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Craft Brew News # 49 – That’s My Recipe, Thief! and Tree House Growth

Craft Beer Storm

10/18/19 • 12 min

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Craft Brew News 10/18/19
(courtesy of Brewbound –
Anheuser-Busch Accuses MillerCoors of Stealing Confidential Beer Recipes
The legal battle between the two largest beer makers in the U.S. escalated today, as Anheuser-Busch today accused MillerCoors of breaking state and federal laws by stealing trade secrets regarding beer recipes for its two top-selling brands, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.
A-B alleges that two of its former employees who now work for MillerCoors and its parent company Molson Coors either shared confidential trade secrets with their current employers or sought information from current employees about the making of A-B products.
MillerCoors VP of communications and community affairs Adam Collins issued a statement accusing A-B of “trying to distract from the basic fact that they intentionally misled American consumers.”
The allegations are the latest salvo in the ongoing legal friction between the large beer manufacturers. In March, MillerCoors filed a deceptive advertising lawsuit in federal court against A-B for launching Bud Light Super Bowl commercials that pointed out the use of corn syrup in the brewing process of Miller Lite and Coors Light.
A-B’s filing today points to two of its former employees: one who serves as Molson Coors’ VP of global quality and food safety, and a brewer for MillerCoors at its Golden, Colorado-based brewery, who previously worked at A-B’s Cartersville, Georgia-based production facility.
In its counterclaims, A-B argues that its trade secrets are its “most important assets — specifically, the means and manner in which it brews its most popular beers.”
Boulder Beer Retrenches, Pivots to Brewpub Model
Citing increased competition in a crowded marketplace, Boulder Beer Company announced today that it would cease distribution and focus on its brewpub business.
Boulder Beer director of marketing Tess McFadden said the 40-year-old Boulder, Colorado-based beer company will pivot to a brewpub business model once the last batches of production beer leave its facility.
As part of the transition, Boulder will lay off about 20 of its 50 employees over the next two months as operations wind down, she added.
Production at Boulder Beer, which was founded in 1979 by David Hummer and Randolph “Stick” Ware, a pair of University of Colorado-Boulder astrophysics professors and homebrewers, has declined steadily in recent years. Last year, the company produced 16,305 barrels of beer, down 44% from its peak of 29,333 barrels in 2014.
According to McFadden, the company plans to buy a seven-barrel brewhouse and will transform its production area into an event space. The brewpub will continue serving Boulder beers, as well as a barbecue-focused menu.
Boulder Beer plans to sell the majority of its equipment. However, the company plans to keep its 50-barrel brewhouse, which remain as a decorative artifact.
Tree House Brewing Makes Million Dollar Investment for New Warehouse
Massachusetts’s Tree House Brewing is expanding once again at its Charlton-based production brewery and headquarters.
Earlier this month, Tree House co-founder Nate Lanier tweeted an aerial image of a large construction site next to the existing facility with the “shhh” emoji. Questions from curious followers rolled in, but Lanier did not publicly answer them.
However, according to a report in the Worcester Telegram, Tree House is constructing a 76,700 sq. ft. warehouse adjacent to its existing building. The expansion necessitated the purchase of 41 acres of neighboring land.
Tree House’s meteoric rise over the last few years made it 42nd fastest growing brewery in 2018, according to national trade group the Brewers Association’s (BA).
Since 2015, the first year the BA has Tree House’s production volumes on record, Tree House’s production has increased from 2,350 barrels that year, to 44,250 barrels in 2018, an increase of 130% from 2017 levels, according to the BA.
Tree House sells the vast majority of its beer directly to consumers at its Charlton facility.
Nielsen: Active Lifestyle Beers Offer Big Opportunity for Craft, IPAs Remain Dominant Style and Value Tops Volume
Consumers are considering health and wellness more and drinking less but willing to spend more on alcoholic beverages when they do drink, members of market research firm Nielsen’s beverage alcohol team shared during last week’s Brewers Association Power Hour webinar.
Here are three takeaways from Nielsen’s latest update on craft’s mid-year performance.
Consumers More Mindful of Health and Wellness
Consumers are now more concerned about health and wellness than any other topic, according to the Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with Nielsen.
The most common reason respondents gave for drinking less is that they’re prioritizing health and about half of resp...

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