Is Competition Hurting “Savor”?

For years, Savor has been the gold standard of beer festivals in Washington, D.C., and one of the nation’s most important festivals. It attracts some of the biggest names in beer—both breweries and craft beer celebrities—and has consistently been one of the toughest festival tickets. However, tickets for this year’s edition of Savor are moving more slowly. As of last Saturday, general-admission tickets to the June 3-4 event are still available.

Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post offers an explanation: Competition from other festivals near the nation’s capital. They include last Saturday’s DC Beer Fest at Nationals Park; May’s Maryland Beer Festival in Frederick; and the Americana Beer Fest in Leesburg, Virginia, in June. Those events don’t boast the beer community’s A-listers, but the price of admission is much smaller.

What can Savor do to remain in the top tier? Currently, Savor uses a random lottery to choose the breweries that will pour. Hahn urges organizers to set aside more invitations to hand-picked breweries. He observes, “As much as a spot at Savor will raise the profile of a tiny brewery in the Great Lakes region, the people buying tickets for the tasting would be more interested in trying something from Minneapolis’s well-regarded Surly Brewing, which was one of the first breweries to run out of beer in 2015 but didn’t get in this year”.

The Friday Mash (Pop Art Edition)

Today is the 75th birthday of Peter Max, the pop artist who’s famous for his use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes. Max has been the official artist for the World Cup, the Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl…but, so far as we know, no beer festivals.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where the Monocacy Brewing Company has released its first Civil War commemorative beer, an English session bitter called Antietam Ale.

Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog describes a weekend beer getaway in Victoria, British Columbia. Final stop on the tour: Garrick’s Head Pub, which has been serving beer since 1867.

Congratulations to Brown Distributing Company, of West Palm Beach, Florida, which was honored as the Craft Beer Distributor of the Year by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

According to the Beer Institute, New Hampshire ranks first in per-capita beer consumption. Rounding out the top five: North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Nevada.

From the Department of Higher Zymurgical Education: Arizona State University offers a course called The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer. The course has been rated “challenging.”

A British microbrewery has developed a freeze-resistant beer for researchers working in in Antarctic cold. The beer, an India pale ale, is packaged in plastic, vacuum-sealed bottles for the journey to the Pole.

Finally, Scott, who blogs at The Brew Club, serves up 12 Things You Don’t Know About Your Beer. For instance, there are more calories in a pint of Budweiser than in a pint of Guinness.

The Friday Mash (Georgia Bulldogs Edition)

On this day in 1785 the University of Georgia, the nation’s first public university, was established. The list of people who went to UGA includes Colonel Charles Beckwith, creator of the Army’s Delta Force; actress Kim Basinger; Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker; numerous Georgia governors; and the members of R.E.M.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where Flying Dog Ales plans to roll out 20 beers over the course of the year. One of them, a saison called Wildeman, is the first addition to the brewery’s year-round lineup since Raging Bitch hit the shelves in 2009.

The Houston Astros have announced that they’re reducing the price of beer at Minute Maid Field this coming season. The way the Astros are playing–they had the worst record in the majors last season–fans will need a few to get them through the game.

John Close of insists that beer is “the official fuel of NASCAR”, pointing out that beer and auto racing have gone together for decades. Close says that the only beer-soaked event that draws more fans than NASCAR races is Munich’s Oktoberfest.

The Washington Beer Commission has announced that the second annual Washington Beer Open House will take place February 25. Among other things, participating breweries will offer food pairings, rare barrel tastings, and new seasonal releases.

If going to next month’s San Francisco Beer Week, Zambo, the head brewer at 21st Amendment Brewery has beer and restaurant recommendations. He also recommends the quirky Coit Tower.

The folks at Liveability magazine have compiled a list of the ten best “unexpected beer cities”. Expect to find good brew in unheralded places like Akron, Boise, and Chattanooga.

Finally, some good news for spring breakers headed to Florida. Cigar City Brewing Company will open a pub at Tampa International Airport in March. It’s part of a $6 million concessions upgrade.

The Friday Mash (Forever in Blue Jeans Edition)

On this day in 1873, dry goods merchant Levi Strauss and his partner Jacob Davis were awarded a patent for copper rivets to reinforce their blue jeans. Their heavy-duty jeans, which were originally designed for soldiers and workingmen, became popular among teenagers during the 1950s and are now a world-wide symbol of American culture.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where beer bikes are on the loose. Lance Armstrong wouldn’t recognize these contraptions, which are the size of minibuses and seat up to 16 merrymakers who pedal while a bartender serves them beer from a huge keg.

Celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio has teamed up with Flying Dog Ales to create a beer that pairs with smoked food. It’s called Backyard Ale, and debuted at Volt, Voltaggio’s restaurant in Frederick, Maryland.

Admit it. You’ve seen the “Beer. Helping White Guys Dance Since 1842″ poster. And you chuckled. That slogan will get put to the test later when The Great American Techno Festival debuts in Denver the same week as the Great American Beer Festival.

Pabst Blue Ribbon’s owners are moving the brand’s headquarters to Los Angeles. Is that a good move? Not according to marketing professor Kelly O’Keefe, who thinks Pabst will lose its Midwestern identity.

If the San Jose Sharks win the Stanley Cup, beware of defenseman Douglas Murray. He might try to re-design the famous trophy. At Cornell University, Murray and his classmates invented a hands-free, three-spout beer keg tap, which he markets when he’s off the ice.

Lebanese entrepreneur Mazen Hajjar has founded a microbrewery that exports to 16 countries. It’s called 961, after Lebanon’s international dialing code, and brews a lager, a red ale, a witbier and a porter.

Finally, Advertising Age magazine looked at recent innovations in beer packaging. The gimmicks are cheesy, but according to Harry Schumacher of Beer Business Daily, they “break through the clutter” and get customers to pay attention.

The Friday Mash (Famous Detroiters Edition)

Two famous people associated with Detroit were born on this day: heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis (born 1914 as Joseph Louis Barrow), the first African American to become a national hero; and singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder (born 1950 as Steveland Hardaway Judkins), whose many honors include an Academy Award and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where it’s Beer Week. And, for the first time in 100 years, a beer has been brewed there with locally-grown barley. The beer is Amber Fields Best Bitter, and is on tap at Brewer’s Alley.

The U.S. Army is looking for a brewmaster at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. The pay is $22,000 a year and no, you don’t have to go through boot camp to get the job.

Roger Protz, the author of a forthcoming book about Burton ale–a beer even older than Bass–has enlisted the Otley Brewery to brew a modern version of the beverage, which will be released this month.

Would you pair beer and cookies? The owners of South Durham Confection think it’s a classic combination waiting to be discovered.

Attention investors! If it’s liquidity you’re after, Pittsburgh’s East End Brewing Company has a deal for you. Invest $1,000 toward the brewery’s expansion and you’ll get two years worth of pre-paid beer.

If you’ve ever wondered what beers pair best with sliders, Michael Agnew has the answer. Agnew’s a certified Cicerone, so listen up.

Finally, from the Guinness is Good For You Department, we learn that before she goes on stage to sing, Gwyneth Paltrow calms her nerves by downing a pint of Guinness.

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