Exodo Spirits Seeks $1 Million Capital Through Crowdfunding

Éxodo Spirits International Corp. (“Éxodo Spirits Co.”), Washington, launched its first Crowd Funding campaign of 1,000,000 shares of its common stock. Proceeds will be used to pay applicable marketing and distribution cost for market expansion in select states.

The initial crowd funding offering price is set to be $1per share, with a minimum investment of $300.  The raising of the capital will be conducted through Wefunder Inc Continue reading

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Rahr & Sons Brewing Enters Kansas, Nebraska

Beers from the Fort Worth brewery, one of the larger Texas craft brewers, are available in Kansas now and will be available in Nebraska in early August.  Its beers are also distributed in Oklahoma as well as, of course, Texas.

Beers to be initially released in both states include Rahr’s Blonde Helles Lager; Dadgum IPA; Ugly Pug Schwarzbier; Bucking Bock German-style Spring Bock; Oktoberfest Marzen Lager; and Mr. Wiggles Double Dank IPA. Continue reading

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Small Town Brewery Adds Not Your Father’s Mountain Ale to Line

It’s described as “a bold, invigorating brew made with a fresh, crisp finish and notes of citrus, reminiscent of a clear alpine day.”  It is lightly carbonated and comes packaged in a green glass bottle and label.

“At Small Town Brewery, we don’t chase trends; we create them,” said Gleb Lifshits, VP. “As the pioneer of the category, we are always looking for ways to innovate and meet our consumers’ Continue reading

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Who & What —

Jen Berman joins Michael David Winery as General Manager of its Geyserville facility.  She   has 13 years of experience from her work as General Manager and Assistant Winemaker at Stryker Sonoma Winery, and as a lab technician at Sonoma Wine Co.  In addition to her work experience, she has a BS in Biochemistry from UCLA and a MBA from Sonoma State University.

Michael David Winery, producers of such brands as the 7 Deadly Zins, Freakshow, Petite Petit and Earthquake, is owned by the Phillips family, who have built their Lodi winery into one of the fastest growing wineries in the U.S.

The Phillips brothers released their first commercial wine in 1984 under the Phillips Vineyards label after years of growing grapes for other wineries. Now celebrating more than 30 years as a bonded winery, Michael David Winery has over 800 acres of vineyards in the Lodi Appellation.

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What We’re Reading (and Watching) —

Beer Stocks Are Falling Fast Because

Millennials Prefer Weed, Wine, and Spirits

Big beer companies, including those that brew Coors, Sam Adams and Corona, recently took a sizable hit in the stock market because millennials are “shifting away from beer,” according to a Goldman Sachs analyst.

The Goldman report indicates that millennials aren’t consuming as much alcohol as their parents, and when they do, they appear to prefer wine and spirits over beer.   Read more here, from Maxim.

Why Kentucky Clear Spirits, Like Gin, Might Be the Next ‘Bourbon’

In Kentucky, few new distillers would say their main goal is anything but to produce one of the state’s key exports: bourbon.

But there’s a catch. Good bourbon requires years of aging before it can make its way to liquor store shelves. And the distillers could be left with no income for just as long if they don’t decide to try their hands at any other spirits.

That’s why eagle-eyed customers might have noticed that more Kentucky-made clear spirits are hitting the market.  Read more here, from the Louisville Courier-Journal.

 

House Speaker Ryan Talks Healthcare, Taxes at MillerCoors

Despite a string of setbacks, House Speaker Paul Ryan remains convinced the Senate will eventually be able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“Thirteen-hundred great family supporting jobs are here in Milwaukee thanks to MillerCoors,” Ryan said. “I’m here to talk about how we can have even more good paying jobs here. How tax reform is really important to make American businesses competitive in the world.”

Ryan stressed the importance of keeping businesses in the United States and spoke out about the Republican-backed tax overhaul plan.  Watch the video here, from WTMJ, Milwaukee.

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How U.S. Beverage Won Rights to Rep Some Heineken Brands .

“We had a history of marketing a few Heineken brands in the past,” Joseph Fisch, president, told Kane’s Beverage News Daily.  “Our relationship goes back about 10 years, where we were the importer for Murphy’s Stout and Tiger Beer.”

That’s been a good relationship, he says.  “We really have learned a lot from the Heineken people, and they have helped us growing our company competencies, particularly on the marketing side.

