Boston Beer Company

The Friday Mash (United Artists Edition)

On this day in 1919, five individuals formed United Artists. They included four Hollywood notables—Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith—along with attorney/statesman William Gibbs McAdoo, who later represented California in the U.S. Senate.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict. The town’s ancient monastery is selling its beer to American consumer, who can also download the monks’ Gregorian chants to accompany the beer.

Attendees at this year’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival, held at Ommegang Brewing, will be able to immerse themselves in Bill Murray’s best-known movies and characters.

The historic Grain Belt Beer sign in Minneapolis is getting a new lease on life. August Schell Brewing Company, which owns the Grain Belt brand, has bought the sign and hopes to re-light it next year.

Meet the “Nitrogenator”. It’s the carbon dioxide-dispensing “widget” that Boston Beer Company uses for its new nitro-conditioned beer series. The Nitrogenator is manufactured by Ball Corporation.

One of Budweiser’s ads for Super Bowl 50 features Dame Helen Mirren who, before eating a hamburger and fries washed down by a Bud, gives would-be drunk drivers a proper British scolding.

The wave of craft brewery takeovers has prompted a movement to scrap the phrase “craft beer” and use a new term, “indie beer”, to describe small breweries that are truly independent.

Finally, Thrillist’s Ezra Johnson-Greenough shows how to spot a fake “beer bar”. Warning signs include serving all imports in small glasses, carrying an all-nanobrewery selection, and serving all wheat beers with a slice of lemon.

The Friday Mash (One Whale Of An Edition)

On this day in 1820, in the South Pacific, an 80-ton whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick–admit it, you read the Cliff’s Notes for that title-is in part inspired by this story.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Leeds, where two men refused to let a rainstorm, or the flooding from that storm, stop them from enjoying a pint in a pub’s beer garden. Their Sunday roast, however, was rained out.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione has been named executive editor of Pallet, a quarterly magazine aimed at people who “like to think and drink.” Pallet’s subtitle is “Only interested in everything.”

Historians have concluded that the Pilgrims didn’t have beer at the original Thanksgiving feast. That, however, shouldn’t stop you from serving beer with your Turkey Day dinner.

Louisville plans to revive a tradition from more than a century ago: a party to celebrate the release of bock beer. The NuLu Bock Beer Festival will take place next spring.

A beer garden made from shipping containers? It’s coming to the port city of Long Beach, California. Called SteelCraft, it will feature beer from Smog City and other local micros, along with gourmet food.

Samuel Adams Utopias, an ultra-high-gravity (28 percent ABV), and ultra-expensive (suggested retail price: $199) beer is back. The current batch, the ninth brewed since 2002, contains previous vintages going back to 1992.

Finally, Sadie Snyder, a Massachusetts woman who celebrated her 106th birthday, credits beer for her longevity. She had her first beer at age six thanks to her father, who worked in the beer industry.

Update on Jim Koch’s “Alchemy and Science”

In 2011 Boston Beer Company chairman Jim Koch recruited Alan Newman, co-founder of Magic Hat Brewing Company, to head the company’s “Alchemy and Science” venture, an incubator for developing new craft beverages.

Four years, millions of dollars, and thousands of hours of Newman’s time have paid off. Some of those beverages are coming to market. One of them is Traveler, a line of shandies that will be distributed nationwide by the end of this year. Other graduates of the incubator include Los Angeles-based Angel City Brewing and Concrete Beach, a brewery in Miami. Those companies are based in cities Boston Beer describes as “underdeveloped craft beer markets.”

The Winter of Jim Koch’s Discontent

A story by beer writer Andy Crouch in Boston magazine describes how Boston Beer Company CEO Jim Koch reacted to a beer bar that left his beers of the menu. That establishment, and some others, think his Sam Adams beers are passé.

Koch can be called a victim of his own success. Some drinkers in their 20s, who don’t remember a world before Sam Adams, are looking for beer “that is organic, local, small-batch, authentic, cool, and new.” They’re really love hoppy beers, which isn’t what Sam Adams is known for.

Once the undisputed king of the craft-beer industry, Koch finds himself in an unsteady market. After spending 30 years battling Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, he’s now portrayed as the bad guy by some craft brewers and beer drinkers.

Crouch points out that Koch entered the beer market when it was at its nadir, that he cleverly chose Revolutionary War figure Sam Adams as his symbol and identified his product with the city of Boston. And despite his critics, Koch grew his business to a 2 million-barrel-per-year operation, which has made him a billionaire.

Despite the criticism, Koch is philosophical. He told Crouch, “You know, to me, one of the fun things of being a craft brewer is that people are more colorful, and we don’t have to be corporate. I can be who I am. That’s Boston Beer.”

Is Sam Adams Too Big to Be a Craft Beer?

There’s been a running debate as to whether Boston Beer Company, the makers of Samuel Adams, is too big to be considered a craft brewery. The debate usually centers around Boston Beer’s production, which recently topped 2 million.

