RBPMail 2.07, July 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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:

Upper Canada Behind On Deliverables

Upper Canada Brewing Co. Ltd. announced that the company is running behind on its growth target for the year and is lagging on its planned shipments into the lucrative U.S. beer market. President and chief executive officer Terry Smith told the company's first annual meeting that the brewery's sales growth target was 18-20% for the year. Upper Canada's original aim was to reach this target by the middle of the year, but Smith conceded that the company now hopes to reach that figure in the fourth quarter. Upper Canada had expected to ship about 8,000 hectolitres to the U.S. in 1996, but after a slow start-up the company shipped only 250 hectolitres in the first quarter and about 900 hectolitres in the second. Smith said the company has revised its forecast and "we expect to ship somewhere in the range of 2,500 to 4,000 export hectolitres in the second half" (of 1996). Since its oversubscribed public offering in March, the share price of Upper Canada has gone nowhere after being initially priced at $ 8 per share. Yesterday, the micro brewery's stock inched up 10 cents to close at $ 6.10 on a volume of 500 shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Source: John Mchutchion, The Toronto Star, June 27, Thursday, Business; Pg. B7)

To see more on Canada, see the Real Beer Page's Canadian Index

Return to Top

Another Canadian Micro Goes Public

Sleeman Breweries Ltd. will list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange as it sets its sights on becoming Canada's third-largest brewer. Sleeman, the second micro-brewer to move on to the TSE this year, also aims to take advantage of an expected shake-out among Canada's fast-growing craft beer makers. "Our plan is to have operations in the three major Canadian beer markets - Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia," John Sleeman said. Sleeman Breweries Ltd. is the result of a merger of privately-owned Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. Ltd. of Guelph and Okanagan Spring Brewery of Vernon, B.C., a unit of Allied Strategies Inc. The merger created an 8.9- million-gallon brewer. After a one-for-five consolidation of Allied's stock, Sleeman Breweries was to start trading on the Toronto exchange under the symbol ALE. The merger created Canada's largest micro-brewer and fourth-largest brewer. But Sleeman is dwarfed by beer giants Molson Cos. Ltd. and Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd., which control more than 90% of Canada's beer market. Micro-brewers make up only 3% of the country's $10 billion in annual beer sales, but the sector is growing at a rate of 25% annually. Sleeman has set plans to boost production and acquire a Quebec brewer. Sleeman said the company will spend about $6 million this year to increase output at its plants in Ontario and British Columbia. Unlike other small Canadian brewers that are shipping product south to slake the American thirst for high-priced brews, Sleeman is focused on grabbing a bigger share of the Canadian market first. (Source: The Toronto Star, June 3, Business; Pg. B6)

To see more on Canada, see the Real Beer Page's Canadian Index

Return to Top

Canadian Beer Market For Big Brewers

Almost a year to the day, Belgian brewer Interbrew SA launched a successful takeover of John Labatt Ltd., management of the Toronto- based brewer says it continues to overtake arch-rival Molson Breweries in the race for market leadership. Labatt, which has seen its market share grow from 44.15% at the end of 1994 to 45.2% at the end of 1995 -- mostly at Molson's expense -- is putting most of its summer promotion dollars on its Blue brand. Blue is still the nation'ss largest brand with an estimated market share of about 15% -- ahead of both Molson Canadian at 10-11% and Labatt brand Budweiser at 7-8% -- according to Michael Palmer of Equity Research Associates Inc. A point of national market share is worth between $15 million and $20 million in profit. Labatt says 45-50% of Canadians drink Blue at least once a year. Molson, which has watched its national share slide over the last few years, eliminated 200 workers from its Montreal plant as part of a $61-million restructuring. Molson said last month its national market share for the year ended April 1 fell to 46.6% from 47.2% and volume dropped 0.7%. According to data gathered by Labatt, the premium beer segment has grown from 2% in 1986 to 5% today while the discount beer segment has soared to 17% from just 3%. Still, the top brews have mostly held their dominance. Market share of the top five brands is 42% today, down from 48% a decade ago despite the universe of beer brands expanding 50% from 400 to 600 today. Beer drinkers are getting older, more discriminating and are drinking less. Per capita consumption has fallen from 100 litres per person in 1986 to 88 litres today. Conventional brewers have declined from 37 to 25 while the ranks of micro brewers have nearly doubled. (Source: Paul Brent - Retailing Reporter, The Financial Post, June 12, Wednesday, Section 1; News; Pg. 12)

