The Show Must Go On: CBC Going Virtual

Dear Client:

A month ago, the Brewers Association made the tough, but necessary, decision to cancel the upcoming Craft Brewers Conference set to take place in San Antonio. But “you can’t keep a good conference down,” the BA says.

So, what’s the plan? Well, while convening in real life is still very much a no-go, the BA says it has put in plans to do “the next best thing: gather online.” Indeed, get ready for a “five-week virtual Craft Brewers Conference.” 

The virtual CBC will kick off on Monday April 13, and will carry on for more than a month to May 15. Over that frame, the BA will host “two live seminars every week day, with one morning session and one afternoon session.” 

All in there will be 40-plus seminars with 70-plus “industry experts” covering topics such as “brewery operations, business, marketing, and more.”

The cool part about it all? It’s all free. All you need is Wi-Fi.

To register, and get a feel for who will be talking over the coming month, visit here.

PLUS: “The Brewers Association is ensuring that entries from the canceled World Beer Cup competition (originally scheduled for April 22 in San Antonio) won’t go to waste by partnering with two local Colorado distilleries (Denver Distillery and Ballmar Peak Distillery) to convert the beer into hand sanitizer for first responders,” per the BA. “The first batch will make use of 1,500 gallons of beer to produce 175 gallons of hand sanitizer.” More here. 


As the nation hunkers down at home and businesses find creative ways to keep staff on payroll and repurpose their equipment to make essential products, breweries have stood out in their efforts to ramp up hand sanitizer production. 

Today, Dogfish Head’s founder Sam Calagione collaborated with the New York Times to relay the story of how his brewery is doing just that. 

In the video story, Sam describes how a fellow brewer inspired him to get his team started on making and bottling hand sanitizer in growlers and providing them to local hospitals and health agencies.

“I got this email from David Grinnell who oversees brewing for Sam Adams, and in it was a photograph from a European distillery that had repurposed their production facility to start making hand sanitizer. . . Our engineers went to work overnight and basically built from scratch a custom bottling line just for filling hand sanitizer,” he said. 

For other businesses hoping to implement this plan, Sam has a three-step system to share. 

Number 1: Reach out to local or state government to understand where there is critical need and how to best distribute the sanitizer. 

Number 2: Sell your hand sanitizer. “We are a business. We have a payroll. We’ve got bills to pay. In our instance, we’re really proud that we’ve been able to keep all of our full-time co-workers employed,” Sam said.

Number 3: Give back during difficult times. “. . . We didn’t really have a good taste in our mouth about profiting from this moment of crisis as we worked with the state. So 100 percent of the profits from the hand sanitizer that we sell to the state will be given to a fund to give financial relief to hospitality workers that have been put out of work by this crisis,” Sam said. (See CBD 03-25-20 about Dogfish’s collaboration with the Delaware Restaurant Association and the E.A.T.s Fund.)

A story Sam says that he will “always remember,” hints that goodwill and giving back now will help everyone down the road:

“Mariah and I were at the grocery store last weekend. And a nurse came up to us from the local hospital and said, ‘Thank you so much. Our stores were really low. I want you to know I’m keeping that growler. When we‘re done with the hand sanitizer, I’m going to empty it out and refill it with beer at Dogfish when this is all over.’”


Two brewers, Abita and Funky Buddha (owned by Constellation), have announced the release of their new lines of hard seltzers this week.

Abita, which hails from Louisiana, released a spiked sparkling water they’re naming “Spring Loaded,” a tribute to the local water sources the company pulls from, per company release. The top 25 craft brewer will roll out two flavors initially, Splash Berry and Watermelon, and plans to have later flavor releases in their tap room (once it’s cleared to reopen). Spring Loaded is on trend with other seltzer lines in the market, coming in at 100 calories, 2 grams of sugar, and 5% ABV per can. It will be available in canned four-packs in Louisiana this week and plans to expand to MS, AL, FL, GA, and TX in the near future.

(We asked if they were finding shelf space at retail amid the paralyzation the COVID has wrought. “We have been in the planning stages surrounding this product for awhile and with the current circumstances, we have focused our distribution efforts on a smaller footprint, starting closer to home,” the company answered.) 

Meanwhile, Floridian Funky Buddha’s release, announced today, will include four flavors: Tropical Mango Guava, Lush Key Lime Cherry,  Juicy Blood Orange, and Crisp Pink Grapefruit, per release. The beverage, brewed from agave and cane sugar, comes in at 90 calories, 1 gram carbs and 0 grams of sugar. Funky Buddha’s Hard Seltzer will be available in 12 packs of cans, containing 3 cans of each flavor, debuting across Florida starting early April.

With the new seltzer line from Funky Buddha, it would appear that, like Anheuser-Busch, Constellation is taking a portfolio approach to the growing segment: Recall that Constellation launched Corona Seltzer earlier this year, and has put out plans to test another seltzer from their new domestic line, Two Lane in Georgia.  


Another survey sent out to craft brewers, another set of grim results.

The latest poll comes from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, and in it are some dire numbers from respondents.

For starters, Texas brewers say they’ve seen an average drop of 71% in revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis, per Community Impact report, which highlighted the results.

With a drop like that, it should come as no surprise that nearly two-thirds of the respondents (63%) said they have had to lay off or furlough employees. 

As for production, two-thirds of the respondents (67%) said they have reduced production, and more than a quarter (27%) said they have “temporarily” halted production. 

Then 14% of the brewers taking the survey said they have already closed up shop for the time being. 

Clearly, “This situation is hurting craft breweries substantially,” Texas Craft Brewers Guild executive director, Charles Vallhonrat, told Community Impact. “Given the feedback we have on the economic situation, we anticipate there will be breweries that will not be able to open their doors after this event is finished,” Charles said.

With these types of sobering results, they’re hoping the state can ease some restrictions and provide some relief to keep Texas breweries afloat.

One of the main asks the Guild has put out to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as we reported last week, is to “temporarily allow” the state’s breweries and brewpubs “to deliver beer directly to consumers at their homes/apartments,” and “make direct-to-consumer beer shipments.”

“For our small, taproom-driven or farmhouse-driven breweries, something like shipping or delivery would be critical to them,” Charles said. Indeed, the recent survey from the Guild shows that “92% of respondents said that, if approved by the governor, they are at least somewhat likely to engage in shipping, delivery and expedited label approval to get products to the market.”

This petition also asks Gov. Abbot to “suspend the collection of TABC excise tax payments” and “issue excise tax credits for any surplus beer that is disposed of as a result of COVID-19 impacts.”

Charles told Community Impact that brewers having to dump beer “is not terribly widespread, but it is certainly out there.” Adding, “We anticipate given how long the crisis lasts, that volume will go up.”

The petition has garnered nearly 17,000 signatures as of press time. And while the Governor’s office “has been responsive to the organization,” they have not “yet held extensive conversations,” per report.

“They’re promising to get to us. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet,” Charles said.

Until tomorrow,

Jenn, Jordan, and Harry 

“Someday we’ll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car.”

– Evan Davis

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-

Today’s Sell Day: 6

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