Any specialty beer company whose stated goal is to tap mainstream drinkers is worth a regular strategy visit. I’m talking about Duvel Moortgat USA, which just wrapped the 3,000-strong Belgium Comes to Cooperstown annuality at the lush brewery Ommegang in upstate New York. Your editor sat with DMUSA chief Simon Thorpe, Duvel’s Daniel Krug and a plastic pint of Ommegang Abbey Ale to get what’s going on in the second half of the year…

You know what they say: If weren’t this it would be something else. Boston’s newest numbers show healthy depletions and somewhat depressed core shipments, though the two seem to be in better tandem than last quarter to achieve Freshest Beer’s target lower inventories…

Ironically, craft seems to have re-branded non-branding as the most valuable thing to sell beer. At our summit earlier this year, Kim Jordan , Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione all vouched for the power of their stories to sell beer. Buzzwords like

CBD just got off the horn with Goose Island’s John Hall and A-B chief Dave Peacock to discuss expansion plans for Goose Island. It’s been no secret that Goose has experienced production shortages this summer. …

Bear with our sounding the can-trumpet again. San Francisco’s 21st Amendment is one of those momentous, fast-growing breweries, albeit on a handful of markets. Still, co-founder Nico Freccia says they’re starting to dig deeper in its existing markets. The demand is certainly there: Hell or High Watermelon, their former flagship-come-seasonal, is up 283% in case sales YTD on 4,510 cases; 21A IPA is up over 250% on 5,841 cases…

Cider is still on fire. (For the primer, refer to April’s “Crafty Cider on the Rise.”) But it wasn’t always that way. The first and biggest cider on the block is Woodchuck, slated to reach 200,000 barrels by next year, and still growing in every region in the country. Latest IRI numbers show the cidery up 37% in volume and dollars; in supers, they have almost 50% share of the cider category…

Your editor has been examining the ROI of adding brewery ops to existing restaurants – retroactive brewpubs, if you will – for a freelance gig, and some of the results are telling. If you didn’t know it, brewpubs — defined by the BA as those restaurant operations that brew beer on site and sell at least 25% of it there – make up the majority of the almost 1800 breweries, though far from the majority of its barrels…

Sean Lawson makes about 100 barrels a year of some 30 “brands” of beer in his garage-like outpost outside his Vermont home, the origin of much-sought-after Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Put in perspective, one finished batch of No. 9 at Magic Hat’s Burlington digs make 150 barrels. And yet, Lawson’s had one of the longest lines at last weekend’s Vermont Brewers Festival, snaking from his taps to along the festival’s outer fencing…

When you think of Killian’s, do you think of craft? Brand manager Brad Johnson thinks you might. He and brand director Libby Mura say the brand already acts like entry-level craft in terms of pricing, age demo and how it sells on “intrinsics” at retail. Now they’re revamping marketing to harness the trend, starting with a promo this fall featuring Celtic punk rock band The Dropkick Murphys…

The numbers are in for beer’s biggest holiday. The entire category increased its case and dollar sales by millions over last year. More saliently, craft saw record highs for the 3 weeks ended July 10…

Earlier this week we reported on Sunoco’s pilot growler-filling program at 12 of its Buffalo-area APlus Convenience stores. We were interested in the progress and implications for the 600-store concept, so we pinged spokesperson Joe McGinn with a little Q&A…

Long Trail isn’t only a good study for its impressive draft and off-premise numbers. The whole system offers lessons on synergy and R&D, especially since the No. 13 brewer purchased Otter Creek around the turn of 2009, and with it, Wolaver’s organic brand. The brands are now on the uptick after a pre-purchase slump…

Let’s look at Vermont. It’s a singular market, possibly a bit like Canada, which is especially interesting for craft, considering it has the highest amount of breweries per capita – 22 – in the states. People here are crazy about all things local, from cheese, to beer, to, of course, maple syrup…

(See yesterday’s issue for the intro to Taco Mac , the Atlanta-based sports-themed craft beer chain.) Bev director Fred Crudder says the growth of Taco Mac and that of its Brewniversity program are

Last week we profiled one of the fastest growing established craft brands, Sweetwater Brewing out of Atlanta, Georgia, whose chief Freddy Bensch mentioned that they “do a lot of business with the Taco Macs of the world.” If you don’t live in Taco Mac’s tri-state area of Georgia-North Carolina-Tennessee, you might not be that familiar with this craft-forward , sports-themed casual restaurant that lets people come as they are – domestic light beer drinker or craft aficionado alike…