To see more on Canada, see the Real Beer Page's Canadian Index

Return to Top

Real Beer Page Survey -- LAST CALL

  • WWW Survey - LAST CALL To Win

    Last call to complete the Real Beer Page WWW survey and enter our Grand Prize Drawing for a trip to BELGIUM & HOLLAND with European Brewing Adventures ( We officially complete our survey on July 15 and will be announcing our winner in the next RBPMail.

    By the way, those interested in specifics of the trip's daily itinerary or just wanting to visualize the Grand Prize, feel free to contact European Brewery Adventures for more details at 800.424.7289.

    Return to Top


    As the U.S. celebrates its independence day, we want to point out beer's role in shaping the early movement towards independence. Gregg Smith, author of "Beer, A History," suggests that beer was the reason for landing on North American shores, advanced trade, supported the developing legal and militia system and even created the ground swell for talks of sedition.

    "Indeed, it was from a tavern that a mob spilled to provoke the Boston's British garrison into what became known as 'the Boston Massacre'. Later, from a planning and command post in Boston's Green Dragon Tavern they launched a protest to taxes which became known as 'Boston Tea Party'. Such disregard for property, at the hands of an organized mob, pushed the crown to the limits of its tolerance and set the stage for military action."

    Another interesting historical note is that the Star Spangled Banner, inspired by the war of 1812 and officially selected as the national anthem in 1931, was derived from the tune to an old English drinking song. You can read his four-part series and theories on the Real Beer Page at:

    Return to Top


    Value Holdings Inc. announced that it has approved the recipe, logo and packaging of its new Big Chief Legendary Lager and will commence production of the Canadian micro-brewed beer. Big Chief Legendary Lager is the first product from Indian Brewing Co., a subsidiary of Value Holdings, and will be brewed by its newly acquired Don Valley Brewing. The beer will be supported with a full line of related clothing and will be distributed throughout the United States and Canada by another Value Holdings subsidiary, Consolidated Beverage Corp. "Big Chief will be a big success," said Anthony Pallante, president of Value Holdings. "It is being brewed by one of the top microbreweries in Canada, has a very recognizable logo and will be widely distributed." Don Valley Brewing is also the brewer of the highly regarded Conners Beer and is the exclusive Ontario agent for the Boston Beer Co.'s Samuel Adams beers and ales. "Microbrewed beer is the hottest segment in the beer market right now," according to Alison Cohen, vice president for marketing at Value Holdings. "Big Chief is in a position to take advantage of that. Consumers can't seem to get enough of small label and microbrewed beers."

    To see more on Canada, see the Real Beer Page's Canadian Index

    Return to Top


    It is illegal for Texans to import unaccompanied wines or spirits unless they own a distributorship or retail outlet. Out-of-state wine and spirits purchases are supposed to be treated much as if you were shopping in another country -- the law refers to restrictions on importing into Texas, without differentiating between other states and other countries. Homebrew Limit Is 200 Gallons per year. The law prohibits keg parties with donations or cover-charges covering anybody receiving a financial gain from keg sales. Despite U.S. drinking restrictions for those under 21, it is legal for minors to consume alcohol if they are accompanied by an adult parent, adult spouse or legal guardian who is in "visible presence and control." Cities can pass ordinances that supersede state regulations prohibiting open glass containers and public consumption of alcohol on the streets. Driving with a Drink is a recent infraction, but in order to be prosecuted, a peace officer actually has to see the driver with a beer can or drinking while driving. One piece of legendary Texas law remains on the books: It is legal for an adult passenger to drink in a moving vehicle. (Source: John Beatty, The Austin American Statesman, June 24, Lifestyle, Pg. E1)

