RBPMail 4.05, May 1998

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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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As Britain's beer drinkers continue to shift from ale to lager, three of its oldest breweries seem targeted for closure. Sources in England report that Whitbread Plc would sell or close the two smallest of its five breweries -- Castle Eden in the northeast and "Flowers" Cheltenham brewery in the southeast -- focusing ale brewing on one site. The breweries' ale brands were to be transferred to the Whitbread Boddington brewery in Manchester. In addition, it appears that Morland Plc would close its Ruddles brewery later this year. The Ruddles brand, and Morland's other major ale brand, Old Speckled Hen, will be produced at Morland's Abingdon brewery.

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Noble China Inc. announced today that it will receive a dividend of RMB 70.6 million (approximately $12 million Canadian) from its operating subsidiary, the Zhaoqing Noble Brewery, which produces and sells Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in China, according to a company press release. This year's dividend represents an increase of 37% over the dividend of RMB 51.6 million ($8.5 million Canadian) which was paid to Noble last year. The dividend will be paid in installments over the next several months. The increased dividend is a result of the continued improvement in the profitability and strong financial position of the Zhaoqing Noble Brewery, the company stated.

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Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Tokyo, has launched a campaign this month in Los Angeles to stimulate U.S. sales of Asahi Super Dry, the company's flagship brand. This campaign includes establishing U.S.A. headquarters in Los Angeles and a joint venture with Miller Brewing to provide enhanced distribution of Asahi product. (Asahi established a partnership with Miller Brewing in 1995.) Asahi Beer U.S.A. will also begin new sales and marketing programs in support of the product line, and station its own production and distribution managers at the Molson Vancouver Brewery (where Asahi is brewed) and Miller's headquarters in Milwaukee.

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The United Brewing Group, Sausalito, CA, has reached agreement with the owners of Carmel Brewing Company in Salinas, CA, for an acquisition involving company stock. The Carmel Brewing Company beer brands will continue but will be brewed at the Mendocino Brewing Company's new facilities in Ukiah, CA. Mendocino (also a UB partner) will gain a wheat beer and several brands with established reputation. Carmel Brewing's CEO Paul Tarantino told BEERWeek that he will continue as brand manager of Carmel Brewing and will have access to Mendocino Brewing's expanding marketing force. The former brewer at Carmel will work in Ukiah for a few months to get the Carmel brands on-line and then will be the full-time brewer at Peter B's Brewpub in Monterey which is owned by the Carmel Brewing Co. investors (and not a part of the merger).

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A vote on legislation that would lower the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to .08, tying it to a federal highway bill that would make it conditional that states receiving federal aid lower their BAC to .08, died in the House last month. In March, the Senate voted 62-32 passing an endorsement to the highway bill and President Clinton publicly supported the lower BAC. Opponents to the bill argued successfully that states, not the federal government should set their own limits; that the issue is with the problem drinker, not the social drinker; and that no scientific measures can prove a link between BACs lower than the current legal limits and safety.

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With a record consumption of 1.124 billion pints of beer in 1997, the government in Ireland has begun a campaign to encourage public awareness regarding excessive alcohol consumption. The campaign is trying to balance the positive aspects of drinking to the individual and to society with the problems caused by the intemperate consumption of alcohol. The multi- media ad campaign will focus on the negative effect on the ordinary man and woman on the effect of too much drinking during common activities.

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Beer sales in Denmark have dropped 9.7% in January 1998 from same period in 1997. The Danish Brewer's Association stated that stiffer drinking regulations seemed to be a big factor behind this major drop in the country's beer consumption. The Director of the Association commented that many drinkers are not having any beer at all if they drive, even though they could drink just one beer and still "be legal". There was a 3.1% drop for the same period last year, and a 1.5% drop in 1996. Denmark's new legislation went into effect January 1, 1998. It lowered the BAC limit for drivers from .08 to .05.

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All over the internet comes the report of an April 1-dated press release sent by Guinness to England's Financial Times. The FT reported that Guinness had purchased the rights to be the official beer sponsor for the Old Royal Observatory's 2000 program at Greenwich. The report went on to say that Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed "Guinness Mean Time" until the end of 1999, and that the Accurist speaking clock will be revised to feature "pint drips" instead of "pips" to count seconds. The deal allows Guinness to use the Greenwich Meridian 2000 mark in marketing. It is to replace the shamrock imprint on Guinness beers worldwide. The Financial Times ran the story. The BBC-TV reported on the incident later that day.

