Portland, Oregon-based writer Jeff Alworth reports on a disturbing trend in beer retailing. Fred Meyer, his state’s dominant grocery store chain, is scaling back the craft beer selection and giving more shelf space to macro brews and “crafty” beers, the latter being craft labels acquired by big breweries.
On the surface, Fred Meyer’s decision doesn’t make sense. The chain stands to lose business to competing stores that offer a wide selection of local craft products. However, there are fewer alternatives outside Oregon’s larger cities. Alworth adds that Fred Meyer’s parent, Kroger Company, can improve its profit margin by using its buying power to negotiate low prices and cutting costs by paring its beer inventory.
Alworth warns that in localities where the big grocery chains dominate and the public isn’t as attuned to craft beer, “crafty” beers such as Goose Island—or even the big national brands—will become customers’ default choice. That’s bad news for small breweries, especially the newer ones.
On this day in 1969, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Society issued their first Request for Comments. The publication of RFC-1 is considered the Internet’s unofficial birthday.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Newport, Oregon, the home of Rogue Ales and its famous 40-foot-tall red silo. Opinions differ as how the silo got there, but everyone agrees that the town fathers thought it was an eyesore.
In Kentucky, you can enjoy local craft beer or bourbon at most of the state’s resort parks. The state plans to offer adult beverages in all state parks which have restaurants and where alcohol is legal.
Michelob Ultra sales have risen by 27 percent over three years. Jeff Alworth puts the brand’s success in context: light beer still dominates the market, and Michelob Ultra is considered trendy.
Yes, it’s possible to grow hops in Brazil. Grower Rodrigo Veraldi has been experimenting with the plants, and one of his varieties thrives in the hot, rainy climate near Sao Paolo.
Bad news for Baltimoreans: National Bohemian is no longer available at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. “Natty Boh” enjoyed a brief reprieve last season, but fell off the menu after the first homestand.
IBU is an important quality-control number for brewers, but it’s not very helpful for beer drinkers. Malt content has a big effect on perceived bitterness, and the average drinker can’t perceive IBUs beyond the 100-120 range.
Finally, the University of North Dakota’s “Beer Grandma” has passed away. Beth Delano, who has attended UND men’s hockey games since 1947, became famous when the scoreboard video caught her quaffing a beer during a break in the action.
On this day in 1603, James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England and Ireland upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The kingdoms of Scotland and England remained sovereign states, with their own parliaments, but both were ruled by James in personal union.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Vancouver where last week, the Railtown Pub advertised its St. Patrick’s Day celebration with a Guinness glass filled to the brim and literally losing its head. That caught the attention of the Irish Independent newspaper, which called the pour “sacrilegious”.
Now that the Chicago White Sox’s partnership with MillerCoors has expired, the ballclub has formed a new partnership with Constellation Brands, which will open “Casa Modelo” at the ballpark.
While on spring break in The Bahamas, a frat boy used the teeth of a beached shark to puncture a beer can so he could “shotgun” it. His video of the stunt prompted a swift—and angry—backlash on social media.
Portland, Oregon, is about to get a beer bar devoted to session beers. Its name, naturally enough, is Sessionable. The bar will pour 30 beers, all with ABVs ranging from 2.5 to 5 percent.
Neil Patrick Harris, who the spokesperson for Heineken beer, says that he has a Heineken Light tap in his bar at home. He adds that unlimited beer at home “is as awesome as it sounds”.
According to a recent survey, one out of four beer drinkers said they would switch to marijuana if it became legal in their state. If they do switch, brewers will suffer $2 billion per year in lost sales.
Finally, MLive.com asked eight brewery owners in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area whether the craft beer industry is in a bubble. They don’t think so, but some admit that the market is getting tougher for new entries.
One hundred and twenty years ago today, Ernie McLea of the Montreal Victorias scored the first hat trick in Stanley Cup play. His third goal, which clinched the Cup, led Montreal to a 6-5 win over the Winnipeg Victorias.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Oregon, where beer writer Brian Yaeger has come to the defense of McMenamins brewpub chain. Its 17 establishments have gotten nasty reviews from some customers.
Spain’s recent boom in craft beer has been good news to the town of Villanueva del Carrizo, which grows 99 percent of the country’s homegrown hops.
A new device being pilot-tested in Britain allows pub customers to avoid lining up for beer. A credit card, a debit card, or Apple Pay will get it to auto-dispense a pint.
In California, the proliferation of businesses selling alcohol—supermarkets, bookstores, and even nail salons—has public health advocates concerned about the potential for abuse.
Bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked to health problems, has been banned from sippy-cups and baby bottles. But it’s still used in beer cans because the government thinks it won’t harm adults
In 2012, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom ended a 41-year-long ban on alcohol. Last week, the park expanded beer and wine sales to four more of its sit-down restaurants.
Finally, Montreal-based Kris Mychasiw might be the world’s smartest sports agent. He’s turned beer-milers Lewis Kent and Corey Bellemore pro, even though the sport doesn’t yet have a governing body.
On this day in 1935, the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, was awarded for the first time. The winner was halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago who, despite being a number-one draft pick, never played pro football.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Wisconsin, where you’ll get a beer chaser with your Bloody Mary. The state’s taverns have a long-standing tradition of serving chasers with cocktails.
The Jewish Museum of Montreal has joined forces with a nearby craft brewery to re-create a beer brewed by brothers Ezekiel, Moses, and Benjamin Hart in 1796.
Is there a beer aficionado on your Christmas list? Forbes magazine writer Tara Nurin can help you. She’s written mini-reviews of 18 worthy beer books.
The latest gizmo for beer snobs is That Ultrabeer Thing, a vibrator that emits ultrasonic waves that break up carbon dioxide bubbles, creating a creamy foamy head.
