Love beer, and every so often I find myself caught between wanting a fruity cocktail and a hoppy beer. The solution, it seems, is to initiate a return to beer-based cocktails, right? It’s strange to me that America is such a beer-drinking country, yet I never see beer cocktails on menus, other than the occasional Michelada or Coronarita. Here, I’m listing some severely underrated beer drinks that deserve way more hype.

Black and Tan

There’s nothing wrong with a beer-on-beer cocktail! This contrasting cocktail is made from a duo of light and dark beer – the same idea as the aforementioned Black Velvet. Use lager beer and Irish stout (usually Guinness ) for best results.
Get the full recipe here.

Black Velvet

This two-ingredient cocktail is made with equal parts stout (Guinness again!) and sparkling wine. It was created in London in 1861 to mourn the death of Prince Albert. The contrast of the dark beer and light Champagne makes for an elegant-looking drink – get the maximum layered effect by pouring the wine over a spoon.
Get the full recipe here.

Bull’s Eye

Perfect for cocktail lovers, this fizzy drink combines light beer with fresh lemon juice and ginger ale for a tangy, refreshing beverage. Add sweetener, if you’d like, but it’s pretty tasty as is.
Get the full recipe here.

French Monaco

Don’t be fooled by the fancy name – this drink couldn’t be simpler. Add pomegranate syrup and a splash of lemonade to a pale lager, like Stella Artois, for a beautifully pale pink cocktail. If you’re pinched for time, use store bought grenadine instead of homemade pomegranate syrup.
Get the full recipe here.

Lemon Shandy

Perhaps the most classic beer cocktail is shandy, a drink that, at it’s simplest, is merely a mix of lemonade and beer. Upgrade it a little bit by using fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and fresh mint for a grownup take on spiked lemonade.
Get the full recipe here.


Perfect for warm-weather sipping, this mixed drink is made with beer, vodka, gin, club soda and a fruity element, like lemonade. I recall drinking something similar to this in college, dispensed from an orange cooler, and I can safely say that a little bit of this stuff goes a long way.
Get the full recipe here.


This is a drinkable delight for any season – made with maple syrup, lemon juice, apple brandy, club soda and beer – but is especially delicious in the fall and winter months. You can use any light beer you like, but several expert sources recommend Hefeweizen, a German wheat beer.
Get the full recipe here.





Bud Light loves its new “Dilly Dilly” campaign so much it appears it’s expanding the catchphrase to labels.

In the same way Anheuser-Busch this summer branded its Budweiser cans and bottles with “America,”it appears to be plotting new Bud Light labels that carry the signature Bud Light blue background and block-white text. The only difference: they swap “Dilly Dilly” for “Bud Light,” according to an application it submitted to federal regulators.

It’s unclear when the brand intends to roll out the new packaging; Matt Kohan, an Anheuser-Busch spokesman, declined to comment, though he pointed to a recent story in the trade publication Beer Business Daily (subscription required) to offer “a sense of how it’s resonating with our fans.”

Bud Light can thank Ben Roethlisberger for helping take “Dilly Dilly” beyond its commercials. The Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback earlier this month used the phrase in an audible during a game, prompting a spike in “Dilly Dilly” mentions among sports fans on social media channels and in traditional media.

Bud Light’s creative chief Andy Goeler told Beer Business Daily the nonsensical phrase is a “good opportunity for Bud Light to have a nice rally cry” that’s based on a toast. “Dilly Dilly” and its associated messaging campaign, he said, has pleased distributors and appears to have accomplished what was intended: thrust Bud Light back into public conversation.

“People are talking about Bud Light again right now,” Goeler said, according to the report. Still, both Beer Business Daily and Beer Marketers Insights (subscription required) point out: Bud Light continues to flounder in what is on track to be its worst year ever, according to BMI.

Bud Light volume is down 5.4 percent year-to-date through Nov. 5, according to IRI data cited by BMI. It’s down 4.7 percent in the most-recent 12 weeks, the period roughly encompassing what BMI called “the ‘Dilly Dilly’ era.”

What’s more, Bud Light slipped even more in the last four weeks, according to Nielsen all-outlet data. Case volume and sales dollars were each off 8.6 percent in the four weeks ended Nov. 18. That compares with year-to-date figures where sales dollars are down 5.1 percent on a 5.9 percent decline in case volume.

