Michigan

The Friday Mash (Grand Ole Opry Edition)

On this day in 1925, “Grand Ole Opry” radio show aired for the first time on WSM, a Nashville radio station. The Opry’s home, Ryman Auditorium, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo, where Bell’s Brewery is selling glassware designed for Oberon. It’s called the American Wheat-Witbier Glass, and is made by Austrian glassware maker Spiegelau.

Mike Nichols is best remembered as a film director, but more than half a century ago, he and Elaine May created and voiced animated commercials for now-defunct Jax beer.

The Brewers Association has put together an infographic with statistics on the size of each state’s craft beer industry: number of breweries, production, and economic impact.

As it turned out, Pabst Blue Ribbon wasn’t sold to the Russians after all. The group that acquired it didn’t involve Oasis Beverages, itself the biggest independent brewer in Russia and Ukraine.

British lawmakers took the first step toward scrapping a centuries-old rule that requires “tenanted” pubs to buy their beer from the brewery that owns them.

An app called Next Glass has been called ”the Pandora for beer”. Using a mass spectrometer, the Next Glass lab staff use a mass spectrometer to analyze beers sent to the lab by Beer Census.

Finally, Jay Brooks’s blog linked a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon, ”The Galloping Gaucho,” in which Mickey enjoys a beer. Presumably he was outside the U.S., where Prohibition reigned. However, temperance groups couldn’t have been thrilled about a cartoon character drinking alcohol.

The Friday Mash (Earthquake Edition)

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which killed more than 60 people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Because it occurred minutes before Game 3 of the World Series, it became the first major earthquake to be broadcast on national television.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Melbourne Beach, Florida, where a house inspired by beer bottles is on the market for $2.95 million. And it’s built to withstand hurricanes.

Louiville mayor Greg Fischer wants beer to join bourbon as a tourist attraction. He’d also like a bourbon-barrel beer festival and the revival of Kentucky common beer.

Are you a beer aficionado? James Grebey of Buzzfeed.com has compiled a list of 21 warning signs. Warning sign #6: You have a very, very deeply held opinion about pumpkin beer.

Now that legal marijuana is gaining momentum, economists are looking at legalization’s effect on the beer industry. Some think higher spending on pot will mean less spending on beer.

The Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is blowing the whistle on Boston-area bars that take bribes from breweries. The practice is illegal, but violators are rarely punished.

Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, wants to brew beer in Detroit. He bought a 100-year-old former General Motors building, part of which will house his own brewery.

Finally, scientists have discovered that fruit flies love brewer’s yeast. A gene in the yeast releases a fruity smell that attracts the flies which, in turn, spread the yeasts to new habitats.

Grand Rapids is the “Best Beer Town”

The votes have been counted, and USA Today announced the winner of the “Best Beer Town” competition. The winner, as determined by online voting, was Grand Rapids. The surprising runner-up was Tampa. Rounding out the top ten: Asheville, Bend, Fort Collins, San Diego, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Denver, and Burlington

The Polls Are Open

Last year Grand Rapids, Michigan, retired the “Beer City USA” trophy–or so we thought. USA Today has resurrected the competition under a new name, “Best Beer Town”; and has chosen a 20-city field, headed by Grand Rapids.

The USA Today website will be accepting votes through October 13. You’re allowed to vote early and often–but not more often than once every 12 hours.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Cost of a one-year, all-the-Asahi-you-can-drink, passport at Brasserie Beer Boulevard in Tokyo: 29,800 yen ($282).
  • Average cost of a draft Asahi in downtown Tokyo: 500 yen ($4.74).
  • Wages and benefits paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $79 billion.
  • Total taxes paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $49 billion.
  • Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 52.9 million.
  • Percentage of Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 17.1.
  • New Glarus Brewing Company’s production in 2013: 146,000 barrels.
  • States in which New Glarus beer is sold: 1 (its home state of Wisconsin).
  • Vermont’s current brewery count: 56.
  • Its brewery count two years ago: 31.
  • Vermont’s annual sales of craft beer: $100 million.
  • Record for most one-liter beer mugs carried by one person: 27 (by Oliver Struempfel of Abensburg, Germany).
  • Total weight of 27 full one-liter mugs: 135 pounds.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s Michigan Brewers Guild U.P. (Upper Peninsula) Beer Festival: 61.
  • Beers poured at the U.P. Beer Festival: more than 400.
  • Beer States, Ranked

    These rankings come courtesy of Ben Robinson, Andy Kryza, and Matt Lynch of Thrillist.com. Before calling the roll of the states, the authors explain their criteria: “Quantity and quality are both important, but quality’s a bit MORE important. If you’re a small state turning out a disproportionate amount of great beer, it did not go unrecognized. We also gave a boost to states who played a historical role in American beer as we know it today.”

