Goose Island puts the black in Black Friday

November 18th, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Co. once again plans to help make Black Friday, the day otherwise known as a grand shopping event, more beer friendly.

The brewery will release several varieties of its Bourbon County Brand Stouts nationwide and hold special events in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Austin.

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Former brewmaster Greg Hall made first by Bourbon County Stout in 1992 to mark the 1,000th batch of beer brewed a what was then a brewpub. At the time, no other commercial brewery in the country was aging beers in bourbon barrels with the intention of extracting some of the remaining flavors. Now breweries around the world put beer in used spirits barrels.

Friday, Nov. 29, Goose Island will release:

- Bourbon County Brand Stout, an imperial stout, that at 14.5% ABV lives up the the name. It is sold in four packs of 12-ounce bottles.

- Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, brewed using coffee roasted from Intelligentsia Coffee, which is next door to Goose Island’s Fulton Street production brewery. 14.3% ABV and also sold in four packs.

- Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, which is new in 2013 and is aged in the third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then Bourbon County Brand Stout. 14.2% ABV and sold in four packs.

- Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout, also new for 2013. Aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with fresh mulberries, marionberries, and boysenberries. This one is sold in 22-ounce bottles.

- Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout,a small batch brewed exclusively for Chicago. For 2013, it was aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with coconut toasted by hand by the Goose Island brewers. Sold in 22-ounce bottles.

This is the fourth year Goose Island is releasing Bourbon County Brands on Black Friday. More than 400 people lined up in Chicago last year for the special releases, and the company expects similar excitement in other cities this year. To learn more about the events visit the brewery’s Facebook page.

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Homebrewers make 1% of beer brewed in US

November 13th, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

A survey conducted for the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) indicates that homebrewers produce more than 2 million barrels of beer a year, a barrel being 31 gallons. This represents one percent of total U.S. beer production.

According to the survey, there are an estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States. Two-thirds of them began brewing in 2005 or later.

“The homebrewing community is in every corner of the country and highly engaged in this hobby,” AHA director Gary Glass said for a press release. “From the amount of money spent on supplies to the sheer number of homebrewers, it’s clear this is a growing trend and people are incredibly interested in learning about and making their own brews at home.”

From the survey:

- Demographics: The average homebrewer is 40 years old, with most (60%) falling between 30 and 49 years old. The majority of homebrewers are married or in a domestic partnership (78%), have a college degree or some form of higher education (69%), and are highly affluent — nearly 60% of homebrewers have household incomes of $75,000 or more.

- Location: Homebrewers are fairly evenly spread across the country, with the slight plurality congregated in the West (31%), followed by the South (26%), Midwest (23%) and the fewest in the Northeast (17%).

- Production: In terms of brew production, homebrewers mainly stick to beer — 60 percent of respondents brew only beer at home, compared to wine, mead or cider. AHA members and people affiliated with the AHA on average brewed nearly 10 batches of beer per year, at 7 gallons a batch, which is 15% more batches and nearly 30% more volume than homebrewers who were not affiliated with the AHA.

Retail: Nearly all homebrewers (95%) shop in two local homebrew stores eight or nine times a year, while a majority (80%) also shops in three online stores five times a year. On average, homebrewers spend $800 a year—about $460 on general supplies and ingredients, and $330 on equipment.

The survey was completed by more than 18,000 homebrewers via an online survey from July 30 to September 3, 2013. Of the respondents, 65% were members of the AHA, and 35% were unaffiliated homebrewers.

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Budweiser Project 12 offers more ZIP code beers

October 18th, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

Budweiser’s Project 12 – the program that produced Budweiser Black Crown – returns with three new ZIP code beers this month.

This is the second year that Anheuser-Busch has packaged three beers that are named for the ZIP codes of the breweries where they were created. Each is fermented with the same yeast strain Budweiser has been using since Adolphus Busch founded the brewery in 1876. The beers are sold in a 12-pack that includes:

Batch 94534 (Fairfield, Calif.): Brewed with a of Northwest American hop varieties, including Cascade and Palisade. 5.5% ABV.

Batch 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.): Aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans. 5.5% ABV.

Batch 43229 (Columbus, Ohio): Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts and finished on Beechwood chips. 6% ABV.

Budweiser served the beers last week at the Great American Beer Festival.

“We think of Project 12 as the innovation arm of Budweiser,” Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser, told CNBC. “We see it not as a competition but a collaboration among our brewers.”

Budweiser has offered samples of the beer at the Made in America Music Festival on Labor Day each of the last two years. “Last year at the Made in America Music Festival, 85 percent of the people that tried the Project 12 beers had a higher perception of Budweiser than they did before they tried those beers,” Perkins said. “This year 93 percent of those that tried the Project 12 beers had a greater appreciation for Budweiser. That’s huge for us.”

