for a living, it’s not how their internal incentives are built, around the values that make craft brands successful until, quite frankly, we called and they saw us as a unicorn.

I knew that they didn’t want to take over Lagunitas because they didn’t want us to leave, they wanted us to enjoy the company and go on doing the thing we do they knew they didn’t know how to do. Internally, we have an awful lot to offer Heineken. I have joked with them that my job is to take over Heineken, but I mean that in an apocryphal sense. We could infect them and have a big influence on how they approach this new world of beer that is as undeniable as a tsunami. Most people don’t know this but in San Francisco, craft is 70 percent of the dollars in high-end beer. So that means Budweiser, Miller, they fish through this banquet of crumbs for the last 30 percent.

In the U.S. we don’t work with their Heineken operating company at all, we operate shoulder to shoulder with them and that’s where we are within their corporate structure. But abroad, we work directly with their operating companies as a brand. And abroad, in the larger world, this is the moment to move, to become involved in craft in places like the U.K., Brazil, Vietnam, France, Spain, Portugal, and the rest of the developed world, this is the moment to get going. Because when you set up a 50-50 relationship you effectively build a wall between the two of you, and you build that wall for good reasons, to prevent the big company from interfering with the little one, and ensuring that the little one can operate autonomously.

But that wall started to become an obstacle and stopped us from doing things together that we wanted to because we had developed a lot of faith and trust in each other. It was just time to take that wall down so that we could really operate hand in glove.

There’s a woman named Charlene Heineken, their oldest son is on the Lagunitas Board of Directors because they wanted him close to us to come to learn about how this new world of beer worked. In many more ways than that, we’re marrying into the family more than it is an acquisition.

The world of business has shorthand terms like “acquisition,” “sold-out,” “remaining stock,” that don’t apply in our case because what we’re doing is far more organic than Machiavellian in nature. That’s because we’re dealing with a family, not a bunch of steward-managers appointed by the board of directors and the founders are long gone, where it is just blood and guts. When you say something like that, people are like, “nice spin,” so it’s hard to get past the prejudice and politics. We have to do that over time.

Stephen Colbert did a commencement address at some small private college, and in the course of this talk he gets to the “yes, and” which is the heart of improv. That’s something you have to hold in your mind all through your life. If I can keep people’s minds open to Lagunitas, they’re going to find over time that the things that I’ve said, that we’re going to live these principles, and it’s going to be exciting. The truth is, Heineken does hold the paper, so they could shut me down, but I’ve made my bet with humans.

One of the things about being an entrepreneur is making bets – when you don’t have enough information to know for certain the outcome, so you’re betting on your own ability to deliver the goods. This is not the first time for me and it won’t be the last.

What has the reception been like thus far?

I found some incredibly thoughtful optimism, and some bitter vitriol, and some people who said I’ll wait and see, if the beer continues to taste good I’ll continue to support them.

How about within the company?

I have a good track record of making bets and delivering on my promises. I’ve asked the people in the company to trust me and I believe they trust me. I can’t say that everyone’s totally as certain of the outcome as I am, but that is what time is for. Everyone’s like, ok, we’ll see what happens. Game on. “Yes, and.”

I think in the world that we’re in, it’s no longer an either-or world, like “I’m a Bud man, I’m a Miller man.” It’s a “both-and” generation. The cynicism is mixed in there deeply, but they want everything, they want every opportunity.

Craft brewing is as fundamentally human a thing as you could ever imagine. Beer goes back 25,000 years, they called ‘em public houses, and it just became pubs, it’s where people went to share news, births, deaths, take on debts and settle debts, start and finish arguments. It sounds like social media, doesn’t it? And beer was the medium. So the public house became the first social media and certainly around Chicago, there were pubs on every second or third corner in the city and they were gathering places for sharing news for a community of densely packed housing.

I think social media is an electronic form of the public house, so beer and social media in my mind are intimately wedded. It’s interesting that craft brewing really exploded in the early 2000s just as social media became completely ubiquitous. Insomuch as that’s true, people have friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and this is tribe formation. People live and act within tribes. It’s as if we’re the new primitives now. Everything from facial hair, and tattoos, and body piercing, they’re all ways to self-identify as parts of this or that tribe. These are sort of primitive ways of communicating self. Deer would grow into the brush and drag up a bunch of weeds in their antlers as a way to decorate themselves and become that, it’s primal.

