Beer…By the Numbers

  • Federal excise tax on a gallon of beer: 57 cents, or about 5 cents per 12-ounce bottle.
  • Wisconsin excise tax on a gallon of beer: 2 cents (lowest in the nation).
  • Tennessee excise tax on a gallon of beer: $1.29 (highest in the nation).
  • Value of UK beer exports in 2016: $712 million.
  • Increase over 2015: $102 million.
  • Natural Light’s average rating on (1-to-5 scale): 1.86 (worst of all beers).
  • Budweiser Select 55’s average rating on 1.87 (second-worst).
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s per-share earnings in fiscal 2016: 72 cents.
  • Decline from fiscal 2015: 86 percent.
  • Canned beer’s share of the market in 2016: 56.2 percent.
  • Its market share in 2008: 50.3 percent.
  • Number of breweries taking part in this year’s edition of SAVOR in Washington, D.C.: 86.
  • States represented by breweries taking part in SAVOR: 31, plus the District of Columbia.
  • Increase in pilsner sales at supermarkets and convenience stores from 2015 to 2016: 56 percent.
  • Increase in craft pilsner sales at supermarkets and convenience stores from 2015 to 2016: 123 percent.
  • Is Competition Hurting “Savor”?

    For years, Savor has been the gold standard of beer festivals in Washington, D.C., and one of the nation’s most important festivals. It attracts some of the biggest names in beer—both breweries and craft beer celebrities—and has consistently been one of the toughest festival tickets. However, tickets for this year’s edition of Savor are moving more slowly. As of last Saturday, general-admission tickets to the June 3-4 event are still available.

    Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post offers an explanation: Competition from other festivals near the nation’s capital. They include last Saturday’s DC Beer Fest at Nationals Park; May’s Maryland Beer Festival in Frederick; and the Americana Beer Fest in Leesburg, Virginia, in June. Those events don’t boast the beer community’s A-listers, but the price of admission is much smaller.

    What can Savor do to remain in the top tier? Currently, Savor uses a random lottery to choose the breweries that will pour. Hahn urges organizers to set aside more invitations to hand-picked breweries. He observes, “As much as a spot at Savor will raise the profile of a tiny brewery in the Great Lakes region, the people buying tickets for the tasting would be more interested in trying something from Minneapolis’s well-regarded Surly Brewing, which was one of the first breweries to run out of beer in 2015 but didn’t get in this year”.

    The Friday Mash (Molly Pitcher Edition)

    On this day in 1778, Mary Hays McCauley, the wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth. According to legend, she took her husband’s place at his gun after he was overcome by the heat. She became known as “Molly Pitcher.” Ludwig thinks that–you guessed it–a pitcher of beer would be an appropriate way to toast her.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Tumwater, Washington, where beer might be brewed again at the Olympia brewery. MillerCoors, which shut the plant down ten years ago, has agreed to lift a restrictive covenant barring beer production at the historic plant.

    Boulevard Brewing Company will rely on the wisdom of crowds to test new beers. It will invite consumers to go online and offer their opinion about previously-unreleased beers.

    The church of beer? Fred Lee of Columbus, Ohio, thought of starting his own religion to get a tax exemption for his brewery. He later decided not to, but his brewery’s slogan is “Believe in Beer.”

    Add Narragansett to the list of retro beers making a comeback. Believe it or not, ‘Gansett had a 65-percent market share in New England in the late 1960s before sales went into a tailspin.

    Heineken is–pun intended–rolling out an “interactive beer bottle”. “Heineken Ignite” has a green plastic base and an LED that flashes along with music when you take a sip.

    If you missed SAVOR, blogger John Karalis has this to say: “The food was prepared and presented with a five-star flair, but the beers stripped away whatever elite overtones may have existed.”

    Finally, Jeff Alworth, who blogs at Beervana, puts in a good word for cider. The beverage has become so popular in his home state that there’s now an Oregon Cider Week, which ends this weekend.

    The Friday Mash (Salem Witch Trials Edition)

    On this day in 1692, Bridget Bishop became the first of 19 people to be executed during the Salem Witch Trials. The trials live on as an example of mass hysteria–and in pints of Witch City Red, served at Beerworks in modern-day Salem.

    And now…The Mash!

    The British newspaper The Independent has come out with a list of the ten best bottled beers. Some of them may surprise you.

    The Leinenkugel Brewing Company has come to the aid of the Chicago River which, because of heavy pollution, ranks fourth on the list of the nation’s most endangered rivers.

    Couldn’t make it to this year’s edition of SAVOR? Kevin, who blogs at, has a rundown.

    The Labatt Brewing Company has donated a treasure trove of items, some of which pre-date Confederation to the University of Western Ontario and Museum London.

    James Clee of Swansea, Wales, has been named an official beer taster by Anheuser-Busch. He’ll collect 10,000 for six day’s work tasting A-B’s new product, Brew No. 66.

    If you’re going to Oktoberfest this fall, you’re going to pay more for beer. The average one-liter mug will cost nine euros ($13.15), almost half a euro more than it did last year.

    Finally, West Virginia football fans can buy beer at home games this season. Ludwig thinks fans of these college teams, all coming off terrible seasons, deserve some beer. Actually, lots of it.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • MolsonCoors’s market share in the U.S.: 30 percent.
  • Craft breweries’ market share in Oregon: 30 percent.
  • Events scheduled for the upcoming Arizona Beer Week: more than 150.
  • Annual U.S. craft beer exports: about 42,000 barrels.
  • Barrels exported by Stone Brewing last year: 22.
  • American craft brewers currently operating a brewery in Europe: 0 (Stone is hoping to change that in the near future).
  • State tax on a barrel of beer in Wyoming: 2 cents.
  • Years since Wyoming raised the beer tax: 75.
  • Years since it was legal to order a beer in Russell Township, Ohio: 90 (the ban was finally lifted this month).
  • Cost of a case of beer at an Ontario provincial store: $25.95, plus deposit.
  • Lowest price seen (so far) for a 20-bottle case of half-liter bottles of beer in Germany: 4 euros (equivalent U.S. price: $4.72 a case).
  • Average cost of a pint of bitter in Britain: £2.68 (about $4.20).
  • Pub closures per week in Britain: 29.
  • Increase in pub take-away beer sales in parts of Queensland hit by Cyclone Yasi: 25 percent.
  • Alcoholic content of BrewDog’s Sink the Bismarck: 41 percent.
  • Price of a ticket to this year’s edition of SAVOR: $110.
  • Something to SAVOR

    Tonight is the night for SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, which takes place in Washington, D.C. More than just a beer festival, SAVOR combines a presentation of a sweet and savory foods with a tasting of craft-brewed beer from independent breweries.

    The Brewers Association has put together a short (just over six minutes) film from last year’s event. It’s a high-quality production that features some of the biggest names in craft brewing. Thanks to the BA, it’s yours to enjoy:

    SAVOR Ticket Sales Begin Wednesday

    Thinking of attending SAVOR, the Brewers Association’s event highlighting “American Craft Beer and Food Experience” on June 5? The location is the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

    Better hurry up. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

    Ludwig thinks that’s one fine line up of breweries paired with some mighty fine good eats. General admission is $95.

    Update: The D.C. Beer blog reports that SAVOR sold out in just ten minutes.

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