RBPMail 3.10, October 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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In a September 25 announcement, Carlsberg-Tetley announced the details of a three year plan designed to create a competitive and profitable independent brewer and wholesaler. The plan is the result of a company wide review which began in June when a proposed merger with Bass Brewers was blocked by the government. C-T Chief Executive, Ebbe Dinesen, said, "The initiatives we are announcing today will put us in excellent shape to compete vigorously as the UK's largest brewer and wholesaler without a conflict of interest with our retail customers and with the wholehearted backing of a shareholder, Carlsberg A/S, which is committed to our future. We have profitable brands which will receive significantly more investment, as well as our effort to build on our reputation as an industry leader in customer service. Our major regret is that in order to be competitive we have had to remove large amounts of cost from the business, which will mean substantial job losses at or around 1500. However this was unavoidable if the company and its remaining employees were to have a more secure future. Michael Luul, Chief Executive, Carlsberg International, which now owns 100% of Carlsberg-Tetley, added: "This plan will put Carlsberg- Tetley in a strong competitive position. We are planning to invest L40m in production over the plan period. With net assets well in excess of our investments, we have a unique opportunity to shape the company into one of the most efficient in Europe, which, coupled with the Carlsberg and Tetley brands, would make it a very competitive British brewing company. Details of the plan are as follows;

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The company will retain two breweries, at Leeds and Northampton. Both will receive substantial investment in order to increase efficiency and extend capacity. Northampton and Leeds together will receive around L40m investment. Carlsberg-Tetley's remaining three breweries are to be closed down, or, if possible, the Burton Brewery will close by April 1999 with the loss of 550 jobs. However, Carlsberg-Tetley has announced that the closure of the Brewery may be avoided if a suitable buyer can be identified. The Alloa Brewery in Scotland will close by May 1998, with the loss of approx. 85 Brands brewed at Alloa including Calders and the Arrol's range. These will continue to be brewed in Scotland under a new contract arrangement with Caledonian Brewing Company Ltd. of Edinburgh. The Wrexham Brewery will close by October 1999 with the loss of approx. 35 lobs. Investment and other efficiency initiatives in Leeds and Northampton will lead to a further reduction of 70 jobs. Ebbe Dinesen comments: "We looked at every possible option, but focusing on two modern breweries is the right answer. There is over capacity in the brewing industry and we cannot compete effectively unless we are more cost effective than our competitors. Wherever possible we will use early retirements, voluntary redundancy and re deployment to avoid compulsory redundancies."

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Carlsberg-Tetley's On-Trade Retail Distribution operation is to be streamlined in order to continue its drive to improved efficiency. The plan envisages the company reducing its number of stocked depots, but retaining 'in-house' services it sees as essential to sustaining its leadership in customer service. Plans include investment in new, modern sites, to which existing operations will transfer. As well as depot closures, it is anticipated that there will be 280 job losses in Retail Distribution. The Primary Distribution function, involving the bulk transfer of beers from breweries to retail distribution sites, will be contracted out to a third party. which will mean the eventual transfer to new employers for 100 people.

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The existing Carlsberg-Tetley headquarters building at Birmingham Business Park will be vacated, with all head office functions transferring to offices at Northampton Brewery. The Marketing Department, currently based at Burton, will also move to Northampton. Similarly, Carlsberg-Tetley Take Home Sales will be based at Northampton, transferring from its current rented offices at Godalming, Surrey. Telesales will consolidate at three locations, Leeds, Alloa and Romford. Existing operations at Torquay and Warrington will close. In addition, sales support staff levels will be reduced. Other corporate functions, such as Finance and Human Resources, will be largely concentrated in Northampton and Leeds. These changes are expected to result in a loss of a further 380 jobs. Ebbe Dinesen adds: "It is never easy to announce the loss of a significant number of jobs. However, once the merger with Bass Brewers was blocked, we had no alternative, as we made clear in our submissions to the regulatory authorities. However, this plan will ultimately put Carlsberg-Tetley in a position to enjoy healthy profits - and enable us to give a good return to our parent company, Carlsberg NS." (from Peter Haydon, World Editor, breWorld)

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The Japanese investment bank Nomura became the largest independent pub company in Great Britain after its $1.9 billion (1.2 billion pounds) purchase of pub chains Inntrepreneur and Spring Inns. Inntrepreneur's former owners are Grand Metropolitan Plc and Foster's. The size of the new group, bringing together 2,900 outlets with 1,400 Spring Inns will allow for a better platform from which to negotiate beer prices from brewers for its pub tenants. Inntrepreneur was formed in 1991. Currently its publicans are tied to an exclusive beer supply agreement with Scottish & Newcastle; the agreement expires in March, 1998. The new organization makes up the largest supply agreement for S&N outside its own pubs. Currently, Inntrepreneur's pubs are centered in Manchester and the Midlands across to Bristol and London. The prime base for Spring Inns is in East Anglia.

