Founders the Latest Craft Brewer to Offer Keg Credits

Dear Client:

Keg buyback programs from the top craft brewers continue to trickle in. 

Earlier this week we shared SweetWater’s plans for keg relief, and now we’ve got a hold of the keg relief program that Founders Brewing is rolling out.

The Michigan brewer sent word to its wholesaler partners yesterday, stating its intention to issue a 50% reimbursement on the “delivered cost for out of code, untapped draft beer” from the brewery, noting that “delivered cost includes both FOB and freight as one price.”

The program will cover “½ and ¼ draft OOC beer currently in wholesaler warehouses and the ½ and ¼ draft beer returned from retail accounts back to wholesalers,” per note. 

This reimbursement is exclusive to core brands, like — All Day IPA, Solid Gold, Centennial IPA, Unraveled IPA, Reds Rye IPA — and all Seasonal brands. 

They’ve also gone ahead and extended the date codes for Dirty Bastard, Porter and Breakfast Stout to one year, but those brands and as well as their Limited and Barrel Aged series “are not included” in this relief program at this time, though the brewer noted that it “will review, adjust and provide updates as the year continues.”

The program is “available on products dated as out of code between March 1st through July 31, 2020,” Founders said. “This should allow all wholesalers enough time to get access to retail accounts, assess inventories and return kegs to the wholesaler warehouses,” and added the recommendation of “collecting all Founders Tap Handles from retail for thorough cleaning and sanitizing before putting them back in stock.”

The brewer went on to note that it “will cover 100% of the costs for backhauling these products from each warehouse, including cost of pick-up and EPA regulated destruction of beer.”


Like the rest of the beer segments, craft has seen its off-premise dollar trends take off in the past month.

The segment’s dollars are up 16% for the four weeks ending April 19 in IRI’s multi-outlet and convenience channel, and now creeping up on double digit growth for the year, up 9% YTD.

Most of the top craft brands’ dollar trends are on the rise too. About a third of the Top 30 craft brands (11) are growing double digits YTD, and nearly two thirds (19) are doing double digits in the four weeks.

We’ve seen brands that have been stuck in the red as of late (in the pre-COVID era) — like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Shiner Bock, Sam Adams’ Boston Lager, and Sierra Nevada Torpedo – snap back into black, and now growing YTD. New Belgium’s Fat Tire, too, is on the cusp of achieving positive dollar trends in quite some time, down only 0.4% YTD.

And while it may seem that a bump in off-premise trends for top craft brands is pretty much a given at this point, that is not the case for all. Some brands’ trends just ain’t budging.

Shock Top, a brand that’s been stuck deep in the red for quite a while now, continues to be down double digits in dollars over the four weeks.

Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin Sumpin is another that’s down double digits YTD (-18%) and for the four weeks (-14.8%).

Same story for Stone IPA too, down 15.7% YTD and down 15.5% for the four weeks.

And SweetWater’s 420 Pale Ale hasn’t seen much of a lift at all, down 3.3% YTD and down 2.9% for the four weeks. 


The new Blue Moon line extension, Light Sky, which launched at the start of the year, is already popping up on the Top 30 craft list, in the latest IRI data to April 19.

The 95-calorie, 4% ABV Light Sky, ranked as the 26th largest craft brand by dollar sales in IRI’s MULC channel, is raking in $5,640,215 YTD. That means it’s currently bigger in dollar sales than sister brand Blue Moon Mango Wheat, Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed, and Stone IPA. 

Let’s see if Light Sky can keep it up. 

Until tomorrow,

Jenn, Jordan, and Harry 

“Keep cool and you command everybody.”

– Louis de Saint-Just

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-

Today’s Sell Day: 22

Sell days this month: 22

Sell days this month last year: 22

This month ends on a: Thurs.

This month last year ended on a: Tues.

YTD sell days Over/Under:  +1