Anheuser Busch InBev

The Friday Mash (National Geographic Edition)

On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society was formed. The Society’s logo, a bright yellow box, appears on National Geographic magazine, which is published in 40 languages around the world.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Pennsylvania, where the beer police caught up with Travis John Miller, who was selling the contents of his beer cellar on Craigslist. Miller faces a misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol without a license.

Swedish brewer Fredrik Tunedal, who often came home from work covered in malt dust, has released a Shower Beer. Its flavor profile includes a soapy taste, which Tunedal calls “on-point” for his product.

Keurig Green Mountain has partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev to develop a line of instant beers—and other instant adult beverages—that Keurig owners can make at home.

The CEO of Constellation Brands, which imports Corona and Modelo beer, said that he doesn’t expect President-elect Donald Trump’s trade policy to raise the price of Mexican brands.

Despite a dismal 5-7 record, the University of Texas finished #1 in the country—in beer sales, that is. By season’s end, Longhorns fans spent $5.26 on alcohol for every fan in attendance.

Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, disputes studies showing that beer sales have fallen in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Watson argues that pot is just one of many variables affecting sales.

Finally, in Adelaide, Australia, the woman-owned Sparkke Change Beverage Company is putting feminist messages on cans of its beer. It’s an effort to start conversations in the country’s male-dominated beer culture.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Great Britain’s brewery count: 1,424 (up from 745 in 2009).
  • France’s brewery count: 663 (up from 332 in 2009).
  • The Netherlands’ brewery count: 401 (up from 117 in 2009).
  • Breweries participating in this year’s Grand Rapids “Beer Passport”: 32.
  • Passport holders who earned “Brewsader” status by visiting eight breweries: 4,200.
  • Percent of craft brewery CEOs who are female: 17.
  • Percent of craft brewery executives who are female: 21.
  • Change in Craft Brew Alliance’s share price since January 1: Up 86 percent.
  • Change in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s share price since January 1: Down 15 percent.
  • Height of the Genesee Beer Keg Tree: 26 feet.
  • Number of kegs on the Genesee Beer Keg Christmas Tree: 430.
  • Number of beers sold at Ohio State home football games this season: 122,000 (about 17,000 per game).
  • Ohio State’s revenue from this season’s beer sales: $1.1 million.
  • Attendees at this year’s Holiday Ale Festival in Portland, Oregon: 14,000.
  • Number of ales and ciders served at this year’s Holiday Ale Festival: 53.
  • The Friday Mash (Mickey Mouse Edition)

    On this day in 1928, The Walt Disney Corporation released the animated short “Steamboat Willie”, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon. It was directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Disney considers this release to be Mickey’s birthday.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in England, where pub companies warn that the price of a pint is about to jump. Factors include inflation, higher costs of doing business, and the introduction of the living wage.

    Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa showed off his axe-throwing skills in an Instagram video. What makes his performance even more impressive is that he drank a beer immediately before he hit the bulls-eye.

    FIFA, the world-wide governing body of soccer, is negotiating with officials of host country Qatar over whether beer will be served there during matches at the 2022 World Cup.

    Effective January 1, 2019, Labatt will discontinue the 50-year-old tradition of issuing free beer for life to company retirees. The Canadian brewery is now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

    Travel blogger Emmanuel Marshall used Innis & Gunn IPA as currency to pay for transportation and lodging on his 5,000-mile trip from Scotland, the home of Innis & Gunn, to India.

    Scientists at Rockefeller University have found that beer pong players expose themselves to numerous icky bacteria. The good news is that college-aged players have strong enough immune systems to cope with them.

    Finally, the San Diego Union-Tribune named the five beers that put the city on the craft beer map: AleSmith Speedway Stout, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Green Flash Le Freak, Karl Strauss Red Trolley, and Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale.

    BA Fires Back at Carlos Brito

    Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito stirred up a hornets’ nest by saying that “consumers are a bit tired of choice.” Bob Pease, the president of the Brewers Association, was quick to respond.

    Pease pointed out that the 2016 Great American Beer Festival attracted a sellout crowd of 60,000, who sampled more than 3,800 from 780 breweries; and that the ability to choose from that many alternatives is “a central value of our democracy and a core tenet of ‘being American’.”

    The BA head also asserted that Brito’s comment smacked of self-aggrandizement. He said that A-B InBev entered the craft beer market by acquiring a portfolio of craft breweries, and is about to use its economic power to push its brands onto store shelves and tap handles—and push out truly independent brands. Pease observed, “That’s reducing choice all right—but not based on beer lover demand.”

    Peace also suggested that consumers will rebel against A-B InBev’s attempt to limit their choices. A recent Nielsen survey found 58 percent of American craft beer drinkers want even more flavors to choose from, and about 65 percent said they drink more craft beer specifically because craft offers more variety.

    Craft Brewing’s Growing Pains

    In the last couple of months, MarketWatch.com’s Jason Notte has seen disquieting trends in the craft beer industry:

  • Craft Brew Alliance’s Redhook brand announced layoffs at its Woodinville, Washington, brewery. The Woodinville plant is contract-brewing for Pabst Brewing Company, but the Pabst business accounts for only 30 percent of its capacity.
  • Stone Brewing Company, headed by fiercely independent CEO Greg Koch, admitted that it had received $90 million in private equity financing and would lend the Stone name to a hotel. It, too, is cutting jobs.
  • And homebrew supply retailer Northern Brewer has agreed to be acquired by than Anheuser-Busch InBev.
  • Notte doesn’t think these developments mean the craft beer bubble has burst. He writes:

    “If anything, it all begrudgingly recognizes that the players in all tiers of the beer industry have found themselves in the same predicament: Running a business in an environment where constant growth isn’t a given and where big decisions are often followed by unintended fallout.”

