Sam Adams Unveils Two New Seasonals, New Fruity Rebel for Next Year

FILED OCTOBER 7, 2016

Dear Client:

Sam Adams unveiled some new brews for '17 at its annual beer brunch here on the ground at GABF. There's only so many ways you can skin a cat, which is to say, there are only so many ways you can brew a beer without putting actual fireworks in it (and we're not sure the TTB would approve. Then again, it might take them awhile to notice).

So, Sam Adams's innovations for next year: Another iteration of Rebel IPA -- this one playing to the popular citrus/tropical/flavored IPA train that's become almost 10 share of the style YTD in supers -- and two more seasonals.

New Rebel Juiced is a 6.2% IPA "with a tropical twist of mango and citrusy hops," per description. "It's as if we took fresh hops and mangos and put them in a juicer." They add mango juice to the brew, and it really smells and tastes as such. It will be year-round, hitting first in draft this month, and then with bottles and cans in market early next year.

The two seasonals include Fresh as Helles -- a helles lager with orange blossom petals for February/March -- and Hopscape, a 30 IBU wheat ale with four types of West Coast hops for January/February.

JIM SPEAKS. Jim addressed the crowd as he does during these things. This week marks the 35th GABF; this is Jim's 32nd. "I came here in '84 and there were 100 breweries" at the event, he said. Meanwhile, "I believe in all of that time in all of Colorado, there was one brewery back then," which was Boulder Beer. "Today there are 350 breweries in Colorado." Oh how far we've come.

But "we're in the middle, not at the end" of this American brewing phenomenon, Jim said. "At this moment in this place is the most exciting time in the history of brewing."

ON THE NEW BEERS. "If four seasonal beers is good, hell, five seasonal beers is better," said Jim on the new in-and-out offerings, throwing SKU proliferation concerns to the wind. So we're see gonna more Sam seasonals in market at the same time.

MORE ON REBEL JUICED. As to Rebel Juiced, it's "really meant to showcase the tropical, fruit salad kinda notes" you get out of some of the New American hops, like Citra and Mosaic, said Jim. "We amped that up with some mango juice in the beer." As such, the "fruit salad" or mango characteristic is not subtle at all. That could be a good thing, especially for new or less frequent beer drinkers.

Will it be enough to turn around Boston Beer's fortunes? We'll see.

FOUR PEAKS HITTING NEW MEXICO WITH RED NETWORK

Four Peaks Brewing Company has announced plans to launch its beers in New Mexico next week. The Arizona brewer, who is now a part of Anheuser-Busch's High End, will naturally roll with two A-B houses for the state: Premier Distributing and L&F Distributors (who is the big LaMantia South Texas A-B house, which has a piece of New Mexico as well). Representatives from the brewery told CBD that Premier will cover most of the state and L&F will service the "southern sliver" of the state that includes Roswell.

The two wholesalers will work with Four Peaks to deliver its Kilt Lifter Scottish-style Ale, Hop Knot IPA and Peach Ale to bars, restaurants, grocery stores and liquor stores across the state. The move into New Mexico marks Four Peak's second foray out-of-state. Recall earlier this summer, Four Peaks expanded distribution to Las Vegas and southern Nevada, representing the brewery's first expansion outside of Arizona state lines in its 20 years of doing business.

CRAFT BREW ALLIANCE LAYS OFF HALF OF ITS WOODINVILLE PRODUCTION TEAM

Craft Brew Alliance has cut the production team at its Woodinville brewery in half, per Seattle Times.

As you may recall, CBA announced plans at the beginning of the year to enter into a brewing agreement with Pabst Brewing Company at the Woodinville facility in Washington.

The deal allowed Pabst's subsidiary, Rainier Brewing Company, to begin brewing Rainier Pale Mountain Ale and other Rainier brands at the facility when spring rolled around.

VOLUMES FROM THE DEAL "HAVE NOT MATERIALIZED". But "the volumes we expected through our contract brewing arrangement with Pabst have not materialized," CBA COO Scott Mennen told the publication in an email, "and we were faced with the unfortunate need to reduce our production team by about half."

"DIFFICULT," BUT "NECESSARY" DECISION. It was "a very difficult decision," Scott wrote, "but one that was necessary for the long-term health of the Woodinville brewery and the business overall."

HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE CUT? Scott did not share how many jobs were cut, but Brewbound, who first reported the news, estimates that somewhere between 12 and 20 people lost their jobs. There's a chance these people could return to work "if we see volumes increase," Scott told the Seattle Times. The facility is currently operating at 30% of its capacity.

The facility will continue to churn out CBA's "contract partner beers," and all of Redhook and Widmer Brothers bomber bottles, Scott said.

Recall that the brewing agreement provides Pabst with the option to purchase the brewery for $25 million or more until December 2018.

BEER BRIEFS:

BEER SUMMIT SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES. We will be accepting a limited number of sponsorships for our 2017 Summit at the Hotel Del Coronado in January. For more info on pricing and opportunities, please email rena@beernet.com

Until Monday, Jenn

"To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all." - Peter McWilliams

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