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AB announced increased sales and earnings for First Quarter 1998 at the annual meeting of shareholders in Williamsburg. It was indicated that there had been a planned wholesaler inventory build associated with the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement in February, and that that was partly responsible for the company's domestic sales-to-wholesaler growth in Q-1 1998 (up 5.3%). The company's worldwide sales volume rose 4.4% from First Quarter 1997 compared to First Quarter 1998. 1998 international growth grew only a small amount, reflecting weak economic conditions in Asia and related conditions in South America.

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The Boston Beer Company reported on its First Quarter on April 20. During First Quarter 1998, barrels sold and net sales were up from 1997. BBC president Jim Koch attributed much of this to the strong performance of flagship Sam Adams Boston Lager and a very strong product launch of Sam Adams White Ale. Net sales increased to $45.2 million in 1998 from $41.9 million in 1997. Gross profit margin for 1998 was 52.6% versus 47.7% in 1997. Total ad, promotional and selling expenditures were $1.0 million less in Q-1 1998 than in Q-1 1997. Operating income increased from $2.5 million to $7.1 million (184%).

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Adolph Coors Co. announced April 23 that it had record net sales for first quarter 1998. For the period ending March 29, 1998, the company reported net sales of $414.1 million, a 3.9% increase over same period 1997. First quarter sales volume totaled 4,691,000 barrels -- a record -- and 4.5% over same period last year. Distributor sales to retail grew just under 4%. First quarter 1998 net income of $9.8 million (26 cents a diluted share) was an increase of 21.6% over same period last year, at $8.0 million (21 cents a diluted share). According to the April 24, 1998 Wall Street Journal these figures were above the estimates of analysts, who had projected net income of 24 cents a diluted share.

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Marty Nachel, author of Homebrewing for Dummies and Beer for Dummies and frequent contributor to All About Beer, On Tap, and Malt Advocate has recently joined the Real Beer authors section with several contributions. Check out Marty's articles on...

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Because that's what makes it special, we learn from the talented, friendly and good folks at Alaskan Brewing Company. The answer is elaborated on throughout the newly designed Alaskan site - brimming over with facts and fiction about life in Alaska. Recipes bring home the Alaskan flair for at home entertaining as a way to while away the long cold months, and will whet your appetite. To find the beers to go with the recipes, do a search on your zip code and see if Alaskan beer is distributed near you. Check out their revamped merchandise section and sport some Alaskan duds at home, or gasp in awe at their lengthy awards page.

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One of the most innovative breweries in the midwest debuts its website this month. These are the artisans behind Honker's Ale and Bourbon County Stout, to name a few. Check out the site for more about their background, the beers themselves and the mouthwatering menu at the Goose Island Brewpub. Goose Island bring a beautifully crafted portfolio of beers to their brewpub and to the world with their impressive brewing and bottling facility.

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Kegworks offers you a complete draft beer equipment source on the web to ramp up your presentation of home brews to your friends. Kegworks offers on-line ordering to make your home brewery better than your neighbors. Refrigerator conversion kits can be a great gift for your favorite homebrewer - and parts, parts and more parts.

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The 7th Annual Beerfest - A Benefit for Face to Face, will be taking place on June 6, 1998 at the Luther Burbank Center for Performing Arts. Face to Face/Sonoma County Aids Network receives proceeds from The Beerfest. There'll be great food, great beer and hopefully fabulous weather so head over to this annual event in Sonoma County.

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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 (, Importers of fine Belgian beers and now brewers of Belgian-style beer in their Cooperstown-based Brewery Ommegang.

No Question for this month.

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*** Brewed Fresh For You! ***

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

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Senator Strom Thurmond, R-SC, proposed on April 1 that labels on alcoholic beverages be modified to warn consumers that consumption of an alcoholic beverage "may lead to alcoholism," according to an April 2 article in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also wants warnings that "moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages" can cause health problems such as hypertension and breast cancer. This is a reaction to California winemakers convincing federal regulators to allow them to use labels that referred consumers to the USDA's dietary guidelines for information on the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. Thurmond's bill refers to "moderate consumption," but does not define moderate consumption. The department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are currently reviewing the matter of modified alcohol warnings.

