Craft Brewers Step Up to Help Displaced Workers

Dear Client:

Some uplifting news today amid all the dire stuff.

Even though the craft brewing industry — which overindexes toward perishable kegs, expendable “long tail” brands and largely shuttered own-premise operations — is currently in crisis mode, those who are in any sort of position to help others, are doing just that. Just a few examples (more are rolling in all the time):


New Belgium Brewing announced yesterday that they will be donating up to $100,000 in grants to displaced and furloughed workers in their hometown locations of Asheville, NC and Fort Collins, CO.

The grants are $350 each and “will be distributed to help as many qualified applicants as possible,” and are aimed at those working in a “restaurant, bar, nightclub, music hall, or stadium” in either of the hometown cities.

The company, a Certified B Corp., “will launch the fund with an initial donation of $50,000 and a commitment to match donations up to an additional $50,000,” per their press release.

“This grant program ties directly into one of New Belgium’s key core values, proving that business can be a force for good,” Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing, said in the announcement. “We hope the program raises awareness and encourages others to donate as well. Meanwhile, our hearts are with our communities as we all weather this global crisis.”

Applications will continue through midnight on April 5. How long funds will be distributed is to be announced, as funding will be “determined as the reality of this crisis continues to evolve.”


Montana-based Montucky Cold Snacks, which has an “8% back to non-profits” directive as part of their regular operating model, announced that they would double that in the wake of COVID-19.

“In light of recent events we are doubling our normal everyday 8% donation to 16% of our profits as well as donatating 100% of our swag sales both for the whole month of April!  During this time, all donations will go to nonprofits that help our service industry workers and those affected by Covid-19. Stay tuned for more info to come. Thank you for all of your hard work during this difficult time,” the company posted on social media.

VP sales Jeff Corteau shared that their team, which remains fully employed, “will be volunteering with these local organizations as well as other outreach groups that are affected by COVID-19.” 


Over in Michigan, Founders is helping support the local arts community, which has been hit hard by COVID-19. They’ve launched a new, online program, “#CraftedinMI,” dedicated to supporting the local arts community in Michigan. 

“Founders has pledged to use their social media platforms to help promote artists that are deeply affected by Covid-19 in Michigan, including makers, musicians, culinary artists, small business owners and more. Throughout the stay-at-home order, the team will be sharing some of their favorite Michigan-based craftspeople with the goal of bringing awareness to their talent and driving support during this time of need.”

The plight of artists in the wake of COVID-19 is obvious. Founders shared the story of Dayna Walton, owner of Solstice Handmade: “Last week was tough and it’s so hard to sit back and watch everything I had been looking forward to financially and otherwise cancel, postpone, or disappear,” she said. But “with the help directing eyes to my artwork and online shop, I was able to recoup income lost from workshop cancelations in March and continue to move forward with projects that employ other local makers in collaboration!”


After Molson Coors announced to distributors it would eat half the cost of untapped kegs, Boston chief sales officer John Geist sent some “guidance for out of code beer” to its distributors.

“With the shutdown of many restaurants and bars, we have received questions about how we are handling products that can no longer be sold as a result of expired codes,” he said. “We will continue our standard policies for returns of out of code beer. This includes honoring our 50% policy for full keg and package returns that we have had in place for years. We believe that this policy of splitting the cost with Wholesalers is a fair way to conduct business.”

John said that local Boston sales managers will virtually approve out of code beer. “Now, more than ever, we continue to show good faith by taking back kegs after they expire.”

KEEPING ANNUAL SPENDING LEVELS AGAINST BRANDS. Notably, he also stressed that they plan to continue spending against their brands as planned, though they will “evaluate and adjust” their business as needed.

“We are remaining committed to keeping our annual spending levels against all brands and will continue with our market recoveries,” John said. “As we return to a more normal pace of business, it will be vital to have these levels in place for a more impactful outcome.”

That’s a lot of money: The company announced in recent earnings that it is set to spend around $445 million on ad, promo and selling expenses in 2020, an increase of $80-$90 million over last year. 


Speaking of Boston Beer; last week we reported that the company had donated $100,000 to the Restaurant Strong Fund. We didn’t realize they’d helped to create the organization.

Last Wednesday, the 18th, Boston Beer joined up with the Greg Hill Foundation to create the Restaurant Strong Fund, which hopes to “provide as many $1,000 grants to qualified applicants as possible,” the company announced.

Sam Adams “kickstarted the fund with $100,000 and matched another $100,000 in donations the first two days.” These donations, alongside almost 2,000 individual donations to the fund, have brought the total funds to near $500,000.  

The Restaurant Strong Fund has already received over 7,000 applicants and has sent out over 350 checks to individuals in need in Massachusetts. 

More news to come from Boston Beer, as they say they plan to expand the Fund to more markets next week.


Schlafly Beer of St. Louis, MO is releasing a new brew to benefit the Gateway Resilience Fund, a recent project of the St. Louis Community Foundation to provide temporary cash relief to workers in the hospitality industry.

The beer, 4% ABV hazy IPA, Side Work, was named as “a nod to all of the extra work that people in the restaurant and hospitality industry do behind the scenes.”  It will be $8.99 for a 4-pack, with proceeds going to the Gateway Resilience Fund. 

Side Work will be available for curbside pick-up and carryout at Schlafly’s Taproom and Bottleworks locations beginning early April.

 “There’s so much more that goes into your hospitality experience, outside of serving food and pouring drinks,” Fran Caradonna, CEO of Schlafly Beer, said. “Every experience comes from a team of people that hold each other up to make sure that you are having the best time possible at their establishment.”

The beer was originally brewed to celebrate Schlafly’s lead brewer, Jared Williamson’s, upcoming April nuptials– a tradition amongst long-time employees. When the celebrations had to be postponed due to COVID-19, he found a silver lining.

“. . . We wanted to use the beer for something good. We wanted it to go back to our industry, as both my fiance and I have spent numerous years either behind a bar serving patrons or in the brewery producing the beers,” said Jared. “While it was a bummer to postpone our little celebration, there are much greater issues we are all currently facing, and we will need to help each other as much as we can.”


HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS:  We are in the process of fixing and updating our Apple and Android SchuPub app.  We know our app has been plagued with bugs for a long time. (If you’ve ever dealt with software developers, you know the special level of hell you endure). 

So we made the painful and expensive decision to throw out all the old code and just start from scratch. Our new app will be free of bugs as well as having cool new features, including the ability to read our publications on iPads and tablets both vertically and horizontally. The coolest feature in my view: Every time we publish, you’ll hear a beer can opening (if you enable alerts, which you should). 

But hold your horses, it’s not ready yet. We’ll let you know when we go live. In the meantime, please delete our current app if you have it because it sucks and you will need to completely re-upload it once we go live with the new and improved version. Stay tuned…

ON ANOTHER NOTE:  In light of these crazy times, we are extending the temporary suspension of our copyright and leaving our website paywalls open for another month, through April 30.

Be safe out there, and have a good weekend. 

Until Monday,

Jenn, Jordan, and Harry 

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.”

– Gertrude Stein

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-

Today’s Sell Day: 20

Sell days this month: 22

Sell days this month last year: 21

This month ends on a: Tues.

This month last year ended on a: Fri.

YTD sell days Over/Under:  +1