Beer…By the Numbers

  • Top ten breweries’ share of the world beer market in 2004: 48 percent.
  • Top ten breweries’ share of the market in 2013: 65 percent.
  • Barrels of Castle, SABMiller’s biggest-selling beer, sold in 2013: 17.68 million.
  • Barrels of Carling Black Label, SABMiller’s second biggest-selling beer, sold in 2013: 17.59 million.
  • Average cost of a beer at a National Football League stadium: $7.53.
  • Increase over last year’s average cost: 23 cents.
  • Survival rate for microbreweries that opened in 1980 or later: 76 percent.
  • Survival rate for brewpubs that opened in 1980 or later: 51.5 percent.
  • Share of the sale price of a craft beer that goes to the retailer: 31 percent.
  • Share that goes to the distributor: 21 percent:
  • Share that goes to industry workers: 1 percent.
  • Beer’s share of alcoholic beverage consumption in 2001: 59.6 percent.
  • Beer’s projected share of alcoholic beverage consumption in 2015: 50.1 percent.
  • Size of a “crowler,” a metal beer container pioneered by Oskar Blues Brewery: 32 ounces.
  • Cost of a “crowler starter package”: $3,000 (machine, cans, and lids).
  • Get Your Beer on Route 66

    Paste magazine has posted what it calls “the first installment in a series of beer-soaked road trips.” It runs the length of legendary Route 66, which extends from California to Illinois and crosses eight states.

    James Stafford, your designated driver, for this trip, has arranged for a stop in each state to sample the local beer. The first stop is the Bonaventure Brewing Company in downtown Los Angeles. Stafford has to cheat a bit in Kansas, because Route 66 runs through a tiny corner of the state, but the detour is worth it: Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence. The journey, 2,500-miles long, ends in Chicago at the Revolution Brewery Company.

    GABF 2014: The Winners’ Circle

    The winners of this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition were announced this afternoon. A total of 268 beers from 234 breweries were awarded medals, out of a record field of 5,507 beers entered. Fifty-two breweries taking part in the competition for the first time are coming home with medals.

    The most popular category was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 279 entries, followed by Herb and Spice Beer (150) and American-Style Pale Ale (145).

    A full list of this year’s winners, in pdf format, is available here.

    The Friday Mash (Buffalo Wings Edition)

    Fifty years ago today, the first batch of chicken wings was served at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. There are several versions of how this now-ubiquitous dish came into existence, but there’s little doubt that its creator was Teressa Bellissimo, who deep-fried the wings and then coated them with hot sauce for her hungry guests.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Vermont, where Nancy Warner’s Potlicker Kitchen sells jellies made with local craft beers. She recommends pairing them with cheese or charcuterie, or using them to glaze grilled meat.

    Central Michigan University is the latest school to offer a certificate program in brewing studies. The program includes science courses plus a 200-hour internship at a local brewery.

    It appears that Washington’s NFL team is serving bad beer along with bad football. Fans have tweeted pictures of bottles of months-old beer that were served to them at FedEx Field.

    Drinking beer might improve your brainpower. Experiments with mice suggest that Xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in beer, improves cognitive function. And it’s available without a prescription.

    The 2006 film Beerfest popularized the Bierstiefel or boot-shaped drinking vessel. According to Thrillist.com, the custom of drinking beer out of footwear might be thousands of years old.

    Emily Price of Esquire magazine offers ten things to do with beer besides drink it. But why would you?

    Finally, a group of journalists are playing a brewery version of fantasy football. They held a “draft” of breweries competing in this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival, and will earn points based on the medals their selected breweries earn.

    GABF Myths: Debunked

    The Great American Beer Festival opens tomorrow, and the folks at Paste magazine have addressed the top ten myths about the event. For those who’ve been to GABF, some of the myths are obvious: volunteers don’t know about the beer they’re pouring; Saturday night’s session is a drunken frat party; and if you don’t have a ticket, there’s nothing for a beer drinker to do in Denver.

    Paste also tries to set the record straight about gold medals: “A gold medal means that a particular entry perfectly meets the standard for that style–period. In the 2013 competition, Anheuser-Busch InBev won a gold medal in the American-Style Lager or Light Lager category for Budweiser Select, a technically well-done brew, but not exactly something a craft-beer aficionado would seek out.”

    But one myth is true: the Silent Disco is hilarious to watch.

    Ludwig Roars Turns Five!

    It’s hard to believe, but this blog is celebrating its fifth anniversary today. Ludwig, Maryanne, and Paul would like to thank you for visiting us by pouring you a virtual beer. Cheers, everyone!

    The Underground Beer Road

    Downtown Bruges, in Belgium, is famous for its medieval architecture, and in fact has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the home of a 450-year-old, family-owned brewery called De Halve Maan.

    The brewery wants to stay downtown, but the neighbors are concerned about the damage its beer trucks are doing to the cobblestone streets and other architecture.

    Fortunately, there’s a solution: the brewery plans to build a two-mile underground pipeline that will connect it to an industrial park where the beer will be bottled and shipped to drinkers worldwide. Construction is set to begin next year.

    The Friday Mash (Sailing in Style Edition)

    Eighty years ago today, the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary was launched. She was retired in 1967, after taking well-heeled passengers across the North Atlantic, and is now a hotel and a tourist attraction in Long Beach, California.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Bavaria, where the Munich 1860 football team is selling Oktoberfest-themed uniforms complete with lederhosen and Bavarian blue-and-white gingham shirts.

    C. Dean Metropolous sold Pabst Blue Ribbon and other “nostalgia” brands to Oasis Beverages, a Russian-based brewer and distributor. Metropolous reportedly got $700 million for the brands.

    Crikey! After being attacked by a crocodile, a hunter in Australia’s Northern Territory drank beer to deaden the pain while he waited for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

    Growlerwerks LLC is developing uKeg, a pressurized growler that should eliminate flat beer from growlers. The pressure comes from carbon dioxide cartridges, which cost about $1 apiece.

    Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu, who’s facing a tough fight for reelection, helped a fan do a keg stand while tailgating at last weekend’s Mississippi State-LSU football game.

    All About Beer magazine has a new owner. Daniel Bradford has sold the 35-year-old publication to a newly-formed corporation, All About Beer LLC, headed by Christopher Rice.

    Finally, New Holland Brewing Company is celebrating Carhartt, Inc.’s 125th anniversary with a new beer called Woodsman and a “The Road Home to Craftsmanship” tour which will wind up at the Great American Beer Festival.

    Making a Statement

    At this year’s Craft Brewers Conference, Brewers Association head Paul Gatza warned attendees that the quality of craft beer, especially from newcomers to the industry, was becoming a concern.

    John Stewart, the brewer at Grand Rapids-based Perrin Brewing Company, took Gatza’s message to heart. Perrin has released the “Killing Craft” series, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “craft” versus “crafty” controversy in the industry. And each series beer will spell out Perrin’s mission–namely, “to support and defend craft beer from all threats, foreign and domestic, macro and nano.”

    Meanwhile, in Macrobrew Land…

    This blog has run a host of stories about the success of craft beer and the people who brew it. However, as Benjamin Dangl of CommonDreams.com explains, there are disturbing developments in the “macrobrew” sector and involving Anheuser-Busch InBev in particular.

    A-B InBev owns almost half of the US beer market, and the top four companies have a 78-percent market share—in spite of there being more breweries in the United States than at any time in history. The result of consolidation is less competition and higher prices. And, in the case of A-B InBev, poorer-quality beer. Dangl notes that the company abandoned Budweiser’s traditional and much-advertised “beechwood aging” to save money—and that discerning drinkers have noticed the decline in quality.

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