Super Bowl

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Price of a “regular bottle” of beer at Super Bowl 50: $13.
  • Price of a “premium draught” at Super Bowl 50: $15.
  • Cost of Anheuser-Busch’s anti-drunk driving Super Bowl spot featuring Helen Mirren: $10 million.
  • Estimated value of Peyton Manning’s post-Super Bowl endorsements of Budweiser: $3.2 million.
  • Germany’s annual hop production: 34,000 metric tons (first in the world).
  • United States’ annual hop production: 33,266 metric tons (second in the world).
  • Washington State’s share of U.S. hop production: 70 percent.
  • Beer’s share of the world-wide alcoholic beverage market: 80 percent.
  • Beer’s share of India’s alcoholic beverage market: 30 percent.
  • Beer’s share of the U.S. alcoholic beverage market in 2015: 48 percent.
  • Its share of the U.S. market in 2000: 55 percent.
  • Maximum weekly “units” of alcohol recommended by UK health authorities: 14.
  • Number of pints of lager in 14 units of alcohol: 7.
  • Boston Beer Company’s revenue in 2015: $959.9 million.
  • Increase over 2014: 6 percent.
  • The Friday Mash (Bonfire of the Vanities Edition)

    On this day in 1497, in Florence, Italy, Savonarola presided over history’s most famous “bonfire of the vanities.” Anything he considered a temptation to sin went up in flames. That’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Grand Rapids, home of HopCat, America’s top-rated beer bar. Owner Mark Sellers plans to open 12 to 15 more HopCats throughout the Midwest over the next five years.

    Gotcha! Firas Habli, a beer store owner in Ohio, was shamed on social media after he was seen trying to buy a grocery store’s entire allotment of Bell’s Hopslam.

    In Maine, liquor inspectors are telling bars that it’s agains the law to post the alcoholic content of beer. The law was passed in 1937, long before the arrival of high-gravity craft beer.

    In Washington State, Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a beer-themed whale-watching cruise. The itinerary includes two brewery tours, and beer experts will be pairing craft beers with dinner.

    Researchers in Spain have created an electronic “tongue” that can recognize beer styles and differences in alcohol content. It’s said to be accurate more than four out of five times.

    Instead of shelling out millions for a Super Bowl ad, Newcastle mocked the big game’s hype in a stealth campaign that featured Anna Kendrick in a “Behind the Scenes” YouTube video.

    Finally, the early favorite for Beer Trend of 2014 appears to be beer-focused cocktails. To get you started, the Food Network staff has put together a 13-drink slideshow, complete with recipes.

    Macrobeer Sales: Not So Super

    For decades, big brewers have been big advertisers at the Super Bowl, and this year’s game is no exception. However, their products are steadily losing market share, especially among drinkers younger than 30.

    Quentin Fottrell, a correspondent for, identifies several reasons for Big Beer’s declining popularity. One, of course, is growing popularity of craft beer. If this segment didn’t exist, beer sales would be on a downward course. (And if craft beer didn’t exist, neither would this site, but I digress.) Another factor is competition from the hard liquor industry, which ended its self-imposed ban on television advertising in 1996; and from wine, which has acquired a “halo effect” as a beverage associated with healthier living. Calorie-conscious drinkers have also hurt sales. Non-alcoholic drinks, bottled water in particular, have taken market share away from beer.

    About Those Black Crown Super Bowl Ads

    By now, you’ve likely seen Budweiser Black Crown on the shelves at your local supermarket. You probably know the Black Crown story as well: it was the taste-test winner of the beers created for Budweiser Project 12. And you’re no doubt aware that Anheuser-Busch, Inc., has forked out millions for air time during the Super Bowl to promote this new brand.

    Donald Russell, who blogs as Joe Sixpack, has an interesting explanation for A-B’s decision to promote the new brand during tomorrow’s big game. He quotes from an email he received from Grant Pace, the ad man who created the famous Bud Bowl series of Super Bowl commercials. Pace explains that the ads are intended to “drive conversation”:

    Sarah Palin drove conversation, love her or hate her. When she stopped being interesting to both sides, she faded. Same with beer. They’re fine if you love the new products or hate them, but don’t be quiet about them. Don’t say that Budweiser isn’t doing stuff, isn’t innovating, isn’t sitting still.

    Perhaps, But it remains to be seen whether craft beer drinkers actually like Black Crown, and like it enough to switch brands.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Cases of beer Americans will drink on Super Bowl Sunday: 50 million.
  • Cost of all that beer: $1.8 billion.
  • Trips to the bathroom necessitated by drinking all that beer: 1.4 billion.
  • Breweries in Denmark (population 5.6 million): 132.
  • Brewery openings in Denmark in 2012: 11.
  • Growth of China’s beer market from 2006 to 2011: 29 percent (just over 5 percent per year).
  • Estimated annual growth of India’s beer market: 15 percent.
  • U.S. beer sales in 2011: $98 billion.
  • Increase over 2010: 2 percent.
  • U.S. retail establishments that sell beer: 547,000.
  • Beer distributors in the U.S.: 3,300.
  • Alabama counties where beer can’t be sold: 1 (out of 67: Clay County).
  • Alabama’s beer tax: $1.05 (second highest in the nation).
  • Kentucky counties where beer can’t be sold: 39 (out of 120).
  • Kentucky’s beer tax: 8 cents per gallon (tied with 3 other states for 4th lowest).
  • The Friday Mash (Town and Gown Edition)

    Think today’s college towns are crazy? On this day in 1355, a dispute over the quality of ale in an Oxford, England, tavern touched off the St. Scholastica’s Day Riot, an armed clash between University of Oxford students and townspeople that resulted in more than 90 deaths.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where a hockey and beer exhibition has opened at Confederation Centre of the Arts. This weekend, all of PEI is celebrating “Hockey Day in Canada.”