San Francisco’s ReGrained is collecting spent grain from three local breweries and turning them into susatinable granola bars. The company’s slogan is “Eat Beer”.
A market analysis firm has found that beer sales are “underperforming” in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Recreational marijuana is legal in all of those states.
Finally, the stereotypical craft beer drinker is a bearded white male. However, craft customers are becoming more diverse, and the industry is making efforts to get customers of color to drink their product.
Two hundred and twenty years ago today, surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company named an area in Ohio “Cleveland” after General Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party. The city’s first “a” later vanished when a newspaper publisher couldn’t fit it on the masthead.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in space, the final frontier. Shmaltz Brewing is celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with two “collector’s edition” Golden Anniversary beers:”The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant”.
“Foraging”—combing local fields and forests for ingredients—is a foodie trend that breweries are just starting to join. VinePair’s Kathleen Wilcox profiles two of them and the people who own them.
Here’s one SEC title the Alabama Crimson Tide won’t be winning: best craft beer city in the conference. The honor belongs to Athens, Georgia, the home of the Bulldogs.
The Beer Institute, whose member companies control 80 percent of the American market, has agreed to put nutritional information—including calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat—on beer labels.
It wasn’t exactly Smokey and the Bandit, but a beer distributor picked up his first allotment of Deschutes beer in Bend, Oregon, and drove it cross-country to Salem, Virginia.
Africa is a challenging market for breweries. They’ve responded by stepping up production of beer using local ingredients and rolling out low-cost alternatives to their flagship brands.
Finally, a London-based company is the first to brew beer using artificial intelligence. It uses an algorithm called Automated Brewing Intelligence to collect customer feedback via a Facebook Messenger bot, then uses the feedback to improve the recipes of its beer.
Forbes magazine correspondent Tara Nurin reports that the San Diego Brewers Guild is asking city planners to turn down 10 Barrel Brewing Company’s application to build a brewpub near Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team.
Guild members warn that letting 10 Barrel open a pub will drive independent, locally-owned breweries and brewpubs out of business. They point out that 10 Barrel is based nearly 1,000 miles away in Bend, Oregon. Worse yet, 10 Barrel is now owned by Anheuser-Busch In Bev, and is in the process of opening pubs in cities throughout the West.
However, not everyone in the city’s craft beer community is opposed to 10 Barrel. Andy “The Beerman” Coppock, who hosts of “The Business of Beer podcast,” says, “[S]ay what you will about [Anheuser-Busch InBev], their craft brands are very well-made beers. At the end of the day, I want to see people drinking better beer.”
Nurin, who as a television reporter covered planning board meetings, has seen similar protests against letting “big box” retailers such as Wal-Mart come to town. She notes that the big-box companies invariably got their way, and predicts that 10 Barrel will likewise get the go-ahead.
Ninety-nine years ago today, The Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded the first-ever jazz record, for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band later changed “Jass” to “Jazz” and went on to record many classics, most notably the “Tiger Rag”.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Royal Oak, Michigan, where the late Glenn Frey of the Eagles grew up. The Roak Brewery threw a party in Frey’s honor, and brewed a English golden ale called “Lyin’ Eyes” for the occasion.
A beer spa is now in business in Sisters, Oregon. Hop in the Spa, which is partnering with Deschutes Brewing, offers “microbrew soaks” and “hops on the body” treatments.
Ultra-marathoner Jesse Weber employed an unusual strategy for going the 50-mile distance. Along the way, he stopped for a Pabst Blue Ribbon–after fortifying himself with cookies and a quesadilla.
Victory Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing have formed a joint venture which, they hope, will allow them to stay independent and stay competitive in a consolidating industry.
Bay area rapper E-40 has released his own brand of malt liquor, which checks in at 10% ABV. Deadspin.com’s Patrick Redford tried a bottle (a 40-ouncer, of course) and gave it a resounding thumbs-down.
World of Beer is looking to hire three people for what it calls “the internship of a lifetime.” Interns will get to travel, drink, and share their adventures with the world—and get paid for it.
Finally, Louisville’s Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse has teamed up with Hi-Five Doughnuts to create a new beer called “Mmm…D’oh! Nuts.” The doughnuts and vanilla glaze—a gallon’s worth—created a smoky beer with a root beer-like sweetness.
On this day in 1956, The Million Dollar Quartet—Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash—got together at Sun Studio in Memphis. Years later, tracks from of this impromptu jam session were released as albums in the UK and, later, in the U.S.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in London, Ontario, where Lewis Kent has become the first Beer Miler competitor to turn pro. The 22-year-old University of Western Ontario student signed a deal with Brooks, a shoe company.
Good news for Star Trek fans. Shmaltz Brewery is releasing the latest beer in the officially-licensed Vulcan Ale series. It’s a red session IPA called The Genesis Effect, and unlike Romulan Ale, it’s legal.
Stung by feminists’ reaction to Bud Light’s #UpForWhatever ad campaign, Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to air woman-friendly spots for its beer during next year’s Super Bowl.
George Washington loved his beer—porter, in particular, and occasionally brewed his own. A notebook Washington kept while he was a 25-year-old officer in the Virginia militia contains a recipe for “small beer”.
Journalist Dina Mishev got over her aversion to beer, at least for the time being, after hitting the Bend Ale Trail. The Trail has 16 breweries, all within walking or biking distance from one another.
In Milwaukee, Pabst Brewing Company’s 126-year-old bottling plant is being converted into apartments for college students. Unfortunately, the amenities won’t include free Blue Ribbon.
Finally, Dogfish Head Brewery claims the distinction of having brewed the hoppiest beer on record. Hoo Lawd, an India pale ale, checks in at 658 International Bittering Units. Most IPAs fall in the 40-60 IBU range.