RBPMail 4.07, July 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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Join us at the AHA's National Homebrewers Conference in Portland Ore. July 22-24 (just before the Oregon Brewers Fest) for great beer, education and fun!

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Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. has informed American Craft Brewing International Ltd. that AmBrew has been evicted from its Rio Bravo facility in Tecate, Mexico, according to newspaper reports. AmBrew's assets have been transferred to Cerveceria Mexicana, and A-B has ended its contract brewing and packaging agreement with AmBrew. AmBrew had signed an agreement in October 1997 to supply beer for A-B to import into the United States.

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The union bargaining committee has rejected the final offer for a contract settlement with A-B. The Teamsters Union represents 8,000 employees at the twelve Anheuser-Busch breweries around the country. A-B has contingency plans to keep their 12 breweries operating with retirees and salaried employees. The last strike against A-B was in 1976 and lasted 13 weeks which resulted in loss of market share and a drop in stock price of some 32 percent.

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Hilltop Marketing Inc. d.b.a. Merchant Direct, which operates the companies Beer Across America, International Wine Cellars, Cigar Affair, Coffee Quest and Spa Discoveries, has voluntarily entered into a legal restructuring, according to a company press release. The company intends to continue normal operations, including fulfilling customer orders, while working towards resolving their financial situation.

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England's Ushers of Trowbridge Group Plc will brew and bottle Lowenbrau Premium Bier and Lowenbrau Pils, but will import the brewery's other beers. It is the first franchise beer arrangement for Ushers, which has 542 pubs in its "estate" and is based in southwest England. Ushers gained exclusive right to market the beers to liquor stores in Britain and other off-premise outlets. However, Lowenbrau is also brewed and imported in the UK by Carlsberg-Tetley, an Anglo-Danish brewer owned by Carlsberg A/S. Ushers' Lowenbrau will be competing with C-T's Lowenbrau in Britain's 60,000 pubs and bars.

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Noble China Inc., which brews and sells Pabst Blue Ribbon in China, has canceled 5,442,163 common shares, increasing the book value per share by 50%, according to newspaper reports. The shares had belonged to the company's former chairman, Lei Kat Cheong, who had been responsible for a loss of 100,000 tonnes of production at the Zhaoqing Noble Brewery. Lei had been advised that he had until May 30 to make good on an initial damage award of $78 million or the Company would have the option of canceling his shares as partial payment of that damage award. He did not make good on the debt, and the Company canceled his shares as of June 1, 1998. Noble China owns three breweries in China and is one of the largest brewing companies in that country. Its leading brand, Pabst Blue Ribbon, is the largest selling foreign brand in China.

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Guinness Import Co. and Bass Beers Worldwide have announced that GIC will continue to serve as the sole and exclusive importer of Bass Ale. One major change will the creation of a new name for the company. GIC will change its name to Guinness Bass Import Company. GBIC will be fully owned by Guinness, which is in turn an operating company of Diageo Plc.

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Heineken NV has bought a 9.6% stake in Poland's Brewpole BV. Heineken plans to merge Brewpole with its Zywiec SA unit to eventually form Poland's biggest brewer. Brewpole owns Elbrewery Co. Ltd. and Lezajsk SA, and has six breweries in the center and northern part of Poland. Zywiec, 75% owned by Heineken, owns two breweries and is strongest in the southern part of the country. Poland's beer consumption grew by 13.9% in 1997.

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Feldschloesschen-Huerlimann Holding AG, Switzerland's biggest brewer and beverage group, has signed a deal with Anheuser- Busch to distribute Bud to retail outlets, restaurants and bars in Switzerland, according to newspaper reports. F-H claims to have 50% of the Swiss beer market. It was formed in 1996 by a merger of rivals Feldschloesschen and Huerlimann.

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Japan's Asahi Breweries Ltd. plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions in its brewing process by 20% during this decade, as cited in the company's Eco Report 1998, according to the Nikkei English News. The company pledges to reduce emissions from 187 kilograms a kiloliter to 150 kg by 2000. Other measures also mentioned in the report -- including generating electricity with methane gas produced in the brewing process -- are expected to cut fuel, electricity and water consumption.

