Anheuser-Busch

The Friday Mash (End of Apartheid Edition)

Twenty-five years ago today, South Africans voted overwhelmingly to end the practice of racial segregation called apartheid. The vote followed President F.W. de Klerk’s lifting of the ban on opposition parties and his release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years’ imprisonment.

And now….The Mash!

We begin near Dublin, where, if you have $29.5 million, you can be the new owner of the Guinness Beer Castle. The castle, aka Luggala, has 27 bedrooms and 18 full baths and sits on 5,000 acres of green rolling hills.

Two California drinkers have sued the maker of Kona Brewing Company’s beers. They allege that Kona falsely represented that the beers are brewed in Hawaii, when in fact they’re brewed on the mainland.

If you’re a golfer, this product is for you. “Big Beertha” looks like a driver, but functions as “the original golf beer bong”. It holds 12 ounces of liquid whose consumption can be viewed by onlookers through its clear acrylic shaft.

The Kansas City Royals have named Boulevard Brewing Company the first-ever craft beer partner of a major-league baseball team. Boulevard has been sold at Royals’ games for more than 20 years.

Last weekend at SXSW, Anheuser-Busch announced its “Bud on Mars” project. Challenges on the Red Planet include low gravity, lack of water, not enough sunlight to grow hops, and humans’ diminished sense of taste.

Shares in Japan’s big breweries could get a boost if the government follows through on revising the beer excise tax, which is based malt content. The result has been a flood of beers heavy with adjuncts like peas and soybeans.

Finally, Belgian scientists recently discovered the Trappist-1 system of possibly-habitable Earth-size planets some 40 light-years from Earth. They named the planets after monastic Trappist beers such as Rochefort, Orval, and Westvleteren.

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Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. brewery count at the end of 2016: 5,005.
  • Percent of U.S. breweries that produce less than 7,500 barrels per year: 92.
  • Percent of that produce less than 1,000 barrels per year: 75.
  • New York State’s brewery count: 326 (4th in the nation).
  • Its brewery count in 2003: 38.
  • Annual visitor count at American craft breweries: 10 million.
  • On-premises sales’ share of American craft beer production: 7 percent.
  • Number of session IPAs sold in American supermarkets in 2013: 21.
  • Number of session IPAs sold in American supermarkets in 2016: 106.
  • Craft beer segment’s growth rate in 2016: 8 percent.
  • Anheuser-Busch’s High End craft breweries’ growth rate in 2016: 32 percent.
  • Average wait by a brewery to obtain a federal brewer’s notice in September 2016: 166 days.
  • Average wait to obtain a brewer’s notice in September 2015: 129 days.
  • UK’s excise tax on a pint of beer: 52.2 pence (65 U.S. cents).
  • Germany’s excise tax on a pint of beer: 5 pence (6.4 U.S. cents).
  • Pabst’s Unusual Business Model

    Pabst Brewing Company has 2 percent of the American beer market, which puts it in a class with Boston Beer Company and D.G. Yuengling & Son. But under Eugene Kashper, Pabst’s busimess model is much different than that of Boston Beer and Yuengling.

    Jason Notte of Forbes magazine, who recently interviewed Kashper, writes that Pabst’s CEO is “also digging into corners of the beer industry where the competition hadn’t tread and using its strengths in marketing, production and scale to take on the big brewers on a much smaller budget”.

    Kashper told Notte that his portfolio was “kind of in a sweet spot between big beer and craft” because his legacy brands not only have a following, but also own a library of recipes for craft-like beers that he can sell for less than the going price of craft. Kashper’s success stories include Stroh’s Bohemian, Old Style Oktoberfest, and Rainier Mountain Ale, all of which have strong regional ties.

    In addition, Pabst has entered into partnerships with craft and import brewers to enable it to penetrate those segments of the market. Those partnerships emphasize the strength of Pabst’s distribution and grassroots marketing, which Kashper hopes will give it a fighting chance against brewing giants Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors.

    The Friday Mash (Hail Fredonia Edition)

    One hundred and ninety years ago today, Benjamin W. Edwards rode into Mexican-controlled Texas and declared himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia. Edwards is not to be confused with Rufus T. Firefly.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Germany, where the Bayern Munich football team treated Ingolstat’s players to sausages and beer. Ingolstat upset Leipzig, enabling Bayern to move into first place in the Bundesliga.

