Milquetoast Bud Light boomer bait
Plus: whiskey-based 'Billionaire's Vinegar' WHEN?
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A bro-tastic Instagram empire’s savvy bid for Gen Z’s beer money. This week’s column at VinePair is about Friday Beers, a new beer brand from the super-successful social media account by the same name. I think it’s a smart move in the same way I think Barstool Sports’ Pink Whitney vodka and the Nelk Boys’ Happy Dad hard seltzer are smart moves: the creator economy is worth $20 billion and booming, and booze has great cashflow potential compared to like… hoodie sales, or whatever. Plus @FridayBeers (and the rest of the Almost Friday Media portfolio to which it belongs) is a good deal less toxic than either of those brands. Which is nice!
Craft breweries and former employees accuse Bevana Partners of shady dealings. Kate Bernot dropped a big report this week at Good Beer Hunting about the logistics/sales platform’s “willfully vague” business model, which includes selling contract brewing, brand licensing, and e-commerce services to craft breweries searching for growth. It’s an ambitious idea in theory, and former brewery partners and workers at the North Carolina-based firm say it’s been a mess in practice, with six-figure product dumps, unpaid invoices, and misaligned incentives. One former partner, Georgia’s Pontoon Brewing, told Kate that it was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to Bevana’s nonpayment on hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding debts. The firm’s parent company also got sued by its bank last week. Seems bad.
New Jersey’s governor’s broad liquor-licensing ambitions remain the bane of its craft brewers’. Earlier this year, the Garden State’s legislature unanimously passed a bill to reform how brewery taprooms would be licensed to operate, updating longstanding, antiquated laws on the books that the state’s powerful restaurant and bar industry had finally convinced regulators to begin enforcing in their favor. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has been keeping its craft breweries in limbo ever since the legislation hit his desk five months ago, trying to force broader liquor-licensing overhaul. Last week, he issued a conditional veto to formally kick it back to lawmakers—an expected procedural move, but one that’s still gotta sting for small beer-makers heading into the holidays.