RBPMail 3.06, June 1997

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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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

If you like what you read here and want more every week, subscribe to BEERWeek. Much of the content within is digested from BEERWeek, the paid subscription supported industry email newsletter. Get your free sample today at


United Breweries of India and a group of American craft brewers announced an alliance to be called the United Craft Brewers. The group, to be headed up by Vijay Mallya, Chairman of United Breweries, is a consolidation of American craft breweries, created to provide the means to effectively compete in a market dominated by large industrial brewers. By consolidating supplies and equipment orders, UCB will be in a better bargaining position in terms of purchasing. Eventually, the participating breweries - Nor'Wester Brewing Company of Portland, OR, Aviator Ales of Woodinville, WA, Mile High Brewing of Denver, CO, Bayhawk Ales, of Irvine, CA, North Country Ales of Saratoga Springs, NY, Mendocino Brewing Co. of Hopland, CA and Humboldt Brewing Co. of Arcata, CA will also brew each other's signature products, allowing them to deliver fresh products to new regions through established distribution networks. UCB is also looking to add additional craft breweries to the group. United Breweries, located in Bangalore, India, is a union of twelve individual breweries, with Kingfisher as its signature product. United Craft Brewers is founded on Vijay Mallya's belief that such an alliance will provide similar strength in the American market. The UB group will provide $5.5 million and its expertise in areas like marketing, advertising and purchasing for its 40% equity holding. Mallya will act as chairman and CEO. Nor'Wester president Jim Bernau will hold a 10% equity and 50% of the stock will be publicly traded. United Craft Brewers will assume the Nor'Wester symbol, ALES, on the NASDAQ market. - (By Patrick Higgins and Maura Kate Kilgore with reporting by Jim Leff as reported in BEERWeekTM - Week of May 26 - June 2, 1997. Patrick Higgins and Maura Kate Kilgore cover the beer scene in New York and can be reached at

Return to Top


American Craft Brewing International (Ambrew), the holding company of domestic micro-brewer South China Brewing Co, expects to produce more than one million cases of beer a year by the end of next year. The company opened its third micro-brewery, in Mexico, last week and is negotiating with individuals in China, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Greece, Britain, Spain and countries in Eastern Europe and South America to further expanding its business. May 20, 1997 saw the opening of the 20-barrel capacity Cerveceria Rio Bravo, on the Mexico-California border town of Tecate. In April, Ambrew opened its Celtic Brew facility near Dublin, Ireland. The Mexican facility will initially brew a lager called Cerveza Mexicali, while the Dublin brewery is producing Finians brand Irish and blond ales. In Hong Kong, South China Brewing brews a mix of ales and lagers. Ambrew recently reached an agreement with Anheuser-Busch to make and market premium beers around the world. (Source: Mark Sharp, South China Morning Post, May 25, 1997)

Return to Top

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


"The Original Beer of the Month Club" shows off its positon with attractive graphics and frames navigation on a website backed by great content and several months of archived newsletters. One of the more innovative features is a 22-ounce selection of beers to choose from. The site also features a father's day special - free delivery.

Michael Jackson's book, the Great Beers of Belgium, has been a featured prize for the handful of folks selected from our monthly Quickie Surveys (see below). Now, the fine folks at Vanberg & DeWulf are offering the book as an Internet special at a price of $19.95 for Father's Day AND including a free Belgian beer glass for anyone who mentions they heard it here or saw it on their web site. This is a wonderful gift package available for those interested in the world's leading beer writer's coverage of the world's most distinctive and diverse beers. Order yours at:

Return to Top

With a selection of over 70 craft-brew tees and tee-of-the-month club membership, BrewTees has to be a father's day web destination:

Malt of the Earth/The Cigar of the Month Society, invites you to send a greeting to that special someone absolutely FREE from their Virtual Liquor & Cigar Shop. Perfect for the "Online Dad" for Fathers Day as well as for terminal friend's birthdays, weddings, new births or congratulations of any kind. Visit their web site to make your selection from a variety of beer and cigar "virtual postcards." Enter a drawing to win a free 6-month subscription to their Beer or Cigar-of-the-Month Club Services by subscribing to their e-mail newsletters. Results will be announced in the July issue of each newsletter.

