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Latest Craft Trends, Impact of Marijuana on Alcohol Sales Discussed at December Brewbound Session More than 200 beer industry professionals descended upon San Diego in December to attend the bi-annual Brewbound Session, hosted at the Paradise Point Resort & Spa. In addition to sampling numerous beer and cider products from across the U.S., attendees heard insights from more than a dozen of the beer industry’s top entrepreneurs and executives. Discussions ranged from industry trends to mergers and acquisitions and the impact marijuana could have on future alcohol sales, among other topics. In a conversation with Brewbound editor Chris Furnari, Pabst chairman Eugene Kashper discussed the hiring of former Duvel USA executive Simon Thorpe as the new Pabst CEO, and he shared his company’s craft partnership strategy. “We’re on the same page in terms of find-

Eugene Kashper, Pabst chairman

ing the best fit to build the right portfolio over the never five, 10 years,” Kashper said of his relationship with Thorpe. “We’re looking to build the right portfolio of brands and breweries that are complementary.” 34 BEVNET MAGAZINE – JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

Kashper said his offer to potential partners is the ability to grow by leveraging his company’s supply chain infrastructure, nationwide distribution network and strong retail relationships. He added that Pabst was seeking partners for long-term, “arms-length agreements,” similar to the company’s relationship with Vermont Hard Cider Company. During the interview, Kashper also said he wanted to find the “right partners” within the “high-end space and maximize the potential of those brands.” In some cases, partners would retain control of their brand, oversee innovation efforts and not have to sell an equity stake in order to access additional production capacity or utilize Pabst’s sales teams. “What we’re looking for are people who don’t want to sell,” Kashper said.

of that transaction, which was is slated to begin this quarter, were not disclosed, but Pabst executives have confirmed that New Holland did not sell an equity stake. Despite its appetite for craft deals, Pabst’s heritage brand portfolio will remain the company’s number one priority, Kashper said during the conference. “That makes our business go,” he said. Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson and National Beer Wholesalers Association chief economist Lester Jones also took the stage to crunch the latest craft numbers and explain last year’s slowdown amongst many top established craft breweries. “We are moving to a period of slowing growth,” Watson said. “But even flat markets still have growth.” “It’s just a slow, gradual maturation

Vivien Azer, analyst with Cowen and Company

That was the case for New Holland Brewing, a Michigan-based craft brewery that inked a deal with Pabst just two weeks after Kashper laid out his approach to craft partnerships. Specific financial terms

of the industry,” Jones added. “The craft index is still positive; it’s just not as strong as it was in the past.” Of note, craft beer orders peaked in July 2015, with only a little rebound in

BevNET Magazine January/February 2017  

The Jan/Feb 2017 issue of BevNET Magazine. Volume 15/No. 1

BevNET Magazine January/February 2017  

The Jan/Feb 2017 issue of BevNET Magazine. Volume 15/No. 1