Charlie Papazian, who writes about beer on Examiner.com, resurrected a 1982 article from Zymurgy magazine about early efforts to legalize brewpubs. It was written by Tom Burns, then at the Boulder Brewing Company. Burns moved to Michigan, where he fought to change that state’s restrictive laws. Unfortunately, Burns passed away before Michigan became the “The Great Beer State” with more than 150 microbreweries and brewpubs.
At the heart of Burns’ article is America’s three-tier distribution system. He conceded that legislators had reasons to ban “tied houses”—they didn’t want breweries to monopolize the retail market—but argued that the laws were so inflexible they made impossible for a small brewery to sell its beer at retail.
Burns, who was an attorney, urged the craft-brewing community to lobby state legislators. He argued for a narrow exception to the three-tier system—allowing breweries to sell their product, on premises, at retail–and offered some useful talking points. Brewpubs are local businesses, which hire local people. They counter the trend toward industry concentration. They help preserve traditional beer styles, and led to the creation of new ones. And they encourage the consumption of beer, a beverage of moderation.
The strategy worked. A generation later, brewpubs are legal in all 50 states.
On this day in 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to be admitted to the United States. The long list of famous residents of the “Constitution State” includes P.T. Barnum, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and Eli Whitney.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Belgium, where traditional brewers are foaming mad about “beer architects” who create recipes, then contract with other brewers to make the final product.
Mea culpa! The New England Brewing Company has apologized for putting Mahatma Gandhi on a beer label. Gandhi, “the father of India,” abstained from alcohol.
Soweto, South Africa, is synonymous with poverty. However, a microbrewery there is turning out “Soweto Gold”. Ndumiso Madlala, the owner, is targeting his country’s growing black middle class.
Heavy rains in the West resulted in a smaller-than-expected barley crop. But that won’t make your beer more expensive because today’s breweries anticipate shortages.
How did BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie become so successful? One reason: when they needed funds, they “lied through their teeth” to the bank. And yes, they got the loan.
Ttrademark battles rage on in craft brewing because “virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America” has been trademarked by someone.
Finally, Adam Hartung of Forbes magazine sorts out America’s beer market. He notes that Baby Boomers have forsaken Bud and Miller, and that Hispanics are a powerful but overlooked constituency.
A story by beer writer Andy Crouch in Boston magazine describes how Boston Beer Company CEO Jim Koch reacted to a beer bar that left his beers of the menu. That establishment, and some others, think his Sam Adams beers are passé.
Koch can be called a victim of his own success. Some drinkers in their 20s, who don’t remember a world before Sam Adams, are looking for beer “that is organic, local, small-batch, authentic, cool, and new.” They’re really love hoppy beers, which isn’t what Sam Adams is known for.
Once the undisputed king of the craft-beer industry, Koch finds himself in an unsteady market. After spending 30 years battling Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, he’s now portrayed as the bad guy by some craft brewers and beer drinkers.
Crouch points out that Koch entered the beer market when it was at its nadir, that he cleverly chose Revolutionary War figure Sam Adams as his symbol and identified his product with the city of Boston. And despite his critics, Koch grew his business to a 2 million-barrel-per-year operation, which has made him a billionaire.
Despite the criticism, Koch is philosophical. He told Crouch, “You know, to me, one of the fun things of being a craft brewer is that people are more colorful, and we don’t have to be corporate. I can be who I am. That’s Boston Beer.”
The Most Interesting Man in the World has competition. Michel de Carvalho, the son of a Brazilian father and and a British mother, is an MBA from Harvard, a three-time Olympic competitor, and a high-ranking investment banker at Citigroup.
So why is he being mentioned on this blog? Because he married Charlene Heineken, the only child of beer baron Freddy Heineken and 25-percent owner of Heineken International. Her shares make the couple worth an estimated $11 billion.
Earlier this year, the brewery contacted Patricia Sellers of Fortune magazine, and proposed that she interview the de Carvalhos. Even though Charlene has been publicity-shy, she saw Heineken’s 150th birthday as an opportunity to talk about her life and her family business.
One interesting story involves Anheuser-Busch. After Freddy Heineken died, August Busch III–the Busches and de Carvalhos were friendly rivals—suggested that the two companies help one other expand their distribution. A Heineken-Busch joint venture is one of the industry’s more intriguing historical “what-ifs.”
In September, Charlene rejected an unsolicited bid by SABMiller. Meanwhile, Michel is trying to grow Heineken in a rapidly-consolidating industry. Michel feels the heavy responsibility that goes with being part of a family business. He said to Sellers, “One of the things that drives me is the thought that one guy [Freddy] is constantly looking down and wondering whether we’re going to **** it up.”
With a growing number of young adults rejecting organized religion, some clergy members have found a way to woo them back. They’re serving faith with a beer chaser. One of the largest “brew-ligious” movements is “Pub Theology” which, in a few short years, has grown to more than 140 groups in 41 states.
Clerics have brought their message into pubs; and some, like Rabbi Eli Freedman and Episcopal priest Kirk Berlenbach, have even affiliated themselves with homebrew clubs.
Berlenbach points out that only about one-third that of all the references in the New Testament to alcohol are negative; and the negativity is aimed at drunkenness, not drinking itself. The New Testament doesn’t mention beer, but the Jewish Talmud frequently refers to it. In fact, around 400 A.D., a rabbi warned his congregation to avoid beer brewed by non-Jews because it could lead to intermarriage.
Freedman isn’t following the ancient rabbi’s advice. His homebrew club joined forces with Berlach’s to form Interfaith Brewing. Their collaboration beer, served at a Purim celebration, was given the wonderful name Ecclesiastes 3:1—To Everything There’s a Saison.
Today is Boxing Day in Great Britain, Canada, much of the Commonwealth, and several countries in continental Europe. The origins of the name are unclear, but one thing is for certain: most people living in those countries get the day off from work. Cheers, everyone!
And now….The Mash!
Fittingly we begin in Canada, where Gerald Comeau is challenging the constitutionality of laws limiting how much alcohol one may bring across provincial lines. Comeau’s legal team thinks he has a good chance of winning.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has approved home delivery of beer by food retailers. The maximum deliverable quantity is 192 ounces, and the beer must be paid for with a credit card while ordering.
Russia’s economic woes could be bad news for beer drinkers. In an effort to keep bread affordable at home, President Vladimir Putin has slapped a tax on exports of barley and other grains.
Jennifer Wiley, a University of Illinois scientist, has found that a person with a BAC near .08 reaches a creative peak because he or she is less able to over-think during a task. A new Danish beer aims to help drinkers reach that intellectual sweet spot.
Dos Equis is America’s fastest-growing beer brand, thanks to ads featuring “the most interesting man in the world.” On the other hand, #2 brand Modelo Especial does very little advertising in English.
Zane Lamprey, the host of National Geographic’s TV show “Chug”, has developed a “drinking jacket”. It has a “beer koozie” breast pocket, a zipper that doubles as a bottle opener, and slip-resistant drinking gloves. And it comes in four colors.
Finally, Modern Farmer magazine answers your burning questions about beer-drinking donkeys. Heading the list: can donkeys get drunk? Answer: Yes*, but because they weigh more than 200 pounds, they require more than the average human.
* Ludwig would like to state for the record that he drinks responsibly.
On this day in 1972, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans, and Harrison Schmitt, returned to Earth. The craft’s re-entry marked the end of America’s manned lunar program. Cernan currently holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in England, where the publishers of Original Gravity, a beer-centric magazine, have put Issue #1 online, free of charge. Enjoy!
The founders of Surly Brewing Company—Omar Ansari, a first-generation American; and Todd Haug, a death-metal guitarist—have done well, both for themselves and Minnesota’s beer drinkers.
Belgian scientists have found a way to keep beer from over-foaming. They applied a magnetic field to a malt infused with hops extract to disperse its anti-foaming agent into tinier particles.
Archaeologists have concluded that Iceland’s Vikings were more interested in drinking and feasting than in pillaging. Unfortunately for them, the Little Ice Age became the ultimate party-pooper.
A pair of brothers have invented something that makes it easier to enjoy a beer while taking a shower. Their Sip Caddy is a portable cup holder that can be attached to the wall.
Lance Curran, the co-founder of Chicago’s Arcade Brewery, loves comic books so much that he had comic strips drawn on the labels of its Festus Rotgut black wheat ale.
Finally, a woman attending a Philadelphia 76ers game wound up with a lapful of beer after an errant pass knocked the cup out of her hand. The way the Sixers are playing this season, she–and every other fan–needs some beer to deaden the pain.
On this day in 1917, Father Edward Flanagan, a Catholic priest in Omaha, opened a home for wayward boys. That home is now a National Historic Landmark; and Boys Town’s slogan, “He ain’t heavy, mister–he’s my brother,” has become part of our popular culture.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Austin, Texas, where Lance Armstrong quit after one lap during qualifying for the inaugural Beer Mile Championship. Armstrong said he’ll never again run a Beer Mile.
Dave Lieberman of OCWeekly.com got a sales pitch for the “Sonic Foamer,” which creates a 5-millimeter head on your pint of beer. He doesn’t seem the least bit impressed with the product.
Oktoberfest tops the list of Germany’s beer festivals, but it’s not the only one. EscapeHere.com runs down the country’s top ten, some of which are hundreds of years old.
A sealed bottle of Samuel Alsopp’s Arctic Ale sold for $503,300 on eBay. It’s considered the world’s rarest bottle of beer because the the original seller misspelled the name “Allsop’s”.
The Sriracha craze has spread to beer. This month, Rogue Ales will release a limited-edition Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout Beer. Suggested pairings include soup, pasta, pizza, and chow mein.
Last weekend, MillerCoors LLC teamed up with a start-up called Drizly, and offered free home delivery of Miller Lite to customers in four cities.
Finally, David Kluft of JDSupra Business Advisor reviews this year’s beer trademark disputes. Maybe these cases will inspire someone to host a Disputed Beer Festival next year.
On this day in 1925, “Grand Ole Opry” radio show aired for the first time on WSM, a Nashville radio station. The Opry’s home, Ryman Auditorium, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Kalamazoo, where Bell’s Brewery is selling glassware designed for Oberon. It’s called the American Wheat-Witbier Glass, and is made by Austrian glassware maker Spiegelau.
Mike Nichols is best remembered as a film director, but more than half a century ago, he and Elaine May created and voiced animated commercials for now-defunct Jax beer.
The Brewers Association has put together an infographic with statistics on the size of each state’s craft beer industry: number of breweries, production, and economic impact.
As it turned out, Pabst Blue Ribbon wasn’t sold to the Russians after all. The group that acquired it didn’t involve Oasis Beverages, itself the biggest independent brewer in Russia and Ukraine.
British lawmakers took the first step toward scrapping a centuries-old rule that requires “tenanted” pubs to buy their beer from the brewery that owns them.
An app called Next Glass has been called ”the Pandora for beer”. Using a mass spectrometer, the Next Glass lab staff use a mass spectrometer to analyze beers sent to the lab by Beer Census.
Finally, Jay Brooks’s blog linked a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon, ”The Galloping Gaucho,” in which Mickey enjoys a beer. Presumably he was outside the U.S., where Prohibition reigned. However, temperance groups couldn’t have been thrilled about a cartoon character drinking alcohol.
No Music Day was introduced by Bill Drummond to draw attention to the cheapening of music as an art form. Ironically, it coincides with Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph, which made all that music possible, on November 21, 1877.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Seattle, where a local television station claims the Seattle Seahawks are selling watered-down beer. The breweries deny that the beer has a lower-than-advertised alcohol content.
The East Side Christian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, raised quite a few eyebrows with Sunday Evening Beer and Hymns. Outreach pastor Evan Taylor said, “We like to rattle the cage a little bit.”
Within the MillerCoors LLC’s s State Street complex is a smaller, independent operation whose beer include a chocolate lager and one with pineapple-scentedd hops.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is making a batch of beer with 25 pounds of scrapple. Other ingredients include maple syrup, coffee, and applewood-smoked barley.
Add your liquidity joke here. Bradley Trapnell, a finance guy who’d worked for Fannie Mae, is opening a growler shop in his hometown of Highland Village, Texas. He’ll have 36 beers on tap.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but beer is harder to spill than coffee. According to scientists, it’s because beer contains foam, which acts as a shock absorber: the more foam, the less spillage.
Finally, San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing Company has released .394 Pale Ale. It honors Padres’ Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who collaborated with the brewery before he passed away last June.