Still, Goeler told Adweek he’s optimistic the brand is breaking through. He told the publication that “Dilly Dilly” accounted for some 100,000 Google searches and about 45,000 YouTube searches for the phrase per week. Those figures have been helped with media pick-up.  In addition to beer industry trade press, Bud’s “Dilly Dilly” campaign has earned mentions in male- and sports-centric websites, such as Brobible and Barstool Sports, as well as Adweek and a chain of daily newspapers. Other brands, such as Southwest Airlines, have jumped on the bandwagon as well, using the phrase on social media channels.

Bud Light is attempting to harness some of that momentum with sequel advertisements that make use of the catchphrase, a decision Adweek Creative Editor Tim Nudd called a “no-brainer” in a blog post.

Comparing “Dilly Dilly” to Budweiser’s “Whassup?” campaign used between 1999-2002, Goeler told Adweek, “As a marketer, you live for a moment like this.” He said “Dilly Dilly” “will be a permanent piece of what people talk about for the brand moving forward.”

But even the “Whassup?” campaign wasn’t able to reverse the fortunes of The King of Beers, which has been in decline since 1988, Beer Marketers Insights notes.

Bud’s decline moderated amid that campaign, the publication wrote, but the brand was still off another 5 million barrels by 2003. “Any moderation in Bud Light’s decline from “Dilly Dilly,” BMI wrote, “would be most welcome for AB.”



The two largest U.S. brewers and longstanding competitors are each trying to crack the Mexican import market.

MillerCoors, which in October assumed control of U.S. sales and marketing for Sol under a 10-year licensing agreement with Heineken, plans to re-launch the brand in 2018 with a national advertising campaign. Anheuser-Busch is planning a push of its own behind Estrella Jalisco for 2018, including an expansion of distribution and tie-ins with the sports and entertainment industries.

It’s of little surprise that both companies are making a play in the Mexican import space, one of the beer industry’s few bright spots amid an overall market slogging through a downturn. While sales of American premium and economy lagers have tipped into the red, Mexican imports have booked double-digit growth.

With a category still on the rise, favorable demographic trends and a robust sales and distribution network, the top two U.S. brewers have a path to success with their entries, says Kevin Lane Keller, professor of marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. But they’ve got to thread the needle on marketing and branding.

“There are opportunities for them, but they’re going to have to find a space, a reason for being, a reason for drinking,” Keller says. That means “executing well against that with total brand communications and packaging.”

Mexican imports with authenticity or a heritage story to tell can capitalize by reaching target consumers with something that appeals to them, he says. “The notion of trying to tap into heritage, roots and really, the authenticity, that’s the angle where I think there’s the biggest opportunity.”

From ‘the heart of Mexico’

That’s also the exact spot MillerCoors is aiming for with its Sol re-launch, says Matt Reischauer, director of brand marketing for the MillerCoors economy portfolio and Mexican imports.

“Sol is a beer with a very rich history and a compelling story that’s real and true,” he says. “It’s from the heart of Mexico and it’s steeped in the culture of the country. There’s no world in which I could envision Sol not having a right to play in this market.”

MillerCoors views Sol as a unique proposition that’s incremental to the Mexican import segment, meaning it will try to bring in new legal-age drinkers who may otherwise be drinking premium lights, wine and spirits and so on.

Reischauer’s team is particularly focused on connecting with bicultural Mexican-American drinkers between ages 21 and 29 with a message grounded in authenticity and optimism. These legal-age drinkers, who value their heritage and seek a connection with their home country (or their parents’ home country), “want a beer that connects with them and represents the values important to them,” Reischauer says.

“We’re brushing off a hidden gem,” he says. “It’s a marketer’s dream to be able to engage with a brand or discover a brand that’s been a little bit latent in America and give it its opportunity to shine.”

The Corona-Modelo juggernaut

There’s a clear role model for how to successfully build a Mexican brand over the long haul: Corona Extra.

Constellation Brands “really nailed it” with Corona’s “beach-in-a-bottle” premise and the ritual of forcing a lime wedge down a clear, long-necked bottle, Keller says. “The momentum they’ve had is incredible.”

The company has succeeded in part because of demographic tailwinds, says Benj Steinman, publisher of the industry publication Beer Marketers Insights. “But they’ve obviously gone way beyond that, especially with Corona, which has broad general-market appeal. They’ve also benefited from a very consistent marketing platform and they’ve applied consistent pressure on marketing with messages that have stayed consistent and resonated with consumers.”