    Alan Newman, the founder of Magic Hat Brewing Company, told a local paper that he’s not amused by beer geeks who focus too much on how big a brewery is and who owns it.

    The Belgian Post Office has issued a series of stamps honoring the country’s six Trappist breweries. The stamps feature bottles, caps, and glasses filled with these famous beers.

    The Brewers Association has released its 2012 Beer Style Guildelines. New to the list this year is Indigenous Beer, which takes in the likes of Finnish-style sahti, South American chicha, and African sorghum-based beers.

    Dogfish Head Artisan Ales didn’t run any ads during this year’s Super Bowl, but it got some unexpected–and enviable–publicity during the big game: Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron showed up at a party with a case of 60 Minute IPA., which calls itself “an unbiased guide to fine living,” is out with its list of the world’s 50 best beers. Let the debate begin.

    Finally (and you knew we’d find a college-related story), researchers at University College Cork in Ireland have developed a taste-retaining low-alcohol beer. Ludwig wants to know whether it’s less filling as well.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • This year’s production of Pliny the Younger: 307 kegs.
  • Increase over last year: 30 percent.
  • Pliny’s alcohol content: 10.7% ABV.
  • U.K. beer sales last year: 26 million barrels.
  • Change from 2010: Down 3.5 percent.
  • U.S. total spending on beer in 2010: $101 billion.
  • Spending per household on beer: $1.321.
  • Samuel Adams’s production at its Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, brewery: 5,000 barrels per day.
  • Lehigh Valley’s share of Sam Adams’s total production: 2/3.
  • Super Bowls in which Sam Adams has advertised: 1.
  • Cities in which Old Milwaukee Super Bowl’s commercial aired: 1 (North Platte, Nebraska).
  • TV homes to which the commercial was aired: 15,800.
  • Length of the commercial: 52 seconds.
  • Dividend yield on Anheuser Busch InBev shares: 1.7 percent.
  • Yield on SABMiller shares: 2.4 percent.
  • A-B’s Ads: Not So Super?

    In the past ten years, Anheuser-Busch has spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on Super Bowl ads. The ads are an artistic success, so much so that people put off their trip to the bathroom to watch football-playing Clydesdales and singing frogs. But have they helped sell the product? According to a study by 24/7 Wall St., the answer is no. It ranks A-B number one in money wasted, pointing out that in the past decade, its market share has fallen by 3.7 percent and its flagship brand, Budweiser, has fallen to number-three behind Coors Light.

    Beer…By the Numbers

    Time out for trivia!

  • Percentage of drinkers who feel more attractive after having a few beers: 33.
  • Percentage of drinkers who feel others are more attractive after having a few beers: 25.
  • Imperial stouts on’s top ten beer list: 7.
  • Beers on’s top 50 list with “imperial” in their style: 39.
  • Craft breweries that can their beer: approximately 100.
  • Cost of a can of Walgreen’s Big Flats 1901 Lager beer: 50 cents.
  • Cost of a can of National Bohemian beer in Baltimore: 55 cents.
  • Pints of beer the Bottoms Up Draft Beer Dispensing System can fill in one minute: 56.
  • States that allow beer to be sold in grocery stores: 35.
  • Decrease in German beer consumption from 2009 to 2010: 1.7 percent.
  • Decrease in British beer consumption from 2009 to 2010: 3.9 percent.
  • Busch family’s ownership of Anheuser-Busch on the eve of its acquisition by InBev: 4 percent.
  • Price of one share of Boston Beer Company (ticker symbol: SAM): $90.01 (closing price on January 31).
  • Beer consumption on Super Sunday, compared to the average mid-winter day: 20 percent higher.
  • Budweiser commercials to be shown during the Super Bowl: 1.
  • Bud Light commercials to be shown during the Super Bowl: 3.
  • Super Sunday Quick Kicks

    It looks like the marketing people at Anheuser-Busch have called a double reverse. Bowing to criticism, they’ve decided to keep the Budweiser Clydesdales in their Super Bowl ads. This will be their 16th Super Bowl appearance.

    In his Never-Ending Super Bowl blog post, Draft magazine’s Christopher Staten indulges in “a simpler, more refined age” of beer ads, turning back the clocks to “when beer was celebrated with class.” Warning: contains retro beer commercials.

    Dan Boone of The Bleacher Report offers an amusing Super Bowl drinking game. Here are just a couple: “Drink if you see Ditka. Buy Ditka a drink if he is sitting next to you. Buy Ditka two if he is choking you because he just dropped fifty grand on the over” and “Drink at the appearance of any talking animal, alien, or Kardashian”.

    According to The Nielsen Company, this is not the biggest day of the year for beer drinking. The Fourth of July is. In fact, Super Sunday only ranks seventh.

    The final word goes to Duane Thomas, who once asked: “If the Super Bowl is the ultimate game, then how come they’re going to play it again next year?”

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