A sad farewell to a great brewer, but the craft market remains strong


Applause for a fantastic effort from Fort Bend Brewing, which is, sadly, closing its doors after two years in the business – the result of what craft brewers are calling a natural, and expected, shakeout of a crowded and successful market.

All of this according to a great blog post in Beer, Tx, one of our favorite beer blogs in the state, on the Houston Chronicle site.

From the post:

“Scott Birdwell, owner of DeFalco’s Home Wine and Beer Supplies and a longtime observer of the craft beer scene, said in an email that the success of such local newcomers as Whole Foods Brewing Co., 8th Wonder Brewery, Lone Pint, Buffalo Bayou and the Texas Beer Refinery is a testament to Houston’s interest in craft beer:

It is sad, indeed, but I knew there would be a shaking out with all the new breweries opening.  As much I would like to see all of them succeed (the Ft. Bend folks were really nice!), I know that is not likely to be the case.  Still, I think things are encouraging.  Whole Foods Brewery is blowing up (Dave & I have a presentation there later this month).  The new tap room at 8th Wonder is awesome!  Southern Star & Karbach are scaling up.  Lone Pint is rocking.  The Texas Beer Refinery is cranking out some wonderful beers.  Galveston Island seems to be thriving.  Even with the crazy offerings that Buffalo Bayou is releasing, they’re doing well.  Is as if all my kids got accepted into Ivy League schools!”

It’s sad to see a good brewery close, and we wish them the best of luck – and our thanks for contributing some great beer to our lives.

Here’s the statement by Fort Bend Brewing on its website:

“Due to various circumstances, it is with regret we must inform you that Fort Bend Brewing Company ceased brewing operations December 30th, 2014, and permanently closed on January 31st, 2015. FBBC has been brewing high quality beers for over 2 years, and has been a proud contributor to many activities and charities in the local community. We gave it all we had to build a brand that we were proud of. For all our cynics and disparagers, you know who you are, well, my mother taught me if I don’t have anything good to say about someone, then don’t say anything at all – enough said.. To all of our supportive retailers and patrons, we sincerely thank you for your support during the past years, you made it worthwhile. To our awesome volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without you. With the warmest gratitude from the bottom of our heart, thank you, we will miss you. On to the next chapter…. Ty and Sharon Coburn”

Beer industry sees increase of high-end beers in 2014

(From National Beer Wholesalers Association website)

The consumption and sale of beer grew by .5 percent in 2014, with most of that growth coming from crafts and imports, according to year-end numbers released by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

“Since the end of the recession, the “high-end” – loosely defined as craft plus imports – has grown significantly while the balance of the industry continues to decrease,” the study says. “This high-end segment has added 143.7 million cases since the recession and now accounts for a quarter of industry volumes.”

Check out the study by clicking here. We’ll follow up at TBIJ with more information from the chief economist when it comes in.


AP: Thirst for craft beer fuels large crop of hops


The Associated Press tells us of another sign that the craft beer industry is booming under the current market conditions and regs:

“A thirst for craft beer helped hop growers produce their largest crop of hops in five years. A new report from the Hop Growers of America also shows a 10 percent increase in acres harvested between 2013 and 2014.”

Read the rest of the story here.

A big TBIJ welcome to the 84th Texas Legislature!

By Charlie L. Harper III

The Texas Beverage Industry Journal would like to welcome the returning and new members of the 84th Texas Legislature, sworn in today on the first day of the 2015 legislative session!

We look forward to a productive session with a vision toward preserving and upholding the Texas traditions of free market, personal success and great beer!

Welcome back to Austin, lawmakers! Here’s a great 140 days!


Riding the craft beer wave in Wichita Falls


Love this success story coming out of Wichita Falls, Texas. This is a great read about a raft of businesses there that have benefitted, and greatly, in JUST THE PAST TWO YEARS from the craft beer business – an industry that is having more success than ever before here in Texas.