Some, however, contend that Boston Beer has lost the pioneering spirit that characterizes craft beer. Eno Sarris, a baseball statistician, is one of them, and he claims to have the numbers to back up his contention.

Sarris’s exhibit A is Rebel IPA. According to Untappd, it’s gotten an average score of 3.0. In baseball stats lingo, Rebel IPA is below “replacement level,” which means that an Untapped user would be more satisfied with an IPA chosen at random. Sarris adds that mediocre ratings aren’t limited to Rebel IPA. In terms of Beers Above Replacment, Samuel Adams ranks 571st out of 2,673 breweries listed on Untappd.

Sarris’s conclusion about Samuel Adams? “It started a craft beer revolution, and then craft beer’s evolution passed it by.” And the debate continues.

The Friday Mash (Good Housekeeping Edition)

On this day in 1885, Clark W. Bryan founded Good Housekeeping magazine. Famous writers who have contributed to it include Somerset Maugham, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Frances Parkinson Keyes, A.J. Cronin, Virginia Woolf, and Evelyn Waugh.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in New Brunswick, Canada, where a Budweiser blimp went rogue. The blimp, which broke loose at a hockey promotion in St. John, wound up in a wooded area northeast of the city.

Authorities in Siberia are investigating a brewery that put images of Soviet World War II heroes on beer cans. Some veterans think the brewery is exploiting the heroes for profit.

Illegal 20 years ago, microbreweries are flourishing in Japan. Ingrid Williams of the New York Times visits several in Osaka, the nation’s unofficial culinary capital.

Meet the Roger Bannister of beer running. James Neilsen ran the Beer Mile in 4:57. A Beer mile contestant must consume a 12-ounce portion of beer every 400-meter lap.

Ty Burrell, who plays the bumbling dad on the TV sitcom “Modern Family,” has opened The Beer Bar, a restaurant and beer garden in Salt Lake City. Its signature dish will be the Reuben brat.

Forget about using Bitcoins to buy beer in Ohio. The Department of Public Safety has concluded they’re too volatile. That, and they aren’t recognized as legal currency.

Boston Beer Company CEO Jim Koch reveals his secret for not getting drunk. Before drinking, he downs one teaspoonful of Fleischmann’s yeast for every beer he intends to consume.

Top Craft Breweries of 2013

The Brewers Association has released its annual list of the top 50 craft breweries. Boston Beer Company once again holds down the top spot, followed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing Company.

Newcomers to the top ten include Duvel/Moortgat USA, the Belgian company that acquired Boulevard Brewing Company; and Brooklyn Brewing Company. They replace F.X. Matt Brewing Company and Harpoon Brewery, which rank 11th and 12th on the list.

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 (H-Town Edition)

On this day in 1836, Houston, Texas, was founded. The city, named for the famous statesman and general, is the home of the Texas Medical Center and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, as well as St. Arnold Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewery in Texas.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in St. Paul, Minnesota, where for the second straight year, the State Fair will host a Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit devoted to the state’s craft-brewing industry.

Boston Beer Company’s Alchemy & Science Division has quietly acquired the rights to Shmaltz Brewing Company and its Coney Island line of award-winning beers.

Californians love avocados, so it was inevitable that someone would come up with a guacamole-flavored beer. It’s a product of Los Angeles-based Angel City Brewing.

That refreshing “bite” you get from a cold beer comes from a chemical reaction inside your mouth that turns the beer’s carbon dioxide bubbles into carbonic acid.

The German government is investigating the country’s top breweries for price-fixing. If found guilty, the breweries will have to pay millions of euros in penalties.

Renee DeLuca, the daughter of Jack McAuliffe, plans to resurrect her father’s New Albion beer. It will be made by Mendocino Brewing Company.

Finally, since August is a slow month, we yield the floor to Logan Thompson of Blog About Beer. He brings us a collection of photos of dogs drinking beer.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Number of breweries in the U.S. as of June 2013: 2,514.
  • Increase over a year ago: 422 (20.2 percent).
  • Increase over two years ago: 767 (43.9 percent).
  • South Korean brewers Hite and OB’s combined share of their country’s beer market: 96 percent.
  • South Korea’s beer tax: 72 percent (soon to be cut to 30 percent for small brewers).
  • Percent increase in Belgian beer exports during the last decade: 70.
  • Percent of Belgian beer production that is exported: 62.
  • Years since Boston Beer Company started brewing: 29.
  • Boston Beer Company’s production in 2012: 2.73 million barrels.
  • Beers released by Boston Beer Company in 2012: 80, including 55 released in-house.
  • Recent cost of a bushel of barley: $6.07.
  • Cost of a bushel of barley in 2010: $3.64.
  • Price range for a pound of hops: $5-$25.
  • Price range for a pound of malt: 40-80 cents.
  • Price of a case of 12-ounce empty bottles: $3.50.
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