World Class Beverages Indiana

April 28, 2010

Anchor Brewing Begins and Ends an Era

Filed under: Beer Business — Bob Mack @ 3:18 pm
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On Monday, April 26, 2010 it was announced that owner Fritz Maytag of the historic Anchor Brewing Company would be selling his interest in the brewery to an investment company.

Anchor Brewing and Fritz Maytag ARE historic in the craft beer world. Fritz bought the brewery in 1965 when there weren’t really any “craft” beers available in the US. Anchor Brewing later pioneered the creation of craft beers as Fritz fought to make the brewery profitable and his efforts contributed greatly to the growing craft beer culture that we enjoy today.

It’s hard to say that Fritz will be missed as he will still carry the title of “Chairman Emeritus” at Anchor. But there’s little doubt that the change of ownership signals the end of an era for the craft beer world. Fritz started making great beer when very few people knew what great beer was. A lot of people must have thought Fritz a little crazy, especially with the craze for “Lite” beer just getting under way back then. But Fritz persisted.

An icon is moving on to other ventures and his daily guidance at Anchor Brewing will be missed. (more…)


April 21, 2010

Take Beer out of the Ball Game?

Victory Field, IndianapolisI just spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Victory Field with my lovely wife and daughter enjoying a sunny day of baseball and a few good beers. Sitting on the outfield grass I couldn’t help but feel blessed that the beer gods had smiled enough on me that local brewers like Oaken Barrel, Sun King and Upland would be represented at the ballpark in addition to great brews from Bell’s, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. Truly, I was blessed to have such choices.

But why can’t every ballpark, stadium or concert venue have such choices? It’s a question I am often asked about and a situation I sometimes despair over.

Why can’t there be great craft beers at venues like Verizon Wireless, Conseco Fieldhouse or Lucas Oil Stadium?


April 1, 2010

Final Four: The Hoosier Beer Geek Guide to Indianapolis Beers

Ever vigilant and timely, our friends at Hoosier Beer Geek have put together a terrific guide to beers available to all of our visitors to Indianapolis for this weekend’s Final Four basketball championship.

Check it out here:

Whether you’re from Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina or even Indiana, welcome to Indianapolis! We thrilled to have you here and we look forward to sharing a beer(s) with you!


World Class Beverages

March 25, 2010

New Beers to Indiana – March 25, 2010

There are a bunch of new beers to Indiana this month and next, with most of them hitting store shelves this week on into April and May. In addition, Bell’s Oberon makes it’s long awaited return to Indiana on March 29th. A complete map to all Indiana bars and restaurants who will be pouring Oberon draft on March 29th is now available at the World Class Beverages website.

It’s March Madness, World Class Beverages style!


March 10, 2010

Less is More? Are There Too Many Beers?

(Left to right: Harry Schumacher - Beer Business Daily, Dale Katechis - Oskar Blues Brewery, Steve Hindy - Brooklyn Brewery, Jim Schembre - World Class Beverages)

Plenty of great discussion took place at last week’s “Beer Industry Summit 2010” in Phoenix. One of the surprising topics that has reared itself repeatedly at the Beer Summit is the proliferation of brewers and products in the beer industry as a whole, including and especially in the craft beer category.

Are there too many brewers in the US? Are there too many beers? It sounds a little bit like crazy talk, but there are a fair number of brewers who seem to feel that this may be the case.

Right now, the Brewer’s Association will tell you that there are almost 600 breweries in the United States that bottle, can, keg or otherwise distribute beer. That number doesn’t count the many hundreds of brewpubs that brew beer for sale in their restaurants. In most markets, there are only 2 or 3 beer distributors that will carry and sell craft beer, which leaves a theoretical total of 200 to 300 brewers per distributor in any particular area, not including the wide array of import brands that are currently available.

The problem becomes this: no one really believes that any single distributor can properly handle 100, 75 or even 50 breweries. Even the best salesperson doesn’t have the time or opportunity with their retail customers to make proper presentations for that many breweries. For a distributor with such a large portfolio of brands, the larger volume brands are going to get a lot of attention, but the rest will suffer. In theory, the top 10 breweries out of 50 may flourish and the remaining 40 will get neglected.

World Class Beverages of Indiana handles about 25 different US based craft brewers and even we get criticized by brewers for having too many brands. Many other craft distributors carry even more brands than we do.

One brewer I spoke to this week worries that his brand doesn’t get enough attention and becomes “clutter.” That means he’s concerned that his beer gets stale on the shelf and that shipping and logistics become troublesome and expensive due to small volumes. Yet another brewer has suggested that distributors should focus only on their top 10 (or so) craft brands, thus streamlining their operation and making it possible for them to make more frequent and more in depth presentations for those remaining brands.

Those brewers are absolutely right to be concerned. They need to protect the integrity of their products and help us to maintain freshness and selection, but I know that most of our consumers seem to prefer that we increase our selection and product list.

Are there too many beers?

According to the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry grew 7.2% in 2009 over the previous year. However, the total number of “craft breweries” grew from 1485 in 2008 to 1542 in 2009, representing a 3.8% increase in the number of craft breweries. In addition, many of the existing craft brewers in 2008 expanded their capacities in 2009, some to dramatically higher levels. And while statistics on overall capacity growth are not readily available, it is hard to imagine that the 3.8% increase in the number of craft brewers plus the expansion of production capacities by existing craft brewers couldn’t have accounted for all of the 7.2% growth in the craft category in 2009. Perhaps there was no actual growth in 2009 at all?

