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Craft Brewing And Distilling News for December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012

•Leading U.S. beer wholesaler Reyes Beverage Group (RBG) is expanding in the craft segment with an agreement to acquire Windy City Distributing, a craft wholesaler covering Chicago and eight northern Illinois counties, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close by year-end. Reyes, whose Chicago Beverage Systems unit handles MillerCoors and Heineken USA labels among others, will not integrate Windy City—which distributes more than 40 craft brands including Tyranena, Lagunitas and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales—into its local operations, instead allowing it to remain a separate craft-focused entity within Reyes. Windy City president Bob Collins will stay on in that role. RBG distributes more than 95 million cases annually across 11 U.S. markets and has revenues approaching $2 billion. Its move in Chicago’s craft segment follows its acquisition of 6-million-case Chesbay Distributing in Virginia by less than a month.

•Boulder, Colorado-based Avery Brewing Co. is set to construct a new facility and increase production. The project will include a new state-of-the-art brewery as well as a taproom and restaurant, an aerial walkway for tours and a retail shop. Slated to be finished in 2014, the new facility will include 75,000 square feet of production and warehouse space and a 120-barrel brewhouse. It will allow Avery to initially produce 120,000 barrels annually, with the ability to eventually ramp up production to 350,000 barrels. Avery Brewing Co. produces Avery IPA, The Maharaja Imperial IPA, White Rascal Belgian Wheat Ale and Mephistopheles’ Stout, as well as 18 other year-round and seasonal beers.

•Cooperstown, New York-based Brewery Ommegang will team up with HBO to release a line of beers whose themes are modeled on the channel’s hit TV show, Game of Thrones. The Belgian-style beers will be based on themes and characters from the series. The first beer, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, will debut in late March to coincide with the beginning of the show’s third season. It will be available on draft and in 750-ml. bottles throughout Ommegang’s markets. Three more beers are in the works, with the second launch slated for fall 2013 and additional brews to follow in the seasons after. Brewery Ommegang produces six year-round releases—including its Belgian Pale Ale, Witte, Rare Vos, Hennepin, Abbey Ale and Three Philosophers labels—and a range of seasonal and specialty ales. Ommegang is currently available in 43 states and Washington, D.C.

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