Washington State

The Friday Mash (Tool Time Edition)

On this day in 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall saw chimpanzees creating tools in a national park in Tanzania. It was the first time anyone had seen animals do that, and it exploded the long-standing belief that humans were the only species capable of tool-making.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Norcia, Italy, where last week’s earthquake destroyed the historic Basilica of St. Benedict. Sixteen years ago, American monks acquired the basilica and set up a brewing operation to raise funds for its restoration.

Last year’s freakishly warm winter grabbed the attention of hops farmers in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. Fearing that global warming will bring on more such winters, they’re looking for ways to use less water growing the hops and less energy drying them.

An Israeli start-up called Glassify is selling beer glasses with an embedded microchip in the base. The chip can link to a smartphone app and send demographic information back to breweries, while offering consumers product promotions in return.

Texas authorities are looking for Achilles Salazar, a forklift operator who stole 719 twelve-packs of Dos Equis beer—$90,000 worth—from the distributor he worked for. A law-enforcement officer described the size of the heist as “most unusual”.

In Colorado, a driverless truck delivered a load of beer from Budweiser’s Fort Collins brewery to Colorado Springs. The truck was operated by Otto, a company owned by the ride-sharing company Uber.

Long Root Ale is the first beer to use kernza, the trade name for a type of wheat that originated in Asia. Because kernza is a perennial, it’s easier on the environment because farmers don’t have to plow up their land and re-plant the crop every year.

Finally, ten years after the Big Buck Brewery in Auburn Hills, Michigan, closed its doors, a local beer distributor bought the 50-foot-tall bottle that stood outside the establishment. It will be be transported to the distributor’s headquarters and repainted as a Bud Light bottle.

The Friday Mash (Blowout Edition)

One hundred years ago today, Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University, 222-0, in the most lopsided college football game of all time. Tech coach John Heisman had an incentive to run up the score: back then, football rankings were based on margin of victory, not strength of schedule.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Asheville, North Carolina, where Catawba Brewing has honored a native son, author Thomas Wolfe, with a beer called Wolfeman Kolsch. Its ingredients include hops grown in western North Carolina.

Even though the economy has improved since the Great Recession, beer sales at bars and restaurants have stayed flat. Factors include competition from brewery taprooms and growlers.

Two more non-beer companies are rolling out their own beers: Vice Media and the clothing company Patagonia, Inc.

In the UK, the brewery count has topped 1,700. An industry analyst says that some of the country’s craft breweries are attractive acquisition targets.

Some in the brewing industry oppose legal marijuana for fear of losing market share. However, that hasn’t happened in Colorado and Washington State, where recreational pot is legal.

Entrepreneur Josephine Uwineza plans to open a brewpub in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It will not only be Rwanda’s only women-owned brewery but also the country’s first-ever craft brewery.

Finally, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals raised eyebrows by claiming that beer is healthier than milk. PETA contends that beer can strengthen bones and extend life, while milk is linked to obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • U.S. Senate sponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act: 51.
  • U.S. House sponsors of that bill: 100.
  • Value of Ireland’s beer exports in 2015: €265 million ($300 million).
  • Increase over 2014: 16 percent.
  • Average cost of a pint of beer in the UK this year: £3.47 ($4.61).
  • Increase over last year: 1p.
  • Licensed premises’ share of UK beer sales in 2015: 49 percent. For the first time in history, it fell below 50 percent.
  • Decline in UK licensed premises’ beer sales from 1980 until 2015: 44 percent.
  • Projected U.S. hop harvest for this year: 92 million pounds.
  • Acres of U.S. farmland on which hops are currently grown: 51,000.
  • Increase over 2011 acreage: 20,000 acres (64.5 percent).
  • Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales in Washington State in 2015: $64.6 million.
  • Tax revenue from beer sales in Washington State in 2015: $30.8 million.
  • Market capitalization of merged corporations SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev: $245 billion.
  • SAB Miller-Anheuser-Busch InBev merger’s rank on the all-time mergers list: 4th. The combined company is the world’s fifth-largest brand.
  • The Hop Doctor is In

    A casual acquaintance with “Dr. Paul Matthews IPA” led writer Russell Shorto to the doctor himself. The man whose brewery made that ale called Matthews “Lord of the Hops”. However, Matthew describes himself more modestly: “I’m a plant engineer and evolutionary biologist.”

