Anheuser-Busch

The Friday Mash (Ponderosa Edition)

Fifty-five years ago today, the first episode of the television show Bonanza premiered on NBC. The show, which starred Lorne Greene and Michael Landon, ran for 14 seasons and 430 episodes, second only to Gunsmoke as the longest-running western of all time.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Crested Butte, Colorado, where residents are hopping mad over a clandestine deal to let Anheuser-Busch turn their ski town into a living Bud Light commercial.

John Holl asked some of his fellow beer writers, “if beer were invented today, what would it look like?” The answers may surprise you.

Heavy late-summer rains in Montana and Idaho have ruined much of the barley crop. A disappointing barley harvest could translate into higher beer prices next year.

Are you ready for some football? The folks at Thrillist are, and they’ve picked a local beer for each of the National Football League’s 32 teams.

Add chili pepper-infused beers to the list of craft brewing trends. USA Today’s Mike Snider reviews some popular chili beers, including one made with extra-potent ghost peppers.

Raise a glass to Jake Leinenkugel, who is retiring as the brewery’s CEO. According to a hometown journalist, Leinenkugel has earned a place in craft brewing history.

Finally, Marc Confessore of Staten Island showed us how not to pair food and beer. He got caught trying to sneak four cases of Heineken and 48 packages of bacon out of a grocery store.

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The Friday Mash (Macbeth Edition)

On this day in 1040, King Duncan I of Scotland was killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. Seventeen years later, King Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan. The Three Weird Sisters entered the picture 500 years later, courtesy of William Shakespeare.

“Double, double, time and trouble, fire burn”..and now The Mash!

We begin in Dodger Stadium, where Anheuser-Busch InBev will unveil a new beer aimed at Latino beer drinkers. Montejo, from A-B’s Mexican subsidiary, will be released throughout the Southwest.

Beer-fueled violence in college towns is nothing new. In 1884, a beer riot took place in Iowa City after local authorities put two men on trial for violating Iowa’s new prohibition law.

Pete Brown reports that underage drinking has fallen off sharply in Britain. His explanation: parents downing a few at home have made drinking less appealing to their children.

It’s Shark Week, a perfect time for a Narragansett, which has been called “the Forrest Gump of Beers” because of its association with celebrities, artists, sports teams, and politicians.

Blonde ales have acquired a “training-wheels beer” reputation, but Jay Brooks thinks they’re underappreciated. He calls them “light and refreshing” and perfect for a hot August day.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post ranked the beer selection at major-league ballparks. Seattle’s Safeco Field has the best selection, while Yankee Stadium has the worst.

Finally, brewpubs aren’t dead after all. An All About Beer story by Brandon Hernandez profiles restaurants that reinvented themselves as brewpubs and experienced an uptick in business afterward.

The Friday Mash (Sultan of Swat Edition)

A century ago today, George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major-league debut. Starting on the mound for the Boston Red Sox, he defeated Cleveland, 4-3. By 1919, Ruth was moved to the outfield so he—and his potent bat—could be in the lineup every day. And the rest, as they say, is history.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Lewes, Delaware, where Dogfish Head Artisan Ales has opened a beer-themed motel. The Dogfish Inn offers beer-infused soaps, logo glassware, and pickles for snacking.

Fans attending next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis can buy self-serve beer. New Draft-Serv machines will offer a choice not only of brands but also the number of ounces in a pour.

Moody Tongue Brewing, a brand-new micro in Chicago, offers a beer made with rare black truffles. A 22-ounce bottle of the 5-percent lager carries a hefty retail price of $120.

Fast Company magazine caught up with Jill Vaughn, head brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch’s Research Pilot Brewery. She’s experimented with offbeat ingredients ranging from pretzels to ghost peppers.

Entrepreneur Steve Young has developed beer’s answer to Keurig. His Synek draft system uses cartridges of concentrated beer which, when refrigerated, keep for 30 days.

Brewbound magazine caught up with Russian River Brewing Company’s owner Vinnie Cilurzo, who talked about Pliny the Elder, quality control, and possible future expansion of the brewery.

Finally, cue up the “final gravity” puns. Amateur rocketeers in Portland, Oregon, will launch a full keg of beer to an altitude of 20,000 feet. Their beer of choice? A pale ale from Portland’s Burnside Brewery.

The Friday Mash (Oxford Edition)

Today is the 800th anniversary of the granting of a royal charter to the University of Oxford. Alumni include 26 British Prime Ministers, including current PM David Cameron; many foreign heads of state, including President Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar; and 27 Nobel laureates.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo where, for $19, you can take part in a craft beer walking tour. Participants will meet brewery staff; learn about the city’s brewing history; and, of course, sample some beer.

Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors will post their beers’ ingredients online. This comes after a blogger called “the Food Babe” claimed that some beers contained high-fructose corn syrup and other additives.

Brian Dunn, the founder of Great Divide Brewing Company, sat down with Eater magazine and talked about his 20 years in Denver, what urban brewing is like, and the whereabouts of the Yeti.

Move over, bacon beer. The latest food-in-your-beer trend is peanut butter and jelly. Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery offers a PB&J beer called “No Crusts.”

Purists think beer has no place in a yogic lifestyle, but yoga classes are popping up in breweries. Post-practice beer makes made yoga more social, and persuades men to take it up.

When you travel abroad, what do you get when you ask for “one beer, please”? Not only will the brand and style depend on the country you’re in, but so will the size of your serving.

Finally, any in the beer community maintain that brewing is an art form. Don Tse, writing in All About Beer magazine, agrees. His article explores the close relationship between fine beer and fine art.

How Breweries Survived During Prohibition

When Prohibition ended in 1933, only a handful of breweries in the United States were still operating. Nick Green of MentalFloss.com explains how these breweries survived a 13-year period during which their main line of business was illegal.

To begin with, brewery owners knew well in advance that Prohibition was coming, and thus had time to think of alternatives. The most common was “near beer,” which the Volstead Act defined as having less than 0.5 percent alcohol. Brewers had experience with low-alcohol beer, thanks to a World War I emergency measure that outlawed beer with an alcohol content higher than 2.75 percent.

Breweries got into numerous other lines of business. Ice cream was one. Anheuser-Busch owned a fleet of refrigerated trucks, and put them to work carrying a different product. Adolph Coors mass-produced ceramic tubes and rods for the military, along with lines of dinnerware. Many of the big breweries sold malt extract “as a cooking product” which was in fact used for homebrewing, then prohibited by the Volstead Act. Other breweries converted their equipment to dye-making: the transition was easy, and a shortage of imports created a postwar “dye famine.”

The Friday Mash (Superstition Edition)

Today is Friday the 13th, a day dreaded by the superstitious. However, Ludwig and his staff at the Mash agree with baseball (and beer-drinking) legend Babe Ruth, who said, “I have only one superstition. I make sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Old Style beer will end its 63-year run at Wrigley Field at the end of this season. Next year, Anheuser-Busch will become the Cubs’ exclusive beer sponsor.

Shares of Boston Beer Company (ticker symbol: SAM) have appreciated by 1,000 percent in the past ten years, which means the company’s CEO, Jim Koch, is now a billionaire.

Since 1935, Wyoming’s beer tax has been two cents a gallon. State lawmakers are considering raising the tax to help fund substance-abuse programs. The nation’s median beer tax is 19 cents.

East Asian beer lovers can now buy Hello Kitty beer in six tropical fruit flavors. The brewer points out that the beer is aimed at adults who grew up with the cartoon cat, who turns 40 next year.

Good beer in Vegas? You bet! (Sorry, Ludwig couldn’t resist.) Renee LiButti of Blog.Vegas.com offers her list of the five best places in town to get a craft brew.

A feral pig in Australia had a fight with a cow after guzzling three six-packs of beer left out by campers. The pig was later found sleeping under a tree, presumably nursing a hangover.

Finally, three friends have invented the Case Coolie, a lightweight carrier that keeps a 30-pack of beer cold without ice. Just in time for football tailgating.

The Friday Mash (”States You Never Heard Of” Edition)

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.

Beer in the Legislatures

These items caught Ludwig’s attention:

In Indiana, the state’s convenience store association has gone to court to overturn a state law that prohibits them from selling cold beer. Liquor stores are the only sellers allowed to do so.

Beer is back on the agenda North Carolina. A bill that would allow grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers to sell and refill growlers passed the House by a wide margin.

Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly have passed a bill that would require Anheuser-Busch to divest itself of a minority interest in a Chicago-based distributor.

Lawsuit Alleges A-B Waters Down Its Beer

Anheuser-Busch has another problem to contend with: class-action lawsuits accusing the brewer of watering down its beers. The lawsuits, which demand millions of dollars in damages, allege that A-B added water to the beer before bottling it, thus reducing its alcohol content to less than what is advertised on the label.

Josh Boxer, the lead attorney in these lawsuits, says that the allegations are based on information from former employees at A-B’s 13 U.S. breweries, some of whom worked in high-level plant positions.

A-B has called the claims “groundless,” and said its beers fully comply with labeling laws.

About Those Black Crown Super Bowl Ads

By now, you’ve likely seen Budweiser Black Crown on the shelves at your local supermarket. You probably know the Black Crown story as well: it was the taste-test winner of the beers created for Budweiser Project 12. And you’re no doubt aware that Anheuser-Busch, Inc., has forked out millions for air time during the Super Bowl to promote this new brand.

Donald Russell, who blogs as Joe Sixpack, has an interesting explanation for A-B’s decision to promote the new brand during tomorrow’s big game. He quotes from an email he received from Grant Pace, the ad man who created the famous Bud Bowl series of Super Bowl commercials. Pace explains that the ads are intended to “drive conversation”:

Sarah Palin drove conversation, love her or hate her. When she stopped being interesting to both sides, she faded. Same with beer. They’re fine if you love the new products or hate them, but don’t be quiet about them. Don’t say that Budweiser isn’t doing stuff, isn’t innovating, isn’t sitting still.

Perhaps, But it remains to be seen whether craft beer drinkers actually like Black Crown, and like it enough to switch brands.

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