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The troubled Nor'Wester Brewing group was nearly dealt a death blow with the withdrawal of prospective business partner United Breweries of America. Nor'Wester, along with Aviator Brewing of Seattle, Bayhawk Brewing of Irvine, California, North Country Brewing of Saratoga Springs, New York, the already- shuttered Mile High Brewing of Denver, and Willamette Valley, Inc. a holding company, comprised a nation-wide chain of microbreweries, each of which was funded by local public stock offerings. UBA Chair Vijay Mallya (see Celebrator Beer News June/July 1997 @ cited Nor'Wester's failure to meet minimum net worth stipulations and its failure to re-negotiate terms of repayment with major creditors to be the reason for its withdrawal from the deal. First announced on September 26 of 1996, the deal would have traded $9 million in cash, $2 million in stock, and another million dollars in licenses and management services for a 26% stake in the consolidated companies. The industry consensus was that Nor'Wester CEO Jim Bernau had, in the words of one brewery president, "caught himself a big fish." As the year progressed, however, the fish turned out to be more of a boa constrictor, with the terms of the deal changing first to $8.6 million for 45% of the company, then to $5.5 million cash, plus $2.75 million in bridge loans for a 40% stake. By the time Mallya called off the deal, the $2.75 million credit line extended by the Indian entrepreneur had been completely tapped. This line of credit was secured against the Saratoga Springs brewery, and Mallya has secured his credit well, holding position as the superior lien holder on the makers of North Country. "They're going to be coming back to me and proposing what assets they want me to have," Mallya said. "I may get a brewery or two in the process, and I'd be quite interested in looking at their assets." The lien supersedes all other claims, including Chapters VII and XI bankruptcy. For $2.75 million, Mallya bought himself a new, well-situated brewery on the East Coast. Investors in Nor'Wester are looking ever-closer to S.O.L., creditors can get in line, and Mr. Bernau appears to have some explaining to do. (Source: William Abernathy)

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According to an article by Mike Francis in the Portland Oregonian, Saxer Brewing Company has purchased the Nor'Wester brand after Nor'Wester shut down operations earlier in the month (BeerWeek 7/15; 7/22). Saxer, which until now has been exclusively a lager producer, will now double its output, shelf facing and tap handle potential.


Kirin Brewery Ltd., has lost market share after years of leadership in the Japanese beer industry, and has announced major shifts: 1) It will enter the low-malt beer market 2) It will cut costs by 30 billion yen ($247 million) 3) It will reduce the number of employees (9000) by 20% over a three-year period, through natural attrition and slowing down of re-hiring. 4) It will renovate facilities at two of its 15 plants and close three of them. Kirin has indicated that it believes that Japan's beer market has leveled off to only one percent annual growth. It hopes to expand by looking to the foreign market, especially China. It intends to develop new facilities in China and strengthen its sales network there as well. Currently, it is the number one imported beer in Taiwan. Currently, Kirin is losing market share to rivals Asahi Breweries Ltd., and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. Asahi and Suntory both increased shipments in August, while Kirin posted declines. Asahi reported a year-on-year increase in its August shipments, and that its January-August period was up 10.6 percent from the same period a year earlier.

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In a September 26 press release from the Institute for Brewing Studies, it was announced that the United States now exceeds Germany in the number of operating breweries. Germany now has 1,234; the U.S. has 1,273. Germany's count was surpassed in June, 1997. Of the 1,273 U.S. breweries, 1,250 are craft breweries. According to the same report, the largest number of U.S. micros are in California, Colorado and Washington State; California, Florida and Colorado have the most brewpubs. Oregon, California and Colorado lead with the most regional specialty breweries, while Vermont, Wyoming and Colorado have the most breweries per capita.


Stroh Brewery announced this month that it would close down its St. Paul, Minnesota, brewery over the next two months. The decision was made owing to the facility's age. Built in 1865 by Hamm's Brewing Co., it was deteriorating and was too limited in its production capacity to stay profitable. The St. Paul production will be shifted to other plants.