    Matthews is the senior research scientist at Hopsteiner, a major hops trader and processor in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. Hopsteiner is a beneficiary of America’s IPA boom. It has ratcheted up demand for hops but, on the other hand, has kept hops suppliers scrambling to meet changing tastes. And that has kept Matthews—pun intended—hopping around the world in search of new varieties.

    Matthews has gone to out-of-the-way places such as Arizona’s Sky Islands, surrounded by miles of desert; and the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where for years people have used wild hops to cure their breads and as a folk medicine.

    Even though the hop plant is closely related to the cannabis plant, Matthews isn’t interested in psychoactive beer. But, he says, others are looking into it.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Increase in imported beer sales, by volume, in the U.S. in 2015: 9.9 percent. Mexican brands were largely responsible for the increase.
  • Increase in Mexican-brewed beer sales, by volume, in the U.S. in 2015: 14.2 percent.
  • Years since the founding of the Campaign for Real Ale: 45.
  • CAMRA membership in May 2016: 179,118.
  • World-wide compound average growth rate for the beer industry between 2008 and 2014: 1.8 percent.
  • Compound average growth rate for Africa’s beer industry between 2008 and 2014: 6.4 percent.
  • Compound average growth rate for Asia’s beer industry between 2008 and 2014: 4 percent.
  • U.S. Brewery openings in 2015: 620.
  • U.S. Brewery closings in 2015: 68.
  • Washington State’s current brewery count: 307.
  • Microbreweries’ share of Washington State’s brewery count: 71.7 percent (220 in all).
  • Industry-wide average price of a case of beer $22.50.
  • Average price of a case of Heineken beer $28.50.
  • Length of Heineken’s contract with Formula 1 racing: 5 years.
  • Estimated amount Heineken will pay F1: £100 million ($145 million
  • 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.
  • Western Drought to Drive Up the Price of Beer?

    Seventy-three percent of America’s hops are grown in Washington State, which has suffered from drought conditions and hot weather. A lack of rain, combined with water-usage restrictions, could lead to smaller yields and even shortages in popular varieties such as Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops.

    A hops shortage will also translate into higher prices which, in turn, will drive up the price of beer. Even though brewers have contracts for most of this year’s crop, spot prices are expected to rise; and brewers without contracts for 2016 can expect to pay higher prices for hops. Even if the rains come before the upcoming harvest, hops prices are still likely to go up because demand will be greater and no additional acreage will be planted next year.

    Marijuana “Brew” in Washington State

    Edible marijuana products are available in the two states where recreational pot is legal. Now customers can buy “marijuana brew” in Washington State. Mirth Provisions, a maker of edibles, has debuted the “Legal” line of cannabis-infused beverages. A bottle, which contains 10 mg of liquid cannabis–the equivalent of one joint–retails for $10. “Legal” is available in three flavors, Sparkling Rainier Cherry, Sparkling Lemon Ginger, and Sparking Pomegranate; and coffee drinks will be available soon.

    The Friday Mash (Dance Fever Edition)

    On this day in 1834, French artist Edgar Degas was born. Degas was famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with dancers, who accounted for more than half of his works.

    And now (cue up the dance music)….The Mash!

    We begin in Oak Park, Michigan, where City Council legalized beer and wine sales by the drink. The city voted itself dry in 1945.

    No, it’s not your imagination. Mosquitoes love to attack beer drinkers Just one beer could make you more attractive to those pesky insects.

    The way the Chicago Cubs are playing, their fans need a few cold ones. Fortunately, there’s an army of beer vendors to serve them. Wrigley Field ranks first in the major leagues for beer sales.

    Now that Hogwarts graduates are old enough to drink something stronger than butterbeer, Foodbeast.com has come up with Harry Potter beers they wish were real.

    According to the Washington Post, the nation’s capital is becoming a craft beer Mecca. One reason: D.C.’s liquor laws allow bars to buy directly from the brewery.

    Comic-Con is underway in San Diego, and Stone Brewing Company has teamed up with actor, author and homebrewer Wil Wheaton to make a pecan-laced imperial stout for the event.

    Finally, Redhook Ale Brewery and a Seattle-area micro are celebrating Washington State’s legalization of marijuana with Joint Effort Hemp Ale. Its tap handle looks like a giant yellow bong.

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