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Start-up beer exporter shipping East Coast craft beers to the UK

Bringing coals to New Castle? Not exactly, says the founder of newly launched Crafted Exports, which is shipping kegged craft beer to London pubs.

Bartender at London's Hop & Berry pub pours a glass of  American craft beer

Bartender at London’s Hop & Berry pub pours a glass of American craft beer, Haproon UFO

By Alan J. Wax

A Brooklyn, New York, entrepreneur and his partners are attempting to capitalize on surging UK interest in American craft beer with a start-up business that is exporting U.S. craft beers and ciders to England.

Crafted Export's Peter Schneider

Crafted Export’s Peter Schneider

Peter Schneider, a former sales rep for Brooklyn-based Union Beer, and his partners in Crafted Exports Inc.   have sent their first shipment to London, where the beers are being distributed by UK importer Euroboozer Ltd.

Schneider’s partners in Crafted are Qurban Singh Walia, Schneider’s former colleague in a consulting business and an executive at a brewery in India, and Peter McNulty, a manager at a New York City marketing firm and former operations manager at Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewing Co.

Now four years out of George Washington University, where he received a BA in economics, Schneider began formulating plans for the beer export business some 18 months ago.

Craft beer, he said, “has always been an interest of ours. We like the way that craft beer … helps people become more thoughtful about what they’re consuming.”

The company’s initial shipment, which reached pubs last month, included such brands as Harpoon from Boston and Bronx Brewery, Captain Lawrence, Butternuts Beer & Ale, and Doc’s Cider, which are all from New York. “We wanted to bring over beers we liked and were geographically together,” he said, “We wanted to keep a reliable, fresh supply chain. We wanted a portfolio that cut across boundaries a little bit.”

A second shipment already is at sea. “We’ve been getting a lot of great feedback,” Schneider noted.

Crafted Exports' current beer export portfolio

Crafted Exports’ current beer export portfolio

Crafted’s East Coast-oriented portfolio made it possible to ship beers more quickly to the UK, Schneider said. “Our main focus to get beer to the consumer as fast as possible.” That meant, he said, “changing the supply chain. “

Crafted leases 30-gallon steel kegs from a third-party logistical provider, which delivers them to the breweries and then recovers them in the UK, where they are cleaned, refilled with different product and shipped back to the U.S. Crafted buys the beer from each brewery, aggregates the kegs at a New Jersey warehouse before shipping them in temperature-controlled containers to the UK, where importer Euroboozers takes over.

The beers are being poured strictly at bars and restaurants. The brews were launched on July 22 at the Hop & Berry, a pub that hitherto offered only beers brewed in London. Pints of the American beers at the Hop & Berry sell from £5.20 (about $8) to £6 (about $9.35). Other pubs offering the beers include the well-known White Horse at Parson’s Green and the Draft House mini-chain.

The American brewers are excited to enter these new markets, Schneider said, noting that brewers often receive requests to export their products, but ignore them due to logistical issues. Schneider said Crafted’s platform got the brewers’ attention to ship to such markets such as London, which offer new growth.

“For a couple of young enterprising guys it was quite refreshing to see the level of drive and effort they put in prior to pitching their proposal,” said Chuck Williamson, owner/operator at Butternuts in Garrattsville, New York.

As for having his beer in the UK, Williamson said, “I think it is a great thing for Butternuts Beer & Ale. I have for years had requests from UK consumers that have come to New York City and had the Pork Slap in particular and wanted to know if they can get it when they get home.” Williamson said “It was good timing really for me,” he added, noting that he’d talked exporting with other firms, “We will see where the next few years takes us, but I think in general U.S. export of beers, done right, will be a great thing for our industry.”

And while bringing beer to the UK, where in 2014 there were 1,285 breweries—more breweries per person than anywhere in the world, may seem like shipping coals to Newcastle, Schneider says there’s keen interest among British drinkers in American craft beer. “This is an exciting new opportunity.”

Added Euroboozer founder Martyn Railton, who already imports Rogue Ales: “America has some of the most unique craft beers, breweries and beer characters in the world so it’s great to be working with some of the best of them. Our American range has been seeing double digit year-over-year growth and with the trend for American food booming within the pub, restaurant, casual dining, street food and wider foodservice sectors, to use an American saying – I expect all these beers will knock it out of the park!”

The beers being marketed in the UK include:

Harpoon IPA, a 5.9% ABV New England-style brew.

Harpoon UFO, a 4.8% Belgian-style wit.

Bronx Session IPA, a 5.0% ABV brew.

Bronx Rye Pale Ale, a 6.3% brew produced with malted and flaked rye.

Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale, a 5.5% ABV West Coast-style brew.

Captain Lawrence IPA, a 6.5% brew.

Butternuts Pork Slap Pale Ale, a 4.3% beer brewed with a touch of fresh ginger.

Butternuts Moo Thunder Stout, a 4.9% ABV milk stout that pays tribute to the Butternuts Brewery’s former life as a dairy.

Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider, a 5% ABV semi-dry, effervescent cider.

Doc’s Draft Dry Hopped Hard Cider, a 5.5% ABV dry-hopped cider.

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The Good Life pub raises $22,000-plus for Hurricane Sandy relief


The Good Life owner Pete Mangouranes during Hurricane Sandy relief benefit.

The Good Life has a good heart.

The Massapequa Park, Long Island, gastro pub, was packed to overflowing Tuesday evening due to the promotional efforts of owner Pete Mangouranes, who promised to donate every penny spent at the pub that evening to Hurricane Sandy Relief. Indeed, by the time The Good Life closed its doors Mangouranes had collected $22,090.

The monies, including purchases by The Good Life’s patrons, servers tips and more will be split among local churches and the Tunnel to Towers Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, said Mangouranes, who put every penny of his night’s sales into the pot.

The Good Life owner Pete Mangouranes, left, looks at the scene at his bar.

The scene was a testament to Mangouranes’ social media outreach campaign.

The crowd was five deep at the bar, where the servers included Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna Jr., the wait for a table in the dining room ranged up to three hour. Meanwhile, dozens more imbibed drafts from a trailer on loan from Manhattan Beer Distributors on the sidewalk in a heated tent donated by Top Notch Tent Rental.

Captain Lawrence, Saranac, Great South Bay Brewery, and Ithaca Beer Co.  donated kegs of beer and Roberto Bobby Rodriquez, an award-winning homebrewer, contributed a keg of his Zombification, a hard cider made with molasses and Belgian ale yeast. A local bakery, Sugar Rush, sold cupcakes and cookies and donated rolls for sausage and pepper sandwiches sold on the sidewalk. The publishers of “Question of the Day” books pitched in too, selling their books for the charity event.  Mangouranes also raffled off a surfboard and took in donations of gift cards, clothing and other items.

Other beer-related charity events are on the calendar. On Nov. 14 The Loyal Dog Ale House in Lindenhurst, is holding an open bar from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. for those who contribute $20 to the Red Cross. And Tap & Barrel in Smithtown on Nov. 25 holds a $50 per person benefit to aid Oceanside-based Barrier Brewing, which was effectively wiped out by the storm.

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Funkwerks, Troegs, Pabst top breweries at Great American Beer Festival


Top honors at this year’s Great American Beer Festival went to Funkwerks, Troegs Brewing Co. and Pabst Brewing Co., each of which medaled in multiple categories.

Meanwhile, brewpubs receiving top honors were Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Church Brew Works and Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.

The winners were announced at the festival in Denver on Oct. 13.

The awards, among the most coveted in the brewing industry, have been compared to winning the Super Bowl or in the Olympics and winning a medal often translates into higher sales for the winners.

The GABF awards are judged by industry professionals from around the world ho work together in small groups and, without knowing the brand name, taste beers in each specified style category. Five different three-hour judging sessions take place over three days during the festival. Judges are assigned beers to evaluate in their specific area of expertise and never judge their own product or any product in which they have a concern.

The judges’ ultimately aim to identify three beers that best represent each GABF-defined beer-style category. These beers receive gold, silver or bronze medals that are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence

A pdf listing the 254 winners can be found at the web site of the Brewers Association, which puts on the GABF.

The Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year award went respectively to Devils Backbone Brewing Co., of Roseland, Va. and its brewery team. It was a gold medal winner in the German-Style Sour Ale category with its Berliner Metro Weiss. Devils Backbone won silver in the American-Style Dark Lager category with its Old Virginia Dark and silver in the Baltic-Style Porter category for its Danzig .The pub also took a bronze medal in the Irish-Style Dry Stout Category for its Ramsey’s Draft Stout and bronze in the foreign stout category with its Ramsey’s Export Stout.

Meanwhile, Church Brew Works of Pittsburgh, Pa, was honored as Large Brewpub and head brewer, Steve Sloan, was honored as Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. Church also won its first gold medal since 2005, this time in the old ale/strong ale category with its Henry’s Hootch. It also won silver for its Pius Monk Dunkel in the European-Style Dunkel category and a bronze for its Pipe Organ Pale Ale in the international pale ale category. Its Celestial Gold won a bronze medal in the Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest category.

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co, Madison, Wis., was singled out as Brewpub Group and head brewer Rob LoBreglio as brewpub group brewer of the year.  Its Uber Bock was a gold medal winner in the German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock category.

Funkworks, a three-year-old brewery in Fort Collins, Colo., was named small brewery of the year. Its brewing team received honors as the best brewer at a small brewery. It also won gold for its Deceit beer in the in Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale category and its Saison won gold in the French- and Belgian-Style Saison category.

The Mid-Size Brewing Company award and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year honor went to Troegs Brewing Co. of Hershey, Pa. and brewer John Trogner. Troeg’s Dreamweaver, won gold in the south German style hefeweizen category and its Hopback Amber Ale was a gold medalist in the Hopback Amber Ale category.

Pabst Brewing, once synonymous with  Milwaukee and now headquartered in Los Angles and which has no breweries, was named large brewing company of the year. Honors also went to head brewer Gregory Deuhs. It’s best known for its Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, which won gold in the American Light/Premium Lager category. Pabst also took silver in the American-Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager category with its Old Style. Pabst contract brews 30 brands, from defunct companies, at MillerCoors plants. Besides PBR, its brands include G. Heileman, Lone Star, Pearl, Piels, National, Olympia, Primo, Rainier, Schaefer, Schlitz and Stroh’s.  “Ironic that the winner of the “Large Brewery Company (of the year) award doesn’t have a brewery,” Tweeted Greg Koch, owner of Stone Brewing.

Only one metro New York area brewer medaled at the fest. Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. of Elmsford, won a gold in the American Style Sour Ale category with its Barrel Select. It took silver in the Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale category with its, FO/BB and a bronze in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer with its Golden Delicious.




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