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After promotional drives by Japan's Suntory Ltd. and Kirin Brewery that may have hurt sales of Sapporo's low-malt beer, Drafty Special, Sapporo Breweries Ltd. plans to nearly double its marketing expenditures for that beer. Sales for Drafty Special have fallen at least 20% for the past two months compared to 1997 sales figures. Currently, Sapporo spends about 30% of its total promotional budget on low-malt beer, according to the Nikkei English News.

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The House approved legislation for fiscal year 1999 that could increase by 70% the number of military stores that sell beer and wine. Arguments for the increase in outlets indicate that military personnel should have convenient access to beer and wine. Opponents argue that the U.S. Army has a "deglamourization program" for alcohol, and that easy access to alcohol products could disrupt discipline. The new provision allows for a survey of commissary patrons to ask if they are interested in having beer and wine available at the military's 298 commissaries. Those opposed to this project state that beer and wine sales at the commissaries would take money away from the exchanges. Profits from sales at exchanges go to finance and improve recreational areas for the troops and to finance child-care centers.

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Germany's Ashbjoern Gerlach is brewing "Turn," a hemp beer made from marijuana with little or no THC, the herb's "magic" ingredient. Another German, Rudolf Wahl also brews a hemp beer called "Cannabia," and fellow-countryman Peter Fritsch produces Neuzelle Klosterbrau that is sweetened with sugar, in keeping with an old traditional recipe. All three are facing opposition from Germany's brewing associations on the grounds that they are not meeting the German Purity Laws, the Reinheitsgebot, which decrees that German beers must only be brewed with yeast, hops, malt and water. Exceptions were made in 1993 for imported beers such as Anheuser-Busch and Miller, who use corn and rice adjuncts in brewing their beer. As a fallback plan, Gerlach is considering shipping the beer from Poland into Germany to take advantage of the exception for imports. Wahl's "Cannabia" has since been added to lemonade to become a drink that is now not technically a beer, but Peter Fritsch is still under pressure to change his beer or not call it beer. His "Neuzelle Klosterbrau" is beer sweetened with sugar in accordance with an old monks' recipe (he says). He also states that saying that beer with sugar added is not beer is like saying that coffee with sugar added is no longer coffee. (New York Times, May 27, 1998; article by Greg Steinmetz.)

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****WEB WATCH****


Dos Equis has a newly-launched, web-based promotion called "Quest for the Revolutionary Best." As far as we know, this promotion may be a first on the web. Participants register online and answer Revolutionary Best questions like, "who was the most revolutionary basketball player of all time?" or "what was the most revolutionary decade this century?" There are no right or wrong answers, just plenty to debate. As if playing is not reward enough, Dos Equis will be drawing random winners from daily participants for Mouse pads, Revolutionary music CDs and posters. And each time you play, you are entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a cool, revolution-ready, field boom box. RBPMail readers interested in being notified of the program's kick-off later this month should send e

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Celebrator has added their June/July 1998 issue online bringing their total archive to over one thousand excellent articles about real beer. The Celebrator, published for over 10 years, was the first beer publication on the 'net and now has over four years of good, honest beer coverage indexed in their archive.

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Join other homebrewers at the AHA's National Homebrewers Conference in Portland Ore. July 22-24 (just before the Oregon Brewers Fest) for great beer, education and fun!

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Speaking of brewing, check out the BrewingTechniques Market Guide Online. All the great articles about Malts and Yeast are now online. The guide is indexed for quick searching and includes a comprehensive, searchable database of suppliers for your reference as well. Check it out at:

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Storey Publications and Real Beer, Inc. have partnered to bring you a large selection of brewing books available for purchase online. Now, when you perform a keyword, library search on our Real Beer Network, results will include relevant books for your reference, enjoyment and instant purchase. Start your search on our homepage at:

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Fromm, Mayer-Bass, established in 1845 and with offices in Germany, England and Yakima, WA, is one of the worlds' leading hop companies. Purveyors of the HOPSTABIL products. Fromm, Mayer-Bass caters to professional brewers and homebrewers, and can satisfy any hop demand. Check out their informative pages at:

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JV North West, founded in 1981 as an equipment supplier to the beverage industry, was one of the original suppliers on the craft-brewing scene. Continuing with their tradition of quality and custom-fit brewing systems, JVNW maintains excellent customer service and follow through. Now with an East Coast sales office, the whole country is their territory. Check out their page at:

