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The Friday Mash (“Long Live the King” Edition)

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.

The Friday Mash (“Be Prepared” Edition)

On this date in 1907, Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp on the south coast of England. That nine-day event—we assume that no beer was served to campers—was the foundation of the Scouting movement.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Scotland, where the Innis & Gunn brewery has released a “Vintage” beer that is meant to be aged. One bottle has been put inside a time capsule, which is not to be opened until 2116.

Old Style beer will return to its La Crosse, Wisconsin, birthplace. The brewery will make an Oktoberfest-style version of the 114-year-old brand for the city’s annual Oktoberfest U.S.A.

After winning his third Tour de France, Britain’s Chris Froome celebrated in style. In the Tour’s final stage, he handed out bottles of beer to his teammates.

According to the libertarian magazine Reason, state beer laws continued “a slow creep in the right direction.” However, many bad laws remain on the books.

The Smithsonian has posted a want ad for a beer historian/scholar. This three-year position, funded by the Brewers Association, will pay $64,650 plus benefits.

Some breweries try too hard to be original, and wind up giving their beers awful names. Thrillist.com calls out some of the worst offenders.

Finally, Jim Vorel of Atlanta magazine criticizes Terrapin Brewing Company for selling a majority interest to MillerCoors—and then keeping mum about the transaction on social media.

Journalist Scolds Battling Craft Brewers

The trademark dispute between Bell’s Brewing and Innovation Brewing has exhausted the patience of business writer Jason Notte. In article posted on MarketWatch.com, Notte told the battling breweries to stop acting like children. Notte took particular offense to both breweries’ resorting to social media to air a dispute that ought to be decided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He went on to say:

By trying this matter in the court of public opinion instead of, you know, the federal trademark office, both breweries succeeded only in airing some procedural dirty laundry that in no way helps beer drinkers or buyers. By opening those screeds with pap like “To Our Wonderful Craft Beer Community” and “To Bell’s customers and the passionate craft beer community,” each tried to play to what they clearly believe is craft beer fans’ inflated sense of justice and moral clarity. Never mind that the customers of each brewery are members of that same community, or that this whole thing could have been resolved behind closed doors if Bell’s just kept its mouth shut and Innovation had the good sense to, you know, bring a lawyer to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to defend its trademark application.

Notte calls this dispute a wasted opportunity: it could have been a lesson to other breweries about how to prepare for a trademark proceeding, and how to properly research a brand name before attempting to trademark it. Instead, Bell’s and Innovation aired one another’s dirty laundry—a tactic that does nothing to help either craft brewers or people who like their product.

The Friday Mash (STP Edition)

On this day in 1923, auto racing figure Andy Granatelli was born. Granatelli and his brothers modified engines for Indy cars, but Andy is best known for being the spokesman for STP oil and gasoline treatment products during the 1960s. The product’s logo was everywhere, and the “STP is the racer’s edge” jingle still reverberates inside the brains of millions of American males.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Cullman, Alabama, which since 1977 has hosted a beer-free Oktoberfest. That tradition is about to go by the boards: last November, voters lifted prohibition.

Time flies when you’re having fun. Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog is hosting Session #50, “How Do They Make Me Buy The Beer?” Comments are welcome, and Alan has a few thoughts to get you started.

John Holl, whose book Indiana Breweries is now in print, was featured on New York’s WNBC-TV, where he brought out a selection of high-alcohol beers. Well before noon.

Planning a beer trip to Seattle? Sam Kettering of Seattle Weekly has a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to help you navigate the city.

Ashley Rouston, “The Beer Wench,” wants to find out which breweries are tops in social media. And she’s asking for nominations.

Natalie Hill, a British photographer, posted a beautiful Cantillon slide show on HuffingtonPost.com.

Finally, Trudeau Corporation has invented a bottle opener that catches the cap. The video is worth watching for the cheesy music alone.

The Top Ten Craft Beer Stories of 2009

With the year quickly winding down, beersage at BeerNews.org is out with the top ten craft beer stories of 2009.This year’s list is dominated by beer releases. including a beer with the highest-ever ABV. However, the year’s number-one story in craft beer involves social media: it’s gotten to the point that Twitter and Facebook are as essential to a brewery’s operation as malt and hops. Beersage adds that individual beer enthusiasts are turning to social media–but you probably knew that already.

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