Oregon Brewers Festival adds European breweries to mix

April 4th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

The Oregon Brewers Festival has invited 11 breweries from the Netherlands plus one from Germany to add their beers to the already imposing lineup for the 27th annual event July 23-27 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland.

The European breweries will serve their beers in the festival’s Specialty Tent, an area where an additional four dozen vintage, barrel aged, blends and esoteric one-offs are offered.

Dubbed NL to PDX (#NLtoPDX), the program started when festival director Art Larrance learned that Portland has a Friendship City relationship with the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Upon visiting, he discovered a growing craft brewing movement that reminded him of the Northwest craft beer industry in the 1980s. “Featuring international brewers is a natural extension for the OBF,” Larrance said in a press release. “We want to develop a long term cultural exchange and share our passion, knowledge and friendship with these brewers as part of a collective celebration of great craft beer.”

Eighty-six breweries from around the country will serve beer in the main tent.

Admission into the festival grounds is free. Those who want to drink beer must buy a 2014 souvenir 12.8-ounce tasting glass for $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full glass of beer, or one token for a taste. There are no advance tickets sold to the festival; all purchases are made on-site.

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First stout-specific glass unveiled

April 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Spiegelau stout glassGlassware maker Spiegelau had collaborated with two breweries known for making excellent stouts to lanuch the first stout-specified beerglass. The Spiegelau x Left Hand Brewing Company x Rogue Ales Stout Glass was developed over a yearlong series of design workshops and tasting panels led by Riedel crystal glassware owner Georg Riedel and Spiegelau vice president Matthew Rutkowski. Eric Wallace of Left Hand Brewing Company, Brett Joyce of Rogue Ales and experts from each brewery tested a selection of stouts ranging from Rogue Ales’ Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout to Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout.

Speaking about the project for a press release, Rutkowski said, “Witnessing Stout beers explode onto the American craft beer scene was a light bulb moment for me… I realized we could do for stout what we did for IPAs. Left Hand and Rogue are known leaders and innovators in the field of stout brewing, so they were obvious partners, and I was thrilled when they wanted to get on board.”

“John Maier, our brew master, was intimately involved with the tasting and selection process of the stout glass,” Joyce said for the press release. “The final glass that Spiegelau designed and we selected highlights the flavors and nuances of stouts best.”

Wallace added, “At Left Hand, we are committed to constantly improving beer quality and the beer drinker’s experience”

The glass is available for purchase through www.SpiegelauUSA.com and retailers nationwide. Branded versions with brewery logos are available through www.rogue.com and www.lefthandbrewing.com, respectively.

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Magazine honors Full Sail Brewing

March 28th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Beverage World magazine has chosen Full Sail Brewing as “Craft Brewer of the Year.” The publication cites Full Sail for 26 years of “sustainable stewardship, quality, consistency and operational ingenuity.”

“It’s a great honor to receive this recognition from Beverage World,” Irene Firmat, Full Sail’s Founder and CEO, said for a press release. “When we founded Full Sail in 1987 there were only a handful of small breweries in the country and we were fortunate to be one of those early, pioneering brewers. We were inspired by the idea of bringing a fresh perspective to American beer culture by emphasizing complexity, creativity, and sophistication. We believe that one of life’s greatest joys is in celebrating moments big and small with friends, family, good food, and of course, good beer. The craft beer industry has grown and changed tremendously over these 26 years, as there are now over 3,000 breweries nationwide. Within this intensely competitive framework, we are thrilled that Full Sail has been named Craft Brewer of the Year. It is with a sense of pride and deep appreciation that we acknowledge this accolade from Beverage World.”

In the magazine, Firmat said, “Our idea of being sustainable is what our grandparents used to call being cheap.And that’s how we really like to talk about it because sometimes it can feel so esoteric, like ‘you can’t afford to do this, or that.’ But part of it for us is that because we’re an employee-owned company, things have to make financial sense. And all of the things we do from a sustainability point of view are sustainable not just for the environment, but financially as well. That’s where it gets interesting because you can engage a lot of people and not have it be, ‘I’m holier than thou’ or ‘I’m this green purist.’ No, it’s really good for business.”

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Stone donates $100,000 in memory of brewer

March 10th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Stone Brewing is donating $100,000 to the memory of brewer Matt Courtright, who died following an accident at the brewery last year.

Stone recently released a beer it calls Matt’s Burning Rosids Imperial Cherrywood-Smoked Saison, based on one of his recipes. The $100,000 donation is made possible by proceeds from the sale of the beer.

The non-profits that will benefit are GoDesignInc.org, which is devoted to meeting the architectural needs of developing communities around the world; and TKF – Tariq Khamisa Foundation, which is working to stop youth violence by educating, mentoring and making positive impacts on youths in high-risk communities. The Matt Courtright Memorial Brewing Scholarship is being administered through the Southern California District of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA), and will provide tuition assistance to one of the three brewing technical schools offered by the MBAA.

“All of Team Stone, especially the brew crew, was deeply saddened to lose a beloved and vital talent from our group,” Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele said for a press release. “As soon as I tasted the small batch Matt had made of Burning Rosids, it was decided without hesitation that this amazing recipe would be a wonderful way to pay tribute to all of the contributions he gave us, while also donating funds to causes he whole-heartedly respected.”

Courtright was operating a forklift at the brewery last August when the machine rolled over on him. He died from the resulting injuries.

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Brewers Association revises mission, craft brewer definition

March 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

The Brewers Association Board of Directors has approved changes to its statements of purpose, mission, core values and beliefs, as well as its definition of craft brewer.

“The changes to fundamental elements of our industry were undertaken with significant deliberation and consideration of many voices,” Paul Gatza, Brewers Association director, said for a press release explaining the changes. “In November 2013, at the board’s direction, the BA surveyed our voting brewery members regarding the ‘foundational documents’ of our association. The results gave us ample member input on these matters of critical importance as the Board headed into its strategic planning meeting.”

The press release outlined what has changed.

Purpose

Slightly revised, the Brewers Association now states its purpose as: To promote and protect American craft brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.

“In spirit and action, our purpose remains unchanged,” said board chair Gary Fish of Deschutes Brewery. “Removing the previous reference to ‘craft beers’ — which the Brewers Association does not define, but rather leaves to the beer enthusiast — allows the focus to remain on the craft brewers the BA works to promote and protect.”

Mission

The Brewers Association mission now states:

By 2020, America’s craft brewers will have more than 20 percent market share and will continue to be recognized as making the best beer in the world. We will:
– Promote access to raw materials and markets
– Support research and advances in safety, sustainability, education, technology and raw materials
– Exercise political influence to secure fair legislative and regulatory treatment
– Foster the commitment to quality
– Educate consumers to understand and champion beer from craft brewers
– Cultivate new ideas and a commitment to a living and active beer culture among craft brewers, homebrewers and beer enthusiasts

“The 20-by-‘20 objective is an aspirational goal for our craft community, with an inspiring symmetry. I’m convinced this goal is within our reach if we, as an industry, continue to focus on our strengths and passions—making and delivering high-quality, innovative, full-flavored beer to craft beer enthusiasts,” Fish said.

Core Values & Beliefs

The Brewers Association core values & beliefs are now described as follows:

- Promoting and celebrating the small, independent, traditional and innovative culture of American craft brewers
– Vigorously defending our industry and providing craft brewers with a unified voice
– Fostering transparency within our own organization
– Supporting and encouraging the responsible enjoyment of beer
– Providing stewardship for 10,000 years of brewing history
– Educating brewers and consumers about the diversity, flavor and quality of beer
– Improving the economic health of American craft brewers
– Working to build a collegial community of brewers, homebrewers and brewing enthusiasts
– Promoting ethical and legal trade practices
– Building relationships and collaborating with our industry partners

Among the changes, the word “innovative” was added to the first bullet point.

Craft Brewer Definition

The three pillars of the craft brewer definition remain the same; however, under the BA Board’s direction, some elements of each pillar have been modified to reflect the evolution within the industry. Specifically, the craft brewer definition now states:

An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.
– Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
– Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
– Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

Small

While the “small” component of the craft brewer definition previously encompassed the flavored malt beverage (FMB) exclusion—as FMBs are not beer—that language is now contained within the traditional segment of the definition, where it more appropriately applies. The update also added a parenthetical “(approximately 3 percent of annual U.S. sales),” which gives context to the small percentage that 6 million barrels or less of annual production represents vis-a-vis overall beer industry sales.

Independent

The revised language more tightly aligns with common beverage alcohol terminology used throughout the beer, wine, spirits and FMB businesses.

Traditional

The revised definition recognizes that adjunct brewing is quite literally traditional, as brewers have long brewed with what has been available to them.

“The revisions to the craft brewer definition reflect the evolution in thinking regarding the elements of the definition. As the industry continues to rapidly advance, so must the framework that upholds and reflects it,” Gatza said.

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21st Amendment finds San Leandro home

February 19th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Co-founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan have announced plans to for a new 21st Amendment production brewery, tasting room, restaurant and event space located in the former Kellogg Cereal factory building in San Leandro, Calif.

They expect the facility to open later this year and have an initial brewing capacity of 100,000 barrels (a barrel equals 31 gallons), and be scalable to over 250,000 barrels. The company expects to brew over 70,000 barrels in 2014.

“Since we began packaging our beer six years ago with our Minnesota partner brewery, we have never been able to keep up with demand,” Freccia said for a press release. “Building our own local brewery will allow us to continue to focus on improving quality and consistency, and to expand into new markets where our beer is in demand.”

O’Sullivan added, “Both Nico and I are excited about making more interesting beers with our unique packaging that craft beer drinkers have come to know and love. It’s every brewer’s dream to open their own brewery and this is truly a dream come true for us.”

The facility will include a tasting room and retail area as well as the company’s headquarters. Phase two will commence in 2015 and will include a full restaurant/pub, beer garden, event and meeting rooms and more.

21st Amendment will be installing a 100 barrel, four-vessel GEA/Huppmann brew house — engineered in Germany and made in the United States #151; with an initial capacity of eight brews per day.

The company plans to continue to also have beer made under contract in Cold Spring, Minn.

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TTB says 948 new brewery permits issued

February 12th, 2014 | Posted by Real Beer

Number of active breweries in US

The Beer Institute reports the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) registered 948 new “permitted breweries” in 2013 and there are now 3,699 active.

Analysis by the Beer Institute showed that the majority of the new permits issued in 2013 went to brewpubs. It also found four states account for one-third of all breweries in the United States: California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon.

“We have tracked the industry since our preceding trade association was first founded in 1862, and there’s a story in these numbers. Beer is constantly evolving in the U.S., with more small brewers than ever before, more brands being introduced by national brewers and growing interest in imports,” Chris Thorne, vice president of communications at the Beer Institute, said for a press release.

“There was a long period of consolidation in the industry, but during that same period, beer became the most popular drink in America. Thanks in great part to the small brewer tax credit, today we’re seeing more small brewers than ever before. But consumers are also increasingly less loyal to beer, and that is a challenge for every brewer of any size,” Thorne said.

More than 90% of permitted breweries produce less than 60,000 barrels annually.

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