In this time of social media and the world’s shrinking down to the head of a pin on your screen, I think the business that we as brewers are in, and maybe all consumer product companies for that matter, is the business of tribe formation. Shared stories, shared values, people can be driven out or invited, recruited into a tribe, members of a lot of different tribes. Some people might be members of the Lagunitas tribe, dig our beer and find a lot of personal identification in it, and also be members of the Off Color tribe.

You can be a member of all sorts of tribes within the world of beer, or for that matter, Nike or Converse. These things all mean something to people. So the business we’re in is tribe building, we do that through events at the brewery, reaching out in the community and doing the nonprofit donations we do because that’s people at their most primal, when they’re loving something with their time. If we do that alongside them, they’ll show their appreciation by loving us back, and we can recruit them into our tribe.

The rest of it, where the money comes from in a business, is noise. Money is a commodity, like water in the beer. People don’t judge the water in the beer, they judge the beer. To me, that’s a richer conversation.

Magic Hat Receives National Arts Award

 

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON:  SEVENDAYSVT.COM 

For the second year in a row, Americans for the Arts has recognized a Burlington-area business as one of its “BCA 10.”  Each year, the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit’s  Business Committee for the Arts highlights 10 businesses across the country for “exceptional involvement in the arts,” according to its website. Dealer.com received the honor last year. This year it’s Magic Hat Brewing Company. Burlington’s South End Arts and Business Association nominated both businesses for the award.

Founded by entrepreneur Alan Newman and brewer Bob Johnson, Magic Hat began concocting its suds on Flynn Ave. in Burlington’s South End in 1994. The company has since moved its production to Bartlett Bay Road in South Burlington, though its offices are presently located on Pine Street in Burlington. North American Breweries bought the company in 2010. In 2012, NAB sold to Cerveceria Costa Rica, a division of Costa Rica’s Florida Ice & Farm Co.

Throughout its history, Magic Hat has made the arts part of its identity and mission. (Fun fact: The brewery’s original name was the Magic Hat Brewing Company & Performing Arts Center.) Recent artistic endeavors have run the gamut from soliciting original artwork for the Labels for Libations project to hosting the annual Wall to Canvas event, a live art competition at the brewery that benefits the Shelburne Craft School.

This is only the second year SEABA has nominated a business for the award. According to SEABA director Adam Brooks, that’s because he hadn’t even heard about the BCA 10 until Americans for the Arts approached him two years ago.

“They came to me after hearing about our little South End Arts District and the South End Art Hop, and thought maybe we should nominate a business,” Brooks writes in an email. “Dealer.com has been outstanding in supporting the arts community, so they were a logical choice.”

Deciding who to pick this year wasn’t easy, Brooks says. “There are many south end businesses who make it part of their mission to support the arts.  That’s what makes this district tick.”

But Brooks notes a few projects that put Magic Hat on the organization’s radar. He cites Labels for Libations, which began in 2012 during Brooks’ first year as director. The competition solicits artwork from local creators to adorn a limited edition 22-ounce “Art Hop Ale.” Recent winners have included Zelde Grimm and Hillary Glass.

Brooks also mentions the company’s support of nonprofits such as the Shelburne Craft School and Big Heavy World. Magic Hat hosts the HeavyFest music festival, a BHW benefit, next Saturday, May 20, at the brewery.

“They are an extremely creative and artistic-minded business,” Brooks says.

In an email statement to Seven Days, Magic Hat brand manager Lisa Kelly writes, “Since we opened our brewery doors in 1994, [Magic Hat has] embraced our incredible and vibrant arts community and wished to play a big part in that and help nurture and grow it.” Kelly notes that the brewery also hosts art exhibitions in its retail store and tasting room, the Artifactory.

“We are proud to work with and support SEABA and participate in the South End Art Hop year after year,” Kelly continues. “We invite the local Burlington arts community to share this award with us. Because without their inspiration and welcome, we would not have found ourselves in this amazing position.”

Rhinegeist Summer Seasonal Offerings Now Available

As we recently let you know, Rhinegeist cans are here, but we have even more exciting Rhinegeist news. Their seasonal offerings can be purchased in Pittsburgh now as well! Summer wouldn’t be the same without their Peach Dodo and Mosiac. Here to help you enjoy the best and brightest summer days with light and refreshing flavor. 

Put away those stouts and get ready for something new. 


