RBPMail 4.09, September 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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CORONA RISES TO FIFTH IN THE WORLD
Fueled by continued strong sales in the United States, Corona Extra has
jumped from the ninth largest beer brand in the world to the fifth. The
Gambrinus Co., which imports Corona in the eastern U.S., reported sales
were up 48% in the second quarter of 1998. In 1997, Corona Extra passed
Heineken as the No. 1 selling import in the United States. Budweiser
and Bud Light retained the top two spots in the world, according to
figures released by Barton Beers, which imports Corona in the western
TOP 10 BEER BRANDS WORLDWIDE
Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Brahma Chopp, Companhia Cervejaria, Brahma
Asahi Super Dry, Asahi Breweries
Corono Extra, Grupo Modelo
Skol, Companhia Cervejaria Brahma
Antartica, Companhia Antarctica Paulisla
Miller Lite, Miller Brewing Co.
Heineken, Heineken NV
Coors Light, Coors Brewing Co.
BEER WAR IN CHINA?
Beck's brewery in China, Putian Golden Key Company, has cut its beer
prices by over 25%. The Beijing sales manager for Putian stated that
the cut is only through October, and was done to encourage consumption
of the beer. Because of its relatively high price, customers have been
reluctant to try Beck's. (BEERWeek, 8/17)
CHINA WEIGHS ON FOSTER'S PROFITS
Foster's Brewing Group is one of those that's found out how tough the
going in China can be. Australia's largest brewer has decided to sell
two small Chinese breweries and focus on its main operation in
Shanghai. The brewery took a $167.7 million (US) writedown on the sale.
For the year ending June 30, the company said that it earnings rose
$159.6 million but investors remained concerned about further weakness
in Asia. The company's bottom line benefited greatly by the $480
million profit on the sale of the group's half share in Canada's Molson
Breweries. Foster's chief executive Ted said the brewery remained
committed to China and its other developing Asian operations in India
and Vietnam. "The demographics alone overwhelmingly support a presence
there with India, Vietnam and China together accounting for more than
half the world's population," he said.
CLICK HERE TO SAVE A PUB
A branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has launched an Internet
web site that is part of an effort to stem the theft of historic
British pubs. The Birmingham chapter reports that the interiors of 10
historic pubs have been stolen in Birmingham in the last six years, and
that none of those pubs ever reopened. The thieves prey upon pubs that
are changing ownership, arriving while they are empty and stripping
them bare in a matter of hours. The parts are apparently sold to
refurbished pubs in the London area, or perhaps to the United States.
The new website includes detailed photographs of fittings stolen from
the pubs. You'll find it at:
TINY BREWERY MAKES ENGLAND'S BEST
A three-year-old brewery that produces about as much beer as the
average American brewpub made the beer crowned best in England.
Bluebird Bitter from the Coniston Brewery in Cumbria was judged 1998
Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival. The
brewery opened in 1995 in a converted pig sty behind a pub. It is
capable of making 20 barrels of beer per week. Brewers Ian Bradley and
Rob Irwin were shipping 15 barrels a week before the GBBF. Despite the
fact that Bluebird Bitter is in short supply, Matthias Neidhart of B.
United International reports that 10 firkins (a little more than 100
gallons) are being shipped to New York City in September.
CZECHS RULE AGAINST MERGER
The Czech Republic's Anti-Monopoly Office has asked giant holding
company to sell a majority stake in either Plzensky Prazdroj AS and
Pivovar Radegast AS, two of the country's largest brewers. The Office
had ruled in December 1997 that it would ban a merger of the two
breweries. A Czech bank owned by Nomura stated that Nomura
International Plc, which controls Radegast, or Nomura Europe Plc, which
controls Prazdroj, has to sell a majority stake in one of these brewers
within six months. (BEERWeek, 8/24)
SAN MIGUEL NETS $17 MILLION IN FIRST HALF 1998
San Miguel Corporation, the Philippines-based beverage, food and
packaging group, reported a net income of $17 million (U.S.) in first
half of 1998. This was 75% lower than the net income for same period
last year. While sales volumes of San Miguel's domestic businesses
gains were offset by a sharp increase in financing charges, a squeeze
on margins in the packaging operations, weak performance of the real
estate business and foreign exchange losses in Indonesia. Beer posted a
growth rate of 7%. (BEERWeek, 8/10)
KIRIN DOMESTIC SALES DECLINE; TO PRODUCE BUD IN CAN
A dividend payment from a New Zealand brewery in which Japan's Kirin
Brewery Co. bought a 45% stake in April offset a 9.2% decline in the
brewery's domestic beer sales in Japan. Kirin is Japan's largest beer
maker. In the works at Kirin is a plan to contract brew canned
Budweiser beer for sale in Japan, starting in September, according to
Kyodo report. Following a 1993 agreement with Anheuser-Busch, Kirin
contract brewed bottled Bud in Japan, but had to import canned Bud from
the A-B Los Angeles plant. (BEERWeek, 8/10)
DESPITE RECORD FIRST HALF, ASAHI NOT OPTIMISTIC
Japan's Asahi Breweries Ltd. announced a record pretax profit of 18.45
billion yen on an unconsolidated basis between January and June of its
1998 business year; this is 1.6% higher than same time last year. The
brewery also reported a 5.3% increase in overall sales. However, the
brewery forecast that sales for the year would be almost flat compared
to 1997. Following that announcement Asahi shares fell as much as 10%.