Return to Top

Last month we told you to make the pilgrimage to Portland if you're near the West Coast of the U.S. to meet Don Younger at the world-famous Horse Brass Pub (winner of a 1997 Celebrator Beer News Top Taps award) who can tell you all about the roots of the craft-brewing movement in the U.S. This month, we'll let you in on how to see it first-hand: Hop on the Portland BrewBus. Your captain, Eric Bieber will provide transportation, education and beer appreciation with guaranteed satisfaction. The BrewBus tours run from May to October, with group charters always available for reservation. Eric's quick to point out, this is not a pub-crawl. This is a docent's tour. A tour designed for those interested in the process of crafting beer and learning what makes each beer taste so different. As Eric is fond of saying, "Drink beer and learn something, it's like college all over again." Catch the bus by calling 888-BIG-BREW or registering at:

We're proud to announce the debut of a beautiful web site dedicated to the oldest continuous brewery in the U.S., D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. With roots deep in the hillside of Pottsville, PA, Yuengling wears its heritage like a comfortable, old, hand-knitted sweater. A trip to the brewery may include walks through the wet caves carved by trained miners and time. A visit to their web site will include a jaunt through American brewing and Yuengling family history with the modern convenience of online shopping if you're into Breweriana and collectibles. Enjoy your travels to:

Return to Top

To paraphrase the paraphrased, "Give a father some beer and he'll waste a day. Teach him how to brew and he'll waste a lifetime." This actually would be a great father-progeny activity for folks of any age. You might want to check with your local U-Brew to reserve a kettle for brew-day. Or you can learn how to do it yourself from the original "How To Homebrew" web page by John Palmer. We are proud to find a new and permanent residence for John Palmer's Brewery and Smithy on the Real Beer Page and invite you to print out the instructions, pick up some supplies and get together with dad for a day of homebrewing. If you need to pick up some beers for inspiration or sustenance, see the beer of the month clubs listed above.

Return to Top

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

BeerMasters Tasting Society announced winners to its Limerick contest announced in last month's news letter. One of the winning entries:

"There once was a girl from Anheuser,
Who swore that no one could surprise her.
But Pabst took a chance,
Found the Schlitz in her pants,
And now she is sadder Budweiser."

Submitted by Marv Slind. Congratulations, Marv.

This month, BeerMasters is will be selecting winners from entries for Toasts -- in any and all languages and spirits -- at:

BBC, downstate Indiana's first microbrewery and brewpub boasts five hand-crafted microbrews along with seasonal brews and a sumptuous selection of foods. Their Web site can boast winning an "Yahoo What's Cool" award and has the added curiosity of offering a business plan for those interested in getting into the business.

Return to Top

Meet Mike & Kathleen Hale, J -- a great nephew brewer of Rudyard Kipling, and the rest of the rowdy gang at Hales Ales who never tire of playing off their name. You'll find Hales Tales (history), Hales Sales (merchandise, 'natch), What Ales Ya (questions pondered and occasionally answered) and other Hales Trials (did we you catch the typo?) Warning: it's as catchy as the draft of cream stout. If yer tough as nails and none too frails, set yer navigator or explorer for Hales Ales:

Based in British Columbia, Canada and with installations world-wide, Newlands is a leader in brewing systems manufacture and service. Whether you're with a brewery in planning or expansion, Newlands provides complete solutions, including brewery concept & design, installation, commissioning, brewers training, quality assurance, production assistance and process auditing. Learn more at their Web site at:

Return to Top

The excellent brewers and chefs at Routh Street welcome you whenever you're in Dallas, TX. A warm, hunting lodge decor with upscale dining and non-stop selection of innovative, quality brews for pairing make the experience a must. If you can't make it by the brewpub this week, make it by their website. A special no-prize for anyone spotting the wild jackalope loose on their pages.

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


Return to Top

We asked what How many computers -- desktop, laptop, pda, etc. -- do you own? We found that you are as likely to have 2-4 computers as one and more likely to have 2+ computers than not. And 33% of our respondents own 3 or more computers. Do you get the feeling we're going the direction of radios and televisions with this medium? Here's how the numbers looked:

# of Percent
CPUs of Respondents
1 46%
2 21%
3 18%
4 7%
more 8%

Last's months Quickie Survey winner is Jeff Morgan. Congratulations Jeff!

