Brewscape: The Latest Craft Beer Brand News

Craft Brew Alliance Agrees to Settle Kona Labeling Dispute

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) has agreed to settle a years-long class action lawsuit over alleged “false and deceptive advertising” for its Kona Brewing beer brand.

In an SEC filing, the publicly traded Portland, Oregon-based craft beer company – which also owns the Widmer Brothers, Redhook, Omission, Square Mile Cider, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Wynwood Brewing and Cisco Brewers labels – said it expects to incur costs of about $4.7 million to settle the dispute, which surfaced in early 2017.

That amount is inclusive of all legal and administrative fees but does not represent the total amount CBA will pay to the class, according to Marcus Reed, the company’s general counsel.

According to Reed, the nationwide settlement will be open to consumers who purchased Kona-branded beer products dating as far back as 2013.

Canarchy Appoints New CEO

After operating for nearly a year without a CEO, the Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective appointed long-time beer executive Tony Short to its top leadership post.

The Fireman Capital-backed brewery consortium – whose brands include Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Deep Ellum, Perrin Brewing, Three Weavers, and Utah Brewers Cooperative (Wasatch and Squatters) – had been without a chief executive since last May, when David Pillsbury exited the company after about six months on the job. At the time, Canarchy promoted chief operating officer Matt Fraser to the role of president.

Short brings more than three decades of experience in the beer industry to the role, including serving as president of Major Eagle, one of the largest beer wholesalers in Florida, and working 24 years for Anheuser-Busch, where he served as vice president of business and wholesaler development.

Stone Brewing Unloads Berlin Brewery to BrewDog

Stone Brewing’s lofty $30 million Germany brewery experiment – aimed at converting Reinheitsgebot-abiding German drinkers into American craft beer lovers – has come to an end only a few years after it began.

In April, the San Diego-headquartered company, ranked by the Brewers Association as the ninth largest craft beer producer in the U.S., announced the sale of its Berlin brewing facility to Scotland’s BrewDog.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but BrewDog began occupying the space on May 1.

As part of the acquisition, BrewDog picked up a like-new 100-hectoliter brewhouse, and a 10-hectoliter pilot brewing system. The purchase also included a canning line, bottling line, taproom, and outdoor beer garden.

Ninkasi Brewing Sells Majority Stake, Establishes National Platform to Acquire Other Breweries

Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing has sold a majority stake to Legacy Breweries Inc., a new venture led by former Yakima Chief CEO Don Bryant that aims to acquire U.S. craft breweries.

Specific financial terms of the deal, which closed at the end of April, were not disclosed.

Similar to Canarchy, Legacy Breweries Inc. hopes to establish “collaborative partnerships” with craft breweries, according to Ninkasi co-founder Nikos Ridge.

Speaking to BevNET, Ridge said he, along and co-founder Jamie Floyd and the company’s six investors, would “retain significant ownership” in the brewery. The long-term goal, according to Ridge, is to identify independent craft brewery owners who are interested in selling all or parts of their businesses.

The Legacy Breweries venture has access to two sources of capital, including funds from a family office called Blue Ocean. A second partner that came in on the deal with Ninkasi is EPR Properties, a specialty real estate investment trust (REIT) that has $6.8 billion worth of real estate investments, including 158 Megaplex theaters and 32 Topgolf complexes.

Constellation Brands Closing 2 Ballast Point Locations, Abandoning Plans for San Francisco Brewpub

Constellation Brands has shuttered two Ballast Point Brewing facilities in Southern California, and backed out of a plan to open a brewpub in San Francisco.

In April, a spokeswoman with the New York-based beer, wine, and spirits company confirmed the closure of Ballast Point Brewing’s 80,000 sq. ft. “Trade Street” sour beer and barrel-aging facility, which opened in San Diego in late 2017, as well as its Temecula, Calif.-based brewpub, which opened in 2016.

“I can confirm [the] closure of these two facilities due to right-sizing our cost structure based on recent craft trends,” spokeswoman Stephanie McGuane wrote to BevNET via email.

McGuane added that Constellation had also abandoned plans to open a brewpub in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood, where the NBA’s Golden State Warriors are building a new stadium.

The decision came two weeks after Constellation recorded a $108 million impairment charge to Ballast Point’s trademarks, essentially admitting it overpaid when it bought the business for $1 billion in late 2015. Constellation previously recorded an $87 million impairment charge to the Ballast Point trademarks in June 2017.