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Labatt Blue, the number one Canadian import, launches a revamped web site with tons of interactive elements proving that the best times come from "Out of the Blue." Lucky's II -- the shockwave hockey game that pits you against Lucky, the tough, mask-less goalie -- is online with a downloadable version, more insults and playability. Daily news feeds, cartoons and Canadian links fill the news section, and an exclusive MVP sign-up gets you discounts on Canadian merchandise. One of the web's best Brew-Process tours and beer history are available in the beer section and wallpaper, a Zamboni screensaver trivia quizzes are available in the games area. This is a great bookmark. Check out:

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What brewery can get away with calling their barleywine "Thunderpussy?" The S. F. Haight-Ashbury district's only Brewpub, based in an historic building with a rich and sordid past, Magnolia Pub and Brewery can now include excellent house beers and tasty fare to their claim to fame as well. The Magnolia Pub and Brewery has a friendly, neighborhood pub atmosphere. Head over to their website to take in the rest of the story at:

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Mark your calendars for the weekend of October 16 & 17, 1998, and head to the windy city for the 3rd Annual Real Ale Festival. This event is unique in the annals of US brewing culture, modeled on the venerable CAMRA festivals in Canada and the UK. Cask-conditioned ales served, mostly in firkins, are represented from US and UK breweries. Also featured: bottle-conditioned beers; pub games; slide tours of British pubs; and tastings with famed beer writer Michael Jackson. More information on tickets and location are available at:

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Technology has caught up with tradition in three brewing systems designed to address the exacting brewer, the price perceptive entrepreneur and their discriminating customers. Look at Tradition for complete brewing systems from 5-50 barrels. Their site is being constructed with the same care and attention as their systems, so bookmark the page when you hit it:

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Upper Canada Brewing Co., brewing with the same uncompromising standards since 1984, proudly releases its new Maple Brown beer to a family of excellent beers. Review some of the company's pioneering milestones along with the entire portfolio of beers at:

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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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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. Last month's winner was Tony W Simmons who likes RBPMail the way it is.

LAST MONTH'S QUESTION: Every so often we check in with you about how you rate our services. Last month we asked how you wanted your RBPMail. Over 40% think it's just right. Another 40% want more information and/or frequency and 10% think it's too long. For the latter, we encourage you to scan our headlines up top for quick relevance analysis and your scroll bar for jumping past the information you don't want to read. And know we'll work on greater brevity, perhaps with more articles.

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Fremont, California's long running brewpub has closed. Unlike most brewpub failures, Fremont Brewing Company was reportedly doing good business at its southeast bay location between Oakland and San Jose. The brewery sits on land formerly used as a golf course, destined in the future for a housing development. When it first opened in 1989, brewpub entrepreneur Bill Owens, who selected the site, billed it as "The World's First Brewpub on a Golf Course." A few years later, nine holes were torn out and housing units built. Dave and Tom Lawler bought the business after the dissolution of Owens' investor group in 1994. They have been unable to secure alternate locations for the business in the last few years. They will continue to search for a new site.

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Wynkoop Brewing Company announced that it had recently ceased operations at the Covington Brewing Company d.b.a. BrewWorks, Covington, Kentucky. The brewpub was wholly owned by Covington Brewing Co., LLC, and its only business was the operation of the brewpub. The LLC has decided to dissolve, according to a memo to creditors from Jim Caruso, president of Wynkoop Brewing Co.

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Food & Wine Magazine has named its 20 top craft breweries in the United States in the June 1998 issue. The list was compiled by David Lynch, a senior editor at the magazine, after researching lists of Great American Beer Festival awards, interviewing bartenders, beer publication editors, beer writers and industry analysts. Included on the list, in alphabetical order:

Abita (LA)
Alaskan (AK) -
Anchor (CA)
Boston Beer Co. (MA) -
Brooklyn Brewery (NY)
Catamount (VT)
Celis (TX)
Frederick (MD) -
D.L. Geary (ME)
Goose Island (IL) -
Kalamazoo (MI)
New Belgium (CO)
New Glarus (WI)
Old Dominion (WA D.C.)
Rogue (OR) -
Sierra Nevada (CA)
Sprecher (WI)
Stoudt (PA)
Tabernash (CO)
Yakima (Bert Grant) (WA) -