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The Wine Institute, the public policy association for over 400 California wineries, has come out strongly against recent alcohol labeling proposals by U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond suggesting his assertions over moderate consumption fail in the face of medical research. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Departments of Health, Agriculture and Human Services, recommends moderate, mealtime consumption for those choosing to drink (moderation defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two for men).

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Rheingold beer, which symbolized summer and baseball for those growing up in the NYC area in the 60s and 70s, is back. From 1963 to 1973, Rheingold was the "official beer" of the New York Mets. The beer, brewed in Brooklyn, controlled 35% of the beer market in the area at that time. The beer faded, and the name "Rheingold" wound up in the hands of Stroh's which sold the name to Mike Mitaro, a former brewery sales executive and Walter Liebman, whose family owned Rheingold until 1963. The beer is now being contract- brewed at FX Matt. The old familiar baseball-season jingle, "My beer is Rheingold the dry beer, think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer..." is being heard again by baseball fans in Big Apple territory.

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Mike Hoffman, owner of SLO Brewing Company in San Luis Obispo, CA, officially opened a new microbrewery Friday, April 10, 1998, in Paso Robles just north of San Luis Obispo. The new brewery is a new-from-the-ground- up, 15,000 square-foot facility that can produce 36,000 barrels/year. Special grand opening festivities were held April 18 featuring tastings, light snacks and a Scottish battle reenactment complete with cannons and gunpowder. A special Old Highland Ale will be available in limited quantities to celebrate the opening. Hoffman, a veteran brewpub operator who opened SLO Brewing in 1988, started contracting his SLO Brews in Minnesota several years ago and quickly grabbed an impressive share of the California micro market. The initial output from the new brewery will go to west coast distribution points.

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The Great American Beer Festival brings its first ever "On the Road" show to Baltimore, MD, May 15 and 16. About 20,000 are expected to turn up to sample over 350 beers from over 120 breweries. The show will showcase medal- winning breweries from the 16th annual GABF, held last October in Denver, CO, as well as local and regional breweries. Unlike the Denver GABF, however, there will no judging of the beers. Susan Ghysels, 303-447-0816, ext. 138.

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On April 27th, the Millrose Brewing Company rolled a 148-year old barn on wheels and connected it to MBC's existing restaurant in South Barrington, IL. The 50' x 36' barn joined six others just like it that already are part of the Millrose complex. Bill Rose, owner of Millrose and a founder of South Barrington, has been moving the barns from around the area to his site for the past 22 years. Most were facing destruction because of housing or business development. The newest barn took about a half hour to move. The procession was led by a piper and drummer from Chicago's Stockyard Kilty Band, as a tribute to the early English and Scottish farmers who settled in the Barrington area.

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The 17th annual American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference will meet July 22-24 in Portland, OR. The Conference, which features educational brewing seminars on many facets of brewing, from "grain to glass," takes place just before the 11th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, a three-day outdoor beer festival. The AHA event will have such speakers as Maribeth Raines-Casselman, Fred Eckhardt, Dave Wills, Russ Wigglesworth and a panel of professionals who started as homebrewers. Susan Ghysels, 303-447- 0816, ext. 138.

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An Associated Press wire service report on April 3 stated that hop growers in the Yakima Valley were "fighting the clock as they impatiently wait for the federal government to decide what chemicals they can use against a disease that wiped out some fields last year." Ralph Olson, chief buyer for HopUnion USA, Inc., a worldwide supplier of hop products in Yakima, said that the Washington Hop Commission had announced on March 27 that a certain chemical had been approved to combat the powdery mildew disease. Olson also suggested that nearly 20% of established hop fields would be removed to combat the spread of the destructive spore.

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Ten finalists have been selected by Guinness Import Company to be flown to Ireland to take part in the final activities required to win Finucane's Pub in Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland. On May 11, in Listowel, each finalist will throw darts, attempt to pull a perfect pint and finally, in his or her own words, try to convince the judges that he or she should become the new owner of Finucane's. Among the judges will be last year's winner, Richard Knight, who, with his wife, Suzanne, now lives in Cahir, County Tipperary as publicans of Morrissey's, the 1997 win-a-pub prize. This year there were a record 65,000 entries for the contest, which is in its fifth year. Contestants had to complete the phrase, "Why Guinness is my perfect pint..."

