Mar 192019
 

Thirty-five years ago, establishing a new beer was not a frequent occurrence and so doing resulted in a bit of a stir. That beer was Corona. In a few short short years, the brand had made the move to the clear longneck bottle and the results were immediate.  Sales in South Texas took off. The Corona wholesalers, in fact, ran short of supply as they could not acquire adequate inventory from Mexico.

About that time, a young sales manager from Barton Brands, Bill Hackett, decided to fly to South Texas to find out just what the commotion was all about.  Bill saw a tremendous opportunity in Corona and Barton soon picked up import rights for the Modelo’s beers.  A couple of years later, the importing rights were shared with Gambrinus until Constellation (Barton) reacquired all of the U.S.

When Mike Mazzoni left Barton in the late 1980s, Bill took the reigns as president.  After decades of leadership under Bill, it was recently announced that he has retired from Constellation, thus closing the book on one of the most highly thought of supplier executives in the beer industry.

Bill’s legacy is one of respect…. respect within all three industry tiers of the beer industry.  Bill’s contemporary suppliers admired his leadership and success. While he was leading Corona, the brand’s growth was unprecedented.  Retailers loved the marketing support Bill provided behind the Modelo brands and the higher-ring the brands produced.  It was, however, with the middle tier that Bill was most respected.

Bill believed in the wholesaler and the wholesaler believed in Bill.  Bill felt that wholesalers were the key to Corona’s success and he built the Modelo brands on this philosophy.  Bill instilled that culture of the wholesalers’ importance into the employees of Barton/Constellation and the result was a win-win for all.

Earlier this decade a California wholesaler, who had sold their Modelo distribution rights to the AB network, filed a lawsuit against Constellation Brands.  The wholesaler asked for compensation for being denied the opportunity to purchase existing Modelo rights from another wholesaler. The reason the wholesaler had been denied was due to poor performance with their Modelo brands.  Instead of beginning termination proceedings, Constellation sent in a sales team to help the wholesaler turn around their performance.  Within a year, that wholesaler, with Constellation’s help, won the best wholesaler award for the given time period.  This example of Bill’s leadership speaks volumes as to his view of wholesaler relationships.

Baron Beers’ annual wholesaler meeting, traditionally held late winter/early spring in Palm Springs, was the talk of the industry.  Wholesalers never missed that convention.

Bill’s legacy is well documented and he will be considered, by all three industry tiers, to be one of the very best beer executives of all time.  Bill will be missed.

When I see the annual Christmas ad for Corona on the island with the lights on the palm tree, I will always remember Bill.

El Rey – The King…

 

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Mar 122019
 

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the chairman of AB InBev, Olivier Goudet, resigned to allow more focus on his role at JAB Holding Co.  This resignation creates a vacancy at the top of the world’s biggest brewer, a brewer with heavy debt load and falling beer volumes, especially in the U.S.

Goudet had served on the ABI Board of Directors for eight years and as the chairman for the last four.  The usual reasons for his resignation were outlined in the press releases including the announcement that Gourdet’s replacement has been identified and will be announced next month.

A great deal has been written about the problems Kraft Heinz has experienced since their merger in 2015, including the 25% decrease in stock values.  Poor cash flow along with a change in accounting rules has resulted in Kraft Heinz altering the first reported operating earnings of $24 billion down to $6 billion.  Kraft Heinz has been following a Zero Based Budget (ZBB) program since the merger, a budgeting process which is similar to ABI’s.

ABI, and now KHC, understand that ZBB can only take a corporation so far.  These companies are acknowledging that brand-building, not cost-cutting, is the key to long-term viability and ROI.  As previously reported on numerous occasions, ABI has lost millions of barrels in sales since InBev bought them in 2008.

Carlos Brito, the CEO of ABI, has followed the InBev cost-cutting model effectively since acquiring SABMiller.  One can only cut so much. Sooner or later something has to be sold to ensure the bottom line is being met.

Brito was not the first to apply these cost-cutting principles to the beer industry.  In fact, one might say that Paul Kalmanovitz was the original cost-cutter in the beer industry.  Long before Brito showed up, Kalmanovitz viewed the acquisition of breweries and brands as a great cash flow vehicle which could be enhanced by massive slashes in marketing, sales, administration, and other cut-backs.

