Meet the Brewers: Freshman Class of 2018

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The Mass Brewers Guild Highlights New Breweries with Roundtable Tasting Event - Saturday, March 3 from Noon to 3 p.m.

NATICK, Mass.| Haven’t had the chance to check out some of the state’s newest breweries? The Mass Brewers Guild has you covered. “Meet the Brewers: Freshman Class of 2018,” will bring together nine of the state’s newly launched breweries for an intimate, roundtable style tasting event with unique access to brewers.

The lineup includes: 7th Wave Brewing, Lookout Farm Brewing Co., Moby Dick Brewing Co., River Styx Brewing Co., Shakesbeer, Shovel Town Brewery, Turtle Swamp Brewing, Untold Brewing and Widowmaker Brewing.  

Tickets are $40 and all proceeds will benefit the Mass Brewers Guild, the state’s trade association that works to protect and promote the interests of craft brewers across the Commonwealth. The fundraiser aims to foster learning and education of the brewing process and inspire deeper connections between brewers and craft beer lovers.

“We had a record-breaking number of breweries launch in the state last year - 39 to be exact - and we are expecting 25 additional breweries to come on board in 2018,” says Katie Stinchon, executive director of the Mass Brewers Guild. “This event makes it easier for our craft beer fans to keep track of our freshman breweries, and gives them the opportunity to wrap their lips around some of the Bay state’s new beer. This is the second year that we are hosting this event. It’s a different approach to a beer festival that both our attendees and brewers really enjoy.”

How does the event work? Upon arrival, guests will be broken up into groups of eight. Each group will then have twelve minutes with each brewer to enjoy up to three samples, ask questions, and hear the story behind the beer and the brewery before rotating to the next brewer. Attendees will receive a souvenir MBG tasting glass and gourmet, Bavarian pretzels from Wicked Twisted Pretzels.

Meet the Brewers: Freshman Class of 2018 will take place at Lookout Farm Brewing Co., 89 Pleasant Street South, Natick, Mass, on Saturday, March 3 from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets are limited. For more information about the Mass Brewers Guild, or the state’s breweries, visit massbrewersguild.org. To purchase tickets to Meet the Brewers: Freshman Class of 2018, visit mtbfc2018.eventbrite.com.

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Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company releases beer in support of local artists

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Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company in Framingham, MA has just released Demo Tape Twelve: Rewind, an IPA, in collaboration with Amazing Things Arts Center. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this beer goes to Amazing Things Arts Center and their mission to support local artists.

 

This IPA is a re-release of Demo Tape Twelve which originally came out in May. It was Lead Brewer Dunstan Liias’ first solo beer and was a delicious cross between a West Coast and New England style IPA and was a big hit with customers. This re-release (or Rewind) is a similar recipe but with even more Mosaic hops. It has the solid bitterness you want from an IPA along with a very citrus forward Mosaic hop aroma and flavor. It comes in at 6.9% ABV.

Artwork for the new label was done by Amazing Things Arts Center artist, Melanie Christopher and reflects her personal vision of the Demo Tape labels.  "Exhibit ‘A’ has been a fantastic partner, between inviting us to fill their space with local artwork and creating this beer for our benefit, its been so great to work with them! The proceeds from this beer will help us continue to bring great music and local art to Framingham!” said Melanie, Gallery Coordinator at Amazing Things Arts Center. "We are particularly excited to continue our partnership with Exhibit ‘A’ through this special beer. We're so grateful to have a microbrewery so committed to serving their local community” said Ellen Sturgis, Executive Director of Amazing Things Arts Center.  You can see and purchase artwork by Melanie and other local artists in the Morton Street Gallery located in the Exhibit ‘A’ taproom which is another way the two organizations are collaborating.. Kelsey Roth, General Manager at Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company said, “We are thrilled to not only partner with Amazing Things and support local artists, but also to have Melanie’s fun artistic style on our labels. We always felt a kinship between the art of beer and the other arts like music, dance and of course media art. So to have a beer that brings these together is pretty awesome.”

