I wasn't aware of Sprecher having pubs or restaurants and it appears that this is their first. But it struck me as odd. Is this a brewpub? Is it more like the Gray's Tied House where most of the beer will be trucked in? Will any brewing be done on-site? What does Sprecher have to do with this? Can they be a brewery and have a facility like this? What the heck is going on?
So, I sent an email to Sprecher and this is what I got back:
The Sprecher Pub is an independent business from the brewery. There will not be brewing at that location. They are planning an outdoor biergarten. They will be featuring Sprecher beers and sodas, although not exclusively. We will be providing them with specialty and limited edition beers in addition to our regular offerings. That’s about all I know at this time.Basically, a beer bar that has a lot of Sprecher on tap.
It will be interesting to see if this is a proper beer bar or if it is simply a typical bar with Sprecher instead of Leinenkugel's and Blue Moon. It's not a huge risk for Sprecher since all the brewery itself is risking is its trademarks (and therefore reputation). But, it's an interesting way of getting a tied house or brewpub without actually having a tied house or brewpub. It's an interesting side-step around the rules.
I'd be curious to see what the terms of the trademark license stipulate. Is it a flat-fee (or stepped flat-fee) arrangement or is it a royalty? Either way it acts like a quasi-ownership interest without actually having an ownership interest. Think about it. Under a license arrangement Sprecher gets paid for bar operations (possibly even pre-tax, so it's better than being an owner - and they get paid even if the brewery doesn't succeed). If the bar does poorly, the trademark, and hence the brewery, suffers. So, it acts like an ownership interest, it even looks like an ownership interest (the name's on the door) but isn't actually an ownership interest. And all the state (or Feds) require is that there be no actual ownership interest. Problem solved. Neat, huh?