Here’s everything that’s grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in the last week, from seismic industry movements to historic lagers.
For starters, there’s been quite a bit of news from the US.
- Brooklyn Brewery has sold a 24.5% stake to Japanese firm Kirin — just under the US Brewers’ Association threshold for deciding what percentage of outside ownership disqualifies a brewery as ‘independent’, funnily enough.
- Stone Brewing, of Arrogant Bastard fame, has made 75 staff redundant, citing challenges from both above and below as the cause of difficult trading conditions.
- And, from earlier in the month, similar news of redundancies at Red Hook in Seattle.
We got to all of this news via Jason Notte (@Notteham) who also offers commentary on Brooklyn. Whether this is the cataclysmic ‘shake out’ people have been prophesying (hoping for?) remains to be seen but it certainly feels as if some big plates are shifting.
Closer to home, but not unrelated, accounts of an apparently fractious debate at the Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IndyManBeerCon) have begun to emerge. Soap opera aside there is some interesting content here. Claudia Asch’s summary (she’s one of the organisers) reports that the slick, well-funded Cloudwater is apparently regarded as almost as big a threat as those shoddy undercutting breweries:
Sue [Hayward of Waen Brewery] and Gazza[[Prescott] from Hopcraft had a bit of a go at Cloudwater, for lack of a better word… The gist of Gazza and Sue’s argument seemed to be: we can’t sell our beer because of Cloudwater. Can it be that simple? Maybe, just maybe, Cloudwater are giving the market what it wants? The beers sell easily?