It’s not just Corona. Modelo has been growing even faster and is on pace to overtake Corona if current trends hold. Modelo sales are up 20.7 percent on an 18.8 increase in volume year-to-date, according to Nielsen all-outlet data, including convenience, through Nov. 18. Corona, meanwhile is up 6.5 percent on a 4.7 percent rise in volume.

Replicating this kind of success is not going to be easy, he says.

A 2018 turnaround?

That’s something AB knows first-hand. The brewer made a push into the space in 2014 with Montejo, a brand that carried some authenticity and made an initial splash, but never established an enduring connection with consumers, Steinman says.

AB has since invested very little in the brand, appearing to shift its attention to Estrella Jalisco. Sales of Montejo are down 72.4 percent on a 72.6 percent drop in volume year-to-date through Nov. 18, per Nielsen. It is one of the smallest Mexican import brands sold in the U.S., per Nielsen.

Company spokespeople did not reply to a request for comment.

Estrella Jalisco, meanwhile, is down a more-modest 6.2 percent on a 7.7 decline in volume year-to-date. But AB has said it plans a major investment in the brand in 2018; it already got substantial media exposure during the 2017 World Series with a giant in-stadium sign at Dodger Stadium.

Sol also is down for the year; sales are off 17.3 percent on a 17.7 drop in volume, per Nielsen.

“You’re both going to have to come up with something exciting to make it a decent proposition” for retailers, wholesalers and, of course, consumers, Steinman says. But if any companies have the wherewithal and heft to pull it off, it’s MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch.



Beers for Everyone on Your Holiday List

The days are getting shorter, festive music is already playing in Wawa, Grandma is planning her visit from Florida… and you haven’t bought a single gift.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered. And who isn’t a fan of one-stop shopping, especially when that stop is a beer shop.

Green Flash Le Freak
Grandma is upset by all the tattoos and the ever-changing hair color, but you appreciate the outer stylings, and your freaky cousin will enjoy this unique blend of Belgian tripel and American IPA.

Lagunitas Aunt Sally
I mean, if you really do have an Aunt Sally, this is perfect.

Evil Genius Santa! I Know Him!!
With titles saluting all our favorite flicks, from Anchorman (I Love Lamp) to Friday (Bye, Felicia), Wedding Crashers (Ma! The Meatloaf!) to Billy Madison (O’Doyle Rules), Philly brewery Evil Genius has something for any movie fan. This dry, complex ale references the Xmas classic, Elf.

Port Brewing Shark Attack
As my sister planned her trip to Australia, I sent her regular updates about all the deadly fauna she might encounter. It was as appreciated as this smooth, caramelly red ale will be.

Great Lakes Nosferatu
Blood red in color with a toasty malt body lurking beneath, this rich, red ale has a bitter bite so good, it’s scary.

Wells Bombardier English Premium Bitter
He dresses in tweed, quotes Peep Show and Churchill, and gets up early on Boxing Day to watch English soccer. He’ll love this.

Abita Purple Haze
Beer may not be this person’s favorite intoxicant, but the tart, sweet raspberry lager goes down well with Hendrix and the munchies.

Dogfish Head Midas Touch
The intriguing Ancient Ales from this Delaware brewery are based on millennia-old recipes recreated by archaeologists and beer experts. This sweet, yet dry beer, is made with ingredients found in 2,700-year-old drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between beer, wine and mead, Midas Touch will please the chardonnay and beer drinker alike.

Sly Fox Christmas Ale
Keep a few of these on hand to give to any yuletide guest… or to crack open for yourself, because Santa deserves a present too.

Jolly Traveler
Pretty much anything from this Boston-based brewery would be fitting for your round-the-world tripster, but we especially enjoy this light, wintery shandy in the cooler months.


From: Draught Lines Magazine


Top 5 Facts About Beck’s Beer

You think you know everything there is to know about Beck’s beer? Think again (unless you happen to be the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, in which case how about throwing a few thousand advertising bucks our way? Pretty please?).

We’ve scoured the internet to bring you some top facts about Beck’s, one of Germany’s best-known beer brands. And here they are now:

1. Beck’s was established in 1873

The driving force behind the foundation of the Beck’s beer brand was not David Beckham or singer/song-writer Beck, but Lüder Rutenberg – architect, builder, and eventual beer baron – who opened the brewery in the German city of Bremen in 1873.

