RBPMail 3.09, September 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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:

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For over seven months we've been co-publishing BEERWeek with The Celebrator Beer News. This valuable industry news digest is delivered every week with a compilation of digested breaking news, new product releases, events, openings and closings along with many novel reports and reporting found exclusively in BEERWeek. This is the final edition of three months of global headline articles presented from BEERWeek in RBPMail, sort of like an extended cable channel preview weekend. If beer is your avocation or profession, this is the resource for you. To clarify, RBPMail is the FREE news digest mailed monthly; BEERWeek is supported entirely by your paid subscription and -- as the name implies -- never misses a Monday. Read on or subscribe at:

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Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd., based in Toronto, Canada and Lowenbrau AG, Munich, Germany, announced August 18 an agreement for the production, importation and marketing of Lowenbrau beers in North America. The new agreement will go into effect in two years in the U.S. after the conclusion of the current agreement with Miller Brewing Co. The beer will be brewed in accordance with Lowenbrau's "genuine" Munich recipe versus the current Miller interpretation.


Molson Breweries has just received approval for a new beer ad that shows two women kissing romantically. According to a report in the August 14 Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper, the Molson Dry ad was originally rejected by the Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario because it insinuated that beer was a key to "sexual success." After a re-edit by Molson, the ad has now been approved and the Globe says that it "is believed to be the first prime-time TV commercial to use homosexual imagery openly." The commercial has not yet aired and there is no indication when it will debut. (courtesy Stephen Beaumont, World of Beer/Celebrator Beer News).

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Shelton Broers, importers of Cantillon Belgian beers, have finally succeeded in getting approval from the BATF for their Rose de Gambrinus and Gueuze Lambic labels. The labels had been rejected for use in the U.S for years because they showed nudity. The Rose de Gambrinus label, originally created by Belgian artist Raymond Coumans, features a watercolor impression of a nude woman sitting on the lap of Gambrinus, the mythic King of Beer. The previous distributor had tried to persuade the artist to clothe the woman in a bikini; Coumans retaliated by clothing her in a long blue dress, commenting, "... underneath her blue dress the girl is ... STARK NAKED." The Gueuze Lambic label features the famed Manneken- Pis, the centerpiece of a fountain located in the center of Brussels. The BATF changed their position because it became convinced that the labels are indeed works of art.

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Wendy Littlefield and Don Feinberg were inducted into the Belgian Brewers Guild on July 2 in Brussels, Belgium, and are now Chevaleries du Fourquet des Brasseurs. The couple, owners of Belgian beer importers Vanberg & DeWulf were the first Americans, and the only couple, to be so honored. Wendy Littlefield is one of only three women to be admitted to the Guild. The induction took place on Belgium's "Beer Day," and the ceremony itself took about six hours, including a procession, a mass (dedicated to St. Arnould, patron saint of brewers), a concert, a parade of vintage beer wagons, an aerialist who walked a tight rope across the Grand'Place, stopping to drink a beer at midpoint, the swearing in itself, and a feast.

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A Coors spokesperson confirmed that the company is divesting Unibev as an independent entity and bringing the Killian and Blue Moon brands under their corporate marketing umbrella. Laurie Ciesielski assured BEERWeek that the move does not affect brand spending, resources or commitment, rather it represents a realignment of efforts towards core marketing and sales resources. The former Unibev products will be incorporated into the existing Coors marketing structures, ultimately reporting to Bill Weintraub, Senior Vice President of Marketing.


American cider producers won a significant tax break in legislation recently passed and signed into law. Currently, cider from large producers is taxed at a rate comparable to luxury drinks like champagne although it has half the alcoholic content. Ciders are, however, most often marketed alongside craft-brewed beers in quality taverns and alehouses. The bill gives relief to apple growers and cider producers by reducing the federal excise tax from $1.07 per gallon to 22.6 cents per gallon -- the same rate as microbrewed beer. BeerWeek contacted a few cider producers for reaction and found universal delight with the tax rollback. Widmer Bros. Brewery in Portland, OR is barely three months into production of their own line of ciders. Kurt Widmer reported that the new tax relief won't kick in until they produce over 151,000 gallons (nearly 4900 barrels) and that the major tax break takes place for production over 250,000 gallons. "This helps Widmer starting next year," Widmer said, noting that competition is both from domestic producers and from imports.