Return to Top

****************** Brewed Fresh For You! ******************
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites to check out:

Bad Frog
Black Star Beer
big Rock
Cooper's Brewery
Infinity Neon
Labatt Blue
Lucky's Teeth
Molokai Brewing
Toronto Beer Fest
World of Beer

Return to Top

***************** LEGAL WATCH **********************

By a margin of 620 to 1, Floridian letters and phone calls to Gov. Lawton Chiles are opposing a bill that would make it a felony to ship wine, beer or liquor to their homes. The legislation says all alcoholic beverages must "come to rest" at a Florida wholesaler, which collects state taxes and adds its own profit markup. Many consumers say it threatens their access to wine-of-the-month clubs and beers from micro-breweries. "It's easier to sell the wine in communist China than it is to the Florida consumer," said Deborah Cahn, who owns a small California vineyard. One of the letters to Chiles came from Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, who urged a veto. Butterworth's said the bill allows Florida's wholesale and distribution industry to "tighten its vise grip on the distribution of alcoholic beverages." Florida would become the fourth state, and the largest, to enact such a law after Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia, wine groups say. Shipping directly to a consumer's home would put the winery, brewery or other provider - along with the UPS or other delivery person - at risk of a third-degree felony. A felony conviction would make it impossible to hold a federal license needed to stay in business. (Source: Charles Elmore, Palm Beach Post, May 20, 1997, Tuesday)

Return to Top

Bud Hensgen, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Craft Brewers, found his taste for beer as a press attache with the U.S. Information Agency which landed him in England, Germany, Panama and Colombia. "In my travels overseas, one of the pleasures of living in different countries was the opportunity to taste the differences in the various beer cultures, from Bogota to Panama to London and Munich." A turning point came in 1989. "After 23 years in the diplomatic service, my wife and I determined it was time to come home and get to know our own country better." At the time, Hensgen got involved with Old Dominion, then a microbrewer that has since grown to regional in size. As executive director of the association, Hensgen is working to change laws, nurture fledgling businesses and promote the kinds of beers he once could get only in other countries. "We have a flourishing craft brewing industry in Virginia, Maryland and Washington," he said. The association includes more than 20 brewers. (Source: Lee Graves, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 15, 1997)

Return to Top

1) Virginia legislators approved a bill to help local breweries compete: Governor Allen has signed legislation, submitted by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Craft Brewers, which will allow Virginia's microbreweries to sell visitors beer at the brewery to take away. Virginia's wineries and breweries with restaurants in the are already permitted to do so. Senator Malfourd Trumbo (R - Botetourt) sponsored the bill in the Senate and Delegate Gladys Keating (D - Springfield) carried it in the House. 2) Maryland implements legislation to help microbreweries grow: Governor Parris Glendening of Maryland has signed legislation that will permit the Maryland's microbreweries with restaurants to grow from 10,000 barrels of beer per year to 22,500 barrels. The bill will also permit these pub breweries to contract beer with other breweries in order to reach their ceiling. Theo De Groen, President of Baltimore Brewing Company, representing Maryland's craft brewers summarized the impact of the bill by saying "This bill will allow Maryland's microbreweries with both restaurants and outside distribution to grow to fill the demand for Maryland's own craft beers. It will also help Maryland's microbreweries to become financially stronger in a market that is becoming more competitive principally from beers coming from outside the state of Maryland." The new laws become effective July 1, 1997

  De Groen's Beers at

Return to Top

The lobbying group, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc., were stopped from bringing 535 beer bottles, one for each member of Congress, through the X-ray security machines of Capitol Hill. The message, "A child's life is worth more than cheaper beer," was inscribed on the bottles' labels attempting to prop the groups' claim that lower beer prices are intended to recruit young drinkers. A spokesman for the National Beer Wholesalers Association disputes that accusation, noting the industry has spent $200 million in the past decade on public service ads promoting moderate consumption. The increase in the excise tax was passed in 1990 and doubled the beer levy to $1.35 a case. NBWA president, Ron Sarasin, said "The hike caused the largest drop in sales in 30 years and over 50,000 jobs were lost in the brewing, wholesaling and retailing industries." The lobbying group's demonstration was timed to coincide with the NBWA meeting in Washingon to combat the legislative influence of the organization. The association represents 2,500 wholesalers, and in the 1996 election contributed $1.35 million, more than $1 million or 75% of it to Republicans. Legislators on the two tax-writing committees - House Ways and Means and Senate Finance - received more than $100,000. St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. is a strong lobbyist in its own right. The company maintains an office in Washington and contributed $860,000 to political candidates and parties in 1995-96. (Source: S.J. Cahn, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Business, May 18, 1997, Sunday)

