Beer…By the Numbers

  • Carlsberg’s revenue growth in the first quarter of 2017: 4 percent.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s revenue growth in the first quarter of 2017: 3.7 percent.
  • Anheuser-Busch’s investment in U.S. brewing operations since 2011: $2.5 billion.
  • A-B’s expected U.S. investment in 2017-20: $2.5 billion.
  • This year’s expected U.S. hop acreage: 58,148.
  • Percent increase over last year’s acreage: 17.
  • Percent increase over 2012 acreage: 96.
  • Mexico’s share of worldwide beer production: 5.7 percent.
  • Germany’s share of worldwide beer production: 5.2 percent.
  • Approximate 2016 production of Shipyard Brewing Company (#1 in Maine): 118,000 barrels.
  • Approximate 2016 production of Allagash Brewing Company (#2 in Maine): 92,500 barrels.
  • California’s brewery count: 623 (ranks 1st among U.S. states).
  • Breweries per 100,000 adults in California: 2.2 (ranks 23rd; Vermont, with 10.8 per 100,000 adults, ranks first).
  • Mississippi’s brewery count: 9 (ranks 50th).
  • Breweries per 100,000 adults in Mississippi 0.4 (also ranks 50th).
  • The Friday Mash (Great Fire of London Edition)

    Three hundred and fifty years ago today, the Great Fire of London broke out. The blaze, famously described in the diaries of Samuel Pepys destroyed most of the city’s buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and countless pubs.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Winnipeg, where a man dressed as a hockey goalie broke into a store and made off with some beer. It wasn’t even Canadian-brewed beer; he stole Budweiser. Speaking of the King of Beer, a man wearing a Batman costume swiped two 18-packs of Bud from an Upstate New York store.

    Alan McLeod, the keeper of A Good Beer Blog, found a 200-year-old classified ad for a homebrewing machine that made beer without mashing. That sounds too good to be true, and probably is.

    According to a poll of more than 100 college basketball coaches, Bob Huggins of West Virginia is the coach they’d most like to have a beer with. University of Kansas coach Bill Self finished second.

    Miller Genuine Draft is a dying brand. A Milwaukee Record journalist visited a dozen bars in the city. Nine didn’t carry MGD; one bartender laughed at him, and another was offended that he even asked for it.

    Breweries in Portland, Maine, are asking customers to rank the beers they’ve been served. It’s their effort to promote ranked-choice voting, aka instant-runoff, which will be on the November ballot.

    Stephen Wilmot of the Wall Street Journal warns that the recent slowdown in craft beer’s growth won’t help the big breweries. One major reason is that wine and spirits—bourbon in particular—are growing even faster than craft.

    Finally, a British brewery is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth with a beer brewed using yeasts scraped off of Dahl’s armchair. The beer will be served at the premiere of a stage adaptation of Dahl’s The Twits.

    Beer on the Appalachian Trail

    If you’ve ever hiked the Appalachian Trail, or seen the film A Walk in the Woods, about the last thing you’d associate with hiking the AT is craft beer. However, Allyson Hester not only hiked the entire length of the Trail, but also found breweries at least within hitch-hiking distance.

    One such brewery is the year-old Lazy Hiker Brewing Company in Franklin, North Carolina, a community that caters to passing hikers—especially those taking a day or two off from the Trail.

    Farther north in Virginia, the Devils Backbone Brewing Company offers hot breakfast to hikers, and is in the process of getting the required permits to offer primitive camping. It also has an outdoor bar with mountain views and an enormous patio with an oversized fire pit.

    In Maine, the AT winds through eight national forests and two national parks. Near the northern terminus is the Kennebec River Brewery, where hikers can spend some downtime with their “trail family” before heading home.

    Hester offers these words of wisdom to would-be hikers: “No single can tastes better than the one you lugged for miles up a mountain summit to enjoy while watching a magical sunset”.

    Best Cities for Beer Drinkers

    What is America’s best beer city? SmartAsset.com compiled a list based on five criteria: total number of microbreweries and brewpubs; number of micros and brewpubs per capita; the breweries’ average Yelp score; number of bars per capita; and the average price of a pint of draft beer.

    The number-one city—Portland—is somewhat surprising because it’s the one in Maine. What tipped the scales in favor of the “other Portland” was its brewery density: one for every 3,882 residents. Rounding out the top ten: Asheville; Portland, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Denver; Seattle; Wilmington, North Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Pittsburgh; and Cincinnati.

    Blair Schiff of KUSA-TV in Denver suggested the the most beer-friendly cities have gloomy weather. However, that doesn’t explain why the Mile High City ranks fifth despite having 300 sunny days per year.

    The Friday Mash (Great Gatsby Edition)

    Ninety years ago today, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby, was first published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The novel about the young and mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby, painted a picture of America’s “Jazz Age,” a phrase that Fitzgerald also made popular.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Minneapolis, where Finnegans beer is celebrating 15 years of feeding the hungry. Profits from the sale of Finnegans—half a million dollars since 2000—have been used to buy fresh produce for those in need.

    Four of the world’s biggest breweries announced they will disclose calorie counts of the beers they sell in Europe. Americans might soon see calories and other nutritional data on the beer they buy.

    Baseball season began this week, and the New York Times’s Eric Asimov and friends marked the occasion by choosing their top ten American lagers from a field of 20.

    Friday happy hour will be part of Anheuser-Busch’s interviewing process for its new marketing office in Manhattan. It’s part of an effort to find out how well candidates handle social situations.

    Maine governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would require a pint of beer to contain 16 ounces. The governor says Maine’s deceptive-practices laws already protect customers from short pints.

    Mark Hunter, the new CEO of MolsonCoors, told Wall Street analysts that his company will focus more on craft beer, and that it has a desire to acquire craft breweries.

    Finally, Kit Lab hopes to provide homebrewers what Hello Fresh provides home cooks: exact portions of ingredients. The recipes for each kit are supplied by homebrewers, who’ll get a cut of the profits.

    The Friday Mash (San Diego State U. Edition)

    On this day in 1897, San Diego State University was established. The 35,000 students at SDSU have an amazing selection of craft beer to choose from. At the end of 2014, the county had nearly 100 breweries and brewpubs.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Houston, where the Texas Beer Refinery has opened for business. Its fermenting tanks and brew kettles have been made to look like refinery towers from a distance.

    Goose Island Brewing Company’s 20-year-old brewery on Chicago’s Near West Side will start offering tours and tastings later this month. The tasting room will also offer growler fills.

    Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company has brewed a beer to benefit James Madison’s Montpelier. Ambition Ale, “a beer with checks and balances,” will be available in central Virginia this summer.

    Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, Oregon’s largest-selling craft beer, is now co-branded with Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers. Both the brewery and the team are Portland institutions.

    Goldcrest 51 beer was popular in Memphis until the Tennessee Brewing Company closed its doors in 1955. Beer writer Kenn Flemmons plans to revive the beer this spring, using the original recipe.

    A federal appeals court has ruled that Flying Dog Ales can sue Michigan for damages over its refusal to approve the label for Raging Bitch IPA. The state’s decision was overturned in court.

    Finally, a new beer from Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company honors cherry farmer Nancy Bunting, who supplied it with thousands of pounds of cherries. Allagash has donated part of the proceeds from “Nancy” to a charity that helps farmworkers with health problems.

    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 Friday Mash (Bonfire of the Vanities Edition)

    On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.

    Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.

    In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.

    In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.

    Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.

    Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.

    Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.

    The Friday Mash (P.T. Barnum Edition)

    On this day in 1810, promoter P.T. Barnum was born. He’s best known for founding Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but his colorful life story also includes stints as a politician, businessman, reformer, and perpetrator of hoaxes.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Tennessee, where new legislation lessens the tax bite on beer. The old law, which based tax on the price of beer, saddled the Volunteer State with the nation’s steepest tax.

    The staff of FirstWeFeast.com has scoured the country to find unsung cheap beers. The list is dominated by regional beers like Point Special, Iron City, and Genessee Cream Ale.

    The Festival in Portland, Maine, opened late on account of archaic regulations that bar breweries from pouring their own beer. Organizers scrambled to find volunteers for beer-dispensing duty.

    What is it like to ride on the beer train? Scott Rappold of the Colorado Springs Gazette describes his trip on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad’s annual “Rails to Ales” outing.

    Another television series will have its own beer. Albuquerque’s Marble Brewery will brew Heisenberg’s Dark, an India black ale named for Walter White’s drug-dealing alias in Breaking Bad.

    Hawaii is surrounded by ocean water, and Aloha Brewing Company is using it to brew Gose beer, a style that originated in Goslar, Germany, whose water is naturally salty.

    Finally, a Czech hockey team was forced to leave town because of a dispute over beer. The club played in Budvar Arena, but their league was contractually obligated to serve a competing brand.

    The Friday Mash (Teddy Ballgame Edition)

    On this day in 1960, Hall of Famer Ted Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat at Fenway Park. His performance was chronicled in John Updike’s essay, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”, one of the best-ever pieces of American sportswriting.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Ted Williams’s hometown of San Diego, where the first Craft Beer Debate recently took place. At issue: whether the city should build a publicly-financed stadium.

    As Maine goes, so goes the nation? The state’s beer production has jumped by 50 percent since 2009. By the way, Maine’s largest brewery is Allagash Brewing Company.

    Our Drink Locally award goes to beer blogger Pierre Lachine, who has pledged to drink only Ontario beer for the next year.

    An e-petition calling for a review of Britain’s beer tax has gotten more than 100,000 signatures, enough to trigger a possible House of Commons debate on how the tax is calculated.

    Denver mayor Michael Hancock got a crash course in brewing at the Denver Beer Company. The beer he helped make, a pumpkin ale, will debut at next month’s Denver Beer Fest.

    The topic for The Session #68 has been announced: it’s Novelty Beers. Tiffany, who blogs at 99 Pours, will host the discussion; and, as always, you’re welcome to join.

    Finally, Ken and Steph Newbury of St. Peters, Missouri, turned their wedding reception into a beer festival. They stocked the bar with many of Ken’s favorite micros, many of which were brewed in-state.

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