On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola. December is celebrated as Discovery Day on the island’s two countries, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Loudoun County, Virginia, where beer tourism is stimulating the local economy. The county has eight breweries, with 16 more in the planning stages.
Black Friday has become the number-one day for beer releases. As you’ve probably figured out, most of these beers are stouts and many of them are barrel-aged.
SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewing company, still lacks a global brand. Its launch of Pilsner Urquell was a flop, and Heineken said no to a takeover offer.
Bottles and Cans, a liquor store in Chicago, is offering an adults-only Advent calendar. It contains 25 beers, each of them to be enjoyed on the weekdays leading up to Christmas.
European Union officials want Japan to open its market to imported beers. Arcane Japanese rules, such as a ban on ingredients like coriander seeds, act as “non-tariff barriers.”
Minnesota’s Excelsior Brewing Company has brewed a saison beer with pondweed and zebra mussels. The brewery insists that “minuscule” amounts of the invasive species were added.
Finally, Shoes & Brews, a runners’ gear store in Colorado, offers an incentive to get into shape. The store, which has a liquor license and 20 taps, bases the price of your first beer on your time in an 800-meter time trial.
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.
On this day in 1879, Will Rogers was born. He was a cowboy, actor, and humorist, and one of the biggest celebrities of the Jazz Age. Rogers once said that “Communism is like prohibition, it’s a good idea but it won’t work.” Both the Great Experiment and the hammer and sickle have vanished, which is a good reason to have a beer.
And now…The Mash!
We begin in Mozambique, where SABMiller has introduced Impala, a beer brewed with a mixture of cassava and barley. The beer will be about 25 percent cheaper than traditional lagers in hopes of getting drinkers to switch from homebrew to a commercial beer.
Those hard-to-find beers might be easier to get if legislation designed to save the U.S. Postal Service becomes law. One provision of that legislation would allow shipments of beer and wine.
No, it’s not too late to join The Session #57, which is titled “Bless Me Father, for I Have Drank”. You don’t even have to be Catholic to offer up your contribution.
Despite a world-class lineup of contributors, the Oxford Companion to Beer isn’t free of factual errors. Blogger Alan McLeod has created a wiki where readers can flag and those errors for possible future editions of the book.
March 5, 2012, will be Kate the Great Day at the Portsmouth Brewery. Next year’s edition will come in smaller (330 milliliter) bottles to allow more fans to bring some home.
At this year’s World Beer Awards, the judges named Weihenstephan Vitus, a strong wheat beer, the World’s Best Beer. Other winners were Rodenbach Grand Cru (Best Ale), Samuel Adams Double Bock (Best Lager), Deschutes Hop Henge (Best Pale Ale), and Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout (Best Stout and Porter).
Finally, beer gardens are flourishing in southern California, but with American touches like food from all over the world on the menu and local micros on tap. And in Detroit, the Christmas Wonderfest will include a Hofbrauhaus biergarten.
In Africa, people have been brewing beer for millennia, using native plants such as bananas, cassava, and sorghum. These aren’t conventional ingredients anymore but, as Carolyn Whelan of Fortune magazine explains, multi-national brewing companies are offering locally-sourced beers made with traditional ingredients. It’s part of an effort to tap into Africa’s potentially huge market for beer.
SABMiller is building microbreweries that rely on micro supply chains to get sorghum from farmers in Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia. Whelan points out that sourcing local ingredients is good business: it not only cuts supply chain price volatility, but also reduces logistics, inventory and import duty costs. The result is a product 20 percent cheaper than beer made with barley. And, perhaps, a product that will pay dividends: SABMiller hopes the farmers will spend some of their new-found wealth on its beer.
Yogi Berra supposedly said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But that didn’t discourage brewing giant SABMiller from teaming up with a consulting firm to envision the brewing environment in 2030.
The worst case, titled “Marginal Survival,” was a world where high energy costs and limited access to water forced millions of people to flee to places with better weather and a reliable water supply. And, presumably, lots of cold beer.
What’s a brewer to do? No problem. Build a smaller brewery that would move from place to place on the back of a ship. How the crew of that ship would repel pirates–which would inevitably return to the high seas under such dire conditions–isn’t exactly clear.