For context, Beck’s was established the same year as the first Coors brewery was, but European lagers HeinekenCarlsberg, and Stella Artois have all been around longer.

2. Then why is it called “Beck’s”?

Lüder Rutenberg didn’t know a heck of a lot about beer when he started out, so he hired a team consisting of businessman Thomas May and brewer Heinrich Beck. Obviously it’s the latter man’s surname that became synonymous with the beer (asking for a bottle of “Rutenberg’s beer” evidently would have been too much of a mouthful).

3. The Beck’s recipe has not changed since then

Right from the beginning, Beck’s was made in accordance with the “Reinheitsgebot” – the German Purity Law of 1516, which requires a beer o be made only from hops, malt, barley, and water. The hops are from the Bavarian Hallertau region, and the yeast is an exclusive strain to Beck’s.

4. So who owns Beck’s?

Beck’s was owned by the same German family until 2001, when it was acquired by Belgium-based brewing company Interbew for a princely sum of 1.8 billion euros. Then in 2004 Interbrew merged with AmBev to form InBev, which merged with Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to become Anheuser-Busch InBev. You follow all that?

The short answer is Beck’s is owned by the same company that owns around a quarter (and soon to be much more if its merger with SABMiller goes through) of the global beer market.

5. The Beck’s beer labels

We all know about the Beck’s arty label campaign, which features the work of talented artists on its beer labels. But did you know that in 2013 US drinkers of Beck’s filed a lawsuit that accused the German beer brand of being misleading?

According to the class-action suit, the beer’s packaging and label led people to believe that it was still made in Germany; not brewed under license in America. It resulted in Anheuser-Busch InBev settling the case for $20m in 2015, which meant people in the US could claim back up to $50 per household (with proof that they’d purchased the beer at a retail outlet). An estimated 1.7m households qualified for the settlement payments, but it’s unknown how many claims were filed before the period to file ended.




Essentials for Your First Brew

Tips and techniques to help you brew better beer at home.

Anyone can brew great beer at home. I first learned how from a friend who brewed in his backyard. He made 10 gallons at a time on an outdoor setup that you had to get up on a step ladder to use. When I moved across the country to a smaller apartment, keeping up the hobby meant that I had to scale down the process in order to brew indoors. But a small space shouldn’t get in the way of your desire to make your own beer.

It does take a bit of specialty gear to make quality homebrew, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get started. It’s possible to make delicious beer on a setup that will cost you less than $150 total. Here is a list of the minimum equipment setup and ingredients, along with a few optional pieces that will make your brew days easier. These items can be purchased online or at your neighborhood homebrew supplier (if you’re lucky enough to have one of those.)

Essential equipment:

Optional equipment:

This might seem like a lot of stuff, but most of these items are pretty small. If you stack the buckets together, almost everything else will fit inside and you can hide it in a corner of your closet when you’re not using it. Homebrew stores typically sell these items bundled in a beginner set, and these can be a bargain and save you some shopping time. Here’s a good one that includes everything you need, with the exception of the pot and empty bottles. If you do buy a bundle, make sure it has the gear that’s listed above as “essential” at the very least.


Once you have your equipment, you’re going to need a recipe. There are quite a few ingredient kits out there for new brewers, and these can be a good place to start. You’ll want to choose a kit that’s geared toward beginners if it’s your first brew. Anything that states “partial mash” or “all grain” will require more advanced techniques. Beginner ingredient kits also usually come with instructions that can be a helpful reference as you make your first few batches of beer.

I recommend avoiding any product that uses “pre-hopped” malt extract

Many kits promise a clone of your favorite commercial beer or style. They range from pre-packaged retail products like Mr. Beer to custom packages put together by the homebrew shop. To start, I recommend avoiding any product that uses “pre-hopped” malt extract. The flavors of pre-hopped kits never come through quite right and people who taste your beer will be able to tell it’s homebrewed right away (and not in a good way). Also, be sure you buy a fresh kit that has been stored properly. If you buy from a reputable local shop or from one of the bigger online homebrew suppliers, they’re generally going to provide you with a fresh product.

The best advice for the new homebrewer is the classic phrase you’ll hear many times: “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.” Grain, hops and yeast want to become beer, and all you need to do is show them the way. Don’t worry, I’ll be here to help. Get stocked up and I’ll see you back here next week!


