Beer…By the Numbers

  • Vietnam’s beer production in 2015: 2.89 million barrels.
  • Increase over 2014: 4.7 percent.
  • Amount of beer exported by Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar in 2015: 765,000 barrels.
  • Increase over 2014 exports: 10.5 percent.
  • Countries to which Budweiser Budvar is exported: 73.
  • British pub count in 1982: 67,800.
  • British pub count in 2015: fewer than 54,000.
  • Alaska’s brewery count: 26, with 5 in planning.
  • Brewery openings in Alaska in 2015: 5.
  • Average price of a pint of bitter in Great Britain: £3.10 ($4.40 U.S., for a 20-ounce pint).
  • Average price of a pint of lager in Great Britain: £3.26 ($4.63 U.S.).
  • States where homebrewing is illegal: 0 (Alabama and Mississippi were the last two to legalize, in 2013).
  • States where breweries can’t sell pints on premises: 2 (Georgia and Mississippi).
  • Value of legal marijuana sold in the U.S. in 2015: $3.5 billion.
  • Value of beer sold in the U.S. in 2015: $101 billion.
  • The Friday Mash (Xanadu Edition)

    On this day in 1271, Kublai Khan of “stately pleasure dome” fame renamed his empire “Yuan,” officially marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China. The yuan is modern-day China’s monetary unit.

    And now…The Mash! 

    We begin in Japan, where a local firm has teamed up with an Amsterdam-based renewables company to develop eco-friendly plastic beer bottles. They’re made from plant sugar rather than fossil fuels.

    As competition grows more fierce, breweries are hiring artists, graphic designers, and even branding firms to create packaging that wins shelf space and attracts customers.

    “Beer before whiskey” is risky, but not for the reasons you think. People drink faster as intake increases, whatever the beverage; and whiskey’s higher alcohol content compounds the effects.

    Last weekend, Vancouver’s Storm Brewing unleashed its Glacial Mammoth Extinction beer. It’s Canada’s first beer above 25 percent ABV, and it isn’t cheap: a bottle will set you back C$1,000 ($730 U.S.).

    Craft brewing’s success has created a problem: a shortage of cans, especially the 16-ounce cans that many crafts prefer to distinguish their product from national-brand beer.

    Debrett’s, a British etiquette authority since 1769, has published a guide to proper beer-drinking. Among other topics, it covers proper pouring and tasting and how to behave decorously at the pub.

    Finally, James Grugeon of Brisbane, Australia, is crowd-funding a brewery with a social purpose. Half the profits of his Good Beer Company will be donated to a conservation society trying to save the endangered Great Barrier Reef.

    The Friday Mash (Ludwig Returns! Edition)

    Early this morning, Ludwig pulled out his lion phone and texted us. He said he’s on a plane home, and expects us to meet him at the airport. While waiting for his plane, we got caught up on news from the beer world.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Detroit, where Shawn and Aaron Gross will open Windmill Pointe Brewery next year. They’ll rely on bicyclists to provide the power in exchange for beer.

    Paperwork is a pain, so the Minneapolis-based Colle + McVoy ad agency gives employees an incentive to turn in their time sheets—in the form of a pint of August Schell beer.

    Your friends probably believe at least one of the ten persistent beer myths (myth #1 involves IPA’s origins). Jim Vorel of Paste magazine is here to debunk them.

    The Force had better be with New York State’s Empire Brewery. Lucasfilm filed a “Notice of Opposition” to the brewery’s application to trademark “Strikes Bock by Empire.”

    British public-health experts want alcoholic beverage labels to disclose the drink’s caloric content. They contend that heavy drinking is a major cause of obesity.

    Mystery shopper Kyle Taylor says he earned $4,000 a month as a “beer auditor.” His job was to make sure retailers follow ID-checking procedures. And yes, he was over 21.

    Finally, Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb reflects on the “dad beer” phenomenon. Brands such as Schaefer and Genesee Cream Ale are enjoying a revival thanks to drinkers toasting their fathers and grandfathers.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Beers entered in this year’s National Homebrewers Competition: 8,172.
  • Increase over last year: 45 percent.
  • Craft breweries in Texas: 98.
  • Their production (including Spoetzl Brewing Company) in 2013: 833,191 barrels.
  • Increase over the year before: 17.3 percent.
  • Full Sail Brewing Company (Hood River, Oregon) production in 2013: 115,000 barrels.
  • States where Full Sail products are distributed: 31.
  • Alcoholic content of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA: 18 percent ABV.
  • Average retail price of a bottle of 120 Minute IPA: $8.
  • Strains stored in Britain’s National Collection of Yeast Cultures: more than 4,000.
  • Brewing yeast strains at the National Collection: 800.
  • Breweries represented at the first Colorado Brewers’ Festival in Fort Collins in 1990: 11.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s festival: more than 50.
  • Percent of underage drinkers who admit to binge-drinking: 44.
  • Percent of underage drinkers who binge-drink Bud Light: 13.5.
  • Top Ten Myths About Craft Beer

    “Ding” is a middle-aged Englishman who lives somewhere in the South and provides often-tart commentary about beer on his blog. One of Ding’s classics, which appeared in December 2011, took aim at the top ten myths about American craft beer.

    Heading the list of the myths is the belief that one can put any beer in a cask and get a good result. Casks, he contends, bring out the best of a malty, low-gravity beer, but won’t have the same effect with an imperial IPA. He goes on to say that “a huge amount of beer that is being presented in casks…is simply not beer that will showcase the presentation at all well.”

    Other myths that Ding wants to debunk include these:

  • Beers from emerging beer countries, like Italy and New Zealand, must be great. Fawning over expensive, ordinary beer is a symptom of a lack of discrimination.
  • British beer is undergoing a massive revolution inspired by American brewers. Despite the publicity given to breweries like BrewDog, most beer poured in the UK is traditional British beer with relatively low alcoholic content.
  • More breweries, and more beers, are always a good thing. The current level of growth of craft beer is unsustainable, and is resulting in a flood of mediocre–or worse–products.
  • All local beer is good. See above.
  • Session beer is gaining popularity in America. Ding draws the session-beer line at 4% ABV, and finds few American beers with ABVs lower than that.
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Czech Republic’s world ranking in per capita beer consumption: 1st.
  • Its world ranking in per capita consumption of all alcohol: 2nd (behind Moldova).
  • Total votes cast this year for “Beer City USA”: Exactly 50,000.
  • Percent of votes cast for Grand Rapids, Michigan: 54.
  • Percent of votes cast by residents of Michigan: 58.3.
  • Value of U.S. craft beer exports in 2012: $49.1 million.
  • Percent increase over 2011: 72.
  • Size of Britain’s brewing industry: £16.5 billion ($24.8 billion).
  • Number of breweries in Britain: over 1,000.
  • Microbreweries’ share of the British beer market: 1.6 percent.
  • Estimated combined value of the Budweiser and Bud Light brands: $20.3 billion.
  • Increase in those brands’ value over last year: 28 percent.
  • Price increase of a “sub-premium” beer since last year: 6.8 percent.
  • Price increase of a Pabst Blue Ribbon since last year: 11.5 percent.
  • Average cost of a PBR at a bar: $2.67.
  • The Friday Mash (Golden Spike Edition)

    On this day in 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, railroad tycoon Leland Stanford drove in the Golden Spike and completed the First Transcontinental Railroad. The 1,907-mile line, built by three railroad companies, cut travel time for a coast-to-coast journey from six months to a week.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Milwaukee, where investor David Dupee is planning to launch the Craft Fund. Once the SEC gives the go-ahead, Dupee will use crowd-funding to provide capital to small breweries.

    Not only must Mets fans endure losing baseball, but New York City’s finest are issuing $25 citations to people caught drinking beer in Citi Field’s parking lots.

    How does a koozie keep beer cold? It prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the can. Condensation will raise the temperature of your beer in a hurry.

    It appears that the British government’s decision to cut the beer tax is helping the country’s pub trade. The JD Wetherspoon’s chain reported that sales increased by six percent in the past quarter.

    Brett VanderKamp, the co-founder of west Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Company, has written a book about his craft-brewing experiences. It’s titled Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto.

    Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have cultivated a new type of barley which, thanks to a genetic defect, will keep beer fresher.

    Finally, the New York Post found most of 15 bars they visited poured less than 16 ounces in their “pints” of beer. That really hurts, since some NYC bars are charging $8 for a pint these days.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Market capitalization of China Resources, brewers of Snow Beer: 60 billion yuan ($9.6 billion).
  • Market capitalization of Tsingtao Brewing: 50 billion yuan ($8 billion).
  • Germany’s annual per capita beer consumption in 1976: 151 liters.
  • Its annual per capita beer consumption today: 106.6 liters.
  • Its present consumption compared to the U.S.: 33 percent higher.
  • Dollar value of U.S. craft beer exports last year: $49.1 million.
  • U.S. craft beer exports to Canada last year: 68,180 barrels (Canada is the number-one market).
  • U.S. craft beer exports to western Europe last year: 56,204 barrels (Sweden and the UK rank second and third).
  • Value-added tax on beer served in British pubs: 20 percent.
  • British pub closings per week: 18.
  • Attendance at this year’s Barcelona Beer Festival: 10,000 (twice the attendance at last year’s inaugural festival).
  • Number of beers poured at the festival: 300.
  • Beers from Catalonia poured at the festival: 55.
  • Green Flash Brewing Company’s investment in a second brewery in Virginia Beach: $20 million.
  • Projected annual capacity of the Virginia Beach facility: 100,000 barrels.
  • The Friday Mash (Buy Low, Sell High Edition)

    Forty-two years ago today, the NASDAQ stock exchange was founded by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Once the home of lowly over-the-counter stocks, it’s now the exchange where companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are traded.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Britain, where health officials would like the beverage industry to disclose the number of calories in their products. They hope that people will drink less to avoid getting fat.

    Add the Morrow Royal Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada, to your list of beer landmarks to visit. It’s made from recycled beer and liquor bottles–more than half a million of them.

    The latest environmentally-friendly innovation is The Crafty Carton, a paper growler that holds one quart of beer and, according to Foodbeast.com, is suitable for origami.

    Here’s a beer pairing we’ve never seen before. Dr. Greg Zeschuk, a video game industry veteran and craft beer aficionado, chooses the right beer style for the genre of game you’re playing.

    World of Beer, which serves craft beer in a tavern-like setting, could be coming to your town. The chain has 36 locations in 11 states, and company CEO Paul Avery wants to take it nationwide.

    Glyn Roberts, The Rabid Barfly, unleashes a rant about people who decide to go on the wagon during January, which is the quietest time of the year for British pubs.

    Finally, will this be the year that Alabama and Mississippi finally legalize homebrewing? They’re the only two states where it remains illegal.

    The Friday Mash (Robbie Burns Edition)

    Today is the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is the traditional day to honor him with a Burns supper, which typically includes haggis, Scotch whisky, and the recitation of Burns’ poetry, and closes with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Rosemont, Illinois, where America’s fourth Hofbrauhaus had a soft opening in the city’s new entertainment district. The other HB locations are Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Newport, Kentucky.

    The Canadian humor magazine Bite has created a zodiac-like infographic, “What Your Beer Style Says About You.” (Hat tip: Jay Brooks.)

    Two cheers for the three-tier system. According to the New America Foundation’s Barry Lynn, distributors are protecting craft beer from the dominance of the nation’s brewing duopoly–at least for now.

    Why is beer more likely to go skunky in clear bottles? It’s because light reacts with hop alpha acids to produce a compound similar to one found in a skunk’s defense spray.

    On Tuesday Harpoon Brewing, the nation’s eighth-largest craft brewer, will open a $3.5 million beer hall in Boston. It’s located just blocks from Boston Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain facility.

    If you haven’t been able to get limited-release beers, Today.com’s Jim Galligan offers tips from the pros. For starters, you should cultivate a relationship with a good beer store in your area.

    Finally, Matt Austin, a grad student at Cardiff University, found some interesting parallels between the way Vikings drank in mead halls and the way today’s British college athletes drink.

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