RBPMail 2.06, June 1995

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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.

RBPMail 3.05, May 1997

Real Beer Page Mail, The Free Monthly Brew News Digest For the Online Beer Enthusiast.

In this issue:

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Anheuser-Busch Cos. said Friday it would take an undisclosed minority stake in Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. and distribute its beer, gaining a bigger piece of the growing U.S. specialty beer market. A-B wholesalers will handle distribution of Widmer in new markets and take over Widmer's existing distribution network within a few months. Portland-based Widmer, a closely held company, said it would maintain control over its own brewing and marketing. Its beers, which include Widmer Amberbier, Widberry and America's Original Hefeweizen, are sold in 17 states. Although the sales growth of specialty or craft beers in the United States has slowed somewhat this year from the past few years, the growth there is still higher than for traditional U.S. beers. Unit sales of specialty beers, measured in barrels, rose 35% last year, while total U.S. beer sales grew only 1%. (Source: Leslie Hillman, Bloomberg News, April 19, Saturday, Business Pg. 8)

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Specialty beer enthusiasts who seek variation and excitement in their beer drinking frequently make purchases $40+per case. Don Feinberg of Vanberg and DeWulf Co. Inc. imports some of the most expensive beer in the United States, averaging $70 per case, while the Boon Mariage Parfait lambics exceed $100 per case. Feinberg maintains the prices are justified considering the processes involved. "If I tell you Duvel takes three months to make and some brewpubs are making beer in a week or two, it's understandable that Duvel costs more. The length of time, actual ingredients and processes of heating a warm room and then cooling the beer all add to the expense," says Feinberg. "To produce Frank Boon lambic, the brewer has to maintain and staff a cooperage, an expense most consumers never consider." These initial costs to the brewer are further amplified by a three-tier system in which wholesalers enjoy a 25-35% margin and retailers who have a 20-30% margin. Dan Tanczos of Tanczos Beverage, Bethlehem says micros are fetching similar prices. "At the micro end, in particular, brewers simply are charging what they personally need to charge and are not concerned with the other brands," says Tanczos. "Micros aren't going to win a price battle with Anheuser-Busch, so they go for a non-price-sensitive market," says Tanczos. Specialty beer may be one of the best culinary bargains. The finest beer in the world can be had for less than $10 a bottle. (Source: Jeffery Lindenmuth; The Morning Call, Allentown; April 5, Saturday, Entertainment, Pg. A50;

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Anheuser-Busch Co. Inc. Chairman August Busch III warned Wednesday that anti-drinking groups want to impose a new Prohibition era on the United States. "There are those who would like to see us return to that unsuccessful experiment called Prohibition," Busch said in a speech at the company's annual meeting. "They are not looking for responsible consumption (of alcohol), they are looking for no consumption." Prohibition began in 1920 with a constitutional amendment outlawing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. The ban lasted until 1933. "We consider beer to be a wholesome product," Busch said. But Busch and the company came under fire at the meeting from activist shareholders who complained that Anheuser-Busch, which is based in St. Louis, Mo., encouraged excess drinking through advertising. Busch countered by saying the company had spent $100 million in the past five years on campaigns to promote responsible drinking. Busch also said A-B was seeking to expand its overseas markets to tap into a global thirst for beer estimated to be more than a billion barrels annually. He said that by the year 2005 China would become the largest beer market in the world, surpassing the United States, where a total of 200 million barrels of beer were sold in 1996. In response to expected growth in China, Busch said the company would double the capacity of its brewery in Wuhan, China. (Source: Jeff Franks, Reuters North American Wire, April 23, Wednesday)

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Armed with $1 million in new technology and equipment, owners of Crooked River Brewing Co. are preparing to steer the company down a new path, one that puts the brewery in head-to-head competition with other regional and national craft-beer makers. "We're enhancing our quality and going into new territories," said Stuart Sheridan, 35, co-founder. "This is a gigantic market for brewing companies, and there's a lot of room for growth. ... We're planning now for it." Moreover, the fledgling brewing company is capable of selling its beer warm - without pasteurizing it. The company's cold filtering technology, a $125,000 investment, filters out yeast and bacteria, allowing the beer to maintain its taste without refrigeration, Sheridan said. Today, Crooked River produces 1,600 cases of craft beer per eight-hour shift, or roughly 18,000 barrels. Crooked River's recent moves are positioning the brewing company to increase revenues, which soared 34% in 1996 to nearly $1 million. Another OH brewery positioned for regional leadership, Great Lakes Brewing Co. plans to open an expanded $6.5 million distribution center this year . The center is capable of producing 100,000 barrels of beer, but first-year plans call for making about 30,000 barrels. (Source: Terrence L. Johnson; The Plain Dealer, April 5, Saturday, Business; Pg. 1C)

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Shipyard and Host Marriott Services opened what they say is the world's first airport microbrewery at the Orlando International Airport in Florida. The glass-enclosed, 20-barrel brewery at Orlando's main terminal will supply two Shipyard brew pubs in one of the country's fastest-growing airports. The 5,000-square-foot brewery will provide a boost to the sales and, perhaps more importantly, the national exposure for Shipyard. The 5-year-old company, which produces beer in Portland and Kennebunk, has been expanding down the Eastern Seaboard rapidly, especially since a Miller Brewing subsidiary bought half of the company in late 1995. The brewery, designed by Shipyard brewmaster Alan Pugsley, initially will make five beers: Shipyard Export Ale, Old Thumper Extra Special Ale, Blue Fin Stout, Shipyard Brown Ale and Shipyard Goat Island Light Ale. Tours will be offered daily, and there also will be placards describing each step of the brewery process so people can take their own tour. (Source: Jeff Smith, Portland Press Herald, April 3, Thursday, Sports, Pg. 6C)

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********** WEB WATCH **********



If you are in or entering the brewing profession, you HAVE to check out the new ProBrewer pages. State laws, message boards, conversion tools, research and more make the ProBrewer a good starting point. In the market for brewing equipment? Here's a brief list of itemscurrently offered by fellow brewers: Complete 15 BBL system (2); 48 bbl (1500 gallon) Stainless Tank; Stack Condensor (17bbl Brew Kettle, Never Used); Heat Exchanger; Complete Brew House; Fermenters; 4 New 33BBL fermenters; Storage Tanks; Kegs; straight sided; Bottling Machine; Industrial Boiler; and a Refrigerated Van. It's all available at:


We've expanded our search indexing and added tools to help you find what you need quickly. Keyword searching on the Real Beer library is now superior to any search engine on the Web for finding information about beer. Bar none. Take our keyword challenge by going to:

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****************** Real Beer Picks ******************


Just added as a new feature to their site, you can follow the activity on the Am-Brew stock with information from


See the original frog beer mascot and learn how to order a beer for you and a friend in certain circles:

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***************** Fest Watch **********************

Berkeley Brewers Guild Springfest 1997

May 17 - 18, 1997 - Berkeley, California Location: Downtown Berkeley @ Shattuck and Allston One block of Berkeley BEER. Great live music. Food and fun. Interactive exhibits. Cigar garden. Alley dancing. Hours: Sat, 1:00pm-11:00pm and Sun, 1:00pm-6:00pm Organization: Berkeley Brewers Guild

Contact Phone: 510-THE-ROCK

The 4th Annual Rhode Island International Beer Exposition, due to its growing success and recognition, has changed its name to: The 4th Annual Great Northeast International Beer Festival Location: RI Convention Center

Hours: Saturday, November 8, 1997

2 Events: 1-5 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.

Organization: Festivals of American Inc. Contact Phone: (401) 272-0980

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Thanks to all who have been replying to our Quickie Surveys. Odds of winning a prize are better than winning the lotto. We've got a great award to offer as well: Michael Jackson's The Great Beers of Belgium distributed by Vanberg & DeWulf (


We asked what medium you used most, and found that the 'Net was the most popular choice by a long-shot -- twice that of television -- followed by print, television and radio. Here's how the numbers looked:

net: 40%

print: 26%

tv: 19%

radio: 14%

film: 1%

Last's months Quickie Survey winner is Jim Flanagan, based in Korea. Congratulations Jim!

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****************** Brewed Fresh For You! ******************

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

Black Star Beer:

big Rock:

Cooper's Brewery:

Havana Fine Cigars:

Infinity Neon:

Labatt Blue:

Lucky's Teeth:

Mission Ale House:

Molokai Brewing:

Portland Brewing:

Toronto Beer Fest:

World of Beer:

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********** AD WATCH **********


The Federal Trade Commission is investigating beer ads on TV. Now the Web, that bastion of free speech and freeware, is becoming unsafe for the boosters of bad habits. Last month the public-interest watchdog group Center for Media Education released the ominously titled white paper "Alcohol and Tobacco on the Web: New Threats to Youth." The report pillories the slick entertainment sites put up by brewing companies, distilleries, and smoking buffs for trying to "find and woo the younger the open fields of cyberspace." Calling for immediate congressional hearings and regulatory action by both the FDA and the FCC (with no response from either), "Alcohol and Tobacco" goes both too far and not far enough. Nowhere does the report address an aspect of these sites that may be even more depressing. Mainly that they're incredibly stupid. Well, I guess that's my job. A day spent clicking through every URL mentioned in the CME report reveals sites that are brain-dead; sites that are levelheaded, even clever, and represent the least offensive approach to flogging legal substances online; and innocuous sites that have no business being cited at all. The first category is best represented by Budweiser On-Line, whose impoverished frat-boy sensibilities are typified by hideous beer recipes ("Bud Hush Puppy Mix") and unintentionally lame pickup lines ("Hi, I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?"). Likewise, Cuervo World offers a bulletin board with numskull topics like "Why Don't Women Drink Tequila in Bars?"; and the superficially upscale Chivas Regal website hosts an online Career Toolbox. The CME also overreaches in its criticism of several sites. Since the tobacco companies tactfully maintain dull corporate Web pages, the center is forced to highlight The Smoker's Homepage, with its vast compendium of no-apologies articles ("Secondhand Smoke: The Big Lie") and links. But this private site can't be, nor should it be, regulated. (Source: Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly, April 25, Multimedia; Pg. 75)

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Beer and wine companies spent most of their $797 million advertising budgets on TV last year:

TV ads: 83%

Print ads: 13%

Radio ads: 4%

Liquor companies -- which only last fall revoked their voluntary ban on TV ads -- spent most of their $226 million budgets on Print ads:

Print ads: 98.5%

Radio ads: 1.2%

TV ads: 0.3%

(Sources: Department of Agriculture, LNA/Mediawatch Multi-media Service as reported by Kathleen Day, Washington Post, April 12, Saturday, Financial, Pg. H01)

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BEERWeek Stories:

RBPMail, which you are reading, is delivered for FREE to you each month. If you need more timely beer information, BEERWeek costs $50/year and arrives weekly. The following are news headlines from the last month.

BEERWeek of March 31 - April 7, 1997

* Report on Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle

* Jim Koch Receives IBS Annual Recognition Award

* Rogue Brewer Presented Schehrer Award

* IBS Craft Beer Stats

* Canada's Unibroue Offers IPO

* Tough '96 for Minnesota Brewing; Can Power Drink Help?

BEERWeek of April 7 - 14, 1997

* World's First Airport Brewery Restaurant Opens

* Zip City Closed in New York

* New York Post Pans Brew Pub Popularity!

* Bud Ads Banished by BBB

* Hempen Ale -- Does It Have a Grassy Bouquet?

* Siebel Teaches in Japan

* Nor'Wester Reports $3 million Loss -- Regroups

* Widmer Still on with A-B?

BEERWeek of April 14 - 21, 1997

* FTC Investigates Beer TV Advertising to Minors

* Hard Liquor TV Ads? Or No Alcohol Ads on TV at All?

* Oregon Beer Tax Bill Proposed

* New IBS Stats on Brewing Industry

* Craft Brewing Business Institute Reports

* Redhook Has Good First Quarter; Still Suffers Loss

* Nor'Wester Offers Gloomy Forecast

BEERWeek of April 21 - 28, 1997

* Widmer Agrees to Alliance with A-B

* Bill Owens Loses Court Suit - Owes $1 Million

* BBC Gets $54 Mil Line of Credit

* FBC Nets $3 Mil

* Microbrewed Beer in Ireland? Yes, sez McGuinness!

* Coors, Molson Come to Agreement

* Lion Pawses in Craft Beer Pursuit

* HWBTA Has Competition?

* Craft-Brewers Conference & Trade Show Sets Attendance Record

BEERWeek is the subscription-based newsletter delivered by email each Monday for the industry professional or serious beer enthusiast who needs it regularly. To subscribe, go to and get it now.

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National Homebrew Day is May 3. Entries in the first round of the National Homebrew Competition are due April 28 through May 9. Details: Write AHA NHC, P.O. Box 1679, Boulder, CO 80306-1679. Call (303) 447-0816. And remember to relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.

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Six brewpubs and microbreweries in the state have formed the Kentucky Brewers Association to help Kentuckians better appreciate microbrewed beer. They are The Bluegrass Brewing Company and Silo Microbrewery (Louisville), Brew Works at the Party Source (Covington), Jeremiah's Froghead Brewpub (Paducah), Lexington Brewing Company and Lexington City Brewery, and Oldenberg Brewery (Fort Mitchell). (Source: Susan Reigler, The Courier-Journal, April 11, Friday, Weekend Extra Hot Tips Pg.6w)

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Guinness is piloting its first clothing store in Dublin which, if successful, could be exported to the UK. The Guinness Clothing shop has opened in Grafton Street, the Irish capital's main shopping thoroughfare, selling a range of upmarket men's and women's casual clothes. The leisurewear is already on sale in duty-free shops at Dublin airport, but this is the first time a retail outlet has been tested. Portland Design Associates has created an easily transferable concept, using natural materials such as stone flooring and copper and oak panels, to communicate the qualities of the Guinness brand. This concept can be adapted for use in other stores, concessions (where the Guinness range would be sold within a larger store) and in the travel industry. Guinness has set up a separate department to handle the clothing operation, just as it has a department to co-ordinate its Irish pub concept which it has exported around the world. Mary O'Reilly, manager Guinness Clothing, says: "Since the opening a few weeks ago, there have been very positive reactions from customers." (Source: Marketing Week, April 24, News; Pg.7)

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A bit of trivia from one of our readers, Sean McCarthy, who wrote: "The fifty-fifty mix of Harp and Guinness is oft referred to as a Black and Tan. This is considered an insult to all people of Irish persuasion because the Black and Tans were a British regiment. Basically the Brit army went into its penal system and found the craziest people it could...and then gave them a military training. Well, they headed over to THE ISLAND, and started killing people. The favorite B/T tactic was to tie people to chairs and burn them to death by setting fire to the house. So, out of respect, please call it a Half and Half. The bartender should know what you mean. cied miel failte" (Source: Sean McCarthy by email where all points of view are welcomed)

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Miller Brewing Co. sales were up 7.1% during the first quarter in southeastern Wisconsin with some of its key brands benefiting from Pabst Brewing's decline. Miller's best-selling Lite brand was up 7.8%, High Life was up 28.5% and Milwaukee's Best was up 33.6%, according to Nielsen Supermarket Data for the 13 weeks that ended April 5. High Life was repositioned across much of the state as a popularly priced beer to compete with brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Stroh Brewery Co.'s Old Milwaukee and Anheuser-Busch Inc.'s Busch brand. In Wisconsin, Miller increased its share 4.9 percentage points to a dominant 44.5% of the market. The No. 2 U.S. brewer increased its Milwaukee share 7.4 percentage points to 55.9%, Nielsen data showed. Pabst, which closed its downtown operations in December, fell 8.5 share points during the 13 weeks, Nielsen data showed. Miller gained about 90% of Pabst's share loss, while A-B and Stroh split the remainder. Miller also reported strong gains with Leinenkugel Brewing Co.'s craft line. Leinenkugel Red was up 28% and its Honey Weiss was up more than 70%. Miller's overall sales fell 2.5% last year, to 43.9 million barrels, and its market share slipped from 22.6% to about 21.8% nationwide. (Source: James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 21, Monday Business Pg. 3)

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********** NEWS FROM CONTRACT BREWS **********


Chile's largest brewery Compaa Cervecerias Unidas (CCU) is producing a Latin American version of the famous Guinness stout. The new beer, which will be brewed in CCU's plant under supervision by Arthur Guinness Son & Co (Dublin) Ltd, will give the traditional Irish drink a South American flavour. "Latin America's consumption has been centered on soft lagers. That's why we think that consumers are prepared to develop a beer culture in the strong, dark segment of the beer market," said Don Blaustein, Guinness' president for Latin America and the Caribbean. Guinness is the world's large st producer of dark beer with sales of more than 26 million hectoliters (21.8 million US barrels) in 1996. "Guinness is well represented in Europe, North America and the Caribbean. Now, Latin America is our great objective," said Blaustein. Guinness will be produced in Chile by mixing a concentrate sent from the firm's headquarters with a national beer, said Victor Nazal, deputy brands manager at CCU. The deal with Guinness forms part of the Chilean brewery's strategy to diversify its brands in the local market where it controls 80% of sales. Last year CCU agreed to contract brew and distribute Budweiser beer in Argentina. (Source: Rodrigo Martinez, Santiago newsroom, Reuters Financial Service, April 10, Thursday)


Coors Brewing Co. said it has settled a dispute with Molson Breweries of Canada with an agreement that calls for Molson to pay Coors $72 million. Golden-based Coors said the settlement ends legal battles with Molson that stemmed from the Canadian company's breach of a 1985 licensing agreement under which Molson brewed and sold Coors beers in Canada. Last October, an arbitration panel ruled that Molson violated the licensing agreement and shortchanged Coors on royalty payments. The panel's ruling returned the rights to market Coors beers in Canada to the Colorado brewer. Molson Breweries is owned by Molson Cos., Foster's Brewing Group and Miller Brewing Co. In a related announcement Wednesday, Coors Brewing said it has formed a partnership with Molson Cos. and Foster's Brewing. The partnership, Coors Canada, will promote the sale of Coors beers in Canada. Coors Canada will contract with Molson Breweries to brew and distribute the beer. Coors Brewing will own 50.1% of Coors Canada; Molson Cos. and Foster's will own the balance in equal shares. (Source: Jeffrey Leib, Denver Post, April 17, Thursday, Business Pg. D-02)

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Coors Brewing Co. is considering buying Mile High Brewing Co., the defunct 40,000-barrel-a-year microbrewery in Lower Downtown Denver. If Coors buys the facility, the Golden company would most likely use it to produce its line of Blue Moon beers and other specialty brews. Blue Moon is contract-brewed at Hudepohl-Schoenling in Cincinnati, recently acquired by Boston Beer Company. Coors' giant Golden brewery has an annual production capacity of 20 million barrels, but it is used principally for the company's mainstream brands, including Coors Light and Original Coors. Coors has made no decision about buying the LoDo microbrewery, said company spokeswoman Lori Ciesielski. "It's so early in the ballgame," she said. Mile High Brewing Vice President John Carter said Mile High Brewing has state-of-the-art brewing equipment and a modern, $1 million bottling line. The asking price is $ 3.5 million. Carter said Mile High Brewing failed because the Colorado microbrewing market was "overpopulated" with competitors. But he said investors' stock in the venture is safe and will be converted into stock in a successor company, one that operates microbreweries in Oregon, Washington, California and New York. (Source: Jeffrey Leib, Denver Post, April 11, Friday, Business Pg. C-02)


Asahi Breweries is switching to licensed production in Japan of "Miller Special," a canned beer from Miller Brewing, which Asahi now imports and sells. Domestic production of the beer increases product freshness by reducing the time to market from the one month to two weeks. The weaker yen also makes the costs of importing and domestic production about the same. Asahi started importing and selling the product in September, 1995. 1996 sales for the brand logged-in at 310,000 cases. With improvements in packaging and production systems, the company aims at sales this year of 560,000 cases. (Source: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, COMLINE Daily News, April 9, Wednesday, Biotechnology and Medical Technology)


Japan is developing a taste for big-name foreign beer brands, which are making strong sales gains since linking up with major domestic breweries. In 1996, most of the major foreign brands posted double-digit increases from the previous year's sales. Though still only 3% of the Japanese beer market, they are growing faster than the overall market. Industry officials attribute the rise to a broader range of consumers and diversified tastes. With their successes, foreign brewers have started tapping new products and outlets. By 2000, Guinness Brewing plans to develop 40 pubs in Japan and 90 in the Asia region, said Richard A. Clements, regional development manager of its Asia-Pacific office. Sapporo, Japan's third-largest beer brewer, has been selling Guinness in Japan since 1965, and posted a 24% increase in the brand for 1996 from the previous year. Budweiser Japan Co. - owned 90% by the A-B and 10% by Kirin - last year sold a record 10.3 million cases of Budweiser. Heineken Japan KK, a joint venture of Heineken NV of the Netherlands and Kirin, has also been emphasizing supermarkets and convenience stores since 1993, in addition to commercial sales. "The volume trebled in past four or five years," said Masao Ohtsuka, vice president of Heineken Japan. Asahi started selling Belle-Vue Kriek, imported from Interbrew of Belgium, in December 1996 in the Tokyo metropolitan area, with nationwide sales starting this month. (Source: Masako Fukuda, The Nikkei Weekly, April 21, Industry; Pg. 10)


Boston Beer Co. Inc., hoping to gain more loyal drinkers of its Samuel Adams beer, announced a direct stock purchase plan to allow investors to buy its shares from the company and not pay brokerage fees. "Customers are more loyal and they spend more money if they own the company, " Alex Gregory, a spokesman for Boston Beer, said. "We prefer our customers would buy more Sam Adams beer with their newly available funds instead of paying commissions to brokers." Stock buyers can join the Boston Beer plan by making an initial investment of from $500 to $10,000 or through monthly deductions of as little as $50 a month to a maximum of $10,000 from a checking or savings account. Direct stock purchase plans have grown more popular with retail investors seeking to cut the fees associated with making a small investment in their favorite companies. Gregory said Boston Beer was encouraged to start the plan after hearing that J.C. Penney Co. Inc. found that customers who joined its own stock purchase plan spent three times as much at the department stores. (Source: Michael Ellis, The Des Moines Register, April 4, Friday, Business Pg.9)

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Kirin Brewery Co., in pursuit of the leading U.S. brands, aims to sell 2.2 million cases of beer to Taiwan in 1997, up 37% from the previous year. Since Taiwan lifted a ban on beer imports from Japan in 1994, Japanese breweries have been exporting aggressively. Kirin Brewery exported 1.6 million cases to Taiwan in 1996 via its local subsidiary. Its two-liter can is popular, says Kirin officials. Anheuser-Bush Inc. holds the largest share of Taiwan's imported beer market, followed by Miller Brewing Co.. Kirin is the third largest beer exporter to Taiwan, according to the company. Taiwan is the largest export market for Kirin. (Source: Asia Pulse, April 9, Wednesday, Nationwide Financial News)

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Redhook Ale Brewery's stock fell to an all-time low after the company said it expects to report a loss for the first quarter, as operating expenses at its new brewery in Portsmouth, N.H., cut into a 3.4% growth in overall sales. Redhook said it shipped 51,400 barrels for the quarter, or $8.9 million worth of craft beer, up from 49,700 barrels in the first quarter of 1996. However, that increase compares with a 56% increase in the first quarter of last year. Redhook had a 20 percent increase in shipments this past quarter to areas outside the West Coast. Shipments on the populous West Coast fell 5.9 percent from the year-earlier period. (Source: Lee Moriwaki; The Seattle Times, April 8, Tuesday, Business; Pg. D1)

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10 Most Expensive Places for Industrial Beers (USD)

Greenland: $4.49

Russia: $3.70

Seychelles: $3.22

Belarus: $3.16

Singapore: $3.10

Norway: $3.06

Japan: $3.05

Iceland: $3.02

Romania: $2.85

Sweden: $2.83

Industrial Beer Prices in 12 Major Countries (USD)

Russia: $3.70

Singapore: $3.1

Japan: $3.05

U.K.: $2.22

Hong Kong: $1.63

Australia: $1.57

Switzerland: $1.4

U.S.: $1.33

France: $1.1

Brazil: $1.03

Germany: $.91

South Africa: $.71

(Source: Business Traveler International Magazine , March 1997)

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The price of a start-up is your youth -- whatever youth you have in you will be drawn out and put into the myriad of details and passions necessary to build the business. We've been publishing the Real Beer Page for over three years now and we're still in start-up mode. Factor in the element of one principal (me) traveling around the U.S. for two years now, publishing from the road. It adds to the hours, learning curve and effort of communications. We're not complaining -- we wouldn't have it any other way: we're doing what we love and love doing it. I'm just framing the canvas of this editorial.

We started our travels by heading from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland, OR on June 1, 1995. From there Darci, my wife, and I headed all across and around the U.S. spreading the word of the Web and hearing brewers' stories. And, publishing from the road, we've never stopped evolving the Real Beer publications. We're about to wrap up our travels, so we thought we would make the pilgrimage back to our first destination, and landed in Portland, OR again in early March. Both the Internet and brewing business had come a long way.

Wrapping up the journey is a bit bittersweet, and nature seemed to empathize with our transition, greeting our arrival in Portland with days-turning-to-weeks of rain. As we prepared for the Craft Brewer's Conference and the launch of the new ProBrewer pages, we pulled all-niters and late niters. After one such 100-hour week, I decided to get out of the trailer for a couple of hours and meet a friend down at the Horse Brass Pub in Portland.

Sitting with my friend when I arrived was Don Younger, one of the pioneer publicans in Oregon. Don is a man that defies sizing up for age, height, and anything else for that matter. He's got kind of a clean-cut Jerry Garcia look with wild, dancing eyes and a welcoming spirit. Don has a voracious appetite for reading and keeps everything, so his beer library is quite impressive. Most of all, like many of us in the beer industry, he would be doing what he's doing whether he was compensated or not; Don's just figured out a way to make a living from his avocation.

When describing the development of what is arguably the most envied craft-beer market in the U.S., Don takes his time. Whenever he starts getting too far ahead of himself in his story, he defers the discussion to a time when you can hear the Whole Story. And that story won't come without paying your dues. It's not a sound-bite story but a classical epic. It will take hours and many beers. Don will tell you that a whole group of the pioneers were together one night 12 years ago and -- he borrows from Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" --"there was almost an audible click when we knew it was going to take-off."

We talked about the socio-economic and political reasons for the movement; the availability and readiness of the pipeline; the investment into culture; the mistakes that were just right and the character of the pioneers. We discussed consumer demand and sophistication. The revolt against Henry Ford. The beer in front of us, brewed by John Maier of Rogue in honor of Don's late brother Bill -- named YSB, for Younger Special Bitter.

Two hours later, I left, rushed home and fired off an email to the whole Real Beer team. Subject: Everyone's Got To Get A Little Younger. In spite of the long hours and the rain and the time and the melancholy of transition, I left the Horse Brass feeling rejuvenated, reconnected and alive. I was rooted back into the core of what attracted me to this business in the first place -- my love of the craft and the story of those that create. Sometimes when you're in the day-to-day grind you miss the forest for the trees. Don's the forest. He's one of the deans of the industry. And if you are ever near, towards or around Portland, make a point of stopping by the Horse Brass and paying a visit to the dean. If you can't meet him in the real world, at least stop by their Web site at Don loves and supports the craft business for the joy of it. To this day, new local brewers will find a tap handle ready to support them in introducing their product to the Oregon consumer.

There is only one Don Younger, but there are passionate, articulate evangelists for the movement in many markets I've traveled to -- Will Anderson in Portland Maine is one that's online ( The publicans at the Great Lost Bear; dba, Toronado, Red Bones, Taco Mac, Gingermen, Goat Tavern, The Map Room, and on and on. If your business ever becomes too much of a business, visit one of these folks. It will be good for your soul, good for the craft and good for the story teller who loves his story. I'll bet you'll walk away with that Younger feeling.


As we wrap up this leg of our journey, I would like to give special thanks to Darci, my wife, without whom I would only have seen half the picture. And to the Real Beer team -- Pat Hagerman, Sadie Honey, Carrie Sue Weston, Kevin Fair, Jim Weston, John Parascondolo -- along with all our strategic partners and reps who allowed the virtual communications to happen. What a cool, fun trip it's been.