Saturday, December 16, 2017

Brew News - Dilly! Dilly!

Amid the adversarial relationship between craft breweries and Big Beer, Bud Light delivered a cease-and-desist letter to Modist Brewing Company in Minneapolis with class and humor. At issue was the December 1st release of a Mosaic Double IPA which they named Dilly Dilly. About two weeks prior to release, Modist invited the public via Facebook to their release event.

There, Modist describes the beer as "massively dry hopped with three forms of Mosaic" (pellets, oil, and powder) . . . "and a dilly of a good time." The event started at noon and by 2:30 pm a representative of Bud Light arrived dressed as a town crier who read from a scroll:
" ‘Dilly Dilly’ is the motto of our realm, so we humbly ask that you keep this to a limited-edition, one-time-only run. This is by order of the king. Disobedience shall be met with additional scrolls, then a formal warning, and finally, a private tour of the ‘Pit of Misery.’ " [video]
King? Of Beer? Not for long if Take Craft Back, a tongue-in-cheek crowdfunding campaign, gets its Christmas wish. Their goal is to raise $213 billion to purchase Anheuser-Busch InBev. Nearly 12,000 beer lovers have pledged support, drawing attention to growing disparity in marketplace influence between small and independent brewers and Big Beer. [2017 Craft Beer in Review | Brewers Association]

In Brooklyn, there was no Dilly Dilly for Lineup Brewing who received a cease-and-desist letter for their Oktoberfest Pilsner release named Bïeryoncé. While Modist received two Super Bowl tickets for their compliance, it is unknown as to whether Katarina Martinez, Lineup's owner, head brewer, and Beyoncé fan, received tickets to one of Beyoncé's concerts.

The 2017 Craft Beer in Review also provided an update on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). (Not as catchy as "Dilly Dilly," is it?) While it might not be interesting, I learned there is a federal excise tax of $7-$18/barrel depending on production volumes. Under CBMTRA, the excise tax would be reduced to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels for brewers producing less than 2 million barrels per year, and reduced to $16/barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and importers. (The amount would remain at $18 for amounts over 6 million barrels.) [Federal Excise Tax Overview | Brewers Association]

Originally a freestanding bill introduced to the 114th Congress, the 2017 bill has been attached to the Senate version of the Republican tax reform bill. The CBMTRA "may now enjoy wider support in Congress, but it's unknown if the overall tax reform bill into which it was inserted has wide support among craft breweries." [Kendall Jones, Brewers Association Releases Annual Craft Beer in Review Report | Washington Beer Blog]

Unknown, indeed.

Overall, 2017 was a dilly good year for Craft Beer and pretty dilly for me, too. I visited 131 breweries in the state of Washington in 2017 alone,  five in Arizona, two in California, two in Hawaii (Maui), 20 in Oregon, and three in Ohio. There was something to like about each and every one. (Mostly the beer, but always the company.)

There's still a week left.

Have a Dilly Christmas and a Beery New Year!

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