    Return to Top


  • Miller Beer

    Because new products tend to appeal most to younger consumers, Miller chose college town, Boston, to perform focus groups for their new product. "Each generation looks for its own brands," says Miller marketing director Richard Lalley. "During the 1980s, Miller made some 'marketing errors,' and now some young men regard the 'champagne of bottle beer' as a geezer's brew." The marketing campaign for Miller's new beer has a geographical as well as a generation component. Over the last 10 years, Miller has lost market share to micro-breweries in both New England and the Pacific Northwest. So Miller marketing came up with a "heart of the hops" message that seeks to win over East and West Coast beer drinkers. The new Miller is positioned as more "flavorful" than most "everyday beers" and less bitter than micro-brewed beer, according to Lalley. Several variations of the recipe were tested in Boston before a final one was selected. The ad theme, "Reach for what's out there," was tested here too. The theme line, "We think so much of this new beer, we're just calling it who we are - Miller" scored high in Boston focus groups.

  • Molson Ice

    When Molson Breweries USA, a division of Miller Brewing Company, tested its new Molson Ice brand in the United States in 1994, it went to Detroit and Atlanta, markets they were known and unknown respectively. With its "step outside" campaign, Molson Ice makes a direct generational appeal to men between the ages of 21 and 27. Looking to halt the customary drop in shipments that follows a brand's launch year - shipments were down 17 percent in 1995 - Molson Ice is promoting its second annual "polar beach party," an event that boosted summer sales last year. (Source: Chris Reidy, The Boston Globe, June 21, Friday, Economy; Pg. 84)

  • Molson Canada

    In a similar promotion, Molson Canadian Rocks, more than 400 contest winners were treated to a "secret show" by Seattle's Soundgarden at the Town Pump. "We won the contest to play a dumpy little bar in Vancouver," Soundgarden vocalist-guitarist Chris Cornell said after the band marched through about a quarter of their 17-song set-list in just under 15 minutes. It looked (with the exception of the Molson banners pasted on to every wall in sight), and sadly, sounded, like any other night at the Pump: loud and messy. But that was the "intimate" lo-fi charm Molson was looking for when they paid the band a rumored $240,000 for their services. Sean Lanigan, Molson Canadian brand manager for western Canada and 17-year industry veteran, says competition among breweries has never been tougher. "The market is completely flat. With this campaign, we're going after the 19-to 25-year-old who goes out at night. Something like this is relevant to them -- for the older consumer, we have things like the NHL and Molson Canadian Motorsports." But how successful is the promotion rreally? According to contest winner Steve Cook of Vancouver: "This was a lot of fun ... I had a blast ... but as far as the beer goes, I like micro-breweries better. You get a better selection and way better taste." (Source: Katherine Monk; The Vancouver Sun, June 17, Monday, Entertainment; Pg. C10)

    To see more on Canada, see the Real Beer Page's Canadian Index

    Return to Top


    Named after the mythological Greek winged horse, Pegas, Brno's first microbrewery founded in 1992 by Miroslav Honek, is brewing at full capacity. The brewing complex - a short stagger from Namesti Svobody - includes a pivnice, or pub, a restaurant and a hotel offering a double room with breakfast for 850 Kc ($31) per night. Two copper tanks bubble patiently away behind the bar, producing 250,000 liters (66,050 gallons) of craft-beer per year - all of it consumed in Pegasus' three Brno pivnices. Honek is proud of his business, and customer complaints that the light beer (13.20 Kc for a half-liter) is slightly cloudy are met with a knowledgeable smile. "It's our own special unfiltered recipe which makes Pegas thicker and more flavorsome than filtered beers," he says. (Source: Johann Tasker, The Prague Post, June 12, Special Sections)

    Web Watch

  • Beer Sites to Surf:

  • Brand Spanking New!!!