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


The following resources on the Web can prepare you to attend the Great American Beer Festival in person or in cyberspace:


The 16th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) will present a record-setting 400 breweries pouring more than 1,700 beers during the three-day salute to brewing's best from Oct. 2 through 4 at Denver's Currigan Exhibition Hall. More than 30,000 beer lovers from around the world are expected for the festivities. In addition to more beers being served, more beers are also being judged in the 1997 competition than ever before. The GABF's Professional Panel Blind Tasting has been expanded to 50 different style categories (37 categories were judged in 1996). The Members-Only Tasting, held exclusively for members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and Institute for Brewing Studies (IBS), will be Thursday, Oct. 2 from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Since the Blind Tasting Awards Ceremony will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m on Thursday, AHA and IBS members will be first to sample this year's medal winning beers. The public sessions are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 to 10. An extra public session has been added on Saturday afternoon from 12:30 to 4:30 as well. General Admission tickets are $28 in advance or $30 at the door. For more information or to order tickets, call the 24-hour GABF hotline at (303) 447-0126 or hit:

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As you prepare to head out to Denver, catch last year's Blind Pannel winners online at the following addresses:

SLO Brewing Co., San Louis Obispo, CA, Brickhouse Extra Pale Ale, Classic English-Style Pale Ale - Bronze

20 Tank Brewery, San Francisco, CA, Heart of Darkness XXX Stout, Dry Stouts - Bronze

20 Tank Brewery, San Francisco, CA, Kinnikinick Old Scout Stout, Specialty Stouts - Gold

Little Apple Brewing Co., Manhattan, KS, Big 12 Barleywine, Barley Wine - Gold

Celis Brewery Inc., Austin, TX, Celis Grand Cru, Belgian-Style Ales - Bronze

Baltimore Brewing Co., Baltimore, MD, DeGroen's Pils, European-Style Pilsener - Gold

Redwood Coast Brewing Co., Mt. View, CA, New World Wheat, American Wheat Ale or Lager - Silver

Rogue Ales, Newport, OR, Smoke, Smoke-Flavored Beers - Gold

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Do your own blind tastings and compare your experience with some folks who have spent considerable time and effort tasting beers and articulating their experience.

Richard Steuvens

Dave Brockington


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************* REAL BEER PICKS *********************


Our website pick of the month is chock full of fun surprises. Not some crazy, bleeding-edge java applet or shockwave game. Just great, honest, no-holds-barred, fun-lovin' show and tell-it-like-it-is. These folks love what they do and where they are. Click on "find us on the map" and you'll soon realize it's just another excuse to spin some stories. Meet their brown dog and send pictures of your own brown dogs. This is not just a contest marketing gimmick. They REALLY want to meet your dog and share Olive with you. They love brown dogs. And you have to read about the famous Murderous past of Smutty Nose Island. It's a refreshing change from the cookie-cutter-come-back-in-three-weeks-and-it's-the-same brand website. By the way, if the site doesn't change every couple of weeks, get on them about it. 'Bet you'll get a real-life reply. Enjoy the Smuttynose site at:

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A brewpub and newly installed micro base outside of Cleveland, OH telegraphs "sequel" louder than an action-hero summer blockbuster. The Aussie accent in the copy is thicker than a Foster's Beer commercial and the mascot "Wally" looks headed for franchise and/or multi-unit destiny. The website is still under construction, but it's one to book mark and hop around again soon. Ohio residents can also learn how to purchase common stock at the rate of $5/share:

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Big oops on last month's Real Beer Picks write up of the Horse Brass Pub, "a bit of England, where good companionship is the order of the day." Not on the selection, but in the misenom publican, Don Younger. A small batch of RBPMails sent out last month had him running his operations under a different name (and we're not referring to any of the expletives he's used to hearing). Boy, did he give us hell... In all seriousness, Don is one of our favorite industry visionaries; the Horse Brass is one of the best beer bars in the world and we apologize for the faux pas. Let's all make it up to him and hit his site like crazy today at:

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We've heard the pleas for help from the spouses of those downloading the devilishly addictive BeerManager game. Sorry. The first four years are freeeeeeee...:


Thanks to all who have been replying to our Quickie Surveys. We draw one winner each month for the prize of Michael Jackson's The Great Beers of Belgium distributed by Vanberg & DeWulf (

Due to some technical difficulties last month's results are unavailable.

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

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

Brews Cruise
Elk Grove
Golden Gate
Hales Ales
Lucky's Teeth
Molokai Brewing
Shadow Mtn
Toronto Beer Fest

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According to the August/September edition of Southern Draft Brew News, legislators nullified a 24-year-old statewide restriction on beer bottle sizes by passing a law allowing beer containers of any size. House Bill 1023, sponsored by Rep. Frank Buck, D-District 40, sailed through the House and Senate in just three days. Although Gov. Don Sundquist refused to sign it, he didn't veto it but allowed it to become law without his signature. It went into effect June 24. After many discussions and much political wrangling, the powerful Tennessee Malt Beverage Association came out against the new law, but craft beer enthusiasts statewide are celebrating the prospect that they may soon be enjoying a wide variety of European and American beers that until now were prohibited.

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Pale Rider Ale, is a new beer brewed under contract by Celis Brewing, Co. in Austin, TX for movie star/director Clint Eastwood. When BEERWeek talked to the manager at Hogs Breath Inn, owned by Eastwood, in Carmel, CA, she reported that customers had completely consumed the first batch of their new beer in two days. According to a Celis representative, Eastwood has taken a hands-on approach to his new beer, involving himself with the development of the flavor profile and participating in tasting sessions to determine the final recipe. Pale Rider is described as smooth and complex, brewed with five different hops and two pale malts and caramel malts. Initially, it will be available in the Monterey Bay area. Proceeds from the beer's sales will be donated to Eastwood's favorite charities around Monterey County, including Carmel Youth Center and the Monterey Peninsula Boys & Girls Club. Celis is one of three breweries that operate as part of Miller Brewing's American Specialty & Craft Beer Company. Owner/founder Pierre Celis moved from Belgium to Texas to live in the American West.

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Anheuser-Busch Co. increased its advertising costs by 13.7% from the first quarter 1996 to first quarter 1997. The company spent $72,498,100 in Q1 '97, and $63,750,800 in Q1 '96. Philip Morris (Miller Brewing, Red Dog, Molson's) was second in absolute expenditures, but its ad costs increased 16.9%. Heineken, spending $3,102,800 in Q1 '97, compared to $160,800 in Q1 '96, increased its ad expenditures a mammoth 1,829.6%. (Reported by Competitive Media Reporting, July 29, 1997)

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The Federal Trade Commission has begun investigating two beer marketers who advertised in college newspapers, Boston Beer Company and Portland Brewing. Judy Riedl, general manager at the University of Oregon's Oregon Daily Emerald in Eugene, OR, stated that they had "run beer ads in the past and, yes, we would run them again. There's no law against that." Riedl added that the average age of the Emerald's readers was 21, and that the readership included more than just students, but faculty and staff members as well. She also stated that the school had run ads in the past for restaurants and bars and clubs where beer is served, without any problem. The editor of the University of California's Daily Bruin in Los Angeles, Edina Lekovic stated that they have no policy against running ads for beer, and that "I don't believe the ads are aimed at underage drinkers." When contacted by Ad Age, an FTC spokesman said that FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky has "said publicly he is concerned about alcohol advertising that either by its placement or content is being directed at underage audiences." Boston Beer Company's Jim Koch told Ad Age that it was not the policy of the brewery to advertise in college newspapers. The company's subsidiary Oregon Beer & Ale Company placed ads in the fall of 1996, but that was not done as part of the company's basic policy. The other brewery contacted by the FTC, Portland Brewing Company, Portland, OR, had budgeted $400,000 for 1997 on a print campaign to run in alternative weeklies and more than a dozen campus newspapers in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Upon being contacted by Ad Age, Portland's marketing director Michael Kiriazis stated that the company was cooperating with the FTC investigation. (Sources: James B. Arndorfer, Advertising Age, August 18 and additional reporting by BEERWeek staff).

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The wind-up on this editorial may be slow, but the pitch delivered at the end is an entreaty for you to invest the time to become informed about the discourse being pushed through mainstream media that threatens your responsible consumer rights. We'll recommend you do so by reading and communicating with a lone, critical advocate on the web for balanced reporting in the face of neoprohibition forces that wish to steal the livelihood from the beer producers.

This editorial was inspired by correspondence with a fellow online beer publisher. We started by discussing a promotion by Anhueser-Busch that marries hunting enthusiasm and safety with brand Point Of Sale communications. Our colleague had asked, "Am I overreacting to a perceived problem, or do beer promotions like this add fuel to neoprohibitionist bonfires?" It's a good question, but part of a broader issue in response to the "New Temperance Movement."

We believe that focussing on A-B cross-hair/index promotion amounts to barking up the wrong tree. This promotion is a no-brainer for A-B to harvest some of the goodwill they've created through years of sponsorship. And it doesn't hurt A-B's synergies and credibility with the audience that the big cheese, Augie IV, is a hunting enthusiast.

So, per the question, this is not overreacting. Simply reacting. Which is the central problem in our analysis. If we overthink to avoidance the support of an audience that makes sense, we've already lost the battle. If we react to the straw-dogs produced by the opposition, then they control the debate. We need to be loudly dismissive about their response to responsible industry messages.

We need to be proactive in this area rather than reactive. The integration of the beverage into all occasions is a great weapon against the prohibitionist. Compare the U.S. view of alcohol versus the European view and imagine their uproar from consumers should anyone suggest a complete prohibition the likes we had in the 20s.

As beer press, consumer advocates and conscientious consumers, we have a duty to exercise our influence on the debate so that anti-alcohol salvos from the mass media do not vilify beer, beer producers or beer consumption and so that these messages do not insinuate themselves into the culture from their tireless and unquestioned presentation in mass media. Our approach: whenever PRODUCT or PRODUCER are targeted, we raise flags. IMHO, the issues should be alcoholism, treatment and abuse -- prevention to the greater population does nothing to address these issues or abate use from the smaller, problem group.

Case in point on unchecked media reports: two months ago, when the "Center for Media Education" launched its attack on Web advertising by alcohol producers (see


"The Internet has become a new tool for the alcohol industry, the Wall Street Journal reported March 7. According to the Center for Media Education underage drinkers are the target of an aggressive campaign, with more than 35 brands of beer and liquor posted on the Web. In releasing the results of a new study, the Center for Media Education said young people are enticed by the Web sites because 14 liquor companies and 10 major breweries have chosen to promote their products with 'a heady blend of humor, hip language, interactive games, and contests.'"

Critical Reading: 1. they use of WSJ's name to legitimize a press release picked up from CME and call it "reporting;" 2. "aggressive campaign because 35 brands post in medium?" there are hundreds of brands and they use all media to communicate with their consumers; 3. "new tool?" -- we've been putting brands on the Web for over four years; 4. calls CME's agenda a "study;" 5. and since when do "heady" blends of humor, hip language, interactive games and contests become the domain of the underage? But many mainstream and a few beer news sources picked up this information without removing the slant and asking the critical question: should this even be reported? Is there legitimacy to the "study?"

We should have been calling foul on this report rather than passing it on or letting it go unchecked in the mainstream. We email our reproaches to shows when they report this information inaccurately or simply inappropriately -- almost all media have email now. We invite all readers to join us in protesting and informing by email.

One of the most effective ways we can combat false claims as beer press and "beerigencia" is to become more informed about the weak links in the New Temperance Movement's armor. Much of the movement's ammunition has devolved within government-funded organizations from self- perpetuating bureaucracies and speaks specifically to elites -- academics, research institutions, policy-makers, etc. There are many sites dedicated to the thoughtful propagation of the neo-prohibition message (see samples below) that we should study. There is only one so far that we've seen to present the balanced, critical response. It's called the RANES Report and is produced by Ron Roizen in Berkeley, CA who came from the research institution from which many alumni have graduated to become leading proponents of anti-alcohol policy and thought. Ron did not come to the same conclusions as some of these colleagues, and he reports this on his new web site at:


SOME NEO-PROHIBITION SITES TO STUDY (note use of bright colors, cartoon illustration and animations!)

Look to see and hear more from Roizen in this area in the future. For the moment, however, take the time and thought it requires to review each issue of the RANES Report so you can be informed when faced with suspicious data and presentations against your right to enjoy a real beer.