Give your sales manager a break ..April was a tough month weather-wise after all.Plus, Miller cycling tough malternative numbers, Penn fighting new beer tax, A-B gives a million bucks to a good cause, and more.

The importer of Woodchuck Cider is said to be on the block. Also, we make a quick trip around the world to update you on Q1 results for int’l brewers.

That’s in Canada. Molson exec says get ready for more acquisitions.Also, rumors flying about big time M&A in Europe, and I know, Wal-Mart HQ is in Bentonville, not Fayetteville. We’ll call it Bentonville Beta.

Two bills die in committee, showing there is hope for state excise tax relief. Also, states issue March reports, and it’s not great.

We sat down recently with Boston brewer Rich Doyle, the outspoken Chairman and CEO of Harpoon Brewery. Rich is on the Board of the Brewers’ Association of American and a past Chairman, and BBD’s first craft brewer subscriber four years ago.   Rich spoke with me about the health of the segment, self-distribution, working with distributors, the effect of imports, and access to market.  

That’s the rumor du jour in beer circles around Tumwater these days, but it’s a stretch. It’s for sale for a reported $15 mil, according to the Olympian.However, consultant Mark H. Rodman gives us a few scenarios where that could work.Plus, an interesting flashback piece from 04/23/02 predicts that Miller could have focus problems if sold by Philip Morris to SAB. Readers respond.

Miller to reduce inventories, launch more raunchy ads, and push Pilsner Urquel.Plus, interviews with Miller’s Bob Mikulay and Doug Brodman, and legendary brewery Joe Coors dies.

There is a simple way to predict consumer behavior, and thus predict the level of fractionalization we will experience in the beer industry. It is happening, but it may not happen like you’d expect. Learn more in this month’s Distributor Productivity Letter.

Break out your shoe horns, because this March it’s getting tight in c-stores.Also, Mich Ultra and 03 update, Smirnoff Ice update, Miller RTD update, California legislative update, and NBWA’s David Rehr tears it up with Presidential hopeful John Edwards.

Interbrew’s profits in 2002 fall due to problems in Russia, a weak $, and the Beck’s dilemma in the US. But new CEO Brock says don’t worry, we’re getting our house in order.Also, Heineken will end its partnership with SAB to import Heineken into S. Africa, and Coors family finally buys CoorsTek.

TTB proposes new rulemaking that would force many malternative makers to alter their formulas so that 90% of the alcohol is derived from a malt base.Here’s what it could mean to distillers, brewers, and wholesalers.

Diageo, Mike’s, others disappointed but will use 90 day comment period to voice concern.Former Texas ABC director clarifies his position, and NBWA/Brewers to postpone joint leg. conference due to war.

The conduct of the lawyers was apparently so bad that the Florida Bar has cause to charge them with misconduct.Also, Femsa may combine soda and beer divisions in some areas.

NBWA/Brewers Joint Legislative Conference postponed, and beer ads stop.Will the war affect beer sales?

If you ever entertained thoughts that this wasn’t a blue chip company, this should wipe those clean. A-B will repurchase about 12% of its outstanding stock, which should provide a shot in the arm to its stock price over the next few years.Also, readers respond to yesterday’s issue, and Miller ads back on the tube for basketball.