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Although the Oktoberfest in Munich is wrapping up, you can look forward to plenty of festivals available this season. It's the time of the harvest. The Burning Man. Death and Rebirth. It's a time to celebrate our time here and those who came before us. Below are our top picks of traditional German Lagers available in the U.S. with which to enjoy your celebration.

Theo DeGroen is brewing some of the best German-style Lagers in the U.S. Hands down. If you can't visit them personally and pick up one of their classic growlers, surf their website at:

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1. DeGroen's/Baltimore Brewing Co.
2. Capital Brewing, Madison, WI
3. Bayern Brewing, Missoula, MT
4. Sudwerks, Sacramento, CA
5. Tabernash, Denver, CO
6. Saxer Brewing, Portland, OR
7. Rio Grande Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
8. Gordon Biersch, San Jose, CA
9. Bavarian Brewing Co., Maumee, OH
10. The Weeping Radish, Manteo, NC

We'll try to bring you these event's in September's RBPMail. For more information, surf our events calendar online by date, topic, location, etc.

THE Oktoberfest
September 20 - October 5, 1997 - Munich, Germany

DeGroen's Annual Oktoberfest Celebration
Saturday, September 27th 1997

Mass Bay Brewing Co. 8th Annual Octoberfest
October 2 - 5, 1997 - Boston, MA

Napa's 150th Anniversary Octoberfest
October 5, 1997 - Napa, CA

4th annual Oktoberfest
October 4, 1997 - Sheboygan, Wisconsin

BJ's Brewery Beer Appreciation Night: Oktoberfest & Munich Lagers
October 7, 1997 - Mission Viejo, California

Chicago's 6th Annual Microbrewers Oktoberfest
October 9 - 12, 1997 - Chicago, Illinois

Routh Street Brewery Oktoberfest Brewer's Dinner
October 9, 1997 - Dallas, Texas

Manayunk Brewing Oktoberfest
October 15, 1997 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 18 - 19, 1997 - Campbell, California

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Last month we covered breweries online that won 1996 GABF medals. Conspicuously absent were our friends at brewmoon, to whom we profusely apologize.

brewmoon restaurant and microbrewery, Saugus, MA
Gold Medal winner
GABF 1996
Munchener Helles

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

Despite the server overloads, 65MB install file and a potential small dilemma with your personal politics, we think once you install Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 for Windows you'll be pleased by what you find. In the new channels format you can find several branded content sites such as ESPN, Epicurious, Disney and Real Beer. Yep, that's right. Our Real Beer guy will be smiling while greeting you to our new channel. Real Beer partnered with one of the nicest guys in the business, Jeff Scott, of Many thanks to Jeff for pushing the project along as well as to Jenny, his wonderful wife, who put up with his absence during some late nights. We liked the format of the Channel: You subscribe. It downloads new content each week. You browse it off line. What we like about this format is that it comes closer to "happening to you" like when you turn on your television or radio. And it integrates into all the tools you've come to trust from the Real Beer Page. Even if you do not have MSIE 4.0, please go to The Real Beer Channel page to participate in the survey and influence what format our next content push will come to you in. The drum roll and url, please:

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We've just launched a new feature for you to spam your friends with -- it's a virtual postcard program. If you're traveling, consider alerting friends with the Real Beer Truck. Going on vacation? Try a postcard of Good 'Ol Dad, reaching in for a cold one. Feeling grateful? Use the "Thanks A Jillion!" card. Or if you're using The Real Beer Page for the first time, consider sending all your friends the URL and homepage image. Give the program a whirl at:

Glaser is an Associate Editor for "Yankee Brew News," a columnist for "Modern Brewery Age," and a contributor to "Celebrator Beer News," "Beer & Tavern Chronicle," "Drink," "Brew" and many other publications. He also speaks at beer tastings and dinners, teaches beer appreciation classes and serves as a beer consultant to beer distributors, restaurants, taverns and package stores. Gregg is a nationally certified beer judge with the Beer Judge Certification Program as well as a member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers and the American Homebrewers Association. When not writing or talking about or tasting or making beer, Gregg seeks out wild edible mushrooms in the woods of New England with his wife and son. Get to know Gregg's work better by surfing his site at:

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If you like cigars you'll love the convenience of one of our favorite new sites. Havana's Fine Cigars, based in Denver, CO has a new online shopping cart in place. Nice selection, too, carefully handled in their on-premise humidors. Their line-up includes Bahia Vintage, Davidoff, Fonseca, Macanudo Vintage, Partagas, Zinos and more. Enjoy:

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

Mendocino Brewing Company, one of Northern California's legacy craft brewers, brings their award-winning artwork and labels to their pages with a new shopping cart feature. Browse their offerings at:

Twenty Tank Brewing Company, a pioneer brewpub in the real world and online, has been giving its site a facelift. Actually, it's more like a face explosion, but you'll have to surf the site to see what we mean. Current events, new beers and brewmaster, newsletters and even tank postcards are now available at version 2.0 of the Twenty Tank website:

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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 ( This month, we're throwing some Spaten Tee Shirts in the mix to make your chances of winning something even better. Here is this month's question:

We were hungry last month when we asked you what you would prefer: meat, fish, fowl, pork, vegetarian and none. Here's what we learned:

meat -- 49%
chicken - fish -- 41%
vegetarian - 9%

Last month's winner was the carnivorous Joseph A. Veehoff. Congratulations, Joseph! Try pairing that red meat with some hearty Belgian beers. Your new Jackson book should aid in your selection.

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

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

Beer Manager (the game!)
Brews Cruise
Elk Grove
Golden Gate
Horse Brass Pub
Lucky's Teeth
Molokai Brewing
Shadow Mtn
Smutty Nose

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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 its 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.


The owner of a Times Square brewpub has been accused of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Helen Liftig, owner of Hansen's Time Square Brewery has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of at least 20 former employees. The Post apparently reported employees' allegation in August 1996, one month after the brewery had opened. A former manager, Pradeep Kawatra, stated he had been forced to fire employees once Lustig learned that they were minorities. Kawatra and other employees told the EEOC that she had created a "hostile work environment," by touching employees inappropriately, refusing to hire female bartenders, tell female employees to "throw themselves" at male customers to get them to stick around and insisting that the race and ethnic origin of applicants be noted. (Source: Gersh Kuntzman, New York Post, April 29)

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The Czech Republic is prepared to transfer rights to the name "Bud" to Anheuser-Busch, partially ending a dispute that has gone on since the turn of the century (BeerWeek, June 30). At the time the dispute began, A-B was a local St. Louis, MO brewery. It is now the best selling beer in the world. Budvar, in contrast, is still relatively small, brewing approximately 1% of what Anheuser- Busch does each year. A-B had trademarked the name Budweiser in 1876. Over the years, both companies have made several agreements as to where the name Budweiser can be used. Partly to get around that problem, A-B had begun to use the name Bud as well, especially in areas where the Czech brewery had Budweiser trademark rights. This agreement has no affect on the Budweiser brand name, as used by A-B and Budejovicky Budvar NP (Budweis is German for Ceske Budejovice, where the Czech brewery is located). In return for releasing the rights to the name "Bud," Anheuser-Busch would commit to buy Czech hops for ten years. The company had been buying Czech hops -- had in fact bought nearly 18% of the total Czech hop harvest -- but had discontinued that practice during the recent negotiations. The new agreement has A-B buying 8% of the Czech hop harvest over the next ten years. The brewery itself holds any remaining trademarks, but, as it is state-owned, negotiations can be held without brewery management approval. (Source: David Rocks, Wall Street Journal, September 5)


The Czech beer industry was on the "brink of a major corporate takeover battle" as a group led by IPB a.s. announced it would make a buyout offer to minority shareholders for the country's two largest brewers. IPB, a collection of investment funds and Nomura Capital, stated it controlled 66% in Plzensky Prazdoj and 58% of Pivovar Radegast. Czech law requires that such an offer be made when a shareholder's holdings exceed 50%. Bass Plc, which holds a third of Radegast, announced on September 22 that it was offering to buy the IPB group. It holds a 55% stake in Prazske Pivovary, the third biggest Czech brewery, and is interested in merging its stake in Radegast with Prazske Pivovary for a market share of 29%. (BeerWeek, 9/8)

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The Czech Republic's two largest beer brewers plan to merge in order to strengthen their position on world markets. According to the Prague business daily, Prazdroj and Radegast are planning the merger but their beers would continue to be sold under their traditional trademarks. Plzensky Prazdroj currently exports some 12% of its production, Radegast, 10%. Combined, the two brewers would account for about 40% of the Czech beer market, above the 30% limit set by the country's cartel authority, which would have to approve the merger. According to a September 3 Reuters dispatch, dateline Prague, Britain's Bass plc has cautioned Nomura International of Japan that it (Bass) would "campaign vigorously" against any such merger. Graham Staley, Bass country manager for the Czech Republic, stated that Bass believes that Nomura is only interested in short term financial gain with regard to this merger. Bass holds a majority in Praszke Pivovary, the third largest Czech brewer, and is the largest single shareholder in Radegast. Bass has stated that its long term goal is to "create a strong brewing presence" in the Czech Republic with a 25 to 30 percent market share. Prazdroj and Radegast combined control 40 percent of the domestic beer market.

