Breweries

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.

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.”

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Forecast for 2017: Craft Beer Turf Wars

    The number of craft breweries continues to grow rapidly, while the growth of the craft sector is slowing. Which means something has to give.

    Jason Notte of Marketwatch.com predicts that 2017 will be the year of the turf war; there will be less mergers-and-acquisitions activity and more competition among breweries to claim shelf space.

    This could be the year that craft breweries lay off workers and make other cuts in an effort to trim costs. Industry leader Boston Beer Company has been hit hard by shrinking sales of Samuel Adams Boston Lager; the company’s shares have tumbled 50 percent from their 2015 high.

    We’re also likely to see more breweries bring in private-equity firms. Already this year, Victory Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing Company have formed such partnerships with such firms.

    And we’re likely to see smaller brewers focus on taproom traffic and food sales and avoid the battle to get their products on store shelves and on bar and restaurant menus.

    Notte believes that Oskar Blues is the brewery to watch because it has been the craft sector’s trend-setter for years. The brewery was the first to can its beers and the first to build a second facility in the eastern United States. Two years ago, it kicked off the private-equity trend when it sold a majority interest to Fireman Capital. It then used some of that money to acquire craft breweries in Michigan, Florida, and Texas; the latter two states are considered underserved beer markets. Oskar Blues also borrowed from the big national brewers’ playbook. It rolled out more mainstream beers, sponsored sporting events, and put an emphasis on brand recognition.

    Notte concludes, “Whether drinkers benefit from [this] turf war or become victims of it remains to be seen.”

    The Friday Mash (Georgia Bulldogs Edition)

    On this day in 1785, the University of Georgia opened its doors. UGA is the first state-chartered university in the United States, and is the birthplace of the American system of public higher education.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Massachusetts, where the state’s top liquor regulator is “ready to put everything on the table” in an effort to modernize the liquor code. That includes lifting Draconian limits on the number of licenses a community can issue.

    Craft beer—sort of—is on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Its brand name is Trouble, it’s apparently contract-brewed by Genesee Brewing, and it got panned by a panel of Washington Post staffers.

    Jake Tuck of Eater magazine explains “beer poptimism”: a growing appreciation of beers that are “unassailably popular, widely accessible, and highly quaffable”. Yes, that means macro brews.

    In Bishkek, the capital of Krygystan, two women have opened a craft brewery called Save the Ales. Much of the beer sold in that country consists of bland imports and watery local products.

    A startup called Colorado Craft Distributors aims to serve “small but special” breweries looking to get their beer into liquor stores, bars, and restaurants along the state’s Front Range.

    Brooklyn Brewery has made a beer using Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, the lager yeast isolated in 1883 by Emil Christian Hansen, a researcher at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen.

    Finally, actor Matt Damon, the co-founder of Water.org, has joined forces with the brewer of Stella Artois beer to bring clean water to people in developing countries. Every pint of Stella sold in Britain guarantees someone a month’s supply of water.

    Are Growlers Obsolete?

    Writing in Draft magazine, Zach Fowle told his readers that he was throwing out his considerable collection of growlers. The reason? They’re a terrible way to serve beer, and breweries are wising up to this.

    Many breweries have invested heavily in their packaging lines. The technology keeps oxygen levels low and keeps beer product as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Growlers, on the other hand, are what Fowle calls “a glorified pint glass”; the process of filling it introduces oxygen, which over time makes the beer’s quality deteoriate. Growlers are also a pain for breweries, whose employees spend inordinate amounts of time cleaning and filling growlers. Breweries also get unfair online criticism from customers who inflicted bad beer on themselves by bringing in dirty growlers.

    The growler’s replacement might be the Crowler. The Crowler machine is a modified soup canner that dispenses beer into 32-ounce cans. The technology was pioneered by Oskar Blues Brewery, which has sold nearly 1,000 of the devices. The Kroger Company is test-marketing Crowlers at one of its locations in Memphis.

    The Friday Mash (Inauguration Day Edition)

    Eighty years ago today, Franklin D. Roosevelt took the oath of office, beginning his second term as president. Roosevelt was first the president to be inaugurated on January 20 under the 20th Amendment. Previously, presidents were sworn in on March 4.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where scientists have found that brewers “tamed” beer yeasts by reusing them until they adapted to the brewery environment. In fact, brewery yeasts couldn’t survive if reintroduced into the wild.

    At age 87, former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke drank a beer while watching the Aussie cricket team take on Pakistan. In college, Hawke set a world record by drinking a yard of ale—that’s three pints—in 11 seconds.

    John Laffler, the co-founder of Off Color Brewing, has a confession to make. He’s a fan of Miller High Life, which he describes as light, crisp, technically perfect, and very consistent.

    Singer Ed Sheeran dropped 50 pounds in 12 months after giving up beer. Beer is back in Sheeran’s diet, but perhaps he’s switched to these low-calorie offerings.

    This year’s 10th annual Philadelphia Beer Week will be part of a year-round celebration called “Philly Loves Beer”. Organizers hope the new format gives local breweries greater exposure and draws more visitors.

    Refocusing on daytime business, Starbucks has dropped evening beer and wine sales. However, alcohol may eventually return to the chain’s high-end “Roastery” locations.

    Finally, bad craft beer is becoming more common. Reasons include lax brewing standards, under-trained brewers, and intense competition that tempts breweries to bring faulty beer to market rather than dump it.

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