Return to Top

The Oregon Brewers Guild (OBG) has sent a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms withdrawing their support from the petition sent January 25, 1996 by Anheuser-Busch calling for modifications to regulations governing labeling and advertising of beer. " Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewing Co. and President of the OBG said, "The petition has been used to create acrimony and disharmony in the craft brewing industry. This was never the intent of the Guild. The Oregon Brewers Guild will continue to promote the voluntary listing of the 'brewery of origin' on the label by all breweries." Mike Sherwood, Executive Director of the OBG stated that "The Guild's primary function is to promote craft brewing in Oregon. It appears that our goals of promoting truth in labeling may be in conflict with Anheuser-Busch's intent with this petition. The Oregon Brewers Guild is a leader in the industry and needs to continue to lead by doing that which promotes the industry the most," Sherwood continued. " Our support of the petition has been deemed to be contrary to that purpose by the Guild's membership, hence this withdrawal letter." (Source: BEERWeek, May 12 - 19, 1997)

Return to Top

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 April 28 - May 5, 1997
 * Publican Judy Ashworth Suffers Cardiac Arrest
 * Anheuser-Busch Cautions Stockholders re Prohibition
 * A-B Has Good First Quarter
 * Sam Adams & Pete's Down in First Quarter 1997
 * Lower That Tax!
 * Iowa Craft Guild Formed
 * Brewpub Conference Announced
 * Guinness Win-a-Pub Finalists Announced

BEERWeek of May 5 - 12, 1997
 * Judy Ashworth Recovering
 * Hong Kong's Red Dawn Lager Celebrates Handover
 * Coors: A Good News, Bad News Good News Story
 * A-B Nixes Bud to Burma
 * Take Me Out to the Distributor Game

BEERWeek of May 12 - 19, 1997
 * Indian Brewer Invests in Top U.S. Craft Breweries
 * States Crack Down on Beer of the Month Clubs
 * McMenamins Pubs in IRS Hassle
 * IBS Report Released on Industry Statistics
 * A-B and AmBrew Reach Agreement
 * Oregon Guild Withdraws BATF Petition

BEERWeek of May 19 - 26, 1997
 * Guinness Plc In $32.5 Billion Merger
 * UCB Announces Plan for Nationwide Alliance
 * AmBrew Appointed Agent for Dixie B. C.
 * Boston B.C. Announces LongShot Release Date
 * UK Rumblings on Alcopops

BEERWeek of May 26 - June 2, 1997
 * Formal Announcement by UCB in NYC
 * BeerWeek Interview with UCB's Vijay Mallya
 * Canadian Micro's Perform Well
 * AOB Lists Top Producing Craft Brewers
 * IBS Stats for '97 1st Quarter
 * Oregon Brewers Guild Withdraws BATF Petition II
 * IBS to NYTimes: Drop Dead!
 * Report on Midwest Expo
 * Heads Up for California Craft Brewers

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.

Return to Top


The South Korean government is being pressed for action on the liquor sales and production fronts, with the European Union complaining about the low tax on the local spirit "soju' and the United States demanding market access for beer manufacturing equipment. In recent regular working-level trade talks, Washington asked Seoul to allow importation of micro brewery equipment so that hotels and large restaurants can make their own beer and sell it to their customers, a Trade, Industry, and Energy Ministry official said Thursday. The Seoul government has turned down Washington's request, which doesn't mean that the U.S. side has withdrawn such a demand altogether, the official said, requesting anonymity. Since the request made the agenda in trade talks, the trade official predicted that Washington may bring up the issue when lobbying by the U.S. beer industry gets stronger. (Source: Asia Pulse, May 08, 1997 )

Return to Top


German breweries have begun to leverage their brewing heritage in Asian cities where they are finding success in mini-breweries. Paulaner Brauhaus, Bangkok's first microbrewery establishment, opened in 1994. Today Bangkok has four such pub breweries - three of which have technical link-ups with German breweries - and several more are in the pipeline. Thailand's President Park Properties Public Company Ltd, secured a franchise with Munich-based Paulaner Braueri (founded in 1627) for the Thai market and other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, India and China. With revenues expected to exceed 5 million dollars, "it has performed beyond our expectation," said Harmil Singh, president and CEO of President Park. According to the franchise agreement each outlet must import its brewery equipment from Paulaner and all the beer ingredients from Germany. Only the water is sourced locally. A German brewmeister is part of the deal. German cuisine, decor and live bands are added attractions at the pubs. Beers average 125 baht ($5.00 dollars) per pint in Bangkok and about $6.60 dollars for the same in Singapore. Grayson Brown, managing director of Atlantis Beverage Services, a local supplier of made-in-Thailand mini-brewery equipment, complained that German brewing equipment suppliers have the cultural edge in Thailand, where many locals associate import beers - even Heineken and Carlsburg, which are not German brewed - with Germany. The prestige has helped German breweries sell their equipment in Bangkok for two to three times the price of locally made or U.S. imports, said Brown. (Source: Dean Visser and Peter Janssen, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, May 6, 1997)

Return to Top


The formal part of Redhook Ale's annual shareholders meeting took less than five minutes. The question-and-answer period lasted more than an hour. During that time shareholders quizzed Redhook Chief Executive Officer Paul Shipman on the company's sliding stock price in an exchange that was part pep rally, part dress-down. "How do you substantiate the increase in your salary when our stock is going down so rapidly?" one shareholder demanded to scattered applause. "Most of my salary is in Redhook stock," responded Shipman. "I took a hit in the millions. We're all shocked by the stock price." Redhook's stock is trading around $7.50, near it's 52-week low. At its peak, Redhook traded at $35 a share. Redhook reported a first-quarter loss of $488,000, or six cents a share, for the three months ended March 31, which the company attributed to craft-beer industry competition and expansion costs. First-quarter sales totaled $8.87 million, up 3.7% from $8.55 million in the year-earlier period. But its new Portsmouth, N.H., brewery cut into profit, the company said. (Source: Alex Fryer, The Seattle Times, May 22, 1997)

Return to Top

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

Anheuser-Busch is putting up approximately $35 million over 10 years to become a charter sponsor of the San Francisco Giants' Pac Bell Park, a source close to the deal said yesterday. The St. Louis brewer will actually spend more per year than the team's major sponsor, Pacific Bell. The stadium is scheduled to open in 2000. The sponsorship means Anheuser- Busch, the maker of Budweiser and other beers, is the only brewer that can advertise during televised Giants games. It will also be the only beer maker that can hang signs over the playing field. The agreement does not include exclusive rights to sell beer at the stadium, however. By law, the Giants are barred from letting one beer company control beer sales. (Source: Carol Emert, San Francisco Chronicle, May 23, 1997)

Return to Top

After five years working behind the scenes to sell Anheuser-Busch beers, August Busch IV is going to pitch the company's flagship Budweiser brand in TV commercials. Augie IV, VP-marketing for A-B, stars in a 60-second spot from DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, that breaks in the coming weeks. He does the voice-over for the ad, which opens with a picture of his great-great-grandfather, the brewery's founder, and appears on camera at the end. "I'm not by any means a professional actor, but we're going to try something and see how it works," Mr. Busch said last week. A-B is trying to position itself as a company with deep family roots and a long tradition of producing quality products rather than a cold corporate giant. The brewer plans to spend $100 million overall on a marketing campaign focused on quality, heritage and freshness, Mr. Busch said, adding that the "quality" campaign will make up about half the Bud spots planned for the year. The brand's frogs are for now hopping into the sunset, though they will be mentioned in a spot starring Louie the Lizard that breaks in a few weeks, Mr. Busch said. (Source: James Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 19, Monday, Monday Business Pg. 5)

Return to Top

Miller Lite's latest campaign will put three beer drinkers on an exotic beach with supermodel Rebecca Romijn and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue photo crew. Miller Brewing Co. and Sports Illustrated have teamed up for a national promotion set to start in mid-June to generate sales for Miller products, said Michael Johnson, Miller Lite brand director. This is the first time in its 34-year history that Sports Illustrated has entered into a partnership with an advertiser to use the swimsuit issue in a national consumer promotion. Lite, Miller's bestselling product sold 16.1 million barrels of beer last year representing 8.5% of the U.S. market. (Source: James E. Causey, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 20, 1997)

Return to Top

Ending a two-year legal battle, Miller Brewing Company has been found liable in a copyright infringement lawsuit for using The Spin Doctor's 1992 hit, "Two Princes," in TV commercials without permission. In summation of his case before a federal jury Spin Doctors lawyer, Joseph Schleimer, said that Miller flagrantly ripped off the band's hit. "Even fans wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the song and the tune in spots hawking Miller Lite Ice Beer. They wanted the Spin Doctors without paying the millions of dollars it would take to get the real thing," he said. The two parties reached an undisclosed settlement shortly after the ruling . The Spin Doctor's lawyers told reporters that he intended to ask the jury for $11.5 million in damages. The actual amount of the settlement was not released. (Source: Jill Legare, Austin American-Statesman, Metro/State, May 18, 1997)

Return to Top

A sexual harassment suit has been filed on behalf of more than 100 women who promote the German drink, Jagermeister, in the United States. The suit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and states that the Jagerettes were "groped, hugged and kissed" by executives from the Sidney Frank company, which imports the beverage and All State Promotions, which markets it. Both companies have denied wrong doing and have requested the EEOC to withdraw the complaint. (Source: BEERWeekTM - Week of June 2 - 9, 199

Return to Top

The population of young adult males is growing for the first time in two decades. Coors Brewing Co.'s chief executive officer, Peter Coors, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Golden that it bodes well for the Colorado brewer. Men in the 21-to-29 age group are prime consumers of Coors beers, he said. Also at the meeting, Coors Brewing President Leo Kiely introduced new television advertisements aimed at keeping sales of Coors Light and Original Coors flowing. One new Coors Light ad blends images of John Wayne and Ben, Hoss, Adam and Little Joe Cartwright of "Bonanza" with live actors fomenting trouble in a saloon. Peter Coors said the brewing company will focus on building sales of its most popular brands this year, especially Coors Light, Original Coors and Killian's Red. Bill Coors, chairman of Adolph Coors and Coors Brewing, said the beer industry "has been through the whole spectrum" in recent years and "the old brands just keep going." Asked if he has plans to retire, WWI-boomer & octogenarian, Bill Coors, said he does not. He's been with the family business for 58 years. "I have yet to meet a retired person whose lifestyle I envy," said Coors. ( -- editors: apparently Bill Coors doesn't run with the hip retired crowd -- he should know that many retirees are happily homebrewing). (Source: Jeffrey Leib, The Denver Post, Business, May 16, 1997, Friday)

Return to Top


The North American Guild of Beer Writers announces a call for entries for works published between July 1, 1996 through May 31, 1997 for an annual writing competition to recognize excellence in writing on the topics of beer, brewing, appreciation of beer and food, and increased understanding of brewing techniques, history and culture, through all forms of media, in print and online (how's that for a ro?)Website text, radio and TV scripts may be entered as hard copies of the text. Eligible media should be distributed in North America. Entry fees are $35 per article for non-members of the NAGBW, or $15 for members. If you would like more information about the awards or would like to become a member, please email Lucy Saunders at

Return to Top

Jim Parker, currently the Administrator of the Institute for Brewing Studies, has been appointed Director of the American Homebrewers Association, replacing Karen Barela, who resigned earlier this year. Parker, former editor of the Celebrator Beer News, moved to Colorado to start the Rocky Mountain Brews beer newspaper. He then opened Mountain Taps Alehouse in Fort Collins, which he sold a few years ago. Parker will assume his new role in time to oversee the AHA Conference in Cleveland in June

We at Real Beer are proud to announce the transition of another IBS alumnus to a new position within our organization. Kate Hanley, who worked closely with the Institute for Brewing Studies on association membership benefits, service and administration has joined Real Beer, Inc. in a customer relations and communications role to meet service and growth needs. Please join us in welcoming Kate on board. Kate will also be assisting in the maintenance of our Brewery Database, online at If you have changes, additions or deletions, feel free to email her at:

Return to Top

In a related matter, we are also looking for a motivated, self-starter marketing/sales person to coordinate a national representative network, telemarket, develop marketing communications and wear a thousand other hats. Knowledge of the Internet, branding and media sales is a definite plus. Good wit and love of the business will make a good fit in our fast-paced, team environment. Interested individuals may forward their resume AND SALARY REQUIREMENTS by email to

For more industry related positions, see our new classified advertising area on the
Professional Brewer's Page at:

Return to Top


A couple of years ago, front pages and editorial columns at all the beer newspapers ignited with the news that Miller Brewing Company was buying Celis, an exciting microbrewery in Texas producing wonderful Belgian-style beers. Some of the speculation involved fears that there may be a loss of integrity of the recipes as Miller sought economies and efficiencies. To date, this hasn't happened.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were looking at microbrews in a ma-and-pa liquor store. A new beer, Pacific Ridge sat next to some Widmer Heffewiezen and Anchor Steam. I told her it was the world's biggest brewer emulating regional craft brewers. "Really?" she asked as she squinted at the label to identify the brewer. "Which one?" "Exactly," I responded. "It's the one creating all the
fuss about integrity in labeling on a national level while misleading the uninformed consumer at the local level -- the arrogance and gall of it all is that their campaign slogan is 'act globally, drink locally.'" This wasn't a regional, an uberbrau or a national brewer we were talking about. It was the industrial brewer, Anhueser-Busch.

The other day, regional brewer Mendocino Brewing Co. ( had a big "coming out party" to celebrate their migration from bottles-only to draught. As you've read, the UB group in India had just invested $3.5 million into Mendocino, so naturally their management team was at the event. "Did you see the Indian guys huddled in the corner like a pack of hungry vultures? They really stood out." I was asked when discussing the event the next day with a colleague. "Interesting you would say that," I responded. "Because of the kind of space we were in, we were hanging out in a corner as well. Would you have made the same comment were that a group of Japanese investors?" She nodded her head in the affirmative. "Would you have said the same had Anhueser-Busch made the investment, as they did recently with Widmer and before that with Redhook?" The answer was "no." We would not have been able to differentiate the A-B executives from the other hundreds of white, 21-65 year old beer industry people huddled in small groups around the room.

This gave me pause, because it pointed out to me that we were dealing with racist and xenophobic attitudes, which I believe are secondary responses (as are many forms of anger and ignorance) to fear. We're dealing with the fear of the "THEM" in an abstract, objective term. The fear of invasion, loss of status, sexual appeal, wealth, integrity, innocence or other forms of power. At the heart of concerns about Indian investors and Industrial brewers entering the craft segment is a fear of predators/invaders. To me, an industry living in fear and reacting in cover-up mode is already dying. But we're not in that position, despite the popular bend of poorly researched and uninformed recent NY Times articles. The craft segment grew by 27% last year, a respectable pace for any business. The fear of "THEM" is rarely founded in logic or reality, though. It's emotional. And it's personal.

Faced with racism or xenophobia, extreme examples of the fear of Them, I had to question some of my own attitudes to the way industrial brewers are attacking the craft segment. The conclusion I arrived at is that I fear of loss of choice and diversity. By manufacturing consent or misrepresenting intent, industrial brewers have forced me to ask tough questions in these editorials about their marketing strategies. As a consumer and a consumer advocate, I believe it's worth moving proactively on concerns about loss if the losses are personal casualties. In the craft segment, we have relationships with our brewers, so small brewer casualties caused by predatory and anti-competitive practices are by necessity personal. In laying open some of the deceptive practices, though, have I created a boogie man in the industrial brewers, as others have of foreign interests buying into American companies?

I hope not. I hope that we continue to call foul when we see it and give praise where its due. At Real Beer, we welcome your comments should we fail in this pursuit. You can email us at or fill out our comments form on the homepage.

In working through these issues the theme that kept coming up for me was that you can look through the world through lenses of fear or optimism. Those looking at the acquisition of craft breweries by industrial and foreign forces can see that this represents the beginning of the end. Those with optimistic lenses may see the acquisitions in light of having the craft-beer movement hitting the radar of the world market. Either way it marks a cross road.

On a macro level, the same may be going on with the phone business. When discussing this month the plans of long-distance carrier AT&T to merge with regional Bell operating company SBC, exiting FCC chairman Reed Hundt said: "The telecom law invited everybody to fight each other. It's natural that these companies would explore the possibility of dancing instead of fighting. It's up to government to tell them when their combinations, alliances and mergers are pro-competition and when they're anti-competition." And Congressman W. J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee's telecommunications subcommittee, said: "Is there any real difference between getting down to two or three or four big competitors through mergers or having a dozen competitors fight it out to get to two or three or four large competitors? The outcome is the same." (Washington Post , June 1, 1997) This leads us to consider a third path we're not quite prepared to take: cynicism.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Cheers!