We can thank, in large part, the regulatory environment here in the Lone Star State that allows small breweries to grow and reigns in Big Beer from being allowed to take up all the shelf space and market share, leaving room for The Good Stuff.

“There’s a certain camaraderie behind craft beer. It’s kind of kitsch, it’s cool and not everyone is doing it. It’s kind of it’s own little club. At first it started out with the term ‘beer snob’ where it was snooty or snobbish to drink only craft beer, but now it’s the cool thing to do. You can have a gentleman in a suit sitting next to a guy in a construction outfit and they’re both enjoying a great pint of craft beer in whatever flavor profile they enjoy. That’s the cool part about it for me.”

For those who question whether Texas is helping or hurting the craft brewers and their community of drinkers and retailers, I offer up this great piece in the WF Times Record. Cheers to a bright future and a great year!






Takes more than ads, my friend



“Budweiser can update its image all it wants, but that doesn’t change the beer.”

Doesn’t even matter what the photo is. This wins all caption contests, in my personal opinion. Remind me to give them some kind of award.

This appeared on a great blog post in the Dallas Morning News’ Beer Blog, a fantastic site for anyone remotely interested in the industry, about how Budweiser is having to try and revamp its image to start bucking this trend of Millennials, those damn independent thinkers with great taste, turning away from Bud and getting into the craft beers instead. The post is centered around a piece in WaPo (linked below), but has some great insight.

“The nationwide rise of craft beer has the “big three” manufacturers scrambling to reach new drinkers, preferably younger than their core consumer base. For Budweiser, that means keeping its iconic Clydesdale horses stabled this holiday season,according to a recent story by the Wall Street Journal. … There’s one fact Budweiser is overlooking in its quest for tap handles and new audiences. The thirst for craft beer is not being propelled by advertising; it’s being propelled by taste. Ultimately, inundating consumers with a new Budweiser image and procuring rock star endorsements don’t change the beer’s flavor.”

Now, I’m all about Clydesdale and I cried alongside everyone else during the last two Super Bowl commercials, but yeah, it’ll take more than showing some hip Bud Light drinkers using their smart phones to fool a real craft brew appreciator, more of whom are popping up all the time.

This is a fun read and good reminder that for some Big Beer types, it’s all about the ad – and not about the beer.

MillerCoors wants to buy craft brewers cheap


MillerCoors wants your craft brewery, and they want it cheap.

According to a report in Just-Drinks.com, the head of MillerCoors says it the company is interested in acquiring some U.S. craft beer brewers but is being deterred by the high prices of these new assets.

Do they want to low ball the deals? It would seem so, but then again, this should not come as a surprise.

From the article:

“The brewer, a JV between Molson Coors and SABMiller, yesterday reported a 3.7% slip in third-quarter volumes as a strong performance from its “above premium” brands failed to offset declines for Coors Light and Miller Lite. The firm’s Q3 sales were flat, while profits were up 8% to US$376.5m.”

The article quotes CEO Tom Long in a post-results conference call:
““We’re actively looking at those that would create incremental shareholder value, but it’s also no secret that those valuations are extremely high right now.”

Click here for more on this, and thanks to Just-Drinks.com for the tip!

D Mag lists top events to attend during North Texas Beer Week


Thank you, D Magazine, for this outstanding roundup of What Not To Miss during North Texas Beer Week!

From the article:

“Beer-lovers unite each year during North Texas Beer Week to raise their commemorative glasses in honor of the ever-growing Texas beer culture. It’s a celebration that begins with a number of events, Untapped Festival being the biggest — which look place this past weekend — and continues through Sunday, November 9. There are over 285 froth-filled parties taking place within the next week. So, whether you like your mug filled up with an IPA, porter, stout, or even pumpkin ale, you will find at least one happening to quench your thirst and give proper thanks to the great beers of North Texas. Here is a roundup of our top events to hit this week. Cheers.”

For a full schedule of events stretching through Sunday, click here.


AAB Mag: Beer industry reacts to “The New Yorker” November cover

The Nov. 3, 2014 cover of The New Yorker features a drawing titled “Hip Hops” by artist Peter de Sève.