Finalists who are going to Ireland:
Kelly Daugherty, Brattleboro, VT
Jessica Durgin, Woodbridge, WA
Clay Farr, Clemson, SC
John Freisinger, Albuquerque, NM
Julie Lang, St. Louis, MO
Roger Merchant, Orange, CA
Trevor O'Driscoll, New York, NY
Diane Stapleton, Elmhurst, IL
Boomer Mateus Wadaska, Levittown, PA
William Wanner, Tigard, OR

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***AD WATCH***


The German government threatened legal restrictions if companies do not move towards industry self-regulation, especially in the area of sports. Restrictions have been in place in Germany for tobacco for several years. Germany's advertising council, in a public statement, declared that it would oppose attempts to either introduce new legislation regarding ads or establish voluntary limits. The advertising group stated that regulations such as those suggested could hurt the media industry's ability to finance its costly broadcasting rights. In 1997, the alcohol industry spent 1.2 billion marks on advertising; 787 million was for beer ads and 286 million to liquor ads. Approximately 60% of those expenditures were for TV spots.

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A computer chip will be able to block TV shows showing sex, violence or profanity, and should be available in stores in mid-1999. The Campaign for Alcohol Free Kids, the American Council on Alcohol Problems and the National Christian Temperance Union are urging the Federal Communications Commission to require the v-chip to block beer and alcohol ads as well, according to recent reports out of Washington, DC.

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Anheuser-Busch is planning to pay $2 million for each 30 seconds of commercial time during Super Bowl XXXIII (January 1999), according to an article by James Arndorfer in the April 13, 1998 Advertising Age. The previous record was $1.3 million this past year. The price for 30 seconds for the upcoming "Seinfield" finale is estimated at $1.7 million to $1.8 million. According to the Ad Age piece, A-B offered $20 million to buy five minutes of commercial time and be the exclusive beer sponsor of the Bowl, and did so to offset information that Miller Brewing Company was indicating interest in buying time on the sportscast.

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Miller Brewing Co. plans an invigorated ad campaign for its Red Dog beer, which was launched in 1995 with a $58 million ad campaign, according to a company announcement. After initial hot sales figures, the brand popularity dropped rapidly. In 1997, Miller's Red Dog ad spending was just $28,000. This year, Miller is putting Red Dog in the spotlight again with a $5 million ad budget, and will run commercials on sports television and prime time TV. The beer has also been repackaged, with new black, red and silver, emphasizing the bulldog graphic. Last year, Miller focused its ad budget on its Miller Lite and Genuine Draft.

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Rolling Rock is pulling out the proverbial stops in 1998 with a new $12 million, year-long advertising campaign. The brand has increased its media investment by 60% for 1998. "Rolling Rock. A Unique State of Beer" will feature creative television spots that focus on the brand's equities such as the painted label long-neck bottle and small town origins in Latrobe, Penn. The campaign will also consist of increased local radio investment during the key summer season, and eye-catching outdoor advertising, according to a company press release.

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Editorial: The WWW Should Open the Message

A couple of months ago in our editorial we spoke of the beer trail and how our passions bring us to truth and together. This month, we'd like to talk about some perspectives from the path and how it informs an approach to the media/world view. We're talking more about the media than beer.

While in Mexico on vacation, we stopped in the city of Merida, capital of the state of Yucatan, after a long day of driving. We didn't have it in us to go out and see the town that evening so we opted for hanging out and taking in a movie. The defaults were U.S. films with subtitles in Spanish. There were several notable exceptions to the experience we were familiar with in the states: Tickets were about 50-cents and the refreshments about the same; hot sauce for the popcorn; intermission (right in the middle of an action scene); people of all ages and large seemingly related & conversing groups comprised the crowd -- it was a social thing. It was fun to think in two languages as English was served by the audio track and Spanish on the subtitles.