Suds of Anarchy

I have to admit, sitting on the back of a Harley going 65 miles an hour across the 21-mile stretch between eastern North Carolina breweries 3rd Rock and Mother Earth, was not how I’d ever envisioned a Saturday beer crawl playing out.

But I thought what better way to get to know the Growler Howlers, the year-old New Bern, N.C.-based bikers-and-brews group rolling through the American Southeast, than by holding on for dear life on the back of a hog?

North Carolina has emerged as one of the great brewing states in the country and the Growler Howlers have resolved to ride to most of the breweries and other beer hotspots contained within its 53,818 square miles—not to mention many more beyond its borders. It’s a mission that was born—how else—over a pint at New Bern bottle shop and bar Brütopia, which has since become the regular starting point for the club’s rides.

“We’re all about riding and craft beer,” says California transplant Marisol Schultz (road name: “Hop Ho”), one of the group’s founding members, as well its secretary/treasurer. “We had one friend who was talking about joining a riding club in Jacksonville [North Carolina] and we said, ‘we like to meet and have beers, why don’t we just start one ourselves, rather than joining someone else’s club?’”

I should mention at this point that there are certain nuances when it comes to biker-related nomenclature.

“We’re a riding club, as opposed to a motorcycle club,” says founding member and president Daniel Hand (road name: “Max”).

To the non-riding layperson (myself included), that may seem like semantic hair-splitting. But there is a very important distinction.

“If you want to form a club here and you’re a motorcycle club, you’d have to get permission from, say, the Pagans or Hell’s Angels,” Hand explains. “As a riding club, you don’t have to ask permission.”

(Who knew that a culture so tied to its outlaw image had so many rules?)

Such independence has enabled the Growler Howlers to chart their own course and given them free rein to develop events like the Poker Run, which the group hosted this past May. Participating riders each paid $20 (passengers paid $10) to motor to five locations—a round trip of about 100 miles—on a single Saturday. The itinerary included Brütopia, Promise’ Land Market (Morehead City), AB Bottle Co. (Atlantic Beach), Bake, Bottle & Brew (Swansboro) and Harrika’s Brew Haus (Cedar Point).

Each rider pulled a random playing card from a deck at each stop; if they completed the ride without skipping any stops, they had a full hand of poker. The best hand won. Breweries and local businesses also donated a variety of prizes for charity raffles during the event. Proceeds from the Poker Run benefitted the local non-profit, Heartworks of Pamlico County, N.C., which provides mental and physical health services for underprivileged youth and their families.

A more typical ride involves stops at two breweries (and the occasional distillery) after assembling at Brütopia on a given weekend day. Sometimes the Growler Howlers embark on longer excursions, such as the group’s three-day journey to the Asheville area, the epicenter of North Carolina brewing in the western part of the state, a good 360 miles from New Bern. Burial Beer Co., Wicked Weed and Catawba Brewing Co., as well as New Belgium’s and Sierra Nevada’s east coast breweries were just a few of the stops on that particular jaunt.

WEB_20170926_DraftMag_GrowlerHowlers_Ride to 3rd Rock Brewing

The Howlers kept things much closer to their home base the day I rode with them. The team at 3rd Rock Brewing in Trenton, N.C., rolled out the red carpet for the club—well, they rolled up the large bay doors, anyway, inviting the dozen or so riders to zoom right into the brew house. (The bikes parked in a row adjacent to the array of stainless steel fermentation tanks made for quite the shiny, metallic still life). The scene made 3rd Rock head brewer Steve Parks a tad envious.

“I’m thinking, ‘why don’t I have a bike?’” admits Parks, a self-proclaimed fan of classic beer styles—the crisp, bready Gravity Munich-style helles lager is proof of that. He’s also an avid hophead with an affinity for emerging antipodean hop varieties. The brewery combines New Zealand’s Wai-Iti hops with Magnum, Citra and Mosaic in its year-round IPA, The Rock, giving the beer a bit of stone fruit and lime-like character.

After mingling with over pints of The Rock, Gravity and Continuum coffee porter, the Howlers re-mounted for the 20-minute trek to Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, N.C. In hindsight, I probably should have said no to that second pint of Gravity because that’s when I agreed to make the trip on the back of a motorbike.

