Pelican Brands Acquires Napa Smith Brewery

This little story went under the radar in the lead up to Christmas. Napa Smith Brewery has been acquired by Pelican Brands in a move that signals an impending expansion on a large scale. Pelican Brand’s portfolio already includes Singha Beer and a number of other distillers and wineries. Here’s a few details from the PRNewswire release:


NAPA, Calif., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — An investment group led by industry veteran J. Smoke Wallin is pleased to announce it has finalized the purchase of Napa Smith Brewery & Winery bringing it into the family of companies which includes Pelican Brands. Napa Smith Beer has developed a growing following in the Craft Beer category, is currently in 17 states, and will be available nationally by the summer of 2011. Earlier this year, Napa Smith appointed Pelican Brands as its exclusive sales representatives in the United States.

J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman & CEO of Pelican Brands and Napa Smith Holdings, said, “The craft beer business is the fastest growing category of beverage alcohol in America. Napa Smith has all the right attributes to become one of the few truly global brands of craft beer – amazing beer from one of the most respected names in the craft brewing industry, distinctive packaging,Napa terroir. These attributes combined with our Pelican Brands global distribution capability, experienced management team and our access to capital give us all the necessary elements to achieve great success.”

Don Barkley, Master Brewer said, “I’m doing what I love to do – brewing great beer. Smoke and the whole Pelican team are my kind of people. They appreciate the importance of brewing beer right. At the same time, they bring scale and resources that will help Napa Smith reach many more thirsty consumers, which is something I’m passionate about!”

Whether or not a “Napa Terroir” exists in their beer is questionable and a conflict arises between aspirations for a “global brand” and what’s considered craft beer by definition. Regardless, Napa Smith beer will be filling a lot more shelves across the country in the coming years.

Pliny the Younger Arrives February 4, 2011

Russian River Brewing Company has announced the release date for Pliny the Younger, February 4, 2011. Word of the release was disclosed on the company blog today along with some new rules that will help keep the beer flowing:

“We are releasing Younger at our pub in Santa Rosa on February 4th. When the pub receives its allocation, those kegs will be allocated to last for exactly 2 weeks. Therefore, we may run out at the pub each day, but will have more the following day for 2 weeks. It will be available in 10 oz. glasses only- no growlers or bottles to go. This will allow more beer enthusiasts like you, as well as our regular customers, to enjoy some Younger this year! And we won’t see it on Ebay!

Following are the markets to which we will send Younger (same as last year):

San Francisco
East Bay
North Bay
Southern California
Seattle, WA
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA”

Some people will certainly be disappointed with the rules, but ensuring better access to this rare and sought after beer will certainly make more customers happy.

Update 2/5/2011: Bay Area Craft Beer chronicled the inaugural day via social media feeds. Check out the festivities here.