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. Senate sponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act: 51.
  • U.S. House sponsors of that bill: 100.
  • Value of Ireland’s beer exports in 2015: €265 million ($300 million).
  • Increase over 2014: 16 percent.
  • Average cost of a pint of beer in the UK this year: £3.47 ($4.61).
  • Increase over last year: 1p.
  • Licensed premises’ share of UK beer sales in 2015: 49 percent. For the first time in history, it fell below 50 percent.
  • Decline in UK licensed premises’ beer sales from 1980 until 2015: 44 percent.
  • Projected U.S. hop harvest for this year: 92 million pounds.
  • Acres of U.S. farmland on which hops are currently grown: 51,000.
  • Increase over 2011 acreage: 20,000 acres (64.5 percent).
  • Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales in Washington State in 2015: $64.6 million.
  • Tax revenue from beer sales in Washington State in 2015: $30.8 million.
  • Market capitalization of merged corporations SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev: $245 billion.
  • SAB Miller-Anheuser-Busch InBev merger’s rank on the all-time mergers list: 4th. The combined company is the world’s fifth-largest brand.
  • The Friday Mash (Night at the Opera Edition)

    Fifty years ago today, the Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Square in Manhattan. The opening-night performance was the world premiere of Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin on ESPN College GameDay, where Sam Crowder held up a sign last Saturday asking Vemmo users to send him beer money. Within hours, more than 2,000 people contributed.

    BBC correspondent Stephen Evans hopped a flight to make a beer run…all the way to Beijing. His Chinese friends had made a trip to the border to acquire “forbidden” Taedonggang beer, which is brewed in North Korea.

    Here’s a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had. It’s a beer mug that won’t block your view of the TV when you’re drinking.

    Pork roll aka Taylor ham, a New Jersey breakfast favorite, is now a beer ingredient. Flying Fish Brewing Company has released Exit 7 Pork Roll Porter as part of its “Exit Series”.

    Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing has rolled out a beer honoring the stereotypical “Florida Man”. The label for this beer, a double IPA, depicts a man wrestling an alligator—and winning.

    Beer is more expensive than ever at NFL stadiums, but there’s one consolation: you can now buy craft beer from breweries that Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors recently acquired.

    Finally, Nebraska liquor regulators have banned homebrewers from beer festivals. Because homebrewers aren’t licensed, there’s no assurance that they meet health and sanitation standards.

    Devil’s Backbone Catches Hell

    On Saturday, the fifth annual Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival will take place at Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company amid controversy.

    Devil’s Backbone is being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This means it will no longer qualify as a “craft brewery” making it ineligible to compete in the Virginia Craft Beer Cup, even though its Schwarzbier is a three-time Best of Show winner. In fact, this year’s awards ceremony was pulled from the festival, and will take place at a different venue.

    The A-B deal also means that Devil’s Backbone will no longer host the Virginia Craft Brewer’s Festival. The state’s Craft Brewers Guild has decided to stage the 2017 event at a location to be determined. Meanwhile, Devil’s Backbone will host a new event as part of next year’s calendar of festivals and parties. The brewery says that it won’t conflict with the Craft Brewer’s Festival.

    Big Wins for Small Brewers

    As expected, the U.S. Justice Department has approved the merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SAB Miller. However, MarketWatch.com’s Jason Notte reports that the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers, won major concessions from the government:

    • A-B, which sells 10 percent of beer through company-owned distributors, can’t acquire any more distributors.
    • A-B  can’t require independent distributors to drop competing brands, and can’t offer incentives that would reward distributors for giving A-B brands preferential.
    • Any future craft brewery acquisitions by A-B must first receive Justice Department approval.

    Notte attributes the craft brewers’ win to the Brewers Association’s paying more attention to government relations. The BA has hired a full-time lobbyist in Washington; and, earlier this year, it flew craft brewery executives to the capital to ask members of Congress for tax relief.

    According to Notte, state capitals will become the next battleground, now that states–even thouse as small as North Dakota–have enough craft brewers to form a trade association. Some of the issues these associations will raise include bars selling tap handles to the highest bidders, supermarkets putting distributors in charge of choosing their inventory, and limits on the number of liquor licenses.

    The Friday Mash (T and A* Edition)

    * No, it’s not what you think. Get your minds out of the gutter!

    On this day in 1927 the Ford Motor Company ended production of the Model T automobile, which sold 16.5 million models beginning in 1909. Production of its successor, the Model A, began five months later.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Philadelphia, whose city parks will become venues for “pop-up” beer festivals this summer. “Parks on Tap” will send beer and food trucks to the parks; there will also be live music and games.

    Anheuser-Busch InBev is introducing a 100-plus-year-old Mexican beer, Estrella Jasilico, to the U.S. market to compete with Corona. Mexican beer imports to the U.S. rose by more than 14 percent.

    Whale vomit is the latest icky ingredient in beer. Australia’s Robe Town Brewery used it to make Moby Dick Ambergris Ale. Medieval doctors used ambergris; today, it’s an ingredient in perfume.

    Before the Cuban Revolution, La Tropical was the country’s oldest beer. Miami businessman Manny Portuondo plans to bring the brand back to life, this time on the other side of the Florida Straits.

    Carnival Cruise Lines’ biggest ship, Carnival Vista, is the first cruise ship to have an on-board brewery. Brewmaster Colin Presby sat down with USA Today to talk about what he’s serving.

    The Phillips Brewery in British Columbia has responded to drones by recruiting bald eagles to drop-deliver beer. Budweiser executives must be asking themselves, “Why didn’t we think of this?”

    Finally, chemists at the Complutense University of Madrid have created an app that can tell you when a beer has too much of a “stale” flavor. The disk and app look for furfunal, a polymer that imparts a cardboard taste to over-aged beer.

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