Michigan Brewers Guild

The Friday Mash (MTV Edition)

On this day in 1981, MTV began broadcasting in America. Pay attention to this factoid, because it comes up often in pub trivia: MTV’s first video was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Chicago, where Ian Hughes, a brewmaster at Goose Island Brewing Company, is trying to educate people about the importance of clean water, the main ingredient in Goose Island beers.

Canadian actor Seth Rogan got to fulfill his dream of drinking beer from the Stanley Cup. P.K. Subban, who plays for the Montreal Canadiens, earned an assist for pouring beer into the trophy.

The list of exotic ingredients in beer now includes seaweed. Marshall Wharf Brewing Company adds 66 pounds of Maine sugar kelp to 200 gallons of its Scotch ale to brew a batch of Sea Belt Ale.

In Indiana, a newly-passed law lifts the 67-year-old ban on beer at the State Fair, which opens today. Last call is at 8 pm, and fair-goers will be limited to three 12-ounce beers.

Tech companies in Boston are using craft beer to attract and retain talented employees. Journalist Dennis Keohane decided to investigate the tap selection at some of the area’s leading companies.

In San Francisco, a woman in the outfield seats got a rude surprise: a home run ball landed in her beer. Not only was she soaked with beer and out $8, but someone else wound up with the baseball.

Finally, the Michigan Brewers Guild has responded to heavy demand for tickets to the annual Winter Beer Festival by adding an evening session to next year’s event in Grand Rapids.

Beer in the Mitten State

In 2005, Maryanne and Paul traveled throughout Michigan for their book, Michigan Breweries. At the time, there were 78 breweries in the state. The brewery count remained flat for several years, increased to the low 90s, in 2009-10, and then…

Scott Graham, the executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild, had an unusual confession to make to Bridge magazine correspondent Rick Haglund: “I have no idea how many breweries are under construction. I used to know about everyone.” The Guild estimates that there are 140 craft breweries in Michigan, and a spokeswoman from the state’s Liquor Control Commission says that there 48 license applications are pending.

Bell’s Brewing, which opened for business years before Michigan issued microbrewer licenses, is seventh in production among U.S. craft breweries; and Founders Brewing Company, which had maxed out its capacity at 5,000 barrels at its original location in 2005, now ranks 30th.

Currently, Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, and is the only state east of the Rockies in the top five.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until Founders Brewing Company releases Kentucky Breakfast Stout at its tap room: 28.
  • What Founders charges for a 12-pack of KBS: $62 (includes the $5 charge for a release ticket).
  • Highest reported bid on eBay for a release ticket: over $500.
  • Beer brands owned by AB InBev and SABMiller: 210.
  • Countries in which those brands are headquartered: 42.
  • Number of monks at St. Sixtus Abbey in Vleteren, Belgium: 21.
  • St. Sixtus’s annual production of Westvleteren 12: about 4,200 barrels.
  • Price of a six-pack of Westvleteren at the abbey: $27 U.S.
  • Percent of Myanmar’s males who call themselves “drinkers”: 50.
  • Percent who say they have five or more drinks daily: 25.
  • Germany’s beer consumption last year: 82.3 million barrels.
  • Percent of that beer that was served with cola and juice: 4.5.
  • Estimated cost of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival: $175,000.
  • Cost of the beer itself: $90,000.
  • The Guild’s profit margin on the festival: 30 percent.
  • Going…Going…Gone!

    On Saturday, tickets went on sale for the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids. The online allocation is already sold out, but a limited number of tickets are available at select breweries, bars, and stores.

    The festival will take place February 23.

    The Friday Mash (O.K. Corral Edition)

    On this day in 1881, the most famous gunfight in Old West history took place at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. It was fought between outlaws Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and his brother Frank; and lawmen Virgil Earp, his brothers Morgan and Wyatt, and temporary deputy Doc Holliday.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Detroit, which hosts the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Fall Beer Festival this weekend. It’s a perfect time to read Bill Loomis’s story about the city’s hard-drinking past.

    Not everyone associates “green beer” with St. Patrick’s Day. Roxanne Palmer of the International Business Times updates us about America’s most environmentally-friendly breweries.