Proceeds from the sale of this beer go directly to Amazing Things Arts Center and their mission to support local artists. “We are lucky to have such an active and vibrant arts center located so close to us. Being able to help support that is an important part of what we do and helps to build a great community here in Framingham” said Kelsey.

Demo Tape Twelve: Rewind is available for sale now in cans and on draft in the taproom. A small number of cases will go out to retail stores in Massachusetts. A party to celebrate this beer and the collaboration is planned for Thursday, January 4 from 6-9pm at Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company.

Amazing Things Arts Center is located at 160 Hollis Street in Downtown Framingham. To see what's coming up at amazing things visit their website! They have live music every Friday and Saturday as well as community events, like open mics, during the week. See more of Melanie Christopher’s art at Still Dead Illustrations.

Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company is located at 81 Morton Street in Framingham, MA.

 

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How Tax Reform Impacts Your Brewery

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While watching congress has become a comedy show and people’s feelings on tax reform is all over the place, let’s take a look at some items that may be relevant to your brewery, once the president signs the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. Note: this blog post only highlights some of the changes. Please consult your tax advisor and schedule a time to discuss planning and other changes, as well to maximizes your benefits under the new tax law.

1.     Most important, the new tax law included the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) which the National Brewers Association has been working on for almost ten years! This reduces your federal excise tax on beer from $7 per barrel, to $3.50 per barrel, on the first 60,000 barrels produced by domestic brewers who produce less than two million barrels annually. It also allows for you to be more creative and collaborate with your peers by the removal of tax between bonded facilities. These changes will be effective January 1, 2018, so remember not to over pay when doing your BROP.

2.     For small brewers with less complex operations, who operate tap rooms and turn inventory fast, or brewers who are just getting started, the new law makes your business tax return easier. If your gross receipts are $25 million or less during the preceding three years, you could be exempt from the complex inventory and accrual rules that were once required by the IRS. Not only could this help accelerate deductions, it can reduce your year-end tax preparation bill as there is less work to be done by your CPA.

3.     The new tax law also expands the small business exception for UNICAP by increasing the gross receipts test from $10 million to $25 million and removes the interest charge for the aging period of your beer. Again, this benefit is another way to help reduce the complexity of your tax return and potentially accelerate deductions for indirect inventory costs that were once required to be capitalized as part of inventory. Brewers who have an extensive barrel aging program or age beer for more than a year will most certainly benefit from this.

4.     Accelerated deduction under section 179 has been increased. Under old law, your accelerated deduction was limited to $500,000, reduced by the cost of eligible property placed in service that exceeded $2 million. The new law raises, subject to inflation adjustments, the limit from $500,000 to $1,000,000 and the start of phase down amounts is raised from $2 million to $2.5 million.

5.     Bonus depreciation, another good benefit that got an overhaul also. Instead of taking 50% of the cost on eligible property, bonus depreciation has increased to 100% for property placed in service after Sept 27. 2017 and before Jan 1, 2023. NOTE – consult your tax advisor on the best strategies to utilize 179 and bonus. Sometimes, it may not make sense to go gung-ho on these if you anticipate profit growth in future years with a slowdown in your CAPEX spending.

6.     Your business NOLS got a makeover! NOL Deductions are now limited to 80% of taxable income and you can no longer carry them back, but you can carry them forward indefinitely. 

7.     There is a 20% deduction for qualified business income for noncorporate taxpayers (LLC’s taxed as a partnership for example), subject to limitations. Consult your tax advisor now for planning opportunities as there are some significant complexities surrounding this substantial new deduction.

8.     While not a win, the new tax law repeals the domestic production activity credit that many breweries take. This credit allowed certain breweries to take a deduction equal to 9% of the lessor of your qualified production activities income or taxable income for the tax year. BOO!