UK APPEAL UPHOLDS TIED HOUSE RULING
Great Britain's Court of Appeals has rejected claims that the United
Kingdom's tied house system violated European competition laws.
Innkeeper Graham Gemmel had challenged the traditional brewery-tied-pub
tenancy system. Gemmel had been ordered to quit his Red Lion pub in
Shepshed (in Leicestershire) for being behind in his rent and violating
the terms of his tie with his landlord, brewer Gibbs Mew. The court
ordered Gemmel to pay 15,199 pounds in unpaid back rent. (BEERWeek,
MICHAEL JACKSON BACK IN CYBERSPACE
Yes, THE Michael Jackson. The world's best known beer writer is now
partnering with Real Beer Inc. to satisfy your thirst for beer
knowledge. "This is the definitive and exclusive Beer Hunter website,"
said publisher and President of Real Beer, Pat Hagerman. "It's been a
couple of years in the making and you'll see we're not just picking up
where Discovery left off; this is a complete redesign. The Beer Hunter
site represents an important milestone in the development of our all-
beer Network." Co-founder and CEO, Mark Silva stated, "This site will be
the glossiest publication about beer on the web, in print or in any
medium. The Beer Hunter will be the right combination of timely and
timeless information. It's how people will be introduced to the great
beers of the world and where they can start their own beer hunting
pursuits." Available now are more than 100 of Michael's favorite
articles from the 1990s. Learn about breweries, beer and beer culture
around the world or compare your opinions with his tasting notes. Pour
yourself a beer, sit back and enjoy yourself with the Beer Hunter.
STEPHEN BEAUMONT ON BABE BEER
What does Stephen Beaumont think of plans for Babe Beer from an Oregon
marketing company? He writes, "let's face it, this is another attempt
to parlay a pretty face on a bottle into beer market share and the
flavour of the brew should be expected to have little to do with sales.
Rather, success or failure will depend on the willingness of men to
base their beer purchases upon the look of the label, or in the case of
the promotional 'Babe Nights' at bars, the face behind the bottle.
Either way, it's a pretty poor reason to choose a beer."
MULTIMEDIA GUIDE TO BELGIAN BEER
You'll find all you want to know about Belgian beer here, starting with
where it's brewed. Maps will direct you where to look, there's a guide
to Belgium's unique beer styles, a list of classic examples and even a
key to correct pronunciation of beer styles and classic brewers. We'll
try not to hold it against these guys that they've included pictures of
empty bottles (guess what happened to the beer).
Since 1995, Independence has taken pride in recreating a time honored,
hand-crafted tradition in a city which was once considered the brewing
capital of the new world. All of its ales and lagers are brewed in
small batches, with only the freshest and finest ingredients. The
brewery uses no chemicals or additives, and there is no pasteurization.
Their site provides plenty more information about the beers and where
to find them.
HOP-HEAD: \'häp 'hed \ noun
1. beer aficionado, beer enthusiast, beer hobbyist, beer lover.
2. whimsical, colorful, trademarked logo, personifying beer enthusiasts.
If you have a friend who matches the first definition above, then head
To the second to do your gift shopping. Of course, it's OK to buy beer
stuff for yourself there, too.
WEARABLE BLOWOUT AT PORTLAND BREWING
Doing your holiday shopping early? Tired of doing laundry and want to
buy a month's worth of clothing? Portland Brewing Co. is offering T-
shirts starting at $6.30 with six different shirt available for less
than $8 reach. Hats and other quality wearables are also on sale. Buy
one, buy a dozen. Don't wash another shirt until the Great American
RAPIDS WHOLESALE EQUIPMENT CO.
Rapids has been serving the global market with everything from
smallwares to large equipment since 1936. The company focuses primarily
on the beer industry, and over the years has continued to expand its
product line and locations to serve the food service and beverage
industries in the United States and around the globe. It's a one-stop
shopping source for value-priced commercial restaurant and bar
equipment, and commercial food service supplies.