    Two Harts Are Better Than One

    You may have already been wowed by the Hart Brewing site from the good people in Seattle, but did you know there's another and completely unrelated Hart craft-brewer in Ontario, Canada? Both are now live on the Web and each adds to information experience for the online brew enthusiast. Have a Hart Attack at:


    Five Star Products and Services has been a supplier of specialized cleaning products and equipment for professional brewers since 1980. You probably won't be able to spot their products in a brewery, because their products clean spots in nearly every brewery in the U.S. No problem -- you can spot them on the WWW at:

    (for kicks you can check also out if you're over 21...)

    Californians interested in owning part of a brewery should head to Brass Ring, where 200,000 shares of common stock are available at $5.00/share with a minimum $1000 purchase.

    Black Bear Brewing Company in Atlanta is also offering common shares at:

  • Brewed Fresh For You!

    The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites to check out:

    American Brewers' Guild
    Barley Boys Brewing
    Bohemian Brewing Systems
    Dogfish Head Brewing
    European Brew Adventures
    Great Providence Brewing
    Malt of the Earth
    The Village Brewery

    Return to Top


    If you haven't seen it yet, you can track and research an all-beer stock portfolio in one place. And, you can research the companies with articles from our library.

    Return to Top


    The Real Beer Page proudly presents Gak, a real person who's tasted over 1500 beers and puts his reviews, perceptions and ratings online for you. Gak's applies the rating system outlined in Fred Eckhardt's "The Essentials of Beer Style" (required reading for beer styles and available by calling 503. 289.7596). You may or may not agree with some, any or all if his ratings, but hey, where were you when he was putting them down? We like the idea of dedicating one palate to this project, because over time, you'll find where your impressions concur and differ and can gauge the rest of your experiences accordingly. We invite you to go online and taste some beers with Gak. We think you'll find that his url says it all:

    have fun!

    Return to Top


    In this issue of All About Beer Magazine you'll find an article about the historic Gilbert Brewery. Probably the most fascinating aspect of the brewery is that due to its location, Gilbert had to produce its own malts and hops onsite. Colorful local lore surrounds the brewery thanks to the Montana Vigilantes. If you're planning a trip to Yellow Stone this summer, schedule the 45 minute drive north to Virginia City and visit the brewery still standing and in pretty good shape. If you're unable to make the travels in person, make them.

    Return to Top


    Through out the U.S. some of the fringier and more dedicated taproom owners cart out kegs of Holiday Ales that have been in their coolers since December. Since some of the holiday beers are higher gravity, they tend to cellar well and evolve with time. In the spirit of the holidays, we invite you to drop by www-based breweries and order their gear right online. The ultimate collection of online ordering for brew gear is at:

    Check out the new gear at Village, Blue Hen, BrewTees, Shipyard and Rogue.

    Return to Top


    History has a way of creating perspective. With the ongoing saga about label laws, we thought it might be interesting to provide this historical tidbit from American Brewer, a defunct industry trade magazine (no relation to the currently published American Brewer), April, 1956:

    LABELING REQUIREMENTS MAY BE AMENDED by the ATTD to allow the use of one label by a brewer for all plants if desired. Should this happen, brewers would be permitted the choice of using a separate label for each plant if they preferred.

    Return to Top


    Shann Weston, a Portland, OR wildlife specialist and mother of two, won this year's Win-A-Pub-In-Ireland contest sponsored by Guinness Imports Company. Weston's 50-word essay was one of ten selected as finalists from over 55,000 entries. The talented ten flew to Killaloe, Ireland to compete for the Pub Grand Prize in a contest including darts, pouring a perfect pint and an oral essay. Weston offered chocolate during her pour and began her essay with a poetic "The pub... she spoke to me..." Weston and her husband plan to keep and run the pub over the $100,000 option offered with the prize. (Source: Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator Beer News, June/July 1996, Pg. 1).

    Return to Top


    Small Brewer's Festival - July 12-13, Mountain View, CA

    San Jose Beer Festival - August 17-18. Order Tickets online.

    Oregon Brewer's Festival - the biggest in the states.

    For more festivals, homebrew competitions, beertastings and more, check out the Real Beer Page events section at:

    Return to Top


    A beer more expensive than any wine in the world, is fetching $7,686 for the first bottle. The label reads "Tutankhamun Ale" with "The Beer of His Majesty" written over the top in hieroglyphics. Britain's largest brewer, Scottish & Newcastle, with assistance from an Egyptologist and two scientists developed the beer based on sediment from brewery jars found inside the Sun Temple of Nefertiti, queen of the Pharoah Akhenaten, believed to be Tutankhamun's father. The team could only gather and grow enough of the right raw materials to brew 1,000 bottles of the beer. The specially numbered, hand-labeled bottles went on sale in Harrods July 2 with bottle number one on sale for 5,000 pounds and the rest priced at 50 pounds ($76) each, with proceeds going to aid archeology in Egypt.

  • Beer Information Lovers

    Return to Top


    In this month's editorial we learn of a brewery in Canada that will brew the licensed property of the defunct Indian Motorcycles. Steve Richmond, president of Indian Brewing, explained that the trademark which he holds for Canada and Mexico carries 52 years of history in motorcycle production from 1901-1953. The trademark has been placed on everything from clothing to Zippo lighters, so beer is a natural extension of this.

    Bad Frog brewing company tells the story of a fake beer tee-shirt they concepted and sold with the frog flipping the bird. People asked for the beer, so they started contract brewing to meet the demand.

    Boston Beer has headed down the same path by taking a country founder with a strong perception of integrity and infusing their brand with the name and image of Samuel Adams. The approach calls for taking a property and marketing a consumable product behind it. Every major studio does this in the merchandising of their characters.

    So, we may someday see Terminator Dopplebock, Batman's Best Bitter, Edgar Allan Porter, Phantom's IPA, etc. Create a property, knock out a beer and collector's bottle, what could be more simple? Cross promotions open shelf space and multiply advertising impact. The only thing lost from this formula is the informed consumer. The one who wants a Real Beer. Sometimes both marketer and consumer are served, but we find it rare with brands that cater to mass consumption.

    Many microbrewers build their brands the hard way -- by infusing them with their own creativity, risk, vision and passion. Sophisticated advertising isn't domain of large agenccies, big idea & property people. It's available to any creative and informed communicator, which is why brewers consistently come up with great names and images to represent their brand. First to mind are Rogue Ales and Bell's Eccentric Ales. These titles fit the beers, brewers and brewery.

    The item that got me going on this track in the first place was the use of the Indian and Big Chief names. Yes, the brand is steeped in the romance with crafted motorcycles, but the original mark sentimentalized and stereotyped the Indian as savage. First we take the land, destroy the culture (at times using alcohol as a tool), and incarcerate the people, then we appropriate and exploit their image. Granted, the Indian brand does not have the big nose and toothy charicature of the Cleveland Indians, but I still suggest that behind sentimentality lies brutality. Richmond assures us that they are sensitive to the issue of exploitation and are committed to portraying Native Americans with respect, honor and dignity.

    This is a complex issue that we suggest companies and consumers pursue with careful consideration. The microbrew market represents a time of great creativity and diversity in the beer industry. The brewing methods and styles are often steeped in traditions dating back centuries -- even millennia -- and spanning continents and seas. But microbrewers are not tied to the mistakes, ignorances, exploitationns or insensitivities of their predecessors. Nor are they bound to make the mistakes the industrial brewers have made for decades with their alienation of women and minorities in messages targeted at adult white males.

    There is an opportunity for us to get it right this time. Microbrewers represent an incredible movement. They are changing the profile and landscape of beer styles and brewing. Perhaps they'll commit the same creativity to the communications of our brands. As a consumer of craft- brew beer, your voice is louder and more important to the microbrewers. Let them know what you think of their message and their beer.