Paul acquired Pabst, Schlitz, Falstaff, Lone Star, Pearl, Jax, Old Style, and other outstanding brands.   He established the companies’ structures with minimal sales and marketing organization and very little field support.  Simply put, he squeezed out all he could.  In Kalmanovitz’s model, the bottom line was the real estate he acquired when he bought the breweries. He seemed to view the brands as disposable, but the real estate, however, would continue to increase in value with little to no downside.

Both Paul and Carlos focused primarily on acquiring breweries that struggled to maintain growth and ROI for their investors.  Both have been very successful.  Although Carlos’s final evaluation is not yet in and based on the last 10 years, something must give.

ABI has attempted to market new and exciting products, and while many of those new products may have legs, the current and past cost-cutting models have devastated AB’s volume.  Next month’s announcement on the new chairman of AB InBev will tell the industry if there are any changes in the future or if ZBB will continue.

Right now I am having amnesia and deja vu at the same time.  I think I have forgotten this before.

 

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Mar 052019
 

Many decades ago when Albert Cramer took the reins for Warsteiner he had two goals in mind.  The first was to become the first German beer to be sold throughout the country of Germany.  A nationwide distribution for any German beer was unheard of at that time, and Albert did soon accomplish that goal which made Warsteiner the largest selling beer in Germany for many years.

Albert’s second goal was to become a global brand.  Part of his strategy was to not only open the U.S. market by starting an importing company, but he also wanted to build three breweries: two in Africa and one in Argentina.

By the early 2000s, however, Warsteiner had lost its dominance in Germany and was struggling worldwide.  Albert possessed an unusual insight into the future in the industry.  He had worked to created alcoholic flavored drinks made of orange, red, and colas flavors.  These products were low ABV but never took off in the U.S.  Albert also created a light beer on the tails of Heineken Light.  The Warsteiner light came in a clear bottle with a decent ABV, but as with the flavors, that beer did not sell well.

The Warsteiner agency in Vancouver, Canada, however, was a successful importer.  The head of the agency had seen the great success of Corona but, he had no product to compete with Corona. In addition to brewing Warsteiner, the plant in Argentina also brewed Patagonia, a beer named after the mountain regions of the country.

Since Patagonia was bottled in a clear bottle, the agency in Canada decided to import Patagonia with the intent that it would compete with Corona.  The first container of Patagonia sent to Canada did very well and sold out quickly.  It looked as though Warsteiner might have a winner.  With the second container, however, there was a QA issue with the bottle caps.  Somehow the bottle caps on the second container rusted causing an off-putting taste.  The beer was quickly returned to the agency and replaced with a new container; however, the bottle caps had again rusted thereby ending any chance Patagonia had of being a viable product.  In the U.S. we were watching Patagonia sales closely. The intent was to bring the beer to the U.S. market had the brand been a success, however, given the poor quality of the crowns, the attempt was thwarted.

In the summer of 2008, Albert with failing health and serious management issues in Africa and Argentina sold all the breweries.  He sold the Argentina brewery in 2010 to SAB Miller who in turn sold out to ABI.  The Patagonia brand remains with ABI.

On a recent trip to Florida, we learned that ABI will soon be importing Patagonia into that state.  The bottle and label have changed, as have the caps!  The quality from ABI will be excellent as will the packaging and, of course, the necessary support will be made available.  More importantly, however, the brand will have the support of the AB distributor network.

Once again, along with national wide distribution, global expansion, alcoholic flavors, and Patagonia, Albert Cramer was decades ahead of the industry.

Whatever happened to…Patagonia.

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Feb 262019
 

In the early 1970s, the senior executives at Lone Star Brewing Co. came from Schlitz.  Harry Jersig, who was the owner of Lone Star, had retained these executives in an attempt to turn the brewery around while simultaneously upgrading the execution of the company.

The required administrative work required of these senior executives was similar to what had been required during their time at Schlitz.  Looking back, the Market Activity Report was simple.   A two-page report; the first page consisting of a review of sales, product inventory, orders, and p-o-s inventory; and the second page consisting of a follow-up from the last visit, the result of any programs the distributor had agreed to, a recap of the program, and the agreed-to-program(s) to be executed during the next time period.

Since most of the distributors were one-brand wholesalers, brewery reps had their undivided attention and program execution was a given.  The entire process was simple to manage for both the wholesaler and the vendor.

During the 1990s, Gambrinus required all field employees to follow-up with their respective wholesaler through a performance letter. The letters, which were predominantly negative in nature and non-productive, were graded internally and posted.

Over the years the Market Activity Reports gradually evolved into annual business planning meetings with both the wholesaler and brewer agreeing upon certain goals.  During the calendar year, both parties conducted monthly review meetings to ensure stated goals were being met, and if needed, adjustments were made.

In today’s market, wholesalers have a plethora of vendors, some with more than 30. In a good size market, the vendors will have market/retail specialists on the street.  Today’s wholesaler might also have a brand manager for the vendors, with many managers having five or more vendors to manage.  If a brand manager has over five vendors, this results in not enough time to devote to even a single day to one brand.  Someone falls through the cracks.  And thus we see the need for market reps.

Wholesalers began asking for weekly recaps from the vendors, the obvious reason being that while the wholesaler works with multiple vendors, the wholesaler needs to know what is being accomplished.  The ideal model would have the wholesaler follow-up with the vendor when necessary and execute as needed.

The wholesaler’s requests could result in vendors asking the wholesaler, “What are you doing each week with my brands?”  This is certainly a fair question. Vendors often have software to programs, like VIP, that enable the vendor to see real-time sales, inventory, and distribution.  Such programs, however, do not give the vendor a complete and updated picture.

The numbers of vendors have exploded in recent years and the number of wholesalers has shrunk. This situation has created challenges in today’s market. The old adage, however, may still be in play: the wholesaler’s job is to put the dog food on the shelf, the brewers’ job is to get the dogs to pick it up.

Written reports stifle creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Feb 192019
 

Pierre Celis sold his successful, but under-insured Belgium Brewery, located in Hoegaarden, Belgium, to InterBrew.  Pierre then decided to build a brewery in Austin and bring his Belgium White Ale to Texas.  While visiting Pierre in 1991, just before the brewery was finished, Pierre told me that he initially looked at both Austin and Portland, Oregon as potential locations in which to build his brewery.  At the time, Portland’s craft beer scene was well underway, but the same was certainly not true for Texas.

To Pierre, Austin was a no brainer and he selected the capital city of Texas as the sight of his brewery. A few short years after opening, he sold the brewery to Miller Brewing. One has to wonder what would have happened to Celis had Pierre chosen Portland instead of Austin.

Miller invested in the Celis brands, but had a little success and eventually closed the brewery in 2000 and sold the brand.  The craft beer market was still years from developing in Austin or even in the state of Texas.  Eventfully, the Celis brands were purchased by the Michigan Brewing Co., but it, too, closed in 2012.

Christine Celis, Pierre’s daughter, gained the rights to Celis Brewery in 2017 and opened a new brewery in Austin, rapidly expanding throughout the state with both cans and kegs.  Now, two years later, and after replacing all of the Celis sales staff two weeks ago Celis employees walked without being paid.  If Celis sells again, the next owner(s) will be the fifth since 1991.

In recent weeks, the beer industry has seen multiple long-established craft breweries close.  Just this week alone, after more than 35 years in business, Bridgeport Brewing of Portland, which is owned by Gambrinus, announced it was closing and would be laying off approximately 87 employees.  Just a week earlier, Burnside Brewing of Portland also closed its doors after nine years in business. Other brewers, including Widmer Brothers and Portland Brewing, have closed their taprooms.  Last year 22-year-old Almenda Brewing and Lompac, both in business for 20 years, also closed.

It might be easy to explain why Celis is having trouble or Big Bend closed, but longtime brewers like Bridgeport, present a more challenging explanation.  Compare Bridgeport’s 2011 volume of over 50K bbls. to last year’s volume of just over 10K bbls.  Monetizing all those GABF medals is becoming meaningless!

Pundits have long cited that the taproom and restaurant business model offers a better chance for success versus the go-to classic market model.  The recent closing across the country of long-time successfully established breweries and brewpubs of both models, however, illustrates that these models, too, are also struggling. The strong will survive as the industry finally shrinks and those breweries who can find products which innovate and resonate with consumers will continue to grow.

If Celis does find a new owner, perhaps the fifth owner will make it work. Or maybe it will be the sixth owner?  Pierre Celis never thought it would be this difficult to establish his beer in the U.S. as the closing of Bridgeport Brewery was not even a consideration a mere seven years ago. But then again, neither did Schlitz, Pabst, Old Style, Hamm’s, Jax, Lucky Lager, and on and on and on.

Success and failure are both parts of life.  Neither is permanent.

Editors note;  This post has been notified that Celis is currently still brewing beer.

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Feb 122019
 

These pages have often referenced the historic struggles experienced by the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. In its efforts to remain not only relevant and to enhance the stock prices, a corporate decision was made around 40 years ago to quicken the brewing fermentation process.  The unfortunate result negatively altered both the taste and clarity of the liquid.  Frank Sellinger, the new President of Schlitz who had come from AB, and was a brew master by education, quickly changed the formula back to its original recipe.  He subsequently delivered that message to the public.

Frank’s initial message to ensure the public of the beer quality, unfortunately, did not affect the negative sales trends. Consequently, Schlitz went after Budweiser and Miller by conducting televised taste tests.  These ads did not attack the quality of Budweiser or Miller they did, however, focus on the taste of Schlitz verses the taste of Bud and Miller.  History has shown the ineffectiveness of these commercials.

It was not long after the Schlitz ads ran that Coors Brewing Co., in an effort to get more traction with their eastern expansion, ran newspaper ads citing fusil oil as a by-product of the brewing process of both Schlitz and Budweiser.  August Busch III called Pete Coors in an attempt to have these ads pulled for the sake of the industry.  Pete complied and ended that campaign.

In recent years, the industry has seen ads declaring products with fewer calories and fewer carbs than competitors.  With the advent of the seltzers, where their labels/ads promote low ABV, carbs, calories, and in some products, no carbonation, the highlight attributes of their products are self-promotion and do not lambast the competition.

AB’s much-discussed Super Bowl ads highlighted both Coors Light’s and Miller Lite’s use of corn oil in the brewing process. While AB claims it does not use corn oil in its brewing process, controversy has none-the-less started anew in the industry.  MC has fired back by taking the high road and not attacking AB but instead explaining how corn oil is used and which AB brands use the oil.

The controversial ads had other responses: Boston Beers distanced itself by tweeting, “No corn syrup AND no rice. #barley#hops#water#yeast.”  Adam Collins, vice president of communications and community affairs for MC, reflects what some in the industry believe: “The Bud Light ad says more about their market position than it does about any @MillerCoors products.” Collins added, “When was the last time ABI used their Super Bowl ad to attack a competing brand?  Miller Lite has been gaining share for 17 straight quarters and someone’s feeling the heat!”

If it was ABI’s intent to drive the social media mentions, they succeeded.  By half time AB social-mention spikes were close to 47K.  The follow-up continues thus leading one to believe at least from that aspect, that ABI must be pleased.

It could be possible that unless ABI’s trends change to the positive, we could see additional ads with similar messaging. The fall out could extend well past ABI and MC.  Craft brands that cut corners on their ingredients will have to address their consumer’s questions, “What’s in your beers?”

Advertising does not create a product advantage.  It can only convey it.

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Feb 052019
 

It was January 16, 1919, just over 100 years ago, that the 18th Amendment was ratified.  Prohibition began 100 years ago.  Then on December 5, 1933, the 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment and Prohibition ended. Or did it really?

Sure, the 21st amendment made it legal to buy and consume alcoholic beverages, but now that 100 years have come and gone, did prohibition really end?  When the 18th amendment passed in 1919, there were approximately 669 breweries operating in the U.S.  By the end of 2017, that same number had increased to 6,266 (8,863 TTB permitted). Some estimate that there could be almost 7,000 operating breweries by the end of 2018.  Granted the current number includes a myriad of different types of breweries, but either way, growth has been incredible when one considers that in 1978 there were only 89 breweries, according to the BA!

With the repeal of the 18th amendment, we saw the creation of the three-tier-system. The purpose of which was to ensure there would be no tied houses between breweries and retailers. And for the most part, the three-tier-system has worked. Now, however, with the advent of brewery-based on-site taprooms; and where legal, brewery-off-site taprooms exist, we have a blurring of the tied-house issue.

While the number of breweries has exploded in recent years, the number of wholesalers has decreased from 4,595 in 1980 to less than 3,000 today.  The number of breweries continues to grow while the number of wholesalers continues to retract.

The growth of the breweries can be traced to certain states that, from the end of prohibition, did not create laws which prohibited the start-up of small or craft breweries.  The majority of these states were on the east or west coasts.  Even with laws favorable to crafts, however, these states still limited consumers’ access to buying beer.

Las Vegas could be considered the only city that truly eliminated prohibition.  If a consumer wants a beer in Las Vegas, that beer is available 24/7.  One can even walk down the Vegas strip at any time of the day or night with an alcoholic beverage in hand and not be in violation of the law.  If Vegas can deal with this environment, other states should also be able to follow the same laws.

All states today restrict, in some form or fashion, the time and day of the week an establishment can open and/or sell alcoholic beverages.  In Texas, there is a movement to allow liquor sales on Sunday, a situation which has been unlawful in the past. As with many states, this change in the Texas law is ultimately about increasing revenue to the state more than ensuring the consumer has the freedom to purchase alcohol when desired.

The United States is changing rapidly, just note the spread of legalized cannabis across the country.  Pundits believe that we will legalize cannabis within the next three to four years!  If that is the case, why cannot prohibition in all forms end?

Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Jan 292019
 

 

The career options for young professionals in today’s beer industry are much different than they were years ago.  As a college helper on a Coors truck, I became convinced that I wanted to pursue a career in the industry.  Working on a beer truck did not give me a clear picture of how a brewery representative operated; however, it did give me a well-defined idea of the inner workings of a distributorship.

I knew I wanted to own and operate a beer distributorship, which was an achievable goal at that time.  I soon realized that dream, but the demise of Schlitz put an end to my distributorship.  I seriously doubt that in today’s economy I would have an opportunity to own my own distributorship under any circumstance.

There is one standard today that did not exist 40 years ago, and that is the craft brewers’ model.  There are multiple opportunities for young professionals today in the craft industry and most of these jobs involve learning all facets of the business, including an education about breweries that self-distribute.  Because crafts brewers provide many opportunities for this generation, there may not be a better job for a recent college graduate than being a brewery rep. in a major town.

When I taught a class for the beer certificate program at Portland State, the students were highly committed to their beer, wine, and/or cider operations.  These students were like the proverbial pig in the breakfast menu; the chicken is part of the breakfast, the pig, however, is committed!  The students at Portland States left no doubt of their resolve to the industry.

When I discuss the industry to a class or group one point I always drive home is to ensure those with whom I am speaking understand that the beer industry, no matter what tier one is discussing, is not a 40-hour-a-week industry.

I recently had dinner with a long time executive-search owner who specializes in the beer industry. During our conversation, he mentioned the challenges he is having finding Millennials to work in the industry.  I have heard this same story multiple times. It has become quite difficult to find an employee who is willing to put in the necessary time on the job to be successful.  Many wholesalers are struggling to find good and hard-working employees.  I sometimes wonder if I would have stayed in the beer industry knowing that acquiring ownership in a beer distributorship would be virtually impossible.  Perhaps limited opportunities are seen by today’s young professionals? This point is obviously a generalization of a generation. There are many, hard-working, dedicated Millennials who love what they do and are committed to their breweries.

As past posts have discussed; there are ways in which a distributor might structure their working environment to attract and keep Millennials.  Providing Millennials what they are looking for in a company, perhaps they could simply return the wholesalers’ effort by putting in the work that is required.

By the end of the next decade, the last of the Baby Boomers will have retired, and Generation X and Y will be approaching retirement.   The Millennials will remain to be the key to the industry.  One wonders what the beer industry will be like when this generation assumes the leadership role!

Wherever you go, go will all your heart!

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Jan 222019
 

As I write this blog, the governmental shut-down continues.  In fact, this governmental shut-down is now the longest in history.  We all know that such action means the TTB label approval process has ceased.  It has been reported that for every day the TTB is closed, three additional days are added for the label approval process.