Again, not an extensive listing of all the changes that were signed into law under tax reform, but the above can have a significant impact on your operations. Please contact your tax advisor to start planning on how to maximize these benefits.

Cheers,
Robert Babine, CPA
Edelstein & Company

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WACHUSETT BREWING COMPANY OPENS NEW TAP ROOM

Indoor Brew Yard Experience with Airstream Bar Now Open Six Days a Week

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Wachusett Brewing Company is expanding their on-site experience by bringing their successful summer Brew Yard concept indoors.  The new indoor Brew Yard extends the popularity of the outdoor version that opened this summer to now create a year-round destination for craft beer fans across New England.  Visitors can now buy pints, grab a bite to eat from the Brew Yard food truck and fill growlers to take home all in one visit.

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The grand opening will be this Saturday, December 16th from 12pm-10pm. There will live music, giveaways and more.

The Brew Yard, Growler Fill and Retail Store will now be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 12pm-8pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm.

“We couldn’t be more excited to now offer a year-round experience that the Brew Yard was able to create this summer” said Ned LaFortune, CEO of Wachusett Brewing. “The Brew Yard will hopefully be a great addition to the local community as well as the overall New England craft beer scene.

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The new indoor Brew Yard was built using reclaimed wood from a 200 yr-old barn that the Wachusett team carefully took down and reconstructed in to the space.  It is also equipped with its signature, one of a kind Airstream bar, plus an enormous copper fire kettle, indoor games and garage doors that open up to the outdoor Brew Yard.

For more information about Wachusett Brewing Company, visit www.wachusettbrew.com

 

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Hitch A Ride To Your Next Brewery Tour

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There’s a lot of good beer out there.

With more than 100 tap room destinations in Massachusetts we want everyone to tour and taste responsibly. What's the best way to do that? Designate a driver for the afternoon, or better yet, hire someone else do the driving!

We've pulled together a list of the area’s best designated drivers for local residents and Beantown tourists alike. 

Looking for a last-minute holiday work party idea? Consider a day of brewery tours to ring in the season. Need a last-minute gift? All of these tour companies offer gift certificates.

Now buckle up for a thirst quenching adventure. 

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Boston Brew Tours presented by Craft Beer Lovers of Boston
There’s no better place to organize a celebration, and hey, there’s no better place to taste delicious and tasty craft beers, so why not put them all together? Craft Beer Lovers Boston, is a professional and stylish brewery, winery, and distillery tour company located in Boston. With the help of great brewery partnerships, Craft Beer Lovers are able to provide a one-of-a-kind, behind the curtain brewery experience. They bring together the very best in transportation, craft beer knowledge, brewery partnerships, and employees. Tours range from $90-$160. For questions or more information, visit www.tourbostonbreweries.com. info@tourbostonbreweries.com - GENERAL INFO, reservations@tourbostonbreweries.com - RESERVATIONS. 

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City Brew Tours
Celebrate any occasion by sharing an afternoon or evening with your friends, family, or coworkers. From 5 to 500 guests, City Brew Tours Boston can customize a tour specific to your needs and budget. City Brew Tours pairs unique craft beer tastings and meals at some of the best breweries in Boston. Grab a group of friends or colleagues and book an Original Brew Tour, an After Hours Brew Tour, or even build a unique personalized tour. Tours range from $70 to $99 and include a hand-rolled pretzel, City Brew Tour swag, roundtrip transportation, and up to 12 beer styles. For more information, visit www.citybrewtours.com/boston or call, 617-453-8687

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Mass Brew Bus:
The Mass Brew Bus offers a unique experience showcasing Massachusetts booming craft alcohol scene. They offer regularly scheduled and private all-inclusive tours in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts on bright green school buses that provide a behind-the-scenes look at craft breweries, distilleries, cideries, and more.

