March 2013

What if Beer Were Marketed Like iPads?

In this ad Carlsberg Group, the makers of Sommersby Cider, pokes fun at how Apple Corporation markets its products:

The Friday Mash (D10K Edition)

Fourteen years ago today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 10,000 for the first time ever. The milestone prompted a celebration on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, complete with party hats. Probably followed by beers after the market closed.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Chattanooga, whose Beer Board doubled a license suspension for selling to minors because the offending store displayed a sign calling Tennessee’s “card-everyone” law “silly.”

Stratford, Connecticut’s Two Roads Brewing Company has honored aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky with a beer called “Igor’s Dream”. Fittingly, it’s a Rye Russian Imperial Stout.

The Prince Edward Island Liquor Control Commission is looking for a partner for a new beer festival this fall. The commission also intends to ban rival beer festivals on the island.

Baseball writer (and beer snob) Dayn Perry treated his readers to a Cubs logo made of beer containers that “once housed regrettable North American swill.”

State lawmakers can’t figure out how the University of Minnesota lost $16,000 on beer sales last football season, even though it sold $900,000 worth of beer at $7.50 a serving.

Rock star wannabe Adam Dickinson called himself “Hellvis.” His “Hellvis” signature led police to the $30,000 in rare beer he stole from the Avery Brewing Company.

Finally, Canada produces 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup. Some of it has found its way into Canadian beer. The recommended food pairing? Pancakes.

How Long Can Craft Beer’s Run Last?

Time magazine’s Brad Tuttle wonders how much longer craft brewing’s run can last. His list of concerns starts with the new definition of “craft brewery”: six million barrels a year hardly fits the image of the indie underdog challenging Big Beer–which, for its part, has rolled out “crafty” beers like Third Shift and Blue Moon.

Then there’s sticker shock. A growing number of craft breweries are putting their high-end beers in 22-ounce bomber bottles. They justify the high price of the product by comparing it to wine, but Tuttle points out that a customer with a bit of math savvy can figure out that the per-ounce cost of bomber beer is twice that of beer sold in six-packs.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Market capitalization of China Resources, brewers of Snow Beer: 60 billion yuan ($9.6 billion).
  • Market capitalization of Tsingtao Brewing: 50 billion yuan ($8 billion).
  • Germany’s annual per capita beer consumption in 1976: 151 liters.
  • Its annual per capita beer consumption today: 106.6 liters.
  • Its present consumption compared to the U.S.: 33 percent higher.
  • Dollar value of U.S. craft beer exports last year: $49.1 million.
  • U.S. craft beer exports to Canada last year: 68,180 barrels (Canada is the number-one market).
  • U.S. craft beer exports to western Europe last year: 56,204 barrels (Sweden and the UK rank second and third).
  • Value-added tax on beer served in British pubs: 20 percent.
  • British pub closings per week: 18.
  • Attendance at this year’s Barcelona Beer Festival: 10,000 (twice the attendance at last year’s inaugural festival).
  • Number of beers poured at the festival: 300.
  • Beers from Catalonia poured at the festival: 55.
  • Green Flash Brewing Company’s investment in a second brewery in Virginia Beach: $20 million.
  • Projected annual capacity of the Virginia Beach facility: 100,000 barrels.
  • The Great Wall of Bottlecaps

    It took two months and 60,000 bottlecaps to build this work of wall art. See it get built in two minutes:

    The Friday Mash (Tom McCall Edition)

    Today would have been the 100th birthday of former Oregon governorTom McCall. He’s best known for environmental initiatives, including the nation’s first returnable bottle bill. The Oregon Brewers Fest takes place every July at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in York Haven, Pennsylvania, where Jeff Lebo has built a house for his collection of 83,000 vintage beer cans. His Brewhouse Mountain Eco-Inn offers overnight accommodations.

    Serving miners? Krogh’s Brew Pub of Sparta, New Jersey, is storing casks of Imperial Stout in an old iron and zinc mine. They’ll be tapped at next year’s celebration of Krogh’s 15th anniversary party as a brewpub.

    Iron Maiden, the heavy metal band, has teamed up with the Robinsons brewery to brew its own beer: Trooper, named after one of the band’s most popular songs.

    Victory Brewing Company and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are hosting “Amber Waves,” an exhibition of beer and the art promoting it at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference.

    After Thomas Knight of Key West got caught stealing from an airport bar at 5:40 am, security handed him a trespass warning. At least he isn’t on the no-fly list.

