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?…

Some shaken up after Monday’s A-B Goose Island announcement. From the trenches, we’ve heard two opinions: 1. It’s a game changer. 2. It’s not news: Goose Island

Is it such a stretch to think Millennials might share some beer with their elders? If (big if) craft can tap Boomers, the gains are clear. Ex MillerCoors marketing insights guy Mike Kallenberger painted a picture at CBC: 76 million Boomers drink beer at least once a week. If each decided to drink just one more craft beer per week, it would result in an extra 3 million barrels per year, which is of course larger than Boston Beer Co. …

Goose Island announced this morning it has agreed to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch, its current distribution partner. The deal

Brewpubs, microbreweries, regionals. Brewers Association director Paul Gatza broke ’em all down at yesterday’s epic opening session at the Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco that ended with a fireside chat between Ken Grossman and the ever-eloquent Fritz Maytag, who ended with a zinger: “This whole thing about micro, regional and craft, I must say, I’ve just had enough of it.”…

Bell’s Brewery sent a cease and desist letter to Northern Brewer regarding their use of Two Hearted in a homebrew kit. According to a statement posted yesterday, the issuance was “sent out at a time when Bell’s is having to defend its trademarks (including Two Hearted) on several fronts,” wrote Larry on the brewery’s home page. “Upon learning of Three Hearted we moved to defend an asset that we own and have owned for many years.” The crux, it seemed, was that Bell’s was never contacted for permission to use the name of their hoppy American strong ale…