And I may have even taken a moment to appreciate the miles of idyllic farmland and tree-lined, seemingly endless country roads along the way if I wasn’t more concerned with my nose freezing off of my face (I should mention that it was February and about 40 degrees—which is more like 5 degrees Fahrenheit when you factor in the air resistance at 65 miles per hour. I struggled to keep my scarf tied around my face the whole way).

The ultimate destination made up for the ravages of the elements on the ride, as Kinston’s one of those small, post-industrial American cities (the industries, in this case, being tobacco and….) that experienced a stretch of depressed years but whose downtown is in the midst of economic revitalization. Celebrity chef and North Carolina native Vivian Howard opened Chef & the Farmer there about a decade ago and business partners Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring opened Mother Earth Brewing (now also a distillery) in 2008. The tap room at the downtown brewery—which repurposed the brick, wood and steel from the original structure—is 100 percent solar powered and has become quite the eastern North Carolina hotspot.

The space gets a great deal credit for the Growler Howlers’ existence, as it was a regular hangout for some of the group’s founders long before they made the club official.

Jeff Schulze (road name: “Foodie”), another founding member, as well as the club’s road captain, recalls connecting with Marisol Schultz (no-relation, despite similar last names) at the tap room. “We didn’t even know Marisol at the time buy my wife and I kept running into her at Mother Earth, probably for a good year,” Schulze remembers. Eventually, the like-minded from both the riding and beer communities converged. And, ultimately, the organization hopes others around the country and, possibly, the world, will hear the howl.

“I just want people to drink beer and wear this patch,” Schultz, aka Hop Ho, says, pointing to the club’s official insignia on her leather jacket, a growler pouring beer into the mouth of a howling wolf. “I want more people to join, I want to give back to the community, I want the Growler Howlers to expand and I want it to go worldwide.”



Classic lager brewed with pale malts and cluster hops

The beer that started it all. Leinenkugel’s® Original is brewed with Pale malts and Cluster hops inspired by our family’s 1867 recipe. Its crisp, classic flavor has been carrying the Leinenkugel® name for six generations.

Bronze Award winner in 1988 for American Premium Pilsners and 1998 Bronze Award winner for American-style Premium Lager at the Great American Beer Festival®.

Pairs with: brats with sauerkraut, cheese curds, Door County fish boils and cherry pie

Every beer has a story. Ours is just a little longer.

In May 1867, the Leinenkugel family brewery was founded in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin by Jacob Leinenkugel. He was a family man driven by an iron work ethic, and he knew that his German family heritage would play an integral part of his brewery’s success. Today, the sixth generation of Leinenkugels continues to brew some of the same family-inspired recipes that Jacob poured his heart and soul into. Over the years, our family has grown and so has our brewery, but our history and heritage remain at the forefront.

Take a step back in time and discover our flavorful history…



abst Brewing Co., the owner of heritage beer brands such as PBR, Schlitz and Old Milwaukee, is getting into the spirits business.

The privately owned company on Tuesday said it launched a whiskey brand under its Small Town banner called Not Your Father’s Bourbon in Wisconsin and Illinois with plans to push the brand nationwide in early 2018.

The 43 percent alcohol-by-volume, contract-distilled bourbon contains a “touch of Madagascar vanilla” and carries a suggested retail price of $29.99 for a 750-ml bottle. Pabst said in a news release the spirit was “crafted for veteran and novice bourbon drinkers alike.” Adding vanilla, it said, is “an exciting spin on the centuries-old spirit for a new generation of whiskey drinkers and cocktail connoisseurs.”

The move to diversify its beer-centric portfolio comes amid a down year for Pabst and its Not Your Father’s flavored beverage franchise. Case volume company-wide is down 2.1 percent and sales dollars have slipped 1.3 percent year-to-date through Nov. 4, according to Nielsen all-outlet data. Not Your Father’s, maker of hard root beer, ginger ale and other hard sodas, has been particularly battered, off 55 percent in sales dollars on a 53.7 percent drop in volume.

Pabst’s foray into spirits also comes amid broader pressure on the beer market, which continues to shed share to wine and spirits, particularly among younger legal-age drinkers. The beer industry has lost some 35 million barrels of beer, or 11 billion servings, to wine and spirits over the last 20 years, Heineken USA President Ronald den Elzen said in an October speech. Over that period, beer’s share of the total alcohol beverage market has shrunk to 50 percent, down from 62 percent, den Elzen said.

