Finally, some good news in the beer world. In the ultimate Boston beer collab, Boston Beer Company and the MLB’s Boston Red Sox have announced an official partnership, having reached a multi-year agreement that will dub Samuel Adams “the official beer of the Boston Red Sox.”
As part of this deal—the best part, really—a Samuel Adams sponsor sign will replace the Budweiser billboard that’s been taking up right field real estate there for nearly 10 years.
Look, we’re level-headed when it comes to beer politics. Beer is a business, and both sides, whether set to take over craft beer as we know it or facetiously determined to #TakeCraftBack, are a little ridiculous sometimes. But there’s nothing bad to say about a Boston business claiming its territory, and showing its city—and the millions of other people who will see this sign every time the Red Sox play a home game—who’s boss.
Anheuser-Busch operates 12 flagship breweries in locations across the United States—Boston, or even Massachusetts, is not one of them—yet they’ve held the Red Sox sponsorship since 1976. (Narragansett held it from 1944 to 1975, which we’re pretty cool with, since at least it originated in New England.) While the majority of Sam Adams’ actually production takes place in Ohio or Pennsylvania, they do operate a facility in Boston, and are (obviously) part of the Boston Beer Company.
Facets of the Samuel Adams sponsorship other than replacing that behemoth of a sign will be a rooftop deck (dubbed the “Sam Deck”), a bar below the third-base stands (“Sammy’s on Third”), and of course, lots ofs Sam Adams beer, including the upcoming Sam ‘76 session lager.
The sponsorship will also include Samuel Adams brand visibility away from home, such as JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida while the team’s in spring training. Another big up: Samuel Adams will be at liberty to use the Red Sox logo.
Dilly, dilly, donezo.
Beer Industry Rejoices Over Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Taxes, amiright? The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed on Wednesday, and everyone’s all worked up about it. How will it affect our lives? How will it affect small businesses? More importantly, how will it affect beer?
The assumption may be that Big Beer will reap big benefits under the new legislation while small, independently owned brewers will be screwed. But actually, the tax cuts are beneficial for both.
The Beer Institute and Brewers Association have been jointly pushing their Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), now part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, since June 2015. In the case of the BA, some version of this effort has been going on for 10 years. Thanks to their relentless efforts, beer, wine, cider and spirit producers, and their thirsty consumers can collectively celebrate, regardless of party lines.
- For U.S. brewers that produce less than 2 million barrels per year, the federal excise tax on their beer will be reduced by half, from $7 to $3.50 per barrel, on the first 60,000 barrels.
- For all other brewers and beer importers, the federal excise tax will be reduced to $16 per barrel, from $18 per barrel, on the first 6 million barrels. (This mostly means Big Beer, but also brewers like Boston Beer Company and Yeungling, which are defined as “craft” under the BA’s definition.)
Basically, everyone saves—$142 million in annual savings, to be exact—which is especially beneficial to small brewers who can use that money to make more beer. The tax cuts should also increase collaboration between brewers, because transfer of beer will now be permissible without tax liability.
As Brewers Association president and CEO, Bob Pease, said, “This is a monumental day for small and independent craft brewers. […] Our expectation is that small brewers will use their savings related to the recalibration of the federal excise tax on beer to invest in their breweries, expand their operations, create more jobs and hire more American workers. We are very appreciative that Congress has enacted these bipartisan, strongly supported measures.”
Can’t we all just get along?
AB InBev’s “High End” Makes Power Move With New Eco-Friendly Program, ‘Elevate’
In other AB InBev news, the world’s biggest brewer has stepped up to the plate in its sustainability efforts. In a new program titled “Elevate,” which goes along quite nicely with the equally snobby nomenclature of “the High End,” ABI has set some serious goals for 2018. These lie in areas they’re calling “the four pillars,” namely, beer, environment, communities, and industry. Here’s how they break it down:
Beer: All products brewed by ABI-owned brands will now include a “best consumed by” date to ensure fresh consumption.
Environment: At all craft partner breweries (of which there are 11), solar panels will be installed with the goal to transition to 100 percent solar and wind renewable electricity by 2020. Additionally, a 20 percent reduction in water usage at all craft partners by 2020 is proposed.
Communities: ABI is committing $2 million to distribute to organizations of craft partners’ choice.
Industry: Events, experiences and education will also be at the forefront of ABI’s High End efforts, including quality and safety seminars open to all brewers.
Accountability is in place, too. A third-party organization called KPMG will be measuring ABI’s progress, with results available on the Elevate website.
They’ve really covered their bases. Pessimists (AKA beer reddit) might see this as more corporate bullying, showing off their global power and taking over the one thing small and independent brewers had, which was authentic connections to their communities. But at the end of the day, this kinda benefits everyone. Perhaps, in this case, we can all get along…