Can a brewery capitalize on the NA beer trend without actually going NA?
Read time approx. 4 min.
Over the past several months we’ve talked a lot about creativity. Specifically, the need for creativity in the craft brewing biz. At some point, if you’re a brewery, I suppose it sounds kind of insipid. Like your dad saying, “You just need to try harder.” In craft beer, creativity comes in many forms, ranging from creative recipes to creative business initiatives, from creative taproom events to creative social media campaigns, and beyond. Often, but not always, creativity is expensive, or otherwise only available to breweries with certain means. We are going to keep looking for creative angles of all sorts in the stories we tell because we believe creativity, from free to expensive, is essential and we think it is one of craft beer’s strong suits. And with that…
Brooklyn hops deeper into the NA biz
A lot of breweries are looking at non-alcoholic beer producers with envy and interest. It’s understandable given the continued growth of that segment. Some craft breweries have even taken on the formidable task of creating their own NA beer. Brooklyn Brewery is one of those.
Brooklyn Brewery jumped into the NA game pretty early, launching its Special Effects series of NA beers about five years ago. Now the brewery is doubling down and getting creative as it expands its involvement in the non-alcoholic world. This week we learned that the 35-year-old brewery just inked a strategic partnership deal with Hoplark, the Boulder, Colorado-based NA hop tea producer. Imagine iced tea dry-hopped with Citra or sparkling water infused with Mosaic. It’s good stuff. It isn’t beer, but it hits a lot of the same pleasure sensors in a beer lover’s brain.
In a press release, Hoplark referred to the partnership as a “funding round.” The arrangement will allow Hoplark to grow its production and distribution to meet the increasing demand for its products by making use of Brooklyn’s infrastructure for production, warehousing, logistics, sales, and administration.
Although the vast majority of breweries are not in a position to enter this kind of partnership with a company like Hoplark, this news serves as an example of a brewery finding a creative way to get in on the NA action. You can read more about the Brooklyn-Hoplark partnership here.
A fumble on the kickoff?
A couple of weeks ago we spoke with some optimism about the impact the NFL season opener would have on beer sales. We aren’t too proud to admit when we are wrong. If we are wrong, that is.
According to a report from BeerBoard, the NFL’s opening weekend did not provide a sales bump for beer at all. In fact, nationwide, beer sales were down compared to last year’s opening weekend. BeerBoard says, “This review of insights and retail performance is part of an ongoing series which tracks the status and performance of America’s bars and restaurants.”
If you’re a regular reader of The Taster Tray, or if you otherwise track the beer news, you are not surprised to hear about slumping beer sales at bars and restaurants. The real question is how did, and how will, the kickoff of the NFL season impact beer sales overall? When we know the answer, you will too.
So you’re telling me there’s a chance
Former employees of Anchor Brewing are holding out hope. There’s still a chance they could come to an agreement to purchase the business from the liquidators. The employee group, Anchor SF Cooperative, set up a crowdfunding campaign that has thus far attracted over 1,600 donations totaling nearly $100,000. The campaign’s goal was to raise $50k, so it’s going pretty well.
It’s a nice start, but it’s a long, long way from the money needed to pull off the deal. The recently raised funds will help pay for the group's legal fees as it continues to navigate the process of, hopefully, buying and saving Anchor Brewing. The employee group also elected a board of directors to work on a five-year business plan. So yeah, there’s still a chance.
Wow! We asked for feedback and we got it. In last week’s newsletter, one of the topics focused on a question: “Has craft beer priced itself out of the market?” That topic generated a lot of really great feedback. Next week, or maybe the week after that, we are going to share some of that feedback and dig a little deeper into it.
In the meantime, feel free to leave some feedback on anything we talked about this week, last week, or any week. Hell, go totally off-topic and tell us something we don’t already know. Be creative. We appreciate it and we read it all.
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This week's Taster Tray was composed by Kendall Jones.