SPECIALTY PRODUCTS INTERNATIONAL
This producer of brewing ingredients and equipment makes available to
homebrewers the same malt syrups being used in brewpubs and
microbreweries throughout the United States. Specialty products also
offers a full line of homebrewing equipment -- great for beginners and
experts alike. Complete satisfaction is guaranteed with the very first
TRIPLE ROCK BREWERY & ALEHOUSE
Did you know that Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse is America's oldest
brewpub still owned by its founders? Or why the brewery changed its
name from Roaring Rock Brewery to Triple Rock? Discover more at the
Berkeley brewpub's totally revamped its website.
- 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
(http://www.BelgianExperts.com), importers of fine Belgian beers and
now brewers of Belgian-style beer in their Cooperstown-based Brewery
Ommegang. Last month's winner was Sam Farlow, who wants to see more
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Last month we asked you which features you wanted to see more of on
Real Beer. Overall, it looks like you're pretty interested in areas
we're already delivering on and with which we can always get better.
Fully 97% of our viewers say they want more: fun, breaking news,
homebrewing, regional and tasting notes information.
Your comments are duly noted. In fact, as mentioned above we've just
launched a site that addresses quite a few of the issues rather nicely.
Have fun checking out the new Michael Jackson Beer Hunter website that
has more regional information and tasting notes from the world beer
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A-B EARNINGS RISE; BEER PRICES WILL TOO
Anheuser-Busch Cos. reported that second quarter earnings were 2.6%
higher in 1998 than for the same period in 1997 and that second quarter
domestic shipments grew 1.6% to 24.1 million barrels. August A. Busch
III, Chairman of the Board and President said: "The company's strategy
initiated at the beginning of this year to reduce the emphasis on
widespread price discounting that occurred in the beer industry
throughout 1997 has been successful in many markets. We have seen a
reduction in discounting since the fourth quarter of last year, but
pricing remains competitive." Busch was referring to a year of
industry-wide price wars. Now A-B is introducing a modest price
increase for the fourth quarter. The company indicated it wouldn't be
an across-the-board, nationwide increase. Each market is to be assessed
separately. The company also did not say which beers would be affected.
If Miller Brewing Co., A-B's biggest rival, joins in, Anheuser may
announced a larger hike early in 1999. Analysts expect Adolph Coors
Co., the nation's third largest brewery, will likely follow A-B's lead
on pricing, but if Miller doesn't as well they think A-B will abandon
the price hikes.
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COORS SETS SALES RECORDS
Adolph Coors Co. announced record net sales and higher earnings for the
second quarter of 1998. For the quarter ending in June, Coors reported
net sales of $541.9 million, a 4.1% increase from 1997. Second quarter
sales volume was a record 6,036,000 barrels, a 3.8% over the same
period last year. (BEERWeek, 8/10)
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BOSTON BEER COMPANY CORE SALES UP
The Boston Beer Co. core brand shipments increased 2% in the first half
of 1998, although barrels sold and net sales were lower because it
discontinued a contract brewing arrangement for an iced tea beverage
formerly brewed at its Cincinnati brewery. (BEERWeek, 8/10)
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CANADA'S SLEEMAN BREWERIES REPORTS RECORD QUARTER
Sleeman Breweries Ltd. announced that sales grew by 54% $14.1 million
to $21.8 for second quarter 1998 compared to second quarter 1997. The
1998 results include the performance of Upper Canada Brewing Company
since March 1, 1998. (BEERWeek, 8/24)
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EXPECT MORE TRIPS TO THE BATHROOM
After years of criticism for appearing to appeal to young drinkers, the
alcoholic beverage industry has taken aim at a new target audience:
graying baby-boomers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spirits
producers have taken the lead in creating ads for older consumers, but
Anheuser-Busch indicates its Catalina Blonde is directed at "mature"
consumers. August A. Busch IV, director of marketing, says consumers
over 50 represent "a growth opportunity." By 2005, 42% of the adult
population will be over 50, compared to 37% today. (BEERWeek, 8/17)
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PETE'S WICKED NEW BOOK MAKES BOOKSELLERS LISTS
"Beer for Pete's Sake," which Pete Slosberg, founder of Pete's Brewing
Co., calls his "auto-brew-ography," has begun to attract national
attention. It was No. 7 on a USA Today list of new books to watch, was
No. 7 on the San Francisco Chronicle's Bay Area Cookbook Bestseller
list and No. 1 on the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera's best-selling
business book list. (BEERWeek, 8/24)
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MICRO TAKES ON BIG BOYS, UNOFFICIALLY OF COURSