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Nov 23, 2014

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RBPMail 2.04, April 1996

Real Beer Page Mail (RBPMail) began as a modest update to craft-brew events on the WWW. It evolved into a news digest and sometimes editorial forum. We present its contents here much as they were emailed to subscribers. Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.

In this issue:

Are There Two Beer Industries?

This industry analysis comes from a Washington Post Business writer: "There are changes brewing in the beer industry, where companies are positioning themselves to hold on during the next few years, when sales are expected to be as flat as a day-old beer. The same demographic slump that hit colleges and universities during the 1980s is hitting brewers now. The number of people entering their twenties, the peak beer-drinking years, is shrinking and won't recover for another year or two. Then the children of the baby boomers will start celebrating their 21st birthdays in large numbers, providing some relief. In the meantime, although the number of small brewers continues to increase, at the other end of the scale there is some consolidation.(Source: Martha Hamlin, The Washington Post, March 12, Tuesday, Financial, Pg. C01). When analysts speak of flat beer markets in the face of microbrewing growth, be aware of whom they represent.

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Massachusetts Proposes Alcoholic Beverage Deregulation

Regulations that keep distributor prices safe are under attack by a bill being introduced by Governor William Weld. The Weld administration estimates a six-pack of beer costs consumers at least 75 cents more -- 10-15% of the price -- than it would with deregulation. Current laws have a direct cost in higher prices and business diverted to local states without regulations. (Source: Boston Herald, March 8, 1996, Friday, Editorial, Pg. 024)

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Molson Opposes LCBO Sell-Off

Molson is concerned with losing its monopoly, so the Harris government at Queen's Park shouldn't rush into the privatization liquor sales. John Barnett, president of Molson Breweries of Canada, says speculation about a sell-off of Liquor Control Board Ontario stores makes beer companies uneasy because there are several similarities between the LCBO system and the Brewers Retail system controlled by Molson and Labatt. Both are monopoly sellers which help government meet three objectives -limiting the sale of alcohol to persons under 19, collecting taxes efficiently, and offering consumers an extensive choice of drink. If the liquor store monopoly is broken, says Barnett, there will be immediate pressure to open up the retail distribution of beer through grocery and convenience stores. Government will want to keep its large tax revenues intact and the cost of the extra layer of retail service "will make prices to the consumer go up or brewers' margins go down." ... Barnett argues Queen's Park would do better to tax home brewing kits and u-brew shops, which now account for about 7% of all beer consumed, on the same basis as commercial beer. (Source: John Deverell, Toronto Star, March 8, Friday, Business, Pg. C3)

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Beer Camp Attracts Big Crowds

200 campers from 36 states celebrated Beer Camp last month at Oldenberg's famous Brewery and Beer Museum. The camp combines education of topics ranging from history to off-flavors, beer dinners, pub crawls, recreation and, of course, beer sampling from a selection of nearly 400 beers flown in fresh for the event from all areas of the globe. Beer camp takes place twice a year, in the Spring and Fall. (Source: Tina King, The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 24, Sunday, Metro, Pg. B1B) To learn more about the event, see http://realbeer.com/oldenberg/

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Bud Buys Texas Parks And Wildlife Honors

It costs $150,00 to have a brand name associated with the highest-profile Texas Parks and Wildlife fisheries program. That's what A-B paid to have the name of Operation Share A Lunker changed to Bud ShareLunker. While in a dealing mood, TP&W threw in the Angler Recognition Awards program, which will hence be called Bud's Best of Texas. The top Bud ShareLunker of the season will be dubbed the Bud Big One. Anglers under 21 will receive the standard old Angler Recognition Award. Perhaps hinting at the agency's attitude towards branding wildlife, Executive Director Andy Sansom tells a story about his former boss at the Nature Conservancy who once was asked how it felt to accept tainted money. "'Taint enough," was his response. (Source: Ray Sasser, Dallas Morning News, March 24, Sunday, Sports/Outdoors, Pg. 23B)

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Airport Breweries Taking Off

Airports see opportunity in an increase of economy flights that combine no- frills snacks instead of meals and multiple stop-overs. Turning the captive audience into retail sales won't be an easy undertaking. Food cooked and sold at airports has gotten a bad rap over the years, most often being described by consumers as stale, tasteless and way too expensive. But companies that operate airport food and retail concessions are trying to change that attitude by bringing in well-recognized brand name restaurants and microbreweries. For example, at Los Angeles International Airport, the restaurant mix includes an eatery operated by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and a contract-brewery concession complete with 8-foot rhino horns in the doorway to Rhino Chasers. (Source: Tracy Kolody, Ft. Lauderdale Sun- Sentinel, March 24, Sunday, Business, Pg. 1F).

Next time your in one of these airports, stop in for a craft brewed beer: Seattle-Tacoma: CJ Borg's Los Angeles: Rhino Chasers Los Angeles: Gordon-Biersch (opening this month) Boston: Sam Adams Brewhouse Portland International Jetport (Portland, ME): Shipyard Brewport Baltimore (BWI): Wild Goose
Shipyard Brewing Company (http://www.shipyard.com/shipyard) plans to open the first true airport brewery operation in Orlando this year.

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Contract Boost For Cincinnati Brewer

Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the oldest surviving breweries in America, is signing a long term contract production agreement with The Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams). Hudepohl Brewing Company was founded in 1885 and Schoenling Brewing Company in 1933. The relationship began last year when Hudepohl brewed Boston Beer's holiday beer, Old Fezziwig. This contract brewing relationship marks the fourth brewing alliance for Hudepohl- Schoenling, including: Coors-Blue Moon contract-brewed beers; Brown Forman for its Jack Daniels contract beers; and Calgary-based Big Rock Brewery Ltd., which brews Buzzard Breath Ale and Warthog Ale in Canada. An American Pale Ale, a Black Lager and a Hazelnut Brown Ale are the first beers that Hudepohl will contract-brew for Boston Beer. Each are homebrew recipes that won the World Homebrew Contest, and are scheduled for a Spring roll-out under the Longshot brand.

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WEB WATCH

Some hot new Real Beer sites have come to the Web. We think the breweries here compose a list of some of the best breweries in North America. Travel around the following URLs to take a tour of the diversity and strength of North America's craft-brew scene. Make sure you check out and bookmark the following:

American Specialty http://www.amcraftbeer.com Milwaukee, WI Celis Brewing http://www.Celis.com Austin, TX Clipper City http://www.ClipperCity.com Baltimore, MD Hart Brewing http://www.HartBrew.com Seattle, WA Leinenkugel's http://www.Leinie.com Chippewa Falls, WI McAuslan Brewing http://www.McAuslan.com Montreal, Canada Moylans Brewpub http://realbeer.com/moylans/ Novato, CA

McAuslan Brewing, founded by Peter McAuslan in 1989, is Quebec's foremost microbrewery and distributes widely in the US through All Saints Brands of Minneapolis. McAuslan's St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout was one of only nine beers worldwide to win a platinum medal at the first annual World Beer Championships held in Chicago in 1994. To find out more about the brewery, its products, merchandise, distribution and about brewing in general visit the McAuslan brewpage at http://www.mcauslan.com.

We are also pleased to present the Yankee Brew News online! Yankee Brew News is New England's premier brewspaper and now beer news web site. Take a look around and track features on beer happenings, restaurant /tavern reviews, new product /book features, brewers' profiles and their own Dr. Connard Brasseur. It's amber journalism of the highest order. Check them out at:

Please join us in welcoming Malt of the Earth (http://www.maltbev.com) to The Real Beer Page. Malt of the Earth is a beer of the month club that has come up with an innovative way to poll consumers as to their beer liking; The Brew Harvest Consumer Report. This on-line beer poll allows users to rate the beers of microbreweries around the country and Malt of the Earth will compile the results and use this data to choose their monthly selections. Each brewery listing in The Brew Harvest Consumer Report provides the current averaged consumer ratings in categories such as atmosphere, food, service, and beers. They have just recently come on-line so not all breweries have ratings yet. We encourage you to visit them and put in your "two cents worth".

Beer Related Mailing Lists

In our constant efforts to try and bring quality craft beer news to you in as simple a method as possible, we have created a page that will allow you to subscribe to the best beer related email newsletters on the Internet all from one place. Point your browser to http://realbeer.com/rbp/news/maillist.php and see how easy we've made it.

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STOCK WATCH

Wit-Trade Resumes Stock-Trading On Web

The Securities and Exchange Commission is allowing The Spring Street Brewing Company to resume the trading of its stock over the Internet. The company was the first company to attempt to sell stocks through a World Wide Web page, but was forced to suspend its activities, pending an SEC review to decide whether the trading system should be registered as a broker-dealer under the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. When Spring Street Brewing's "Wit-Trade" activity recommences on the Internet, it will comply with an SEC request that it place warnings on its Web page letting investors know the stock might be difficult to sell because it can't be traded on a regular stock exchange. (New York Times 26 Mar 96)

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Upper Canada Stock Sells Without Swells

The stock of the Toronto-based company edged up C12.5 cents (US 9 cents) to $8.125 (US$5.96) in brisk volume of 1.5 million shares in their debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Upper Canada did not skyrocket like recent U.S. craft beer offerings. "We now have the capital we need to grow," said Chairman Frank Heaps. Founded in 1984, Upper Canada brews 11 premium-priced ales and lagers, including Upper Canada Rebellion, Colonial Stout, Publican's, and Dark Ale. The initial public offering of over three million shares at C$8 (US$5.87) a share was heavily oversubscribed. The nearly C$25 million (US$18 million) proceeds will be used to expand the brewery's Toronto plant, pay off debt, and finance an acquisition, possibly in the United States. (Source: Darren Schuettler, Reuter Business Report, March 21, Thursday)

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ADVERTISING/MARKETING WATCH

Dogs, Frogs And Highly Organized Insects

An Advertising trade magazine applauded A-B's advertising strategy with the headline: "Campaign Clout, Budweiser's New Menagerie Hops To The Top Of The Ad Charts." The article continues: "After years of being outsmarted by the humor of its Bud Light offspring-except at the peak of 'Bud Bowl'-Budweiser emerged as America's most outstanding TV campaign for 1995. With able assists from other party animals (ants, clydesdales, etc...), the original frogs established that you don't need a beer drinker in beer ads... The final payoff was a long time coming. The brand had set off to shirk its 'your father's beer' image. Throw in a challenge from the latest fad of micro-breweries and the job becomes enormous. Bringing in creatures to the rescue wasn't completely without precedent. Alex the Dog made Stroh's a national brand; Spuds MacKenzie made Bud Light the best-selling light beer; and Red Dog has captured more than a 1% share of the market in just a year... And the results: Budweiser became the beer of preference as the advertising awareness among the younger prime group (21-27) tripled in less than a year, and the brand reduced the rate of decline." (Source: Advertising Age, March 18, Monday, News, Pg. 40)

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Whip It Good In The U.K.

A commercial for Boddingtons beer shows wig-wearing Mike Flowers performing the Sixties hit, "Release Me," in a kinky nightclub where regulars are dressed in rubber and leather. As he sings on stage, a man at the bar has his pint snatched away by a whip wielded by a sexy club-goer dressed as Catwoman, who then downs the pint. The robbed drinker then groans: "By 'eck, she's whipped me cream." Brewery executive Tracey Mason said: "We think the phrase 'By 'eck she's whipped me cream' may well achieve cult status." (Source: Daily Mirror, March 19, Tuesday, News, Pg. 19)

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Plank Road Comes Out Of Closet

A new TV spot from BBDO in Toronto explains the origins of Miller Brewing's Plank Road Brewery unit, for the first time formally acknowledging in advertising its ownership of the marketer of the Icehouse and Red Dog brands. The spot shows a group of young misfits being "shown the door" at Miller Brewing Co. by the head brewmaster because of their "different vision." Rather than being fired, they're given their own brewery, Plank Road. (Source: Trevor Jensen, ADWEEK, Midwest Edition, March 11, Monday) The spot rewards the Industrial brewer with the enlightened vision to invest in new ideas, and invests a renegade spirit in the "brewers" at Plank Road similar to that which gave birth to the craft-brewing movement.

