How not to enter the beer industry

Fumducker Beer

As of December, 2011, the Brewers Association reported there being 855 breweries-in-planning. Fast forward to now and that number is probably much closer to, if it hasn’t surpassed already, 1,000 breweries-in-planning. With such a large number you’re bound to have some new breweries making some missteps, even long before they start the first boil.

…And this is where we introduce a tiny startup in Florida called Fumducker Beer.

Copy on the company’s website reads, “Soon to be America’s Favorite Beer. FumDucker™ Beer is brewed to perfection offering a smooth and balanced taste with a generous alcohol content. One drink and you’re hooked. Warning: This is not your grandfather’s beer.”

Fumducker appears to be the brainchild of Ronald Cika, a Florida-based real estate broker. Here is Cika talking about why you should choose Coral Shores Realty for your needs…

Cika, or someone else at Fumducker, made a bit of a miscalculation though.

Fumducker sent this press release to PR.com which went up earlier in the week.

Fumducker Beer Company is looking for a national partner with manufacturing and distribution capabilities to enhance current beer sales.

Fumducker Beer Company recently introduced its newest beer brand and is seeking a national partner who has existing beer lines or who would like to expand their beer lines.

Partner must have manufacturing capability, a solid distribution network and retail outlets already in place.

Fumducker Beer Company has developed a strategic and targeted marketing plan which, with the right Partner, could increase market share to $100,000,000 annually.

BeerPulse is unable to verify any current beer sales or recent product introductions from Fumducker.

Furthermore, market share is always expressed in terms of percentage, not dollars. And what does $100 million in market share mean? Revenue? Only the largest craft breweries like New Belgium (and, yes, larger non-craft breweries) are making $100 million in revenue annually. These companies have been around for two decades. Or more.

Oh, and the press release was taken down.

It gets better…

A couple days after that press release went up, another one followed, again at PR.com.

Fumducker Beer Company has recently announced its strategic partnership plans with Pabst Brewing Company. Pabst Brewing Company was chosen as a potential strategic partner due to its extensive beer manufacturing capabilities and distribution network.

Pabst was recently acquired in 2010 by billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos and has turned over the company to his two entrepreneurial sons, Evan Metropoulous and Daren Metropoulos; who are co-CEO’s of the recently acquired company. Pabst Brewing Company is an iconic American company and both Evan and Daren have a vision of re-energizing Pabst and bringing it to the forefront again. A partnership of both Fumducker Beer Company with Pabst Brewing Company could result in unprecedented growth for both companies.

Fumducker Beer is brewed right here in America. We proudly support the Wounded Warriors Project and portion of all proceeds goes to benefit those that have served our Country. God Bless America and our Soldiers.

They took that one down, too.

It gets even better…

Shortly after that press release went up, a third one followed:

Fumducker Beer Company hereby retracts a press release issued on April 9, 2012 in which it stated that it had entered into a relationship with with Pabst Brewing Company. Fumducker Beer has no such relationship with Pabst Brewing Company and is not in discussions with Pabst Brewing Company regarding any such relationship or other commercial arrangement.

BeerPulse contacted Cika to find out why Fumducker retracted the press release regarding Pabst. Cika replied, “I retracted the press release at the request of their general counsel. At this time, Fumducker Beer does not have a business relationship with Pabst Brewing.”

BeerPulse also phoned Pabst General Counsel, Jim Vieceli, to see what the story was. Vieceli was only able to speak on the record in regards to the following:

1) Is Pabst currently in any sort of negotiations with Fumducker?

Vieceli: No

2) If not, had Pabst had any formal negotiations with Fumducker prior to the posting of the Pabst press release?

Vieceli: No

3) If not, was Pabst aware of Fumducker prior to the Pabst press release?

Vieceli: No [for all intents and purposes]

Wow.

The Brewers Association recently reported that it will be increasing spending on positive press for craft beer by 5x up to $100k annually (h/t Evan Benn). With so much positive press out there about craft beer, the number of people interested in opening breweries is only going to increase. Maybe tenfold.

And for every Jacob McKean out there, there may well be a Ronald Cika…

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23 thoughts on “How not to enter the beer industry

  1. Could it have been an elaborate penny stock scam to create a pump-and-dump stock sell off?

  2. The more I think about it, this seems like something the people at Funny or Die or Tosh.0 would do. Or we are actually in 1993.

  3. If you check out their website they have a picture of an “account” selling their highly respected FumDucker. Only problem is I am pretty sure it is in their basement. Classy!

  4. Coral Shores Realty is based in the Pompano Beach/Coral Springs area so I would assume this venture is based out of the same area. And living in South Florida and being very familiar with what is and is not distributed in the region I can tell you that I have never seen or heard of this brand before.

    Florida Beer Company are known for doing a lot of contract brewing so they very well could have gone to FBC with their beer but the distribution channels have not brought it down here from what I’ve seen. And being based in South Florida you would think the home market would be where you would want it distributed first.

  5. Well this whole thing just wreaks to high heaven. This could be a sign of things to come of people just trying to cash in on the craft craze without knowing anything about beer…BUT I can assure you that the Florida Beer Company is NOT brewing this beer or is in any way associated with FumDucker in any way, shape or form.

  6. They filed for their trademark January 30, 2012. It still sounds like a joke though.

  7. Pingback: How to Make a Fool Out of Your Beer Venture? | | Mike Loves BeerMike Loves Beer

  8. I would never open a brewery in this day and age, especially here in California. The market is WAY over-saturated.

  9. Not to mention the fact that this sudden major increase in craft sales is merely a fad. If you think beer sales will continue to increase at this rate and that craft will “take over,” you are insane. Like anything, beer sales will peak, diminish, then plateau. I feel too many breweries are investing too much in themselves and growing at a dangerous rate, not forecasting far enough ahead or factoring in over-saturation. I believe that many breweries will begin to shut down in 2015. With too much overhead and sparse “craft” revenue distribution, many brewers will not be able to sustain.

  10. If you have no ‘story’, you’re not into the craft, and it’s ALL about money this isn’t a craft brewing ‘misstep’, this is industrial character ‘assassination’ by one Fumducker. Made all the worse, IMHO (as a veteran), by flag-draping the PBR announcement and invoking the Wounded Warriors Project. That takes it from just Ij-It™ / bad taste territory to bordering on actionable (if there’s no agreement in place w/ WWP).

  11. Rick > care to share your ‘affiliation’? Or, absent that, a factual basis for your ‘saturation’ hyperbole and/or 2015 ‘shutdown’ projections? Sounds like you’re either just another Fumducker or factory beer affiliated. Which is it?

    Some ‘facts’ about the number of breweries. In 2010-11 we FINALLY got back to where we were pre-prohibition (1910-11) for total number of breweries: ~1800. Mind you, that’s 1800 breweries for 75 million US pop in 1910-11 in a period where: a) women didn’t go/weren’t allowed to drink b) ice was the refrigerant and c) retail beer didn’t exist. 100 years later we’re at 4X the population (>300M), women can/do go out to drink, refrigeration rulz and you can buy beer most anywhere most anytime (unless you’re in the dry-state DNA bible belt). So… just to get back to the same level of ‘saloon’ availability as 1910 we’d need > 7,000 breweries, leaving out export, women drinkers, refrigeration, and retail sales. Oh yeah, then there’s that 80% + combined Ab InBev / SAB Miller-Coors-Molson and ~15% import market share that is increasingly eroding under the combined ‘weight’ of the confluence of localvore and local and fresh (#craftbeer) movements.

    My prediction? Continued double-digit YOY growth for craft brewing, and continuing decline of factory beer volumes here in the US and more than 3000 breweries in operation in the US by year end 2015. Care to bet a case of beers of choice? Stay tuned, Fumducker.

  12. I am a regional sales manager and corporate chain account manager for a west-coast craft brewery and a veteran of the industry. Many craft brewers will thrive and continue to grow while many smaller guys will not be able to sustain due to revenue distribution. It is already happening on a fairly small level in certain areas of the region as revenue is progressively being directed toward certain larger craft brewers and extracted from smaller brewers. I am not new to the beer industry and have access to TONS of reliable statistics and data. I know what I am talking about. It is my job.

  13. I also manage 11 distributors and know exactly where other brewers (of all shapes and sizes) are and how they are trending.

  14. I love translating corporate PR speak: “Fumducker Beer Company is looking for a national partner with manufacturing and distribution capabilities to enhance current beer sales.”

    Translates to:

    “We have a stupid name only and no means to make, bottle, or sell our beer. We probably don’t even have a single recipe. Some wealthy real estate guy heard that “craft beer” is the next hot thing so he spent $50 on a site and is convinced that it is only a matter of time before things fall into place and he gets rich, rich roch!. Again, all we have is this stupid name. Please give us your money”

  15. No such beer in ratebeer, either. If I troubled my brain for a squeeze or two, I could come up with other “brands” that were clueless marketing ploys with vaguely obscene names to draw fratboy types into their brand. “Hey Beavis! FumDuck, henh! henh! henh!” Still, not all breweries started by some guy looking to burn off spare cash from his marketing business arte that bad. This is pretty much what a lot of people thought about Finch’s in Chicago, until they hired their brewmaster from Flossmoor station and the beer came out.

  16. Ahhhhhh…. Florida, i love Cigar City!
    And it can’t be any worse than Dunedin….. But what can?

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