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• The Seattle Times has a story suggesting that “after years of shipping beer farther and farther away, many small brewers are now shrinking distribution to sell beer more profitably at home.

“The strategy reflects the nation's growing thirst for boutique beers from independent breweries that can't produce enough to meet the demand of a larger market — so they're putting local customers first.”

One example - the Maryland-based Flying Dow Brewery, which has had beers like Doggy Style and Raging Bitch in 46 states, is eliminating 13 states from its distribution map, and plans to cut back even further. The company now has a goal “of selling 70 percent of Flying Dog's output in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia within three years. The region (now) accounts for about 50 percent of the 1 million cases Flying Dog sells annually.”

• The Los Angeles Times has an interview with Tom Long, CEO of MillerCoors, who says that post-merger, he is looking past the synergy phase to something more sustainable.

"Organic growth in craft and imports and light beer is our ambition because our future earnings power will come from that growth more than from cost savings, and so that is the challenge of the business,” Long tells the Times, which positions the strategy this way:

"’[There] will not always be thousands and thousands of tiny brands,’ Long said, referring to the 1,700 brewers in the U.S. today. ‘Big brands will emerge, and they already have: Sam Adams and Fat Tire and others. Certainly Blue Moon fits into that category.’

“MillerCoors' goal ‘is to make sure that some of those emerging winners are ours,’ Long said. To do that, he said, the company will have to be successful in gateway beers that introduce consumers to the craft segment, as well as to other brews for ‘eclectic palates’.”

• Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that “Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill prohibiting the production and retail sale of caffeinated beer, making California the seventh state to do so. Critics say the beverages are aimed at young people and make it easy to drink too much. They typically come in large containers, with high alcohol content and sweet, fruity flavors.”
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