Mosaic (5.6% | 45 IBU)

Available in 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft, & 6pk 12oz CANS

This single hopped pale ale detonates upon the palate with a brilliant array of dank, tropical fruit, grapefruit blossom, mandarin orange, and blueberries.

Peach Dodo (4.4% | 12 IBU)

Available in 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft, & 6pk 12oz CANS

This Gose is bright and frisky, tart and saline. Peach Dodo is thirst quenching and dances on the palate with punches of peach.

Rhinegeist Cans Now Available In Pittsburgh!

Courtesy of Rhinegeist Brewery

Rhinegeist Brewery has been making it’s rounds on taps all around the city, but now you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home or pack some in the cooler for your summer picnic or barbecue! 

There will be plenty of year-round favorites available like Truth, Cougar, Knowledge, Bubbles, and Semi Dry Cider.  Something for just everybody, so you won’t ever need to worry about not having a brew for someone. For now, you can also found some seasonal offerings like Mosaic and Peach Dodo.

Truth (7.2% | 75 IBU)
Available in 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft, & 6pk 12oz CANS

Truth is an intensely hopped, dry IPA, with Centennial, Citra, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops. 

Year-round offering

 

 

Cougar (4.8% | 20 IBU)
Available in 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft, & 6pk 12oz CANS

A bright blonde ale with light honey cereal tones, Cougar is hopped with Crystal and Bravo for notes of mandarin and citrus.

Year-round offering

 

 

 

 

Knowledge (8.5% | 98 IBU)
Available in limited 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft & 4pk 12oz CANS

Intense and refined, Knowledge delivers notes of resinous pine, dank sap, pithy grapefruit, and ripe pineapple.  Bone dry, lightly-colored and slightly hazy, this brew is a hop head’s dream.

Year-round offering

 

 

 

 

Semi Dry Cider (6.2% | 0 IBU)
Available in 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft, & 6pk 12oz CANS

Cider fermented to amplify the fragrance and essence of the apple whilst achieving a delightful, lip smacking dryness.

Year-round offering

 

 

 

 

Bubbles (6.2% | 0 IBU)
Available in 1/2 bbls, 1/6 bbls draft & 6pk 12oz CANS

A bright and dry Rosé Ale, Bubbles is packed with notes of apples, peach and cranberry. It’s a tart and juicy brew built for springtime that pours a brilliant reddish-pink.

Year-round offering

 

 

 

 

SweetWater Cinco de Mayo Bar Crawl

 

 
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Market Square! This Friday sip on the second release from the SweetWater Brewing Company’s Hatchery series, the  Mexican Style Lager, as you make your way around the Square to the following restaurants and bars: 
 
Diamond Market:  5PM-6PM
Wingharts:  7PM-8PM
City Works:  8PM-9PM
BeerHead:  9:30PM-10:30PM
 
 

Back in September, SouthWater Brewing Company introduced their pilot system: a 10 barrel brewhouse that would give their brewers the opportunity to test new and experimental recipes in relatively small batches. The plan was to serve the results in their tasting room, but then they started cooking up some seriously tasty beers that they felt the world needed to taste. Their second release in the the Hatchery series is a crisp Mexican Style Lager cooked up by SweetWater brewer Travis. 

#BeerOfTheWeek: Boulevard Brewing Co’s “Can Fan” Variety Pack

Sometimes it is just too difficult to pick one beer to enjoy, so why not enjoy three! That is the motto that Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company lives by when it comes to their “Can Fan” Variety Pack. Three of their favorite year-round beers to give you 12 reasons to improve your day! Featuring the Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Heavy Lifting IPA, and Ginger Lemon Radler

  • UNFILTERED WHEAT BEER: An American-style wheat beer that is equal parts lively and refreshing has natural citrus flavors with a distinctive cloudy appearance. It is one of the brewery’s best selling ales and is a Midwest favorite. ABV 4.4% | IBU 14 | EBC 7.3
  • HEAVY LIFTING IPA: Shifting directions, this beer is a standard West Coast India Pale Ale and Boulevard Brewing Company’s newest year-round offering. This brew is known for it’s big, bold hops that help the taste bellow with flavor. You won’t be able to miss the five different kinds of hops in this big guy. ABV 6.2% | IBU 80 | EBC 14

  • GINGER LEMON RADLER: Last but not least is this delightful Radler, a zesty and refreshing take on mixing beer with soda or lemonade to make the perfect light, thirst-quenching beer practically made for warm weather relaxation. Enjoy the fresh and light taste of this delightful beer when you’re looking for the perfect beer to help you sit back and relax. ABV 4.1% | IBU 12 | EBC 6

How Magic Hat Is Arting Around With Packaging

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON: SEVENDAYSVT

WRITTEN BY: SADIE WILLIAMS

Back in the day, Dale’s Pale Ale from Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery was the only craft brew you could get in a can. Of course, there were also the inexpensive everyman’s beers such as Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser. Now, more and more craft breweries are packaging their suds in aluminum.