Honorable Mentions included

Anderson Valley Brewing (CA)
Deschutes Brewery (OR)
Great Lakes Brewing (OH) -
Mendocino Brewing (CA) -
Miami Brewing (FL)
Pike Brewery (WA)
Pyramid Breweries (WA)
Ybor City Brewing (FL)

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Jake, Dick and John Leinenkugel presided over the opening of their new brewery, Ballyard Brewery, at the Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, AZ, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks (the National League expansion team). Operational since March, the brewery now has its full line-up of beers available on tap. The 20,000-sq. ft. brewpub is located in a free- standing building adjacent to the ballpark and will be open year 'round. It houses the brewing kettles and a full-service restaurant. The Leinenkugels partnered with the Diamondbacks and former Milwaukee Brewer All-Star player, Robin Yount, who owns a development company in Scottsdale. The brewmaster at Ballyard is Chris Swersey.

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An 18-screen multiplex in Chicago's Yorktown has designed one of its auditoriums as a first-class, state-of-the-art facility that serves gourmet appetizers, light entrees, champagne, wine and premium beer. Premium Cinema will be open seven days a week for both afternoon and evening showings, and is a first in luxury film theater category in the United States. There will be a full-time concierge, valet parking and wide leather seats. Beers currently being poured include Goose Island Honkers Ale, Grant's Amber Ale, Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss, Peroni (Italy), Bass and Pilsener Urquell.

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The newest Red Bell Brewery and Pub opened on June 11th in the new US Air B-C Terminal Connector. Red Bell President James R. Bell signaled the opening of the Old English-styled brewpub by cutting a ribbon and inviting all visitors, travelers and airline and airport personnel to relax and refresh in the new facility. This venue joins the very successful and much admired Red Bell Brewery & Pub at the Core States Center and a series of mini-brew pubs at Veterans Stadium. Red Bell, which is produced in the historic former F.A. Poth Brewing Co. building at 31st and Jefferson Sts. in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia, claims to be the largest microbrewery in the craft beer segment with 280,000 sq.-ft. of operational space.

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The Brooklyn Brewery has purchased the Post Road beer brand, a line of ales created by A.J. Moran of Newbury, MA. Post Road's leading product, Post Road Pale Ale, won the Silver Medal in the American Pale Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival in 1989, and bronze medals at the 1994 and 1995 GABF. It is a very hoppy American-style pale ale. The beer is named after the original highway from New York to Boston. The beers are also distributed in CT, RI and ME. The beers are currently contract-brewed at Catamount Brewing Co. in Vermont.

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In honor of the 10th anniversary of National Homebrew Day, more than 1,000 homebrewers around the United States gathered at 105 different locations in a simultaneous brew-in on May 2. Brewers brewed using identical recipes for barleywine. The American Homebrewers Association calculated that the equivalent of 14,400 12-oz. bottles of barleywine was brewed that day. Adding in other recipes that were also brewed in the simultaneous brew-off brought the total to 25,461 bottles!

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A beer called "Duff" went on the Australian market in 1995. Shortly after, the makers of "The Simpsons" television program complained that the name "Duff" was stolen from their series, and it was banned from sale in 1996 after a court ruling. (Duff is the favorite beer of Homer Simpson on the cartoon series.) Recently, classified ads from private citizens in Australia have appeared offering 6-packs of Duff for $750 and cases of beer for up to $6,300. The beer originally sold for $15 per case when it went on the Australian market in 1995.

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Hawaii's largest microbrewery, Kona Brewing, has found it less expensive to ship full bottles of beer to Hawaii than empty ones, according to a May 1998 issue of Pacific Maritime. While still brewing keg beer at its Kailua-Kona location on Hawaii, the brewery has moved its bottling operation to a Portland brewery. The full bottles are taken by train to Seattle and put on a Sea-Land Service ship bound for Hawaii. Mattson Davis, Kona Brewing general manager, stated that the cost of shipping empty bottles to Hawaii was exorbitant: $2 a case for empty bottles from the Mainland to the HI-based brewery, contrasted to $1.50 per case for beer importers to bring in full bottles of beer. According to a spokesperson for Sea-Land, a 20-ft. container full of bottled beer from West Coast to Hawaii is $1,738. Cost to ship the same container full of empty bottles is $2,170. Davis stated the brewery plans to ship about 6,000 cases of beer per month to Hawaii.

