5 Takeaways: Brewbound in San Diego

5 Takeaways: Brewbound in San Diego

5 Takeaways: Brewbound in San Diego

Brewbound sessions are always interesting – and tasty – and we found the recent Brewbound 2015 in San Diego to live up to our expectations of a great event to network, explore and learn from the experts in the industry.

Here are our 5 takeaways from Brewbound Session San Diego 2015.

Ballast Point deal

Ballast Point BrewingThe BILLION DOLLAR Ballast Point deal made headlines and sparked many discussions – and even a few arguments – within the craft beer industry. While many want to look at that deal to value their business for their own upcoming exit strategy, Mike McCann of Spencer Fane LLP and Rocky Fiore of Prairie Capital Advisors pointed to high margins and an aggressive expansion and speed to market that made this deal come together.

Oh yeah, and all that expansion led to doubling sales, all key components in the high valuation of Ballast Point. We can’t wait to see what Constellation Brands has in the playbook for this interesting deal. Everyone in the craft industry is watching closely … and that includes Blue Horseshoe, which is proud to work with three of the nation’s top 10 craft breweries.

Local still matters!

Odell Brewing CoHaving a local presence and community backing is what begins propelling most breweries and their growth. Local brew pubs and even local events for national brands allows consumers the “connection” they need to become brand advocates. While the big deals make many people thirsty for expansion, growth and exit … most of the successful players today have been at this before there was a Craft Beer “Industry.” They just liked to drink and create great beer. Their “strategy” has mostly relied on a great beer and a steady, solid growth plan. This was clearly evident in the opening presentation from Wynne Odell of Odell Brewing and her multiple aerial photographs of their growing brewery footprint over the years. Odell Brewing started 23 years ago and is still making great craft beer.

Looking at the number of financing, equity and acquisition experts attending this year’s Brewbound event, we would predict much more consolidation in the industry, as well as big, visible flame-outs as breweries start reaching for big deals and try to ramp up expansion and growth to get there. Some will succeed, but many more will fail and this will be a new chapter to watch within the craft industry over the coming years.

Enjoying the startups!

Wynwood Brewing CoThe Startup Brewery Challenge saw these 9 new breweries compete for the title and chance to become a Widmer “Brother for a Day” and visit their facilities in Portland, Oregon and the opportunity to craft a new collaboration beer with Widmer Brother Brewing.

Wynwood Brewing Company from Miami, FL won this year’s award. Wynwood is Miami’s first craft production brewery, in the heart of Wynwood Art District. Awesome beer too!

Here are the rest of new startups who competed this year:

Oak Park Brewing
Black Plague Brewing
Kickdrum Brewery
Mujicians Brewing
CraftHaus Brewery
Scarlet Lane Brewing
Missoula Brewing
Barley Forge Brewing

Where the growth is …

Not Your Father's Root BeerAmazingly, the “High End” of the craft industry is still propelling the growth. It seems the story is the same every year, but it always surprises us to see that the higher end, higher priced offerings continue to lead the market.

But then again, we thought convincing Americans to spend $6 on a cup of coffee was a bad idea, and would never catch on.

Craft Root Beer has blown up over the last year. While the root beer craze is likely a passing fad, another “flavor” will undoubtedly replace and continue craft’s growth and penetration. All the while, these are higher-priced options indicating the top end of the market is very active and still has room for growth.

And yet …

The strongest growth rate in the craft market is from the “long tail” or smaller breweries!

The 19 large brands cover 61% of craft beer dollars spent; the 1,097 brands known as the “long tail” which account for 12% of the market had the highest volume growth compared to the large and mid-tier categories.

This makes for a strong market allowing great smaller breweries the chance to grow.

This is an exciting time to be in the craft industry. We can’t wait to watch and see what happens between now and the next Brewbound


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