Celis Beer to Return

Christine Celis, the daughter of the late Pierre Celis, can finally brew beer under her family name. In 1992, Pierre opened a brewery in Austin, Texas, which produced his eponymous Belgian white ale. Three years later, he sold an ownership stake to the Miller Brewing Company. The rights to the Celis name and beer recipes changed hands several times over the years, and most recently were owned by South Carolina-based Total Beverage Solution and Craftbev International Amalgamated, Inc.

Earlier this month, Celis reached agreement with Total Beverage to buy back the Celis name. Now that all the pieces are in place, she plans to reopen the Austin brewery this spring. She plans to use the same recipes and proprietary yeast strains her father used, and is recruiting members of her father’s brewing team. Celis’ 22-year-old daughter, Daytona Camps coming on board as a brewer.

Celis expects to produce 10,000 barrels in the first year of production. For now, distribution will be limited to Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

The Friday Mash (Apple Edition)

On this day in 1976, the Apple I–the ancestor of the computer on which this blog is published–was created by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. It went on sale three months later for $666.66 because Wozniak “liked repeating digits” and besides, it represented a one-third markup on the $500 wholesale price.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in North Carolina, where the Mellow Mushroom restaurant chain had to close down its Beer Club after liquor regulators ruled that the club illegally “incentivized guests to drink”

Certified Cicerone John Richards, who’s based in South Carolina, introduces us to ten of the best beers you probably never heard of. (Hat tip: Joanna Prisco, ABC News).

WIsconsin politicians are concerned that a trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union might force American producers to find a new name for “Oktoberfest” beer.

Tailgate heaven! Texas Tech alumni Jane’t Howey and Sheryl Estes, have created “boxGATE”, a structure made from shipping containers and fitted out with everything fans need.

He hasn’t quit his day job as CEO of Bell’s Brewery, Inc., but Larry Bell plans to attend all 81 Chicago Cubs home games this season–which is the 100th season of baseball at Wrigley Field.

Joel Stice of Uproxx.com has compiled a slideshow of the 20 best fake brands of beer in popular culture. The brand seen most often is Heisler, which has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows.

Finally, San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company has become Silicon Valley’s craft beer incubator. It contract-brews for a number of local micros, some of which don’t yet have the capital for their own facility.

About Those Black Crown Super Bowl Ads

By now, you’ve likely seen Budweiser Black Crown on the shelves at your local supermarket. You probably know the Black Crown story as well: it was the taste-test winner of the beers created for Budweiser Project 12. And you’re no doubt aware that Anheuser-Busch, Inc., has forked out millions for air time during the Super Bowl to promote this new brand.

Donald Russell, who blogs as Joe Sixpack, has an interesting explanation for A-B’s decision to promote the new brand during tomorrow’s big game. He quotes from an email he received from Grant Pace, the ad man who created the famous Bud Bowl series of Super Bowl commercials. Pace explains that the ads are intended to “drive conversation”:

Sarah Palin drove conversation, love her or hate her. When she stopped being interesting to both sides, she faded. Same with beer. They’re fine if you love the new products or hate them, but don’t be quiet about them. Don’t say that Budweiser isn’t doing stuff, isn’t innovating, isn’t sitting still.

Perhaps, But it remains to be seen whether craft beer drinkers actually like Black Crown, and like it enough to switch brands.

Brews and (Oskar) Blues

If you’re a fan of craft beer, one name you should know is that of Dale Katechis. He’s the Alabama native who brought his mom’s down-home recipes and a love of beer to Colorado, where he opened Oskar Blues Grill & Brew restaurant in 1997.

Oskar Blues has become famous as the first craft brewery in America to can its beer. A presentation from Cask Brewing Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of canning lines, got Katechis to appreciate the merits of cans; and Ball Corporation helped by agreeing to make a smaller run of cans.

The decision, which Katcechis originally thought “far-fetched,” paid off. Canned craft beer could go places where bottled craft beer couldn’t: golf courses, backpacking, and even on airplanes. Today, more than 200 small breweries can their beer.

What’s next for Oskar Blues in cans? The brewery plans to use Ball’s new 19.2-ounce resealable can, a size that’s common in Europe. These so-called “imperial pints” may soon wind up on the shelves of a convenience store near you.

Big Brewpub Chains Consolidate

Three major brewpub chains–Rock Bottom, Gordon Biersch, and Old Chicago–have been brought under a single corporate umbrella, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. From the press release announcing the transaction:

The companies will operate as subsidiaries of CraftWorks and will retain their brands. The combined business becomes the nation’s leading operator and franchisor of brewery and craft beer-focused casual dining restaurants with nearly 200 owned and franchised locations across the United States. CraftWorks’ primary concepts include Old Chicago, Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch.

The beer bloggers are starting to weigh in. Jack Curtin commented, “The sort of news we will see a lot of in the coming decade.” And Beervana’s Jeff Alworth is concerned that CraftWorks will rein in Rock Bottom’s brewers, who’ve been given freedom to experiment with their beer. We haven’t heard the last of this story.

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