Other brewers already are dabbling in distilled spirits, including Michigan’s New Holland, Delaware’s Dogfish Head, Oregon’s Rogue Ales & Spirits and Indiana’s Three Floyds.

Among big brewers, only Constellation Brands has a significant presence in the industry, but Anheuser-Busch InBev, through its craft acquisitions, is eyeing an entry. The company in July applied for an Oregon distillery license for its 10 Barrel Brewing craft brewery. Its Devils Backbone brewery in Virginia also has expressed interest in distilling.

Prior to being bought by InBev, Anheuser-Busch flirted with spirits, creating a unit called Long Tail Libations that tested a shooter product for bars and clubs called Jekyll & Hyde. It also struck a deal a decade ago to distribute a line of spirits in the Northeast.

Pabst contract brews its beers and plans to do the same with its spirits division, which is dubbed Small Town Craft Spirits, according to the industry publication Brewbound, which first reported the news. The whiskey is being produced by Minhas Distillery, a contract- and private label-manufacturer in Monroe, Wis.

It has also outsourced marketing, sales and distribution rights of the brown spirit to Chicago-based Innovative Wine & Spirits, Brewbound reported.

According to company filings with the Illinois Secretary of State, Innovative Wine & Spirits is owned by Phusion Projects, the maker of the high-gravity flavored malt beverage Four Loko. Phusion jumped into the spirits space this year with its “Four Loko Shots” brand, an attempt to move its brands more into on-premise accounts, the company told Crain’s Chicago Business in a July report.

A spokesman for Small Town Craft Spirits said he was not able to provide more information.

Chris Furnari, the Boston-based editor of Brewbound, said in an interview that beer companies are seeking ways to diversify their portfolios amid the current turbulence in the market. But, he said, he’s “struggling to wrap my head around this one because it doesn’t feel like they’re all-in on it.”

“I understand the rationale behind wanting to leverage the brand equity they’ve already built with Small Town,” Furnari said. But the fact that Pabst is outsourcing the production, sales, marketing and distribution of the brand “doesn’t tell me they’re dedicated or super serious about investing in the space.”

MillerCoors Receives Top Marks in 2018 Corporate Equality Index

MillerCoors Earns 100 percent on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Annual Scorecard on LGBTQ Workplace Equality

MillerCoors proudly announced it received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. MillerCoors joins the ranks of other major U.S. businesses which also earned top marks this year.

“We are incredibly proud to receive this recognition from the Human Rights Council,” said Karina Diehl, director of community affairs for MillerCoors. “It truly is a testament to the inclusive culture we have created and initiatives we have put in place to support LGBTQ employees and communities across the country.”

The 2018 CEI rated hundreds of businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. MillerCoors efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results in a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.


This is the 15th consecutive year MillerCoors has received a 100 percent ranking. The company was also awarded the 2016 Corporate Equality Award from Human Rights Campaign and named Corporation of the Year in 2015 by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/cei.


About MillerCoors

Through its diverse collection of storied breweries, MillerCoors brings American beer drinkers an unmatched selection of the highest quality beers, flavored malt beverages and ciders, steeped in centuries of brewing heritage. Miller Brewing Company and Coors Brewing Company brew national favorites such as Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Coors Light and Coors Banquet. MillerCoors also proudly offers beers such as Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy from sixth-generation Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, and Blue Moon Belgian White from modern craft pioneer Blue Moon Brewing Company, founded in 1995. Beyond beer, MillerCoors operates Crispin Cider Company, an artisanal maker of pear and apple ciders using fresh-pressed American juice, and offers pioneering brands such as the Redd’s franchise, Smith & Forge Hard Cider and Henry’s Hard Sodas. Tenth and Blake Beer Company, our craft and import division, is the home to craft brewers Hop Valley Brewing, Revolver Brewing, Saint Archer Brewing Company and the Terrapin Beer Company. Tenth and Blake also imports world-renowned beers such as Italy’s Peroni Nastro Azzurro, the Czech Republic’s Pilsner Urquell and the Netherlands’ Grolsch. MillerCoors, the U.S. business unit of the Molson Coors Brewing Company, has an uncompromising dedication to quality, a keen focus on innovation and a deep commitment to sustainability. Learn more at MillerCoors.com, at facebook.com/MillerCoors or on Twitter at @MillerCoors.