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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014

•June marked a milestone in the U.S. brewing industry, with the number of breweries operating in the country surpassing 3,000, according to the Brewers Association. The industry group says it’s likely the first time the total has passed 3,000 since the 1870s, when the number of operating breweries reached a high point of 4,131 in 1873. Almost 99% of the 3,040 breweries currently operating are small and independent, based in neighborhoods or towns. The BA brewery count is based on facilities selling beer in the marketplace and includes brewpubs and breweries involved in other business activities, differentiating them from U.S. Census Bureau figures. A brewery must have a Brewers Notice from the TTB and pay federal excise tax on beer, and must not be included as another brewer’s facility.

•Boston, Massachusetts-based Harpoon Brewery is transitioning to being an employee-owned company with some management changes, effective August 1. Existing shareholders will transfer 48% of the company’s shares to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in a move intended to maintain independence and Harpoon’s culture. Co-founder Rich Doyle will step down as CEO but will stay on part-time to focus on marketing and sales initiatives and new business development. Meanwhile, co-founder Dan Kenary will assume the role of CEO. Harpoon currently has 187 full-time employees between its brewing facilities in Boston and Windsor, Vermont.

•Shmaltz Brewing Co. is set to expand capacity at its Clifton Park, New York brewery, opened just last year. The existing 50-barrel facility, which has a current capacity of roughly 20,000 barrels, will receive four new 200-barrel fermenters this August and October, bringing its total capacity to nearly 40,000 barrels. The expansion follows Shmaltz’s entry into Vermont, Maine, Kentucky and Iowa over the past year, growing the brewer’s total footprint to 37 states. Led by its flagship He’brew brand, Shmaltz Brewing is targeting sales of $4 million for 2014.

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