    This week’s fun fact: the barley genome is almost twice the size of that of human beings. But a new, high-resolution draft of the genome could someday pay off in the form of higher-quality beer.

    Does that beer you’re drinking taste nasty? Jay Brooks, who judges beer when he’s not writing about it, explains what causes the ten most common off-tastes in beer.

    Actor Will Ferrell, the star of Old Milwaukee beer commercials that ran in cities like Davenport, Iowa, has shot four new–and silly–Old Milwaukee ads that will run in Sweden.

    Ohio’s Winking Lizard beer bars will stop serving Bud Light and Miller Light because it has grown tired of the big breweries’ price hikes. Yuengling Light will replace those brands.

    Finally, Andy Crouch, who has attended the past 16 Great American Beer Festivals, is concerned that the festival is getting too big. He offers a ten-point plan to improve future events.

    A Taxing Problem for Michigan’s Summer Beer Fest

    For some years, the southeast Michigan community of Ypsilanti has hosted the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Summer Festival. The festival has grown and thrived at city-owned Riverside Park, with last year’s event drawing 9,000 people and 50 Michigan-based breweries.

    Ypsilanti’s city fathers have noticed the crowds. On Tuesday, Council approved a five-percent tax on tickets to events held at city parks, which adds up to $15,000 in tax revenue from the beer festival alone. Worse yet, the tax rises to ten percent starting in 2013.

    Needless to say, the brewing community isn’t happy, and there’s even a possibility that the Guild will look for a new home for future Summer Festivals.

    Michigan Winter Beer Festival (Updated 2/22)

    According to the Michigan Brewers Guild’s blog, its annual Winter Beer Festival is expected to sell out again. It takes place two weeks from today at the Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids.

    The festival, whose catch-phrase is “Mock Winter,” is an outdoor event. Beer tents will be set up in the right field parking lot, along with an entertainment stage and a food tent. If wind and weather conditions permit, there will also be a bonfire to help keep festival-goers warm. The Guild expects about 50 breweries–the highest number ever–to take part.

    If we run across a beer list (the Guild expects more than 300 different beers to be poured), we’ll post it here. In the meantime, here’s last year’s festival program.

    Update #1: Here’s a partial list of breweries and beers. The Guild will be adding to it in the days to come.

    Update #2. It’s a sellout! From the Guild’s blog, “The Mash”:

    The 2010 Winter Beer Festival is now Sold Out! On-line ticket sales have been cut-off, and other than a limited number of tickets that remain at select ticket outlets there will be no other tickets available.

    Michigan Winter Beer Festival: 2010 Date Announced

    The Michigan Brewers Guild has announced Saturday February 27 as the date for their 2010 Winter Beer Festival. The location will be outside Fifth Third Ball Park in Comstock, where is near Grand Rapids.

    The annual event will held between noon and 5 p.m. (one hour earlier for Enthusiast Club members). Tickets are $35 in advance, or $40 if their are any still available at the gate.

    Thus far, 40 Michigan breweries have committed to bring over 200 beers.

    Festival Recap From All Over

    While Paul and Maryanne were knocking back a few beers and watching football last night, Ludwig was busy finding festival news:

    Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer News spent part of his day at the Bistro’s Barrel Aged Fest. The Hayward, CA, establishment served more than 70 beers, and Jay describes a few of his favorites.

    George Wendt of “Cheers” fame was the guest of honor at The Big Pour, a festival held in Scottsdale, AZ this weekend. The event was sponsored by Draft magazine.

    The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Beer Buddha visited last weekend’s All-Colorado Beer Festival. The event raised $10,000 for local charities.

    Australian journalist Blair Richards reports on the growth of the Tasmanian Beer Festival. The festival, which began four years ago as an assignment for a Tasmanian hospitality school, has become a major draw for beer travelers.

    “Girly Drinks” reviews last month’s Michigan Brewers Guild Harvest Festival at Royal Oak-based blog The Urbane Life. The Harvest Festival is one of two new festivals added by the Guild to its 2009 festival schedule (the other was the UP Oktoberfest). The Guild’s next event is the Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids. It will take place on February 27, 2010.

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