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Craft Brewing And Distilling News for December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012

•The number of active brewers in the U.S. has risen to a record-high 2,751 in 2012, according to permit data released by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Beer Institute. The figure represents an increase of almost 20% from last year. Of the 442 new brewers added to the market this year, California (the state with the most in total) gained 31 to reach 363, Texas gained 29, and Colorado, Illinois and Washington all gained 28 each. Michigan and New York both saw the start of 26 breweries, while North Carolina and Oregon increased by 19 each.

•Wirtz Beverage Illinois (WBI) has added a new dedicated craft beer team ahead of handling Deschutes Brewery’s portfolio on January 7. The new unit will include Paul Manning as craft beer brand manager, as well as two craft beer specialists, David Kahle and Phil Kuhl. Manning was previously new accounts specialist at WBI. Kahle, one of only six people to hold the Master Cicerone title, will focus on building Deschutes throughout Illinois and recruiting new craft beer brands to the portfolio. Kuhl, a certified Cicerone, will specialize in promoting WBI’s craft brands through on-premise programs and events.

•Buena Vista, Colorado-based Deerhammer Distilling Co. has released its flagship Down Time single malt whiskey. Down Time is a hybrid whiskey created from processes borrowed from both Scotch and Bourbon production. It’s produced using five varieties of malted barley (including a peat-smoked malt imported from Scotland), open-air fermented with American Bourbon yeast, then aged 9-12 months in handcrafted oak barrels from Black Swan Cooperage in Minnesota. The inaugural batch of Down Time includes only 150 bottles (priced at $48 a 750-ml.), but Deerhammer plans to increase production to 300-350 bottles per month starting in early spring. The single malt is available at Deerhammer’s tasting room in downtown Buena Vista, as well as at retailers throughout the Denver/Boulder area.

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