    A former NASA biologist has developed a genetically engineered strain of yeast that makes beer glow under a black light. His “fluorescent yeast kit” contains genes from a jellyfish.

    MobCraft Beer, a Milwaukee brewery that lets the public vote on new products, was was heavily criticized after “Date Grape” was one of the finalists. The brewery has apologized for the sexual assault reference.

    Writer Jay Brooks tells the fascinating story of the Americas’ first Western-style brewery. It opened near Mexico City in 1544, with a team of brewers imported from Flanders.

    Country music artist Sunny Sweeney’s song “One More Christmas Beer” celebrates family dysfunction. Sweeney says that the lyrics are inspired by actual events.

    Next month, Chicago’s Field Museum will start serving PseudoSue, a pale ale brewed by the Toppling Goliath Brewing Company. The ale celebrates “Sue”, the museum’s beloved T-Rex skeleton.

    Finally, Colorado’s craft brewers are engaged in soul-searching. This year, they’ve had to contend with Anheuser-Busch’s takeover of Breckenridge Brewing Company and a legislative battle over selling full-strength beer in grocery stores.

    Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer Fest: A Review

    Josh Noel of the Chicago Tribune attended the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer, which recently took place in Chicago. His takes on the 14th edition of this event:

    • The beer is good, and getting better. He rates 20 percent of the beers “genius”, and another 60 percent “good to very good”. The “undrinkable” beers likely sat in the barrel too long.
    • John Laffer, the co-founder of Off Color Brewing in Chicago, has emerged as a star. He’s an alumnus of Goose Island Brewing Company’s barrel-aging program.
    • Festival-goers didn’t shun Goose Island on account of it having been taken over by Anheuser-Busch. If the beer is good, they want it.
    • It’s possible to brew bad sour beer. The style “requires layers and nuance.”
    • The best thing about the festival is discovering new beers. One, in particular, was Peach Climacteric from Colorado-based WeldWerks Brewing. Co-founder Neil Fisher was amazed that attendees knew so much about his new brewery. fisher said, “You guys have a very connected beer culture here.”

    The Friday Mash (Cubs Win! Edition)

    On this date in 1908, the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. Managed by Frank Chance of “Tinker to Evers to Chance” fame, they beat the Detroit Tigers, 4 games to 1. Cubs fans are hoping their team can end their 108-year drought in this year’s playoffs.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Detroit, where Ludwig’s beloved Lions will sell $3.50 beers during Sunday’s game against the L.A. Rams. The way the Lions are playing, fans need a few to get them through the game.

    D.G. Yuengling & Son is waging a last-ditch fight against the pending merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller. Yuengling argues that A-B is trying to keep it out of new markets.

    German scientists have found that beer causes less liver damage than hard liquor. The reason? Hops may inhibit the formation of reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in the liver.

    Ken Pagan, the Toronto-area man accused of throwing a beer can at a player during a baseball game, better have his lawyer warming up. A Canadian attorney discusses Pagan’s legal problems.

    Two Copenhagen men have taken the idea of freeze-dried coffee and applied it to four of their craft beers. They’ve created instant versions of a coffee beer, a fruity IPA, a wild-yeast IPA, and a pilsner.

    After a church in Canyon, Texas, ran an anti-alcohol ad in the local paper, an establishment called the Imperial Taproom offered a discount to customers who brought in a copy of the ad.

    Finally, Fat Head’s Brewery had a very short reign as “Mid-Sized Brewing Company of the Year” at the Great American Beer Festival. Officials revoked the award after concluding that Fat Head’s, which has three locations, had been misclassified.

    The Friday Mash (Scotland the Brave Edition)

    On this day in 1314, Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce scored a decisive victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. However, England wouldn’t recognize Scottish independence for another 14 years.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in New Jersey, where the Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company has rolled out an ale that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Matawan Creek shark attacks. A brewery co-owner describes 1916 Shore Shiver as—you knew this was coming—“a beer with bite”.

    According to a recent Harris poll, craft beer drinkers consume less alcohol than non-craft-beer drinkers. They also exercise more often and pay greater attention to nutrition labels on food.

    Scientists in Belgium have found that the music you listen affects your perception of the beer you drink. For instance, a “Disney-style track” caused people to rate beers as tasting sweeter, while deep, rumbling bass made beer taste more bitter.

