Beer Institute

The Friday Mash (Cleveland Rocks Edition)

Two hundred and twenty years ago today, surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company named an area in Ohio “Cleveland” after General Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party. The city’s first “a” later vanished when a newspaper publisher couldn’t fit it on the masthead.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in space, the final frontier. Shmaltz Brewing is celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with two “collector’s edition” Golden Anniversary beers:”The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant”.

“Foraging”—combing local fields and forests for ingredients—is a foodie trend that breweries are just starting to join. VinePair’s Kathleen Wilcox profiles two of them and the people who own them.

Here’s one SEC title the Alabama Crimson Tide won’t be winning: best craft beer city in the conference. The honor belongs to Athens, Georgia, the home of the Bulldogs.

The Beer Institute, whose member companies control 80 percent of the American market, has agreed to put nutritional information—including calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat—on beer labels.

It wasn’t exactly Smokey and the Bandit, but a beer distributor picked up his first allotment of Deschutes beer in Bend, Oregon, and drove it cross-country to Salem, Virginia.

Africa is a challenging market for breweries. They’ve responded by stepping up production of beer using local ingredients and rolling out low-cost alternatives to their flagship brands.

Finally, a London-based company is the first to brew beer using artificial intelligence. It uses an algorithm called Automated Brewing Intelligence to collect customer feedback via a Facebook Messenger bot, then uses the feedback to improve the recipes of its beer.

On Capitol Hill, Dueling Beer Tax Bills

Large and small breweries are lining up behind competing bills that would provide tax relief to the industry.

The Small BREW Act would cut excise taxes for small brewers, which it defines as those making less than six million barrels a year. (The current definition tops out at two million, and thus excludes Boston Brewing Company and D.G. Yuengling & Son.) The Brewers Association, which represents smaller breweries, supports this bill.

On the other hand, the Fair BEER Act would halve the excise tax for the smallest brewers—those making less than 60,000 barrels a year—but give only modest relief to brewers in the 60,000-to-two-million-barel range. It would also apply to importing producers such as Corona and Heineken. The legislation is backed by the Beer Institute, whose membership includes the industry giants.

With millions of dollars in tax breaks at stake, both sides are lining up heavyweight lobbying firms to make their case to lawmakers.

Spent Grain Attracts Federal Regulators’ Attention

Breweries across the country have informal agreements to send their spent grains to local farmers to feed to their livestock. It’s the proverbial win-win: the brewery gets rid of a by-product they can no longer use, and the farmer gets free food for the animals.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering new rules that would require breweries to take additional steps to ensure that spent grain is safe for animals to eat. Complying with those rules would make it too expensive and time-consuming for small and medium-sized breweries to continue giving the grain away.

The Brewers Association, Beer Institute, and other brewing organizations have come out against the proposed rules and asked that the brewing industry be exempted. The FDA has extended the public comment period to next Monday, and brewers and farmers are watching closely.

Independence Day Potpourri

As America celebrates its 235th birthday…

According to the Beer Institute, the Fourth of July ranks number-one in beer consumption, ahead of Memorial Day, Labor Day and even Super Bowl Sunday.

Fire up the grill, and pour yourself a cold one. Greg Kitsock discusses pairing beer with barbecue, and Norman Miller matches it with grilled meat.

Could the ideal Fourth of July beer be a German import? Eric Asimov of the New York Times makes the case for Kolsch.

Tom Atwell of the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald picks his favorite red, white, and blue beers. Finding a blue beer was a toughie.

Finally, Jonathan Bender of Pitch.com wants to know what American beer will you be drinking on the Fourth?

“Pennsylvania Ale Trail” Leads to D.C.

On Saturday, April 24, the Smithsonian Institute Associates Program and the Beer Institute will present “The Pennsylvania Ale Trail: Curious Quaffs from the Keystone State”. This afternoon event, to be held at The Brickskeller in Washington, D.C., will take guests on a virtual beer tour of Pennsylvania. Beer writer and blogger Jack Curtin, along with several of Pennsylvania’s leading brewmasters, will serve as tourguides.

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