Zima is Making a Comeback

Zima, the butt of numerous jokes by beer aficionados, is coming back to the American market after a nine-plus-year absence. The clear malt beverage, launched by Coors Brewing in 1993, sold more than 1 million barrels its first year. However, the brand never caught on with its target audience—young males—and was discontinued in the U.S. in 2008.

MillerCoors decided to resurrect Zima after its line of Henry’s Hard Soda proved successful last year. Ironically, the biggest fans of Henry’s are the very generation to which Coors marketed Zima in the first place.

Zima’s top competitors include Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Not Your Father’s Root Beer, and Seagrams’ line of hard sodas.

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Don’t Smoke ‘Em, Even If You’ve Got ‘Em

Last summer, Draft magazine published its complete guide to “Festiquette”: 30 rules for making your beer festival experience, and everyone else’s, better. The rules include “Eat breakfast”, “Don’t pee on random surfaces”, “Don’t break up”, and—people have actually tried this—“Don’t lie and say you own Draft magazine to get into VIP”.

After a bad experience at this year’s Arizona Strong Beer Festival, Draft has added Rule 31: “Leave the cigars at home”. The magazine’s staff contends that smoking cigars is not only a tacky exercise in conspicuous consumption, but it also ruins the purpose of a festival—namely, tasting and enjoying beer—for others. As they put it, “We liken people who light up at beer festivals to people who microwave fish at work: Sure, you’re allowed to do it, but by doing it, you’re creating discomfort for the people around you.”

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The Friday Mash (Red Cross Edition)

On this day in 1863, a group of citizens of Geneva, Switzerland, founded an organization called the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded–now known as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in England, where festival organizers in two of the country’s most famous beer cities, Norwich and Sheffield, are joining forces to promote their local products and attract beer tourists.

The Norwegian supermarket chain Rema 1000 is feeling the backlash after it took several local breweries’ products off the shelves. Some Rema customers switched to competitors’ stores.

Are you a DIYer who loves craft beer? You might like the Kinkajou Bottle Cutting and Candle Making Kit. You can give the candles to friends—and show off your collection to them.

“Pepper”, a robot from Japan’s SoftBank, has his first job: greeter at the Pyramid Taproom in Oakland International Airport. When not posing for selfies, he’s working on his speech-recognition skills.

A faith ministry in Nebraska has started a fund-raising campaign to buy out four stores that sell millions of cans of beer in a tiny village next to the alcoholism-plagued Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Heroica, a brewery in Brazil, is flavoring its Kuromatsu Kamikaze IPA with branches of bonsai trees, brought over by a Japanese family more than a century ago. Some bonsai trees are worth $20,000.

Finally, Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, told a gathering of brewing professionals that it’s still possible for a microbrewery to grow to regional status, but very few will succeed in doing so.

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A Deer Festival, Not a Beer Festival

Ashley’s, a beer bar close to where Maryanne, Paul, and Ludwig live, puts on several festivals every year, including cask ale and Belgian beer festivals. This weekend, Ashley’s is hosting a deer festival. It’s called Venison Weekend. Menu items venison tacos, venison tenderloin sliders, and venison shepherd’s pie.

By the way, Ashley’s has a wide and rotating selection craft beers, with an emphasis on beer brewed in Michigan.

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Don’t Try This in Your Home State

Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb’s adventures in stunt drinking include bar crawling an airline terminal and downing the contents of a hotel mini-bar. His latest adventure was drinking at every brewery in the state—in one day. The only state where that’s possible is Rhode Island—it’s the smallest in area and has 16 breweries—so Goldfarb hopped a train to Providence, where his designated driver was waiting.

Here are the stats for Goldfarb’s day:

  • Beers sampled: 97.
  • BONUS! Whiskies sampled: 7.
  • BONUS! Rums sampled: 3.
  • Miles driven: 93.1.
  • Steps walked: 3,617.
  • Hours spent drinking: 14.
  • How did Goldfarb feel after finishing his odyssey? “I’m surprisingly not too drunk, not even too tired. I’m just really [expletive deleted] sick of beer. It feels like I will never get the taste of beer out of my mouth.”

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    The Friday Mash (Gold Record Edition)

    Seventy-five years ago, the first-ever gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. The song was originally featured in the film Sun Valley Serenade (1941).

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Cincinnati, where Urban Artifact is brewing a beer made with yeasts from the historic Union Terminal, which is now a museum complex. The brewery added sour cherries to add tart fruitiness to the beer, a 7% ABV bock.

    If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Brewery Ommegang has you covered. It will release three beers whose labels bear the sigils of the Houses of Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen.

    Alex P. Davis, who runs the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, doesn’t think beer lovers should stand in line to taste rare beers such as Pliny the Elder IPA because so many world-class beers are available without the wait.