    ESPN has a video featuring “Fancy Clancy”, who has worked as a beer vendor at Baltimore Orioles games for more than 40 years. Clancy has sold more than 1 million beers, and considers Opening Day his Christmas.

    The Lumbee Tribe, the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi, has sued Anheuser-Busch and a local Budweiser distributor. The suit alleges that the distributor used the tribe’s logo and slogan without permission.

    If you’re visiting Milwaukee this summer, you can sign up for a Beer Titans History bus tour or a Beer Capital of the World history and beer tour. Or both, if have the time.

    Finally, Australian researchers have isolated the yeast from a bottle of beer that survived a 1797 shipwreck, and re-created beers using recipes from two-plus centuries ago. The yeast is the only known strain to pre-date the Industrial Revolution.

    Beer Snobs Face a Backlash

    Andy Crouch, who writes the “Unfiltered” column at BeerAdvocate.com, has a warning for craft beer snobs. The insults you hurl at big breweries, and those who drink their beers, are not only wearing thin but also brand you as an elitist.

    Crouch accuses snobs of playing right into the hands of the big breweries. Anheuser-Busch’s “Brewed The Hard Way” and “Not Backing Down” ads tout Budweiser as “not small,” “not sipped” and “not a fruit cup”. And those ads are resonating with beer drinkers.

    Worse yet, beer snobs have become a recurring punch line on prime-time TV. Crouch says, “Want to signal to the audience that a character is an unbearable jerk? Put a six-pack of fancy beer in his hand as he walks into the party. Worse yet, have him try and offer one of his high priced beauties to another character and then watch him get flatly rejected.”

    The Friday Mash (High-Flying Edition)

    On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, beginning the first-ever solo trans-Atlantic flight. Five years later, Amelia Earhart became the first female aviator to accomplish that feat.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in the halls of justice, where Flying Dog Ales will fund a “First Amendment Society” with the settlement money the state of Michigan paid it. The courts ruled that Michigan violated Flying Dog’s constitutional rights by denying it permission to market Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA.

    The Brooklyn Brewery has signed a long-term lease under which it will build a beer garden, brewing facility, and restaurant on the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard..

    A Munich court ordered the Hofbraukeller beer hall to honor its contract to host an event hosted by a far-right political party. In 1919, Adolf Hitler delivered his first-ever political speech at the Hofbraukeller.

    Mercedes-Benz Stadium, soon to be the new home of the Atlanta Falcons, will have the cheapest beer in the National Football League: $5. It will also offer $3 hot dogs and $2 Coca-Colas.

    Some of the biggest names in Chicago’s beer community have joined an effort to raise funds to build the Chicago Brewseum. It will serve beer made on-premises by guest brewers.

    Former major-leaguer Brandon Laird, now playing for Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, won himself a year’s supply of beer after hitting a home run off the Kirin Brewery sign at the Tokyo Dome.

    Finally, the Saugatuck Brewing Company wasted no time poking fun at Anheuser-Busch’s rebranding of Budweiser as “America”. Its parody beer, “‘Murica”, is brewed in a style America’s founders might describe as “Freedom,” and the process is naturally overseen by 1,776 bald eagles.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Price of a “regular bottle” of beer at Super Bowl 50: $13.
  • Price of a “premium draught” at Super Bowl 50: $15.
  • Cost of Anheuser-Busch’s anti-drunk driving Super Bowl spot featuring Helen Mirren: $10 million.
  • Estimated value of Peyton Manning’s post-Super Bowl endorsements of Budweiser: $3.2 million.
  • Germany’s annual hop production: 34,000 metric tons (first in the world).
  • United States’ annual hop production: 33,266 metric tons (second in the world).
  • Washington State’s share of U.S. hop production: 70 percent.
  • Beer’s share of the world-wide alcoholic beverage market: 80 percent.
  • Beer’s share of India’s alcoholic beverage market: 30 percent.
  • Beer’s share of the U.S. alcoholic beverage market in 2015: 48 percent.
  • Its share of the U.S. market in 2000: 55 percent.
  • Maximum weekly “units” of alcohol recommended by UK health authorities: 14.
  • Number of pints of lager in 14 units of alcohol: 7.
  • Boston Beer Company’s revenue in 2015: $959.9 million.
  • Increase over 2014: 6 percent.
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