    Heading the list is Oregon (”Even the ‘crappy’ breweries by Portland standards would bury most of their peers”), followed by California (”San Diego…the most dominating beer city in world history”), Colorado (”Beer is everywhere. Everywhere is beer”), Michigan (which “some of the best damned breweries in the country”), and Washington (”home to more than 200 breweries, highlighted by greatness”).

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the bottom five: Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and coming in dead last, Mississippi.

    The Friday Mash (MSG Edition)

    On this day in 1908, the Japanese food company Ajinomoto—“The Essence of Taste”–was founded. Ajinmoto’s founder, chemist Kikunae Ikeda, discovered that a key ingredient in kombu soup stock was monosodium glutamate, for which he was given the patent.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Marshall, Michigan, where microbrewery owner Aaron Morse and his family have landed a reality-show gig. They’ll appear on The History Channel’s “Dark Horse Nation.”

    Tin Man Brewing of Terre Haute has released Klingon Warnog. This officially-licensed beer follows the Prime Directive: “to unite both Star Trek and Craft Beer fans.”

    Dogfish Head Artisan Ales is the most famous brewery in the Delmarva Peninsula, but it now has plenty of company, and that’s good news for local beer drinkers.

    A new California law will allow students younger than 21 to sample alcohol as part of their beer and wine studies. Oregon and Washington have passed similar laws.

    The Jurassic Park of beer? Probably not, but Jason Osborne of Paleo Quest and microbiologist Jasper Akerboom of the Lost Rhino Brewing Company are working with a 45-million-year-old yeast strain found in a fly entrapped in fossilized amber.

    Philadelphians are upset at state legislators who want to close a loophole which allows pop-up beer gardens to operate without having to shell out six figures for a liquor license.

    Finally, Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, says we’re not in a craft beer bubble. The nation’s 3,000 breweries is well below the saturation level; and besides, factors such as the variety and quality of local beer determine whether a market is saturated.

    The Friday Mash (Intel Inside Edition)

    On this day in 1968, Intel Corporation—Intel is short for “Integrated Electronics”—was founded in Mountain View, California. Today, it is one of the world’s largest and emiconductor chip manufacturers. Chances are, your personal computer has “Intel inside.”

    And now….The Mash!

    Appropriately, we begin in California’s Silicon Valley. Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, will offer fans a wide selection of local micros to choose from.

    Cigar City Brewing Company has signed an agreement to pour its beers aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships. Carnival also offers its own private label draft beer, ThirstyFrog Red.

    This was bound to happen. Oregon’s Full Sail Brewery has sued Atlanta-based Sessions Law Firm, alleging that the law firm copied its trademark for Session Premium Lager.

    Kirin, once the undisputed number-one brand in Japan, has dropped to second place behind Asahi. The chief reason for Kirin’s downfall was not entering the fast-growing premium beer market.

    Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing Company made BrandInnovators.com’s list of Top 10 American-Made Brands to Watch. Founders is joined on that list by Sonoma Cider Company.

    Rumor has it that Anheuser-Busch InBev will merge with SABMiller. The combined company would own 80 percent of the world’s leading brands and control 30 percent of the world’s beer market.

    Finally, Brasserie Cantillon is aging its beers inside a bomb shelter. No, the brewery isn’t expecting another invasion. It simply ran out of space; and fortunately, the city of Brussels found them a new subterranean location.

    Mead in Michigan

    Our home state of Michigan has become the unofficial mead capital of the world. According to RateBeer.com, five of the world’s top-ten rated meads are brewed in the Great Lake State.

    Michigan’s biggest and best-known meadery is Ferndale-based B. Nektar, which was founded by Brad and Kerri Dahlhofer. When the couple got married, Brad made a batch of mead to toast his new bride. After they lost their jobs, they decided to go commercial with their mead. Not only has B.Nektar’s sales grown every year, but its mead is now sold in 18 states and the Dahlhofers are getting ready to export it.

    The Dahlhofers needn’t worry about competition because the mead business has plenty of room to grow. By one estimate, annual mead sales are in the $10 million to $20 million range. That’s a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the nation’s $100 billion beer market.

    Taps

    Watch the staff at Ashley’s, a beer bar in Westland, Michigan, retire the Bud Light tap handle and replace it with one from Michigan-based Short’s Brewery. Ashley’s plans to give the Bud Light handle a decent burial.

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