Tours are led by knowledgeable guides in addition to a dedicated non-drinking driver to ensure the best possible experience for participating guests as well as for the businesses with which they partner. All tours feature a local snack or meal, trivia, behind-the-scenes experiences, and of course delicious beer and beverages. Tours range from $80-$100. For questions, more information or to book online, visit themassbrewbus.com or call, (617) 651-5200 or email, info@massbrewbus.com

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Lyft:
Lyft is a proud partner of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild providing affordable, reliable transportation to more than 100 member breweries across Massachusetts. The partnership provides a growing number of craft breweries, craft beer lovers, and Lyft passengers with special promotions. Make your own brewery tour using the MBG’s “Mass Craft Beer” mobile application and set off on and adventure and let Lyft do the driving.

Another Hometown Home Run: Samuel Adams is Named “The Official Beer of the Boston Red Sox”

The Partnership Marks a New Era for New England’s Independent Craft Brewer and the Rising Tide of American Craft Beer

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(BOSTON --- 12 December 2017) Samuel Adams, New England’s leading independent craft brewer, has been named the “official beer of the Boston Red Sox.” Samuel Adams and the Red Sox have entered into a multi-year partnership, bringing together two beloved, Boston icons.

In 1984, Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch hit the streets of Boston, going door-to-door to introduce bartenders to his new full-flavored beer, Samuel Adams Boston Lager.  Sam Adams’ flagship beer, a leader of America’s craft beer revolution, was born in Boston.  Many of the first bars and restaurants that carried the local brewer’s beer were around the Fenway neighborhood, giving special meaning to the new partnership.

“I moved to Boston the year of the ‘Impossible Dream Season’.  Now visitors to this historic ballpark will enjoy the freshest Sam Adams beer, while watching an incredible team, playing under our sign over in right field.  It’s my personal impossible dream come true,” said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams.  “We got our start right here in Boston, and for the past three decades we’ve worked our butts off to stay independent and brew great beer. As the official beer of the Red Sox, we get to celebrate our New England roots with millions of other fans as soon as the season kicks off.”

Visitors to Boston’s storied Fenway Park will start to see the multi-year partnership come to life as soon as January 2018. Details of the agreement include:

·         Two Sam Adams experiential bar areas: the right field roof deck will now be known as the “Sam Deck,” and a bar area located beneath the third base stands will be known as “Sammy’s On Third.”

·         In addition to crowd favorites like Boston Lager and Summer Ale, fans will be able to enjoy new brews launching in 2018 like the highly anticipated Sam ’76.

·         Visible signage throughout the ballpark including the iconic right field sign which last changed nine years ago.

·         As the official beer of the Boston Red Sox, Sam Adams will have opportunities to partner across New England and in Fort Myers at JetBlue Park.

Sam Adams is the first American craft brewer to enter into a partnership with a Major League Baseball franchise, for this length of time and at this level.  The move continues to highlight an important cultural shift as the popularity of American craft beer provides new opportunities for Independent craft brewers.

“Both the Red Sox and Sam Adams are rooted in Boston tradition and history, and Jim Koch and the entire team are as passionate about beer as we are about baseball,” said Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy. “We are excited for this long-term partnership, and look forward to working collaboratively to represent Boston through our two brands.” 

This also marks the first professional team partnership, of this scale, for Samuel Adams.  The local craft brewer has also been the official beer of the Boston Marathon for several years, and over the years has had limited sponsorships or other arrangements with the Red Sox, The Patriots, the Celtics and the Bruins.  Since opening the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, the brewer has donated beer and tour proceeds to support hundreds of local and regional charities, as part of its commitment as a New England neighbor.

For more information regarding the Samuel Adams and Boston Red Sox partnership, visit: www.SamuelAdams.com.

About Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams is a leading independent, American craft brewer that helped to launch the craft beer revolution.  The brewery began in 1984 when Founder and Brewer Jim Koch used a generations-old family recipe to brew beer in his kitchen. Inspired and unafraid to challenge conventional thinking about beer, Jim brought the recipe to life with hopes drinkers would appreciate the complex, full-flavor and started sampling the beer in Boston.  He named the flagship brew Samuel Adams Boston Lager in recognition of one of our nation’s founding fathers, a revolutionary man of independent and pioneering spirit.  Today, Samuel Adams is one of world's most awarded breweries and remains focused on crafting the highest quality beers through innovation and experimentation in the relentless pursuit of better.  Samuel Adams remains dedicated to elevating and growing the American craft beer industry overall, including providing education and support for entrepreneurs and fellow brewers through its philanthropic program, Brewing the American Dream, which helps others pursue their American Dream. 

For more information, please visit www.samueladams.com.

 

Fix the beer distribution laws

BY RICK WALTON

With the explosion of small breweries in the U.S., it is not unusual to hear stories enumerating the problems encountered by these breweries as a result of outdated alcohol laws and regulations. It begs the question: What changes in the law can be made to allow these small breweries to thrive?

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There are three brewing licenses defined by Massachusetts law: farmer brewer, pub brewer and manufacturer. Farmer and pub are responsible for the boom in small breweries.

Most breweries opening today are licensed as farmer brewers. Does that mean they are a farmer or are obtaining product locally from farmers? No, none of that. It means they can only sell their alcohol product at their bar or tasting room, plus they can freely self-distribute their product to other retailers and wholesalers. So what's the farmer thing about? I'm not sure, but I think the intention was to inspire farmers to grow their own barley and hops and create value by retailing these products. However, I cannot think of a single farmer brewer licensee that does this, though I'm not saying there isn't one out there. The situation for farmer brewer licensees is pretty good, since they can self-distribute and sell retail. Their one big problem – a problem for all brewery licensees – is limited access to markets due to Massachusetts Franchise Law.

Franchise law requires the brewer and distributor/wholesaler relationship to be permanent in a particular region of distribution. In other words, brewers are stuck with a distributor unless they can demonstrate a serious grievance and have bottomless pockets for legal fees. A distributor not selling your beer, or not selling it well, can just sit on your product, effectively putting you out of business. Franchise law was meant to protect small distributor/wholesalers from big breweries back in the 70s. 45 years later the landscape has flipped and the now very large distributors are still being protected. And they love it!

The pub brewer license is for businesses wanting to to retail alcohol other than their house-brewed beer. Properly licensed pub brewers have the ability to pour anything they want along with all of their own beers. However, this license is restricted from self distribution. Pub brewers must use a distributor/wholesaler (along with that permanent relationship dictated by franchise law) - a very expensive option for a brewery trying to get started in distribution.

Massachusetts currently has around 140+ breweries (and that number is growing), which ranks us at about 17th among states in the U.S. Another statistic, breweries per capita, ranks Massachusetts 24th! Clearly there is room to grow.

It may take a while to clean up the brewery laws – and good people are working on it – but in the meantime, if issues surrounding the franchise law can be remedied and self distribution can be legalized for pub brewers (both have bills pending on Beacon Hill), small breweries can enjoy unfettered access to markets and Massachusetts can get back on track as a leading brewing state.

Rick Walton is owner and president of Moon Hill Brewing Co. in Gardner.

Originally posted on WBJournal.com

Originally posted on WBJournal.com

Designated Drivers, Thank You!

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The night before Thanksgiving is one of the most popular nights of the year to travel. Lyft and the Mass Brewers Guild are joining in on the festivities by partnering with Massachusetts breweries to provide over 2,000 rides this Thanksgiving eve.

As part of the "Thankful for Designated Drivers" program, Lyft and the Mass Brewers Guild will provide $10 off a ride between 8PM on November 22 through 3AM on November 23 to encourage safe holiday travel using code MBGTHANKFUL while supplies last.

This Lyft program is made possible in part by sponsorships with Jack's Abby, Lord Hobo, Wormtown, Harpoon, Sam Adams, Castle Island, Devils Purse, and Wachusett Brewing. 

These holiday ride specials are an extension of the recent partnership with the Mass Brewers Guild.