We were tipped off to a particularly heinous discount yesterday: Vons selling Stone sixers for $6.99 (with club card-reg. $11.49) until June 28. The brewer, of course, doesn’t discount like that, and we’re told the distributor was floored. It’s a prime example of craft increasingly becoming a “loss leader,” taking the hit on pricing as retailers seek to generate traffic into the beer category, or just bring people in the store. Typically this tactic is reserved for big premium light beer brands, but apparently craft beer’s appeal is starting to make it more common in that space. I guess craft has truly arrived when chains are selling below cost…

As BBD wrote yesterday, Reyes Holdings closed the sale on Schenck earlier this week, but not all craft brands were a part of the deal, leaving some brands free agents. The pieces have not all fallen into place yet, but we know that Bell’s is now with red distributor Brown Distributing Co., and some have speculated that Avery is on the move, though their marketing chief couldn’t yet comment on the situation…

For many emerging craft brewers, there’s an important question to consider: To go with wine and spirits wholesalers or beer wholesalers?…

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is the mid-Atlantic region’s fastest-growing restaurant group. Started when the craft bubble started to “burst” in ’96, the group is slated to open their 9th location in Philly’s Chestnut Hill later this year, and likely open another unit every year for the next five. The concept brews their own beer, but director of brewing Mark Edelson has some interesting observations about system trends that apply to all on-premise beer sales…

Not that we’re already jumping to the East Coast in our regional craft profiling series, but there’s a timely and topical microbrewery called Three Heads based in Rochester. Why is it timely? Well, like the larger craft industry, they’ve been growing almost threefold in the first few months of the year. But unlike the majority of the larger industry, they just started in January…

After they acquired IBU (Pyramid/Magic Hat) last year, North American Breweries started delving into craft trends, demos and observations from a swath of sources. This has driven some in-house, empirical conclusions that will continue to inform their strategy to “speak to the craft consumer and bring thought leadership” to the category, as insights and category chief Mary Jo Hardy and sales VP James Pendegraft mentioned at NAB headquarters in Buffalo last week. CBD was privy to their findings…

Most of our pieces in the “on-premise intel” series we started over at BBD have focused on regional or national chains, but there is a lot to be said for destination beer bars like San Diego’s Hamiltons Tavern. Like other regional satellites — San Francisco’s Toronado, Portland’s Horse Brass or Denver’s Falling Rock – it attracts the most dedicated craft aficionados, and helps set and show the trends first…

After last week’s dissertation on mounting tension between brewers and distributors, some of you wrote in wondering what brewers with small distributorships, like Stone, might think. Here’s your answer…

The West Coast knew how hot IPAs would be nation-wide long before the rest of it did. Or it should have. Case in point: Green Flash never planned to go national, but after it launched West Coast IPA March 1 of 2005, that became the brewery’s bestseller within six months – and sent palates afire. They didn’t distribute outside of SD before that, and hadn’t planned to, at least according to brewmaster Chuck Silva…

As a friendly debate roars over at BBD between craft brewers and distributors over state franchise law reform and access to market issues, it behooves us to dive a little deeper into one mini-storm between the tiers that was recently brewing in California concerning an advisory letter that the California Attorney General put out last year concerning the contractual relationship between brewers and their distributors…

People far from San Diego’s Ballast Point don’t realize their longevity and influence on the industry, possibly because they do a full 85% of volume in their own backyard. The brewery started about 19 years ago with Jack White and Yuseff Cherney, who operated a homebrew shop with a 15-barrel brewhouse in the back. Six years ago they moved production to their current digs on 10051 Old Grove Rd., where they now brew their sought-after, tropical-hoppy Sculpin IPA and help pioneer the burgeoning distilling market coming out of the craft brew movement…

The call on CBA’s Q4 results, expectedly, had little to do with Q4. It centered on the recent FSB sale and unique strengths and challenges of CBA’s in-flux portfolio…

In what promises to be a bigger story as the year trollops on (Paul Gatza revealed at CBC that a whopping 94% of regional breweries are up), Allagash’s Rob Tod told CBD that they’re pulling out of Texas and Washington in the next couple of months. Rob says sales projections for the year were in the 30%-over range, but depletions out of wholesaler warehouses have been exceeding 50% the last couple of months…

Craft Brewers Alliance filed 2010 numbers yesterday, though the conference call won’t happen until Tuesday. Some highlights from the statement:…

After yesterday’s manifesto-lite on this watershed M&A year, many of you wanted to weigh in. One truth squadder highlighted an issue that hasn’t gotten much light: Do franchise laws in fact devalue craft companies?…