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For those readers who don't know, California passed a law in 1997 banning smoking in restaurants and bars. There are loopholes for owner- operated entities and conditions for creating smoking areas in which wait staff do not enter for which the service porthole resembles security windows at banks.

Before the law was passed, there were bars in California -- good beer places too -- that were non-smoking and many that allowed smoking. Consumers had a choice of venues. We realize that wait-staff may not choose to be around smoke, and that provides some compelling reasoning along with emotional basis for the law. They also represent a minority interest, which raises the question about what the law is really going after.

In most cases, I'm a non-smoker, so the law came and passed without so much concern from me. Until I started talking to our friends and tavern owners. And when I decided to pair a cigar with some charactered beer as I'm wont to do every other month or so, the reality of the law started to dawn on me.

The other night, we were out on one of those every-other-month-or-so occasions and in a bar that holds a different attitude to the new law. Quite frankly, it's difficult to enforce. The most a bar staff can and should do is ask someone to stop smoking. After that, it's in the hands of authorities better equipped to handle a smoker in the unlikely event that they turn violent. And a fine use of police resources this would be.

People were smoking at the bar. I asked the bartender if it was illegal to smoke in the establishment. The bartender nodded in agreement and said, "it is illegal to smoke in this bar," as he handed me an ashtray.

"What about cigars?" I asked, testing the waters to see how far these outlaws were willing to go.

"We do not discriminate on the smoking device. Any kind of smoking is absolutely illegal in here," he said with a smile, sliding the ashtray a little further in my direction.

"Brilliant," I thought. These people are doing what we all want to do. They are complying with the letter of the law while recognizing that prohibitionist laws are like mindless, toothless fools, especially when unenforceable.

In a related side note, I feel sorry and embarrassed for the airline clerks who have to continually ask (through metaphorically drooling, mindless, toothless grins) whether a person's bags have been in their possession and whether a stranger has requested I carry their bags for them. It neither gives me a feeling of security nor takes measures towards revealing would-be terrorists. The questions are an insult to them and to me and to our collective intelligence. When griping about it one time to a fellow traveler I was told that it's worth keeping bombers off of the airlines. Perhaps her intelligence wasn't insulted; simply non- existent.

This smoking in taverns business is the same way. It's heart may be in the right place, but without a brain, the patient should be dead. But we continue to support non-thinking legislation either by voting or not; by complying or simply not noticing.

The bar we were in has begun the whispers that "the emperor has no clothes." As our friends at the Celebrator like to say, "before homebrewing was legal, homebrewers were outlaws." During Prohibition, Speak Easies popped up and thrived. If you ever get to Spokane, Washington, swing by Fort Spokane Brewpub and ask to be toured under the brewery where part of an underground passageway still exists that lead people under the city to drinking establishments. History proved that the laws these citizens were violating made no sense and didn't work.

I know that this position will get us in some heated debates. It already has at home and in the office. But I had to get this off my chest: we're going to such extremes in rejecting personal responsibility that ordinary, thinking folk are becoming outlaws. You know what they come after once they've got the tobacco folks all wrapped up? Your beer. Don't laugh; they're already doing it. We've been on panels with neoprohibitionists that seek to lump tobacco and beer into the same light, debate, consideration and legislated areas.

We, like the example set by the bar-that-will-remain-anonymous-to- protect-the-guilty, usually smile when they do come after beer and push the issue to question so that we can sleep as free people.

Agree? Disagree? Want to round-out the debate? Feel free to sound-off on our ProBrewer public message board at:

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A COMPLETELY UNRELATED MATTER A college friend sent a touching email about his family's efforts to adopt a baby. He used the Internet successfully last year to get in touch with the birth mother of their first child. They are now looking for their second child and want your assistance. According to the letter, which we can assure is 100% sincere and valid as of July 1998, the wider a net that can be thrown, the higher likelihood of a successful adoption. We figured the 70,000+ circulation of RBPMail was the biggest net we could provide. If you think you can help or if you want to send a letter on to friends who can, please visit Kevin and Ellen Liebl's home page at: