On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.
Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.
In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.
In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.
Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.
Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.
Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.
Three years ago, Chrysler Corporation scored a big hit with its “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl ad. However, Chrysler’s ad in this year’s game provoked an unexpected backlash from viewers.
Many in the audience were aghast that music legend Bob Dylan agreed to be a spokesman for a car company. But America’s craft brewers were offended by what Dylan said. He told the audience to “let Germany brew your beer” because “we will build your car.” That led Fred Bueltmann, a well-known figure in Michigan’s brewing community, to fire off a strongly-worded letter to Chrysler demanding that the automaker apologize to craft brewers for “dismissing their trade in front of millions of viewers.”
For decades, big brewers have been big advertisers at the Super Bowl, and this year’s game is no exception. However, their products are steadily losing market share, especially among drinkers younger than 30.
Quentin Fottrell, a correspondent for MarketWatch.com, identifies several reasons for Big Beer’s declining popularity. One, of course, is growing popularity of craft beer. If this segment didn’t exist, beer sales would be on a downward course. (And if craft beer didn’t exist, neither would this site, but I digress.) Another factor is competition from the hard liquor industry, which ended its self-imposed ban on television advertising in 1996; and from wine, which has acquired a “halo effect” as a beverage associated with healthier living. Calorie-conscious drinkers have also hurt sales. Non-alcoholic drinks, bottled water in particular, have taken market share away from beer.
Two hundred and ten years ago today, the Louisiana Purchase was finalized at a ceremony in New Orleans. The U.S. paid France 50 million francs for what became all or part of 15 present-day states. The cost of all that land? Less than a Jefferson nickel per acre.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Belgium, where the Abbey of Notre Dame d’Orval can’t meet demand for Orval ale. The reason? The number of monks has fallen from 35 in the 1980s to 12 today.
Fancy a pint? The next beer you order might might be served in a tulip, a chalice, a snifter, or stemware instead of a “shaker pint”, especially if you’re having a high-gravity ale.
Oops! Lehigh University’s Chi Phi fraternity was suspended after members posted a photo of hundreds of cups of beer inside what’s supposed to be a dry frat house.
What happens when you give four Aussie guys beer and a video camera? You get beer-fueled one-upmanship that results in productive content creation for Carlton Dry.
Do you know what “foeder” is? Lauren Salazar of New Belgium Brewing Company explains how these large oak barrels need to be babied before they hold what will become Belgian-style sour beer.
Want a 22-ouncer of your favorite craft beer? In some Sacramento neighborhoods, you can’t get one because single-bottle sales are banned, regardless of the quality of the beer.
Finally, fans attending Miami Dolphins games at Sun Life Stadium can download an app which warns them when beer sales are about to end, and even directs them to a stand with shorter lines.
On this day in 1784, delegates from eight counties in what was then western North Carolina voted to secede from the state and form the independent Republic of Franklin. The tiny republic, which was denied statehood by Congress, lasted only four years.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in St. Martin, Austria, where the Hofstetten brewery has resurrected a beer brewed in the town’s castle in 1720. The beer contains emmer as well as barley and wheat.
Big brewers are having second thoughts about Russia, whose beer market has gone flat thanks to high taxes, a ban on late-night and kiosk sales, and other restrictions.
If you couldn’t get a ticket to this year’s Great American Beer Festival–it sold out in just 20 minutes–the Denver Post has a calendar of other beer events in town around festival time.
Here’s a way to get your brand noticed. A brewery in Dayton, Ohio, calls itself the Toxic Brewing Company, and its logo is a skull and crossbones. Local bars are clamoring for the brew.
Good news for athletes: when electrolytes are added, beer can hydrate you faster. The bad news: the hydration comes at the expense of alcohol content.
The “beer wars” are on again. Anheuser-Busch has filed a complaint with the Council of Better Business Bureaus over Coors’s claim that it has “the world’s most refreshing can.”
Finally, TheBleacherReport.com reviews new products that allow football fans to sneak alcohol into the stadium. They include iPhone look-alikes, booze-filled “binoculars,” and fake beer bellies.
Last year, a New York City advertising agency called Droga5 won the Newcastle Brown Ale account. The result was what some call one of the best campaigns in beer advertising history. “Copyranter,” who blogs at BuzzFeed.com, explains:
The “No Bollocks” tagline is perfect: It gives you a taste of the beer’s blue collar British heritage without cramming it down your throat, and it serves as a challenger brand positioning against pretty much every other beer in the world. It’s especially brilliant when placed side-by-side with the bad, base beer advertising of America’s big spenders Budweiser, Coors, and Miller.
The story also provides a link to more than a dozen Newcastle Brown advertising spots. Perhaps you’ll agree that these are advertising genius.
Seventy-six years ago today, Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which effectively made marijuana illegal. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and in all but two states. Those of a certain age may remember a psychedelic-art poster that read, “Keep off the Grass, Drink Schlitz.”
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Indianapolis, where an ad calling marijuana “the new beer”, scheduled to run during a NASCAR Brickyard 400, was pulled after anti-drug forces complained.
F.X. Matt Brewing is celebrating its 125th anniversary by giving customers a free beer. The brewery is adding a can of its new Legacy IPA to variety 12-packs of its Saranac beers.
Houston, we have a tourist attraction: a house made of beer cans. Construction began in the 1970s, when owner John Milkovisch used old beer cans as makeshift aluminum siding.
Lovell, Maine, an hour’s drive west of Portland, has landed on the craft beer map thanks to Ebenezer’s, which has been named America’s best beer bar.
Move over, Goose Island. Lagunitas Brewing Company will soon become Chicago’s biggest brewery. Its new facility in the Douglas Park neighborhood will have a capacity of 250,000 barrels a year.
Levi’s Field, the future home of the San Francisco 49ers, is developing an app to address fans’ biggest complaints: lines at beer stands and the inevitable next problem, lines at restrooms.
Finally, New Jersey’s beer hasn’t earned many accolades, but Aaron Goldfarb of Esquire magazine says the local brew is improving. He recommends Carton Brewing Company and Kane Brewing Company.
On this day in 1856, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was born. Shaw was also a journalist, a co-founder of the London School of Economics, and the only person awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature and an Academy Award, the latter for the film version of his play Pygmalion.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Oxford, Mississippi, which may finally legalize the sale of cold beer. That could end a time-honored tradition: road trips to neighboring counties for a cold six-pack.
Speaking of cold beer, concession stands at Dodger Stadium are selling beer topped with ice-cold foam, which keeps the drink cold for half an hour.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is crying in his beer after his request for a Paulaner biergarten was turned down by the brewery.
The Monte Carlo, a casino on the Las Vegas Strip, sells $95 bottles of beer. The beer is La Trappe Isid’or, a pale ale created by Dutch monks in 2009 to celebrate their abbey’s 125th anniversary.
This year’s trend is session IPAs. Founders Brewing Company, best known for high-gravity stouts, announced that All Day IPA (4.5% ABV) has become its biggest seller.
Consumer alert: Big banks are jacking up the price of your six-pack by manipulating aluminum prices. How they do it is bizarre, and apparently legal.
Finally, Tim Marchman of Deadspin.com marks the passing of actor Dennis Farina by recalling a funny Old Style commercial in which Farina went to his local bar to drive off out-of-towners.
Twenty-two years ago today, Mount Pinatubo experienced the first of a series of eruptions. Those eruptions expelled so much particulate matter that temperatures fell by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit world-wide, reducing the demand for beer.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Spain, where a beer commercial has locals up in arms for an unusual reason: the actors committed the culinary offense of adding onions to paella.
Will the summer of 2013 be the summer of shandy? The beer and lemonade mix, first created for German bicyclists in 1922, has gained a following in North America.
First, Buffalo Wild Wings, now World of Beer. The fast-growing chain of beer bars is brewing its own-label beer. It’s a Belgian ale called C’est La Vie!
Jay Brooks posted an unusual infographic about the brewing process in his Brookston Beer Bulletin. It cites the various names given to beer in the process from grain to glass.
Now that craft brewers have revived oyster stout, what’s the next step? Lobster beer, of course. Redhook Brewing Company’s Black Lobstah Lager is made with New Hampshire lobsters.
Blair Robertson of the Sacramento Bee reports on his road trip to Chico, where he toured Sierra Nevada’s brewery and got to talk beer with famed brewmaster Steve Dresler.
Finally, former Philip Morris CEO Bill Howell passed away at the age of 85. Howell was the man who convinced millions of American men to drink a new beer called Miller Lite.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that craft brewing is a business, and that building a brand is just as important to your local micro as it is to the makers of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.
Case in point: Crux Fermentation Project, a micro in Bend, Oregon. Larry Sidor, co-owner at this one-year-old operation, is considered one of the best brewers in the business. Paul Evers, one of Sidor’s partners, has a background in marketing and has created branding campaigns for several craft breweries. Evers contends that the idea that good beer speaks for itself is only half right. He says, “How is a beer supposed to speak for itself when it’s in a bottle on a shelf? You know you can do amazing things, but unless you’re building that bridge or connection to the consumer, they’re not going to find out about it.”
Evers goes on to say, “And it’s not just advertising. It’s not just packaging. It’s everything that that company does. It’s their employment policies, the trade policies that they adopt, what does the president say in a press release.”