Last year, Budweiser introduced Budweiser Black Crown – originally known as Project 12’s Batch 91406 – as a permanent Budweiser brand during Super Bowl XLVI. Perkins did not rule out the possibility of a similar brand extension based on this year’s beers, but said that was not planned currently.

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Duvel Moortgat buys Boulevard Brewing

October 17th, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery today announced a deal to buy Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, the 12-largest craft brewery in the United States.

Michel Moorgat, whose family owns the Belgian company, indicated that it plans to expand distribution of Boulevard both in the United States and throughout the world. “I see here in Europe that consumers are getting more and more interested in American craft beers,” he told The New York Times. “In the future, with this partnership, we will be able to develop the taste for those beers more substantially here and in other countries like Japan and China.”

Boulevard founder John McDonald will remain a “substantial” shareholder and have a seat on the board in the combined company. Boulevard will sell about 180,000 barrels (a barrels contains 31 gallons of beer) this year, but ultimately, with the investment Moortgat will provide, could make more than 800,000 barrels. Its flagship Unfiltered Wheat accounts for well over half of production, but it is better known among beer fans for its Smokestack series. That includes regular offerings like Tank 7 as well as seasonal releases such as Saison Brett and Bourbon Barrel Quad.

“Since I started Boulevard in 1989, the company’s long-term future has always been top of mind,” McDonald said. “I wanted to find a way to take the business to the next level while retaining its essence, its people, its personality—all the characteristics that make our beer and our brewery so important to Kansas City and the Midwest.”

“Our path for growth became abundantly clear as I got to know John and Boulevard,” Moortgat said. “Our companies share the same values. We have great mutual respect for each other’s achievements and maintain a deeply-held belief in exceptional quality as the platform for long-term success.”

The transaction between the two privately-held companies is expected to close by the end of the year; no financial details will be disclosed. First Beverage Group acted as advisor to Boulevard.

Moortgat was one of the original members of the partnership that started Brewery Ommegang in 1996, and eventually bought 100 percent control of that brewery. As well as brewing the iconic Duvel it owns several other brands in Europe, including La Chouffe and De Knoninck.

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Michigan considers 16-ounce ‘pint-size’ law

October 7th, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

A bill introduced last week would amend the Michigan Liquor Control Act to require each pint of beer have at least 16 ounces. It would make it an offense to “advertise or sell any glass of beer as a pint in this state unless that glass contains at least 16 ounces of beer.”

Rep. Brandon Dillon, R-Grand Rapids and a co-sponsor of the bill, said short pints aren’t the most pressing issue facing the state, but “a lot of people, I think, would appreciate knowing what they get when they order a pint.”

Some pint-style beer glasses with thicker bottoms hold as little as 12 to 14 ounces.

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Pumpkin brewers hold carving contest

October 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales carved pumpkin

Voting has begun in The Big Craft CarveOff organized by New Belgium Brewing. The Colorado brewery and seven others have put their carving skills on display and consumers may vote for their favorites at Eater.com. New Belgium will donate $5,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. Voting ends Oct. 15.

New Belgium’s carved entry celebrates its current seasonal release, Pumpkick Ale. Pumpkick is brewed with cranberries as well as the other ingredients association with pumpkin pies.

Other breweries participating in the carving contest include: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Cigar City Brewing, Cambridge Brewing Company, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (pictured above), Saint Arnold Brewing and Saint Louis Brewery/Schlafly Beer.

“It was a little tricky for some breweries to find pumpkins this early in the season, so we actually had to ship some from Fort Collins,” said New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson. “The results speak volumes as to how many creative folks we have in our industry. Pretty inspiring.”

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More ’10% for KC’ beneficiaries picked

October 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Real Beer

Boulevard Brewing announced KC Pet Project was the consumer favorite in its first “10% for KC” voting.

The new program, which donates 10% of the proceeds from KC Pils sales in the Kansas City area, splits the donation among three charities based on online voting. KC Pet Project had 56% of the votes and will receive 60% of the funds raised through the program. The American Jazz Museum and the KC Care Clinic will get 20% each of the total contributions.

Though final dollar figures will not be available until next week, approximately $30,000 will be divided among the organizations.

“Response from the organizations and consumers has been overwhelming,” said Jeremy Ragonese, Boulevard’s director of marketing. “KC Pet Project took the opportunity and ran with it. Their enthusiasm, along with the creativity and passion demonstrated by the other two participants, fulfilled our desire to bring attention to these worthy causes and give back to hometown charities.”

Boulevard will donate to three different groups each quarter. Consumers will be able to vote for First Downs for Down Syndrome, the Midwest Music Foundation, or Synergy Services in the fourth quarter.

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