Business Stories of the Week: July 7

by July 7, 2017
Is that craft beer really an indie? Craft brewers hope to distinguish themselves from bigger brewers by declaring their ownership on the bottle. ("Focus Photography of Footed Glass Half Full" photo courtesy of Pexels).

Is that craft beer really independent? Craft brewers hope to distinguish themselves from bigger brewers by declaring their ownership on the bottle. (“Footed Glass Half Full” photo via Pexels).

What’s in a name? Craft beer vs. industry giants

As craft beer has grown in popularity, industry titans like Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV have acquired smaller craft breweries, making it harder for craft beer lovers to know who is really brewing their beer. On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported more than 800 breweries — including Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium — will begin printing seals on their beers that identify them as “Certified Independent Craft.” To use the craft seal, breweries cannot be more than 25 percent owned or controlled by a brewer that’s not itself a craft brewer. Annual production also can’t exceed six million barrels.

18 states sue over loan forgiveness program

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia sued the U.S. Department of Education and its secretary, Betsy DeVos on Thursday, The New York Times reported. The lawsuit challenges DeVos’ decision to freeze Obama-era regulations for erasing federal student loan debt of borrowers who were cheated by colleges (mainly for-profit). The rules were set to take effect on July 1. DeVos has criticized the rules, citing a federal lawsuit filed in May by an association of for-profit colleges in California that is seeking to stop the regulations.

Hobby lobby agrees to fine over smuggled artifacts

Hobby Lobby agreed to pay a $3 million fine and forfeit thousands of clay tablets and Iraqi goods that were smuggled into the U.S. the Justice Department announced Wednesday. NPR reported the artifacts were shipped to the company from the United Arab Emirates and Israel with labels that improperly described them as “clay tiles.” The company has apologized and said Hobby Lobby did not “fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process.”

Microsoft cuts thousands of jobs

The BBC reported on Thursday Microsoft Corp. plans to cut thousands of jobs globally as focuses on cloud computing. While most of the cuts are expected to be outside the U.S., the sales force is expected to be hard hit. Microsoft employs about 121,000 globally, reported BBC.

Fed’s Powell argues for housing market overhaul

It’s been years since the housing market supposedly recovered from the Great Recession. But Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell says the U.S. housing finance system continues to put taxpayers at risk by relying on government-backed agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two agencies combined purchase the bulk of U.S. mortgages from mortgage originators. Powell said the window for political action on housing finance may be limited, CNBC reported Thursday.

EU and Japan shake on trade deal

On July 5th, the European Union and Japan announced they had agreed to a sweeping trade deal. The Economist reported the deal sends a message to Donald Trump, who has vowed to renegotiate or torch most of America’s long-time trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement. The deal slashes taxes on everything from cheese to cars, and scores a major political win ahead of the Brexit negotiations, reported The Economist.