“As their identities and strategies developed in the U.S. there came an opportunity to have U.S. Beverage appointed as an incubator of some of their leading brands worldwide that haven’t been in U.S., or have been in the U.S. but in a less serious way,” Fisch explained.  “Our discussion started about a year ago.   We came to terms with the Heineken Americas Export folks where we have a comfort zone, an array of strategies on brands we are now responsible for, and we’re kicking those off right now.”

It was a nice development for a company marking its 20th anniversary.  Before founding U.S. Beverage, Fisch was president of Seagram Beverage Co.  “I felt a passion to get into the craft and imported beer business,” he recalls.

“It’s action oriented, it required certain marketing competencies, sales competencies, all of which I’ve been able to acquire and to build our business with a group of suppliers that see the world similarly to U.S. Beverage.  We created a very strong relationship with suppliers such as Heineken, Moosehead, Pernod Ricard – we’re introducing their Malibu Beer in test in three markets right now.”

Running a smaller company is a challenge.  One has to be nimble because “you’re competing in a land of giants.”  Also:  The consumer moves very quickly, so one needs “a group of people who are very, very involved with trends and what we need to do with our portfolio to keep them ahead of the competition, to keep them being worked through the distributor network, and to make them new and exciting on a daily basis,” Fisch says.

“We’ve tried to stay ahead of consumer trends.  Early on we owned and sold craft beers.  But we came to understand that our real strength was working with international brands, bringing them into the U.S. and growing them through a very strong distributor network.”

U.S. Beverage is a family business.  Fisch’s son, Justin, has been with the company for 15 years.  Before that he was with Ogilvy & Mather.  “He learned the beer business at the distributor end, working with one of our distributors in California.  He’s worked his way up through the marketing and marketing management side to general manager,” Fisch explains.

We wondered how Fisch recruited people.  First, he reminded us, “this is a small industry, and we all know each other and have a book of people we’d like to hire when the opportunity is there.”

Also, Fisch said, “we do encourage summer internships with college students and that has helped with our recruiting as well.”  After three months, Fisch’s interns “either leave loving the business, or knowing it’s not for them.

“Our interns work very, very hard,” he explains.  “We’ve hired some that understand the passion to be successful in this business, or any business, and we also educated some who, if they wanted to get into marketing, understood it wasn’t for them and we saved them some time and they graduated college and went on with a different career.”

Building international brands locally is a four-step process, he told us:

  1. “We work very closely with our suppliers, understanding this is their child and we’re not going to do anything to disrupt how they would like their child to grow.
  2. “Then we identify the markets where their brand – our brand – will get distribution and be growing.  What we don’t want to do is sell something that doesn’t have a consumer base that’s looking for their brand.  It doesn’t make any sense to have our distributors work on a brand that doesn’t have a chance to sell.
  3. “We work very, very closely with our distributors identifying a universe in which the brand can sell.  So, if I have a Nicaraguan brand, in this case Antonia, where the brand isn’t known through the surfer community or the Nicaraguan brand, we’re not going to place a brand there.  So, we’re very, very specific as to where we’re appointing our distributors to sell our product.
  4. “Once we get our distribution, it’s up to us to make sure our brand is picked up and consumers can sample it, either through the on-trade or off-trade.

 

When Fisch or one of his staff speaks with a distributor about appointing them to manage our brand, they know it’s going to do very well in their marketplace.  That’s because before talking with distributors, Fisch and his team have identified the right markets for the brand.

“All our brands are very different,” Fisch explains.  “We don’t bring in brands that will compete against each other.  For example, Moosehead Breweries in New Brunswick, Canada, is celebrating 125 years.  That’s a brand that deserves nationwide distribution – it’s been marketed in the U.S. for over 30 years, the American consumer knows it, the consumer of Canadian products knows it, so our responsibility to the Brewery is to demand distribution throughout the U.S. through national chains, local chains, through the off-trade and the on-trade as well.”

On the other hand, US Beverage recently acquired SuperBock, from Portugal. “It has its strength in Portuguese communities in the Northeast,” Fisch says.  “That is where we will spend our investment and time building the brand.  Once we establish our stronghold in that community, we’re able to take it out into other markets we it deserves to be.  It’s very important that we do our homework, create a long-term strategy for the brand.  U.S. Beverage’s agreements with suppliers usually lasts three to five years.”

There have been times when a distributor in another part of the U.S. has asked for a brand, and Fisch said no because he didn’t think the brand would be appropriate for that market.

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