An Open Letter to one Mr. Jim Caruso of Flying Dog Brewery, because actions speak louder.

Go to the profile of Kaleigh Leingang

Dear Mr. Jim Caruso of Flying Dog Brewery,

My name is Kaleigh Leingang. I am a 24-year-old journalism school dropout who found her way to the beer industry by accident.

I am small and insignificant in comparison to you, the CEO of a successful brewery. You may very well glance over this letter, roll your eyes, and stop right here. Whatever you decide, I have a duty as a woman who works for the beer industry to speak up when something is not right.

I am terribly afraid to inform you that you have grossly misunderstood the point of the Brewers Association’s updated Marketing and Advertising code if you are calling the new policy a “thinly veiled side door to censorship.”

From what I gather, you’re upset mostly with the following:

“Beer advertising and marketing materials should not: …..

i. contain sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public;

j. contain derogatory or demeaning text or images.”

It’s just a guess that this is the clause you are most concerned with, considering one of your most popular brands is a beer called “Raging Bitch.” I’m sure you’ve recognized that this is clearly a beer name that a reasonable adult consumer (FYI: women fall under this category too) may consider inappropriate. I know, I know, I’ve read all about you defending our first amendment rights (which is great, go ahead and put questionable content on a bottle of beer, just don’t whine when a significant population of consumers or fellow industry mates have opinions about it), that your female employees don’t care about the beer’s name, etc.


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Marijuana and the Beer Industry

There have been some reports in recent weeks which suggest that marijuana legalization is creating some drag on beer sales in states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon (and there have also been reports arguing the opposite). Although I don’t purport to know what the long-term effects of marijuana legalization will be, I can say that I see no evidence that legalization has had an effect on beer sales in the short term.

Let’s delve into the (scant) existing evidence and why I differ on this issue from some other analysts.

Dissecting the Data
First, I think there are data issues with some of the analyses. For example, a recent analysis by Cowen and Company used Nielsen data to note that in Denver, “total beer volumes in that market have fallen 6.4 percent year-to-date and craft beer volumes have dipped five percent.” Now, I think Nielsen data is great, and I don’t doubt that in the channels they measure those numbers have some validity, but the problem is that Denver is probably one of the markets where scan/POS misses the most volume given the incredibly strong craft on-premise scene.

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