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************* NEW BOOK REVIEW ************

"More Homebrew Favorites." Karl F. Lutzen & Mark Stevens. Storey Publishing. Over 250 recipes, organized by style. "A Year of Beer." Published by Brewers Publications, a division of Association of Brewers. More than 260 recipes from American homebrewers. Organized by seasons, then by beer styles, so that beers suitable for winter, for example, are grouped together. Most of the recipes are from homebrew competitions. Judges' comments are often included with the recipe. 346 pages. ISBN 0-937381-53-5. $14.95.

Online, you might know Karl and Mark as the foundation of the world's greatest homebrew site, The Brewery.

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As a jaded veteran of ad battles, I caught myself in the middle of an extraordinary feat the other day: I was reading an ad on the backcover of a beer newspaper. Granted, I was procrastinating from writing this editorial, which is motivation enough to count ceiling tiles, let alone read ads. But, I found myself wanting to read the ad and smiling in recognition while doing so.

The ad was wall-to-wall copy: usually a "no-no" in layout. Ad studies show people don't mind reading copy, they just don't want to know they're reading copy. Large blocks of text raise the content-density flags telling our brains to shut down to avoid being overtaken by existential, contractual and/or academic sludge. This ad was wall-to-wall copy and I was ready for more.

Littered horizontally across the middle of the page were ten floating faces forced in various stages of approval or vehement disapproval. (BTW, demographically, the field of heads includes three women, one black man and the rest white twentysomething guys). The headline read "Seven out of ten people don't like our beer. Here's why we're delighted:" Now, I'll give you some of the copy:

"What if you could try a different beer every day? Would you do it? Would you willingly subject your taste buds to a daily foray into the unfamiliar? ...the world would be a better place if everyone could try a different beer every day. (and yes, ... it would be an even better place if someone else was paying).

"Seems like there are an awful lot of beer companies out there saying, 'The best beer in the country.' Or, 'Voted best beer of 1992.' Stuff like that. C'mon. We're smarter than that. It's an insult to any real beer lover's intelligence. The truth is, there are so many great beers out there. And so many different times, places and situations in which a particular beer might be appropriate.

"Think a second: Do you know anyone who drinks the same beer all the time? If you answered, 'The whole country,' you're right (sarcastically, anyway). Craft beers are but a mere speck in the ocean of the total beer consumed in this country. Why is that? Pretty simple, really. People are creatures of habit. We find a spot. We get comfortable. We stay there. Why leave?"

Should I keep going? The payoff is that the brand isn't for every situation or person. But that those who appreciate the craft will understand the value of great beer. And should the reader's own craft ever be disparaged, they should look the critic and boldly reply: "I assure you sir, that you indeed, are not alone."

The advertisement was for Pete's Wicked Ales, and like the Sam Adam's television spots a few years ago that asked the question, "do you love beer?", this campaign understands its audience: Bright. Articulate. Critical. Too smart to be sucked into some cliched beer advertisement. Looking for adventure within a certain range of consumable products. The anti-advertising design turns out to be an advertising device -- if you take the time to read the copy you are precisely the person they want to speak to.

I think that these are great ads because they do not just serve the brand, they serve to elevate AND grow the whole class of the segment. Unlike some of the advertising for "aspirational" brands (think of Heineken in the 80's), these ads talk to the common person and do not attempt to infuse the product with an elitist message. They raise the bar for the others in the class -- "don't get too wrapped up in medals and marketing hype" this ad says. And for consumers in the class, it tugs on the emotional hooks that had consumers trying Pete's way back when alternative craft beers were not available.

Sure, Pete's is contract brewed, but that's really not the point this ad suggests. The issue is about character, flavor and an attitude of taking your own path. That's a big part of why we like to support the artisan or crafts-person: the artist helps us see another (better?) part of ourselves which in this case is the part that is not over-standardized or industrialized.

Like Miller's "Macrobrew" ads, these ads say to their core consumer, "It's okay to align with this brand." Pete's Brewing Company will go through some challenging times over the next couple of years, as will any brewer in the middle of the specialty segment. By our read, Pete's will be fine -- they've got some pretty smart ad folks working on their current and next generation strategies. I'm looking forward to seeing their next ad.