    Despite being the capital of one of Mexico’s poorest states, Oaxaca City has become destination of hipster tourists—many of from other Mexican states. And it’s developed a lively craft beer culture.

    TheMotleyFool.com explains how Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are exploiting the three-tier system to keep craft products out of bars and stores. Rather than fight A-B, Craft Brew Alliance entered into in a production and distribution deal with the brewing giant.

    Rochester, New York, is the nation’s unofficial Tater Tots capital. Local journalist Will Cleveland has a few pointers on pairing beer with the tots—and yes, any beer from the Genesee family is a good choice.

    Finally, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has appointed Theresa McCulla as historian to oversee its American Brewing History Initiative. McCulla, who will receive a Ph.D in American Studies from Harvard, also holds a culinary arts diploma.

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    Win an Exclusive Tour of Founders’ Caves

    It’s Founders Brewing Company’s version of the Golden Ticket. The brewery is offering tasting tours of its underground barrel-aging caves to ten lucky people. The caves, located in former gypsum mines 85 feet below the surface, are where Kentucky Breakfast Stout and other strong beers are aged. They’re normally closed to the public.

    To win a tour, which also includes two nights’ lodging in Grand Rapids, a meet-and-greet dinner with the Founders team, and guaranteed entry to the brewery’s annual Black Party, one first has to join Founders’ “Cadre” enthusiast team. Then the entrant must describe his or her “dream” barrel-aged beer, including ingredients, a name, and label artwork. And did I mention that the package includes a chance to taste KBS?

    Entries are due February 24.

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    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Asia’s per capita beer consumption in 2016: 57 liters.
  • India’s per capita beer consumption in 2016: 4.7 liters.
  • India’s microbrewery count in 2016: 80.
  • Its microbrewery count in 2008: 2.
  • Boston Beer Company’s net revenue in 2016: $687 million (down 8 percent from 2015).
  • Boston Beer Company’s share price on January 27, 2017: $153.85.
  • Its share price two years ago: $320.83.
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company’s current annual production at its Chicago brewery: 405,000 barrels.
  • Its projected annual production after planned expansion: 1.2 million barrels.
  • Goose Island Beer Company’s annual production (estimated): 480,000 barrels.
  • Chicago breweries’ combined annual production (estimated): 1.115 million barrels.
  • MillerCoors’s sales in Wisconsin, 2012-16: 38.2 million barrels (biggest seller in Wisconsin).
  • Mark Anthony Brewing Company’s (Mike’s Hard Lemonade) sales in Wisconsin, 2012-16: 3.3 million barrels (second-biggest seller in Wisconsin).
  • Alcoholic strength of Founders Centennial IPA: 7.2 percent ABV.
  • Alcoholic strength of Founders All Day IPA: 4.7 percent ABV.
  • The Friday Mash (Income Tax Edition)

    On this day in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment, which authorized a federal income tax, was ratified by the states. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you’ll have an extra three days to file your federal return this year.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin on the Moon, where beer might be brewed someday. Wort and beer yeast will be placed aboard a lunar lander to find out whether the yeasts stay viable under lunar conditions.

    The latest must-have accessory is the Drink Tanks growler. It looks like a piece of industrial camping equipment, and can keep up to two gallons of beer fresh for 24 hours.

    Now that on-demand streaming has replaced records, classic rock bands—along with a few newcomers—are turning to branded beer as a way of monetizing their intellectual property.

    Boulevard Brewing Company has added American Kolsch to its core lineup, which also includes Unfiltered Wheat, Pale Ale, and KC Pils. It debuted this week at Kansas City-area establishments.

    Scientists are exploring sensation transference, the phenomenon that explains why listening to a pleasant soundtrack causes you to perceive the beer you’re drinking as sweeter.

    Richmond, Virginia-based Veil Brewing Company has released Hornswoggler with Oreos, a chocolate milk stout conditioned with hundreds of pounds of the famous cookies.

    Finally, Guinness really might be good for you. Researchers have linked iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, and Guinness is rich in iron. In addition, Guinness supposedly contains antioxidants and suppresses the accumulation of “bad” cholesterol.

    Guinness to Open Brewery in U.S.

    After a 63-year hiatus, Guinness beer will once again be brewed in the United States.

    Diageo PLC, which owns the Guinness brand, will expand the historic Calvert Distillery in Baltimore County, Maryland to include a mid-sized brewery as well as a visitors’ center and taproom. Diageo, which calls the facility an American version of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Dublin, hopes to capitalize on the popularity of beer tourism.

    The new brewery will focus on new Guinness beers created for the American market. The iconic Guinness Draught, Guinness Foreign Extra, and Guinness Extra Stouts will still be brewed in Dublin and exported to the United States.

    Diageo is hoping to open the brewery this fall to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Guinness exports to the U.S.

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