Here’s a reader-talker for you.

The awesome All About Beer Magazine noted a pretty hot cover  on this most recent New Yorker Magazine making waves in the beer industry, and did a great little roundup of the reactions for those of us who like to hang around the water cooler – or keg, whatever – and chat about cultural milestones such as this one.

From the article by John Holl:

The New Yorker released its annual food issue this week and before a hardcopy arrived in my mailbox, my Facebook feed was filled with pictures of the cover. Friends in the beer industry talked about how cool it was and said it’s a sign that beer has “arrived.” The New Yorker asked artist Peter de Sève to draw the cover (called “Hip Hops”) and the magazine goes on to say that the drawing “captures the appropriate seriousness with which beer is handled these days by many Brooklyn restaurants and the people who dine in them.” It wraps up by saying: “It’s an unprecedentedly excellent time to drink beer in Brooklyn, as the cover suggests. Just don’t become a snob about it.”

In my opinion, “Brooklyn” could easily be replaced by “the United States” and this scene could happen in many places (maybe minus the neck tattoo).”

(Unless you’re in Austin, then you’d add a beard. – Ed. note)

Click here for a fun read.

National Beer Wholesalers Association Announces 2014-2015 Board of Directors Officers

Eric Best and Craig Purser (NWBA)


Maryland Beer Distributor Eric Best to Lead Association’s Efforts on Behalf of America’s 3,300 Licensed, Independent Beer Distributors

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) is proud to announce its Board of Directors officers for the 2014-2015 term. Eric Best, general manager/partner of Bob Hall LLC in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, takes the helm as chairman of the Board. He assumed the position and its responsibilities during NBWA’s 77th Annual Convention held September 28 – October 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Other officers of NBWA’s Board of Directors include:

  • Vice Chairman Travis Markstein, president of Markstein Beverage Co. in San Marcos, California
  • Treasurer Paul Bertucci, executive vice president of F.E.B. Distributing Company, Inc. in Gulfport and Capital City Beverages, Inc. in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Secretary Michael Bamonti, president & general manager of J. J. Taylor Distributing Minnesota, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Immediate Past Chairman Greg LaMantia, member/manager of L & F Distributors, LLC in Texas and New Mexico

As chairman, Best will help lead the association as it works to advocate for licensed, independent beer distributors and educate elected officials, regulators, media and the public about the importance of effective state-based alcohol regulation and the regulatory, economic and commercial value of independent beer distributors.

“Eric has served on the NBWA Board of Directors since 2009, giving him a full background and working knowledge of the association’s goals and agenda,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser. “He is a thoughtful leader and consensus builder, which makes him a very effective advocate for his fellow beer distributors. I look forward to working closely with Eric to advance the association’s goals in the year ahead.”

NBWA and America’s beer distributors support the state-based system of alcohol controls, which ensures an orderly marketplace and protects the public by providing transparency and accountability in the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol. Beer distributors serve as the critical link in the American beer distribution system, sourcing products from brewers and importers and delivering products to state-licensed retailers. This effective system provides access to market for all beer brands – enabling American consumers to choose from the widest selection of products in the world – and works to ensure that only safe, fresh beer reaches American consumers of legal drinking age.

Best manages Bob Hall LLC – an 81-year-old distributorship – in partnership with the Hall brothers, Richard and Clarence, on behalf of the Hall family. Bob Hall LLC has 100 full-time employees and has long been recognized for its contributions to the Southern Maryland community, particularly its work with local law enforcement on responsible drinking and safe driving programs. Bob Hall LLC distributes brands for Anheuser-Busch InBev and Constellation Brands, along with a solid portfolio of craft beer including New Belgium. The company also created a High End Brands division in 2013 to further develop the craft and import segment of its business.

Best holds an MBA degree with a concentration in Finance from the University of Baltimore and a B.S. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has served as chairman of the Anheuser-Busch Wholesaler Panel and currently serves on the Constellation Brands Beer Division Distributor Council.

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