Why? The brewers interviewed for this article cited portability, trendiness and better light-blocking capabilities. And some brews, such as the Alchemist’s Heady Topper, simply taste better from the can.

Not to mention, a 16-ounce silver cylinder provides ample real estate for branded artwork. And that’s increasingly important in the saturated beer market. The U.S. counted more than 5,000 craft brewers as of 2016, according to the Brewers Association. That’s a lot of competition.

Whether printed on the bare metal substrate or on a glossy wrap, beer-can designs speak to the personalities of the brews and the companies that make them. We tapped four designers in an attempt to better understand the artful can.

  • Founded: 1994
  • Location: South Burlington
  • Designer: Ryan Ober leads the Foundry, an in-house design team.
  • Annual production: 150,000 barrels
  • Format: 12- and 22-ounce bottles, 12- and 16-ounce cans
  • Aesthetic: “Eccentric, psychedelic, artful,” says brand manager Lisa Kelly.

SEVEN DAYS: When did you start selling cans, and why?

LISA KELLY: We started selling cans in the spring of 2011. Cans have become a great option for outdoor activities, like gathering in parks, camping trips … boating and enjoying at all the outdoor music festivals. [And] here are some benefits to using cans over bottles: Cans seal out oxygen better, which keeps the beer fresher longer. They also block out the light completely, so you don’t get that skunkiness to the beer.

SD: How has Magic Hat evolved to keep up?

RYAN OBER: We just rebranded all our cans — we were focusing on better communication, a formula. We want to have a consistent look to the logo but stay true to who we are, being a little bit mysterious with our beers and having fun with it.

We really hadn’t changed our packaging in 10 years, so we’re [evolving] with all of our packaging, creating this family look. It looks more modern.

SD: Do you print on wraps or the bare substrate?

RO: I like printing on the substrate, because you have to communicate more with the printers — pick where you’re going to let the shiny spots come through. I think some people like to print on the wrap, because then they can guarantee a white background. [Printing on the can] changes the colors.

To read the full article click here

Brewery Ommegang introduces Pale Sour Ale

Brewery Ommegang welcomes a remarkable new year-round beer this month.Pale Sour is a 6.9% ABV mixed fermentation sour beer developed by Ommegang’s brewmaster Phil Leinhart, and the master blenders at their sister brewery, Liefmans, in Oudenaarde, Belgium.

“Pale Sour is an elegant, drinkable sour beer, unique in that it’s not wood-aged. It has a well-balanced blend of sweet and sour,” says Ommegang’s brewmaster, Phil Leinhart. “Liefmans is such a historic, iconic brewery and having the opportunity to work with them has been an honor and very enjoyable.”

Pale Sour begins with a mixed culture fermentation in open copper vats. Aged over several months in stainless tanks, master blenders blend new batches with older ones until the optimal balance of flavors is reached.

A beer that drinks much like a fine white wine, Pale Sour pours a bright golden hue with a brilliant white head. The flavor is an elegant interplay of sweet and sour and the mouthfeel is soft with a delicate body and clean finish.

Pale Sour’s balanced acidity is a perfect accompaniment to a charcuterie board and a tasty contrast to rich, fatty foods. Try pairing with duck, ribeye, blue cheese, and rich chocolate desserts. Pale Sour is best served in a Teku glass which will prevent the beer from warming in hands.

Available in 12 oz. four-packs and on draft at the brewery beginning Saturday, April 29,Pale Sour will also be available in select Ommegang retailers within the brewery’s distribution footprint.

#BeerOfTheWeek: Boulder Beer Company’s “Hazed Hoppy Session Ale”

Boulder Beer Company is known for their innovative, always tasty brews and being Colorado’s first craft brewery, but their Hazed Hoppy Session Ale is among one of the nationwide favorites. It meets the palate at the perfect crossroads of hops and a classic session ale. Hazed is a dry-hopped ale that is fermented with big, fresh hop flavor that gives the beer it’s aroma without the bitterness brews typically get from hops. The blend of four different hop varieties helps to give the amber-colored ale a full mouth feel and smooth finish.