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The Genius Of Compromise: Market Driven Beer Styles

To devise a new beer, Ramon Campos gave a consumer "focus group" a chance to rank different tastes. What the samplers wanted, said Campos, was a brew that wasn't too dark, not too light. "I originally was going to do a micro-brew that was dark and very hoppy," said Campos, president of Florida Brewery Inc., a private Polk County company with between $6 million and $8 million in annual sales. "They liked it, but it wasn't something that they said they wanted to drink two, three or four of at a restaurant." So Campos and brewmaster Eric Schalk began brewing a new lager beer that Campos says tastes somewhere between a Heineken and a Michelob. Florida Brewery, which also sells Bay Side and Master's Choice brands, as well as copacking for Pabst, is a regional company that churns out about 250,000 barrels a year. (Source: Paul Power Jr., The Tampa Tribune, March 13, Wednesday, Business & Finance, Pg. 1)

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What Are They Really Advertising - Editorial

This month's advertising stories got me thinking. As the advertising world pats itself on the back for brilliant, effective campaigns we have to ask what they accomplish, how and why. My previous life was in advertising, so bear with me while I bare some of the untidy underbelly of that business. Then share it with your friends so that they can be more informed, critical, and perhaps resistant to the lowest corporate denominator.

Many Industrial beer brand advertisements have portrayed the beverage as an elixir for power, sex and power. In doing so, they have alienated large populations. If you've seen one "The World Is A Very Cool Place" ad you've seen them all -- man struts in holding a phallus/bottle which upon opening brings white snow and delivers one hot, sexually available woman. One campaign for a major brand shows a pitiful lush crying out for Betty Ford's Clinic attention as he attempts to offer love, flattery, and admiration for a beer. Can it get much worse than having a few laughs at an alcoholic's expense? Perhaps. Boddington's overtly sexual context in tee-up to the "By 'eck she's whipped me cream" line may be headed in that direction. After all these years, perhaps the promise of sex and power are growing thin.

In come the anthropomorphized beings to the brand's rescue. The ultimate, politically correct message vehicles. No gender, race, age, religion, sexual orientation or human characteristics. Both frogs and ant campaigns show an amusingly high level of organization and intelligence to the brand loyalty. We wonder if the popularity of Dave Mathew's "Marching Ants" hit wasn't inspired by these creatures all doing the same thing. Obediently. Perhaps what you're watching in these commercials is the Advertising and Brand manager's power wet-dreams: obedient consumers croaking out the brand name endlessly to our delight. The problem is that these ads amuse us. It's hard to resist when you're laughing -- resistance is about struggle. If you view these ads as a cynical mirror of your assumed buying habits, the spots don't seem so light.

In the "party animal" story we learn that Red Dog (not a microbrew) has captured over 1% market share in one year. Considering that the craft-brew business has the Industrial beers scrambling with a more modest .5% growth in market share last year, we must conclude this accomplishment means high stakes worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Rumors abound on this brand regarding dollars spent on the Red Dog campaign, the recipe, and even "subliminal" presence of Batman providing oral attention to Catwoman in the logo's chin. So what does the brand represent? Perhaps an effort to create confusion and message dilution about the nature of microbrews. Maybe it was an experiment in backing a new brand. The logo, graphics, font, platform of the brand tells us it attempts to reach into a younger demographic from 21-27, described in an article above as diminishing and therefore increasing in competition for share of mind and market share. The promise the campaign brings to the microbrew business is that for the first time in years the Industrials are backing new names beyond their family and the hope may be that consumers and retailers open to new experiences may seize the opportunity to try a real beer.

Advertising executives from agency and client alike will defend these campaigns as highly effective. At face value they do not lie. All they do is amuse at best. So what do these ads serve? They serve the fizz and the bubbles of the beer. They infuse attitude, power, and sex into what amounts to otherwise undifferentiated, uncharactered, bland, mass-produced beverages. We hope craft and specialty brewers never go this path. For now, craft brewers have been successful in advertising the quality and unique character of their product. Craft brewers have a great story to tell, so their advertising reflects the substance. For the sake of autonomy, critical thinking, and political resistance to large advertising budgets, go out and support your local brewers this month.

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