Growth in the overall beer market was actually down in 2009 from the previous year, but that drop in overall sales volume is represented entirely by the major, non-craft, brewers who saw significant declines in consumer demand. However, there were no new brewery entries into the major brewer category either and no significant expansion of capacities for the major brewers in 2009.

In the end, most brewers and wholesalers would love to see the market continue to grow and I believe strongly that the craft industry will continue to grow. But might we already be at a point where the industry itself is growing faster than consumer demand, and if so, what does that mean for many established, quality brewers who may find that their share of the craft beer pie is shrinking, even as the pie continues to grow overall.

The Beer Summit is a terrific gathering of brewers and distributors that is organized by Beer Business Daily, one of the pre-eminent trade publications in the beer industry. Visit Beer Business Daily at

February 17, 2010

Hop Dam! Coming Soon to Indiana

Filed under: New Product Releases and Placements — Bob Mack @ 9:26 am
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Fred Karm, Owner and Brewer

Hoppin Frog Brewing of Akron, Ohio isn’t the biggest brewery in the northeast part of Ohio, but it’s earned a reputation for being the best. Just this month, they were ranked by as the 24th best brewery in the world! (See the story at Hopping Frog’s website at:

”I’m just blown away,” Hoppin’ Frog owner and brewer Fred Karm said. ”I just think of myself as making beer for my friends and family. It’s unfathomable.”

Hoppin Frog’s reputation and status is built on big beers like BORIS the Crusher, an astounding Russian Imperial Stout that also comes in a very scarce barrel aged version. But Hoppin Frog has also been quite liberal in their use of hops and coming soon to Indiana is their “triple IPA” called Hop Dam. We’re grateful to Fred for getting us 30 cases of this amazing beer!

From the Hoppin Frog website:


February 10, 2010

Batch 9000

Filed under: New Product Releases and Placements — Bob Mack @ 12:15 pm
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Bell’s Batch 9000 arrived safely in Indiana and is ready to start shipping to stores across the state!

Our Beer Spy will start listing retail locations as they arrive in stores beginning on Monday. Beer Spy list EVERY beer bar, restaurant and retail location of the many brands we distribute in Indiana. Visit the Beer Spy at

It really does exist!

The latest in Bell’s series of milestone releases, Batch 9000 Ale offers up aromas ranging from the sweet caramel & molasses of dark rum to fruits such as raisins and plums. Brewed with the idea of a Double American Stout in mind, Batch 9000 Ale is a unique, one-time-only recipe. Well suited for vintage aging, this limited release will continue to develop in flavor & complexity over the years.


ABV: 12.5%
Original Extract: 29 Plato
Bitterness: 52 IBUs
Color: Black
Availability: Special release; Bottle & draft
Shelf life: Unlimited

Batch 9000 Ale celebrates another milestone in Bell’s history, offering a wealth of flavor in a Double American Stout body.

February 5, 2010

Have a little Hair of the Dog

Alan Sprints, owner and head brewer at Hair of the Dog Brewing of Portland, Oregon has been kind enough to send 3 of his acclaimed beers to Indiana. Cases of Hair of the Dog Adam, Fred and Ruth just made their way to Indiana this week, but in very small amounts of only 24 cases each, so get them while you can!

Just to give you a little insight into the quality of these beers, here are the individual ratings from Adam – 100, Fred – 99, Ruth – 84.

Yea. They’re that good.

Hair of the Dog only makes about 500 barrels annually and their distribution is limited to a handful of states, mostly in the Pacific Northwest. We’re grateful to Alan for sharing a little bit of these tremendous beers with us!

January 26, 2010

Beer & Social Media

I’m spending a lot of time on airplanes this week. Normally, that means I’m out of touch and behind on my work, but lately I’m starting to take advantage of my “air time” to listen to podcasts on social media. After listening to many stories of social media becoming a successful business tool for many people, it became obvious to me that social media and craft beer are a match made in heaven!


January 15, 2010

Winter Fest Beers and the Malt Shoppe

Filed under: New Product Releases and Placements — Bob Mack @ 5:56 pm
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Hot off the press – here is what I know about beers coming to the Winter Fest on Janaury 30th. As a reminder, this event will sell out ahead of time! Get your tickets online or at your favorite Indiana microbrewery soon!

A couple of cool things: Schlafly and New Albanian are doing a collaboration beer that they’ll be sampling! Also, Bluegrass Brewing of Louisville is bringing something exciting that they don’t even want me to mention! So forget I told you about it, because I didn’t. I’m hearing also that Sierra Nevada will debut their new Glissade Golden Bock winter seasonal along with some good ‘ol Bigfoot!

World Class Beverages is presenting our winter version of the popular “Hopapalooza” and we’re calling it “The Malt Shoppe“. Here are the DRAFT beers we’re currently planning on bringing:

  • Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Porter
  • Avery Hog Heaven
  • Avery The Reverend
  • Avery Salvation
  • Brooklyn Winter
  • Brooklyn Backbreaker
  • Bluegrass Brewing Scotch Ale
  • Dark Horse Perkulator Coffee Doppelbock
  • Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout
  • Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout
  • Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
  • Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine
  • Rogue Shakespeare Stout
  • Schlafly Coffee Stout
  • Victory Abbey 6
  • Victory Golden Monkey
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