Clocking in at 5.0% ABV and 38 IBU this brew is available in 6-pack bottles, 6-pack cans, 12-pack bottles and 22oz bottles, making enjoying this drink responsibly perfect for even the pickiest of beer drinkers. Sit back, relax and #GetHazed

Cash in a Sick Day for Opening Day with SweetWater Brewing Company

This Friday, April 7, 2017, the Pirates take on the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park for Opening Day! Cash in a sick day and cheer on the Pirates with SweetWater Brewing Company specials at Diamond Market Bar & Grill in Market Square and BeerHead Bar & Eatery in the North Shore. 

Diamond Market Bar & Grill Opening Day Special:  $5.00 SweetWater Goin’ Coastal draft all day

BeerHead Bar & Eatery Opening Day Special:  $6.00 SweetWater Goin’ Coastal 16oz cans all day 

2nd Annual Flying Dog Boil

Join Hough’s, Flying Dog and Copper Kettle for their 2nd Annual Dead Rise Crab Boil during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.

They’re cooking things up in the kettles and serving this feast family style. Gather your group and purchase your tickets when they go on sale Wednesday 3/22 at 1pm.

Purchase your tickets at www.HoughsPGH.com

Limited Release Alert! Magic Hat Brewing Co. “Wee Heavy Champ”

On a search for new beers, seasonal favorites and limited releases to give your palate a taste of something new? Magic Hat has answered your wishes with their limited release “Wee Heavy Champ,” a Scotch Ale hidden notes of caramel and chocolate that help disguise it’s 8% ABV. 

But wait there is more. Tucked up west of Burlington are the majestic waters of Lake Champlain, full of diverse populations in and around it’s shores. This brew was created in celebration of these ever-wonderful waters. Proceeds of the sales will benefit the Lake Champlain Committee. It is only on the market for a limited time so keep your eyes open for the brew. 

#BeerOfTheWeek Boulder Beer’s “Hola Maria”

It is starting to feel a bit more like Spring—but with Pittsburgh weather, sometimes you never know. When you’re looking for a bit of light in your life you can look towards Boulder Beer’s “Hola Maria,” a Mexican-style ale with a sunny disposition and vibrant golden color. Bright, easy-going, smooth and always refreshing, Hola Maria is brewed with malted wheat to ensure a soft mouth-feel. You’ll get a delightful response with a full flavor in this light crisp ale largely impart to the slightly unfiltered portion of the brewing process.

Clocking in at 5.2% ABV and 15 IBU, this seasonal beer is the perfect treat if you’re looking for something easy and light to drink to unwind. The design of the cans and tap allude to a fiesta of flavors that you can expect upon your first sip.

Anchor Brewing Company’s Beer Cocktails for Springtime

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON ANCHORBREWING.COM

The seasons are changing as the days get longer and warmer. Your down jacket gets moved to the back of the closet, the barbecue gets wheeled out, and the springtime festivities begin! While there’s nothing like cracking open a cold Anchor on a warm day, we thought we’d take that one step further and teamed up with our friends at Anchor Distilling Company to bring you three delicious and refreshing beer cocktails. Each recipe features our beer plus spirits from Anchor Distilling’s impressive portfolio. Enjoy!

San Fran Soda Image- Low Res

San Fran Soda

Ingredients

Directions

  • Pour vodka, lime juice, and soda water over ice in high ball glass.
  • Top off with Anchor Steam Beer.
  • Garnish with lemon slice and a straw.

Cocktail recipe created by Devin Hardy of the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA.

California's Callin' Image

California’s Callin’

Ingredients

Directions

  • Combine Gin, Maraschino, fruit juices, and bitters in an ice-filled mixing tin and shake for 20-30 seconds, or until well chilled.
  • Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass.
  • Top off with Anchor California Lager and garnish with a grapefruit peel.

Cocktail recipe created by Jeff Hollinger.

Cherry Shandy Image

Cherry Shandy

Ingredients

Directions

  • Combine beer and liqueur in a tumbler glass and stir until blended.
  • Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

Cocktail recipe created by Emily Arden Wells of Gastronomista.com 


Get in touch

Find Us

Talk to us

Frank Fuhrer Employment