    Homebrewer Robert Scott has invented the Tapit Cap, which keeps growlers of beer fresh and carbonated. He’s trying to raise $80,000 on Kickstarter to bring his device to market.

    Finally, a toast to Mark and Mandie Murphy, who have opened a baseball-themed brewery in Ontario. The Left Field Brewery’s lineup includes the wonderfully-named 6-4-3 Double IPA.

    When Homebrewing is Outlawed…

    Meet Keith Blackwood, America’s least probable criminal. He’s a self-styled libertarian, a cigar aficionado, and “somewhat of a foodie.” He’s also an assistant prosecuting attorney in Mobile County, Alabama.

    Unfortunately, Blackwood is a admitted homebrewer who happens to live in what will soon be the last state to repeal homebrew prohibition. Even more unfortunately, Blackwood made the mistake of tweeting about it. Eventually, his homebrewing came to the attention of his boss, Ashley Rich. She told an reporter that Blackwood was “disciplined,” but wouldn’t specify what the punishment was.

    $115 For Sam Adams Utopias?

    Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont was taken aback when a Toronto Globe and Mail wine critic called the price of Samuel Adams Utopias ($115) “exorbitant,” “stratospheric,” and comparable to “Rolex watches and Prada purses.”

    Beaumont pointed out that the same critic described a bottle of Balvenie 17 Year Old Double Wood ($168) as merely “expensive,” and made no comment about the price ($189) of 15 year old Nikka Miyagikyo. He also did some number-crunching. A bottle of Utopias contains 12 servings–two ounces, given that it has twice the alcoholic content as the average wine. Thus a serving of Utopias costs about $10, “about what one might pay for a glass of ho-hum wine in a restaurant.” Beaumont contends that critics still have a double standard when they compare beer to other beverages.

    15% Craft Market Share and Other Fun Facts

    The Demeter Group, a California-based investment bank, has compiled a report (16 pages, pdf) on America’s brewing industry. Demeter projects that craft beer, a market segment with 10-percent compounded annual growth rate, will have a market share close to 15 percent by 2020. And to think, people scoffed at Kim Jordan’s prediction that craft would some day account for 10 percent of the market.

    Other interesting facts in the Demeter report:

  • Four of the ten fastest-growing brands are craft beers (Dale’s Pale Ale, Lagunitas IPA, New Belgium Ranger, and Sierra Nevada Torpedo).
  • Growth in the craft-beer segment is driven by “extremists,” beers with strong flavors or unusual ingredients.
  • Last year, Michigan had the nation’s highest total of brewery openings (17).
  • North Carolina and Texas, each with 11 brewery openings last year, had the largest percentage increase (23 percent).
  • Increasingly, beer is being marketed by style rather than by brand.
  • With a compounded annual growth rate of 11 percent, cider is growing even faster than craft beer.
  • Craft breweries are not attractive right now because big brewers have concentrated on penetrating emerging markets.
  • The Friday Mash (Consumer Rights Edition)

    On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that led to passage of the Consumer Bill of Rights. The president declared that consumers were entitled to a choice of safe products, information about what they buy, and the right to be heard. So if someone serves you a pint of ailing ale today, don’t be afraid to send it back.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin with a consumer-rights story from Seattle, where the 5 Point Cafe has become the city’s first business to slap a ban on Google Glass. It’s part of the bar’s privacy policy that forbids customers to film or photographing others.

    Meet Arnie, the smart beer vending machine. He lives at Arnold Worldwide’s offices in Austin, Texas, and dispenses beer that was home-brewed by company employees.

    In London, the brewers of Sol beer offer a new form of recycling. Feed the machine one of your unwanted ties, and it will issue you a coupon good for a free bottle of beer.

    A new season of Game of Thrones debuts on HBO on March 31, and Brewery Ommegang has brewed a special ale in collaboration with the cable network. Paul Schrodt of Esquire reviews the beer.

    It’s only eight years old, but Milwaukee’s Old German Beer Hall has gained national attention for its genuine Bavarian atmosphere. The beer, and the flour used to make pretzels, are imported from Munich.

    Does your company’s perks include a free beer on company time? Advanced Medical in Port Orange, Florida, rolls out the beer cart on Friday afternoons.

    Finally, Dr. Amanda Ellison of Durham University (UK) debunks “beer goggles”: People don’t look more attractive to you after a few too many; you’ve simply lowered your standards. Caveat emptor.

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