Foster’s

The Wednesday Mash (Year-End Clearance Edition)

Ludwig is on Christmas break, and won’t be back until January 4. In the meantime, Maryanne and Paul are filling in for him.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Richmond, Virginia, where it’s been a banner year for craft beer. Four new breweries and a meadery have opened their doors; and Stone Brewing Company will start up next spring.

Anheuser-Busch is giving Bud Light cans a makeover. Alissa Walker of Gizmodo.com says the can’s new design signals an end to the brand’s frat-boyish “Whatever” campaign.

Responding to a new Indonesian law banning beer sales in convenience stores, Diageo is brewing a non-alcoholic version of Guinness to be sold in that country. It’s called “Guinness Zero.”

More than 30 Arizona breweries are collaborating on an all-female-brewed beer. It’s a red IPA, and proceeds from its sale will go to Go Red for Women, an American Heart Association charity.

Despite Zimbabwe’s economic collapse, people are finding solace in beer. Observers say that bars in the capital city, Harare, are packed with holiday revelers.

Manhattan resident Leif Nelson has sued Miller Brewing Company for falsely representing that Foster’s is brewed in Australia. Brewing operations were moved to Texas in 2011.

Finally, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that people drink more on days when they exercise more. Perhaps they’re drinking to extend the “buzz” that physical activity brings.

Imported From America

It’s raged on for decades: the debate over whether it matters where a beer is brewed. During the 1970s, Anheuser-Busch filed a complaint with the government, accusing Miller Brewing company of not disclosing that Lowenbrau was brewed in Texas. Years later, Boston Beer Company ran into a storm of criticism after it contract-brewed Samuel Adams.

The latest round in the debate nvolves several famous imports that are now brewed in the United States. Fosters,”Australian for beer,” is made in Texas; Red Stripe, “The Taste of Jamaica,” comes from La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Beck’s, whose label says “Bremen, Germany,” will soon be brewed in St. Louis. Why has production been moved to here? Several reasons: shipping costs are lower, brewers are less exposed to a falling dollar, and there’s excess brewing capacity in the States.

But not everyone is jumping on the made-in-America trend. Heineken is readying an ad campaign that stresses its Amsterdam origin, and the brewers of brands such as Corona and Modelo Especial believe that Hispanics prefer beer that is brewed in Mexico.

Is SABMiller About to Buy Foster’s?

Earlier today, a story in MarketWatch.com raised the possibility that SABMiller will acquire Carlton & United, the brewers of Foster’s beer. News of the possible acquisition first appeared in the Times of London, which reported that SAB is prepared to spend as much as $10.9 billion to buy the Australian brewer. While the transaction isn’t small beer, it still pales by comparison to the $52 billion InBev paid to acquire Anheuser-Busch.

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