Obviously, one would think that this situation is not good for the industry. There are some, however, that believe this shut down might not be so bad considering the markets are not currently being flooded with new or updated beers.  Many of the craft brewers survive by selling seasonal or one-off products with new or different flavors.  The bigger brewers are probably in good shape as their label approvals were completed last year, however, plans for later this year or next could suffer.

While the industry sits on new brands, more and more small local and regional crafts are closing their doors.  As noted in last week’s post, many of these financially strapped breweries are no longer able to raise or generate the funds needed to expand and/or stay in business.  Some industry pundits believe this is the long overdue industry shakeout that many have been expecting.

So the question in early 2019 is:  how is the beer wholesaler managing the uncertainty and turnover in brands in their respective markets?  It is no secret that the craft’s biggest issue with wholesalers is the lack of focus given to crafts.  As many crafts/breweries are closing and many brands are tabled, we see that the current environment is a personification of this lack of focus.

When a craft closes its doors, for whatever reason, how does a wholesaler retain and/or change that draft handle in their market?  If the wholesaler is an AB or MC distributor, is that handle converted to one of the AB or MC craft brands and at the expense of the local crafts?  Is such action fair to the locals who did what the wholesaler asked by putting people on the street and hustling chain authorizations?  Crafts experiencing such a situation could feel not only left out but perhaps even believe they have been lied to.

A craft brewer who has dedicated people, resources, money, and commitment to a wholesaler may perceive that they have no future with that wholesaler if that brewer is not on a wholesaler’s priority list.  If this is true, then that brewer has few options.

This is a no-win scenario for the wholesaler, brewer, and the consumer.  It is easy to believe that the wholesaler will support their “rainmaker” supplier but then not focus on their struggling brands or those that are more brewery-supported.  Either business model has a similar effect.

As more and more craft breweries close, along with the coming flood of new labels and brands, wholesalers should look at the ensuing push-back from their suppliers.  It will soon be coming to a head.

Action expresses priorities.

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Jan 152019
 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the prime rate for loans was in the mid-teens and prospective homeowners faced interest rates of up to15%.  Because the cost of money was so expensive, most people interested in purchasing a home or business looked for creative financing options, which typically meant the owner carrying back all, or part of the loan. Even at that, one would have been lucky to obtain rates lower than two or three points of prime.

Because an investor could invest in short-term CDs with no risks, it was unlikely that anyone during this time period would consider purchasing a beer distributorship with high rates.  This is exactly the position I was placed in when purchasing the Schlitz distributorship in South Texas.  Of course, this was also the era of highly leveraged buy-outs.  Purchasing any business with little to no equity, coupled with loans that were tied to the prime rate plus-one led to a road map for disaster.  While the distributorship had positive cash flow, the interest on the loans was too much to handle.  The interest rates, the selling of Schlitz to Strohs, and the unexpected collapses in the market, eventually quelled that opportunity.

On December 21st, Big Bend Brewing Company announced that they were closing their doors.  Big Bend, which opened six years ago, is located in the far West Texas town of Alpine.  While Big Bend enjoyed success in West Texas, the cost of freight across the state put the brewery at a disadvantage against other local beers. Big Bend thus decided to build a brewery in San Antonio in the hopes of easing the freight costs.

One year ago, Big Bend leased a building and reportedly paid Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) of Canada one million-plus dollar for the brewing equipment.  Soon thereafter, DME went into receivership reportedly owing $13.5 million.  Big Bend faced other challenges including difficulty in raising additional capital to build the San Antonio brewery.  Today, Big Bend continues to look for new capital but faces an uphill battle.  The brewery does have options:  they could sell their labels and the Alpine Brewery, but any new investor will demand control of the business.

With the Federal Reserve raising the prime rate coupled with the publicly announced future rates, the craft industry now faces its biggest challenge.  Big Bend could be the beginning of the real shakeout of the crafts.  Investors can now invest in low-risk notes or CDs with an acceptable return.  The question is: why would one invest in the brewing industry, an industry that many see as saturated.

The cost of entry into the craft industry is relatively low, however, as the industry has learned, long-term growth in crafts is capital-intensive, without the ability to finance or raise the funding, brewers such as Big Bend will hit a wall.  2019 might be the first year that the industry sees more breweries closing than opening.  The days of zero interest rates are gone, as are the venture capitalists.

Nobody likes high-interest rates.

 Posted by at 7:00 am