Perhaps it wasn't the best movie choice, but for the purpose of illustrating the eventual point we'll get to it works; we chose Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford as the president who kicks butt on terrorists hijacking his plane. Being as the movie has just hit its U.S. video release and has been topping the rentals lately, this example is actually timely. For the record, we thought the movie stunk. Both thumbs down. Considering the milieu, two scenes in particular went further than stinking -- they offended.

First, the president's daughter, while suggesting she's old enough to be trusted with decision making, tells her father, "I'm thirteen. Back in the cavemen's time I would be having babies." We slouched a little lower in our seats embarrassed at the insulting social implications and aggression of the statement made in our native tongue towards our neighboring viewers. In small towns throughout the Jungle region of Quintana Roo and Yucatan we met fully functioning and healthy families started at the age of 13 or younger. These were conservative western -- or perhaps U.S. -- views blurted out without regard to the audience.

Second -- and an argument can be made that the whole movie embodied this tone -- when setting up and justifying a tough, perhaps fascist decision, the president talks of the U.S. being the mightiest nation in the history of mankind. He's of course talking about military force and economic influence. He might just as well be referring to the far-reaching arrogance of our media messages when issued from a provincial agenda. We slouched lower in our seats and viewed the rest of the movie at 2/3 screen vision, not missing too much.

The point here is that the movie seems to have been made exclusively with Hollywood in mind, in an isolation chamber sans world view. I use this example because our perspective changed when we changed our environment. It was a literal way, as The King Elvis liked to say, to "walk a mile in another's shoes."

Over forty years ago, in 1957 at the age of 83 Carl Jung wrote in his little book, The Undiscovered Self: "Today we live in a unitary world where distances are reckoned by hours and no longer by weeks and months. Exotic races have ceased to be peepshows in ethnological museums. They have become our neighbors, and what was yesterday the prerogative of the ethnologist is today a political, social and psychological problem. Already the ideological spheres begin to touch, to interpenetrate, and the time may not be so far off when the question of mutual understanding in this field will become acute. To make oneself understood is certainly impossible without far-reaching comprehension of the other's standpoint. The insight needed will have repercussions on both sides. History will undoubtedly pass over those who feel it is their vocation to resist this inevitable development, however desirable and psychologically necessary it may be to cling to what is essential and good in our own tradition. Despite all the differences, the unity of mankind will assert itself irresistibly."

Jung was responding to advances in flight, telephony and television but he saw an irreversible trend in which we are participating. Now, instead of hours, we are milliseconds away, thanks to the internet. And, because the cost of production and distribution is so low in this medium, more people can broadcast their messages to their global neighbors.

Beer is the message for Real Beer, but because the web is the medium we believe that the message has to be universally inclusive.

For example, every once and awhile we are asked to post information in one of our databases that we consider lacking the far-reaching comprehension Jung considered necessary. A good example is in our games area ( where people ask to see games like "Mexican" or "Iraq." Both games are xenophobic and perpetuate offensive messages to viewers from those areas, so we choose not to publish them.

We've been told that inclusion means consideration in our scope of coverage as well as our vigilance to avoid alienating part of our international audience. Early in the development of The Real Beer Page we got some funny messages from our international viewers. One Canadian sarcastically whinged that he was "struck by panic upon seeing our pages and realizing that nothing north of the U.S. existed." We hope he's returned to see our Canadian Beer Index at If you've been watching our links database and library content evolve, you'll see we point to and cover the world now. We started out in the U.S. by logistics only, not design. Within the Real Beer Network you will find extensive international databases ( and outstanding quality global coverage in Stephen Beaumont's World of Beer ( And we will continue to expand our coverage in all areas of the world.

We believe that inclusion and consideration of peoples from every point of view and location on the globe is essential in this world wide web. We encourage others developing content and communicating in the medium to apply the same perspective. Perhaps this sensibility will be the tail that wags the dog(s) and trickles down to the decision makers in Hollywood. And, if you're communicating on the 'Net, consider who's on the other side of the screen.

Cheers! Your friends at Real Beer.

Want to add to or debate this perspective? Have at it on the ProBrewer message board under the related thread:

BTW, anyone else notice all the articles this issue about neoprohibitionist- charged attacks on beer advertising, labeling and responsible consumption? This isn't just our selection process on articles -- they're appropriating an inordinate percentage of the published news noise lately. Stay strong and united.