Great Britain

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Great Britain’s brewery count: 1,424 (up from 745 in 2009).
  • France’s brewery count: 663 (up from 332 in 2009).
  • The Netherlands’ brewery count: 401 (up from 117 in 2009).
  • Breweries participating in this year’s Grand Rapids “Beer Passport”: 32.
  • Passport holders who earned “Brewsader” status by visiting eight breweries: 4,200.
  • Percent of craft brewery CEOs who are female: 17.
  • Percent of craft brewery executives who are female: 21.
  • Change in Craft Brew Alliance’s share price since January 1: Up 86 percent.
  • Change in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s share price since January 1: Down 15 percent.
  • Height of the Genesee Beer Keg Tree: 26 feet.
  • Number of kegs on the Genesee Beer Keg Christmas Tree: 430.
  • Number of beers sold at Ohio State home football games this season: 122,000 (about 17,000 per game).
  • Ohio State’s revenue from this season’s beer sales: $1.1 million.
  • Attendees at this year’s Holiday Ale Festival in Portland, Oregon: 14,000.
  • Number of ales and ciders served at this year’s Holiday Ale Festival: 53.
  • The Friday Mash (Roller Coaster Edition)

    On this day in 1989, the Cedar Point amusement park opened Magnum XL-200, the first 200-plus-foot-tall roller coaster. Tomorrow, the park will unveil its 17th coaster: Valravn, the tallest, longest, and fastest of its kind in the world.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in eastern Quebec, where convenience stores were mobbed by New Brunswick residents after a court struck down that province’s law against bringing liquor across the border. Beer is almost twice as expensive in N.B. than in Quebec.

    In Wisconsin, three fishing buddies pulled up a six-pack of Budweiser cans that, according to Anheuser-Busch, are more than 60 years old. Unfortunately, the cans were empty.

    First “beard beer”, now this. Australia’s 7 Cent Brewery is using yeast from brewers’ belly-button lint to brew a special beer for an upcoming festival.

    British regulators take short pints seriously. So seriously that they brought a pub owner before the local magistrate for serving a pint that was six teaspoons less than a full pint.

    Broadway actors Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig are launching a series of beers based on Broadway shows. Their first is “Rise Up Rye”, inspired by the hit musical Hamilton. Rye was the mainstay grain of colonial American brewers.

    On June 2, the Asheville Tourists baseball team will take the field as the “Beer City Tourists”. It’s the team’s way of honoring the city’s brewing community—and taking part in Asheville Beer Week.

    Finally, Taedonggang beer, from North Korea’s state-owned brewery, has turned up in stores in some Chinese cities. It’s high-quality beer, but its price—a 22-ouncer costs the equivalent of more than $3 U.S.—is too high for the average Chinese consumer.

    British Winery Can Call Its Beverage “Champale”

    Roger Barber, the owner of a British winery, can market his sparkling wine as “Champale”. Barber persuaded British trademark authorities that his product’s name wasn’t confusingly similar to French Champagne. French Champagne growers argued that “champ” was the common familiar term for their product, but Barber countered that in England, “champ” was short for champion.

    You might be asking yourself, what is a story about wine doing on a beer blog? Because in America, “Champale” doesn’t mean what Barber thinks it means. The American version is a malt liquor that debuted in 1939. Readers of a certain age might remember getting a quick buzz—and an awful hangover—from drinking it. Champale, which has had a succession of owners, is still available, and now comes in four flavors.

    The Friday Mash (Fantasia Edition)

    Seventy-five years ago today marked the premiere of Walt Disney’s Fantasia. The animated film opened to mixed reviews, but it is now considered one of the classic animated films of all time.

    And now….The Mash! 

    We begin in Great Britain, where a 2002 law granting excise tax breaks caused a proliferation of breweries. The country has more than 1,300, and ranks first world-wide in breweries per capita.

    Football fans will soon see something new in Bud Light commercials. The National Football League has changed its rules to allow the use of game footage involving active players.

    In Oregon, the craft brewing and newly-legalized marijuana industries have something in common: a proliferation of start-up businesses.

    Guinness will soon become an all-vegan beer. The brewery will stop using isinglass, a by-product of the fishing industry that’s used to clarify the beer and make yeast settle faster.

    Boston-area entrepreneur Adam Oliveri has started a boutique beer distribution business. His Craft Collective has already signed distribution contracts with 16 craft breweries from the Northeast.

    How dangerous is a “beer belly”? Depends on one’s fat distribution. Otherwise slim people with a beer belly run a much greater risk of serious health problems than obese people with one.

    Finally, San Diego Beer Week isn’t just an opportunity to taste great beer. It also gives new breweries a chance to introduce themselves. More than half of San Diego County’s 115 breweries are less than three years old.

    The Friday Mash (Seven Years’ War Edition)

    On this day in 1756, Prussia’s king Frederick the Great attacked Saxony, beginning the Seven Years’ War. The conflict, which took place on five continents and involved most of the world’s powers, is better known to English-speaking North Americans as the French and Indian War.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Germany, where the Mallersdorf Abbey’s Sister Doris has been a master brewer for nearly 40 years. She’s one of Bavaria’s few “ladies who lager”–and Europe’s last beer-brewing nun.

    Beer historian Tom Acitelli credits a 2002 cut in the excise tax for the profusion of small breweries in Great Britain. He also credits a 1976 beer tax cut for America’s small-brewery boom.

    NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon is a wine lover, but he also has a taste for good beer. Gordon recently showed up at Dogfish Head Artisan Ales, whose 61 Minute IPA really impressed him.

    For years, Mexico’s brewing industry had been dominated by two large corporations, but change is slowly coming, thanks to the federal government’s efforts to curb monopolies in key industries.

    Iowa officials are pondering what to do with the 150-year-old beer caves underneath I-380 in Cedar Rapids. The forgotten caves were exposed by this summer’s heavy rains.

    Barrel-aged beer is becoming more popular, and brewers are looking beyond traditional bourbon barrels. Now they’re starting to age their beer in barrels once used for Scotch, rum, and wine.

    Finally, the growth of microbreweries might give rise to a new breed of wholesalers. Yarmouth, Maine-based Vacationland Distributors specializes in craft breweries, especially those that have grown beyond the state’s maximum for self-distribution rights.

    The British Invasion…In Reverse

    Earlier this month Will Hawkes, an award-winning British beer journalist, wrote about an American invasion of Britain in All About Beer magazine. These Yankees don’t carry weapons (unless boots and tap handles count), but they are taking on British institutions, including big breweries’ control of pubs and even the Campaign for Real Ale’s insistence that beer be served from casks rather than kegs.

    One of the “invaders” is Ryan Witter-Merithew, who brews at Siren in Finchampstead. He isn’t the only one. Hawkes continues, “If there’s nothing from Siren, there’ll be a beer from Moor, the Somerset brewery where Californian Justin Hawke holds sway, or Lovibond’s, the Henley brewery run by Wisconsin’s Jeff Rosenmeier. Then there might be something from Wild Beer Co., the West-Country stronghold of another Californian, the aptly-named Brett Ellis.” All have interesting stories to tell.

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