The Weekend Refuel Newsletter for 2/25/23

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It was a busy week for the outdoor cooking industry. Before I get into the latest news, I was on the BBQ Central Show this Tuesday talking with Greg Rempe about the industry. We had a great conversation about new griddles, Nexgrill’s new product line-up, and what Blackstone could be developing.

Griddles were the big topic this week. Weber had originally said they were going to release their griddle in the spring, only to release it on Tuesday. It’s a good looking product, with similar features to what’s on the market.

The day after Weber released their griddle, Traeger released their Flatrock griddle that we had been waiting for. It’s Traeger’s first non-pellet based product and it’s a more premium product than Weber’s. Among its features, it promises more discrete cooking zones, and the griddle top is recessed to lock in the heat and block wind.

Vertical pellet smokers are a thing this year, and Pit Boss just put their best foot forward with their new Pro Elite series. It has their new touchscreen controller, improved smoke, and a large 70 lb pellet hopper.

Oklahoma Joe’s launched the Marshal Centerbox Smoker, which has a fire basket for charcoal or wood centrally located under the grill grates. It has two smokestacks to give even smoke and heat through the smoker. It’s a cool design as an alternative to an offset smoker.

Middleby released earnings this week, and in their earnings presentation they showed the new Kamado Joe Konnected Joe kamado style smoker (that’s a mouthful). Like Masterbuilt’s Gravity Series, the controller can be set to a cooking temperature, and it can be controlled from a phone. It also has an auto-ignition system for easy starting.

Onto a rumored product, Weber had a trademark filing for a grill called Searwood. We don’t know much about it, but the name and some other factors would lead us to believe it’s a new pellet grill that they’re developing.

Weber is also now a private company again. The deal closed on Tuesday, and they we de-listed from the exchange. Their last quarterly filing has their sales down 42% for the quarter. They also have a few lawsuits out there regarding their process of going back private.

In addition to Middleby releasing earnings this week, The Home Depot did too. The takeaway from Middleby’s call is there’s still destocking going on, with Middleby estimating normalization in the back half of the year. At Home Depot, they’re starting to see more price sensitivity on grills than they were before.

Finally, there’s more turmoil at Vista Outdoor. They recently got an interim CEO (who will earn $1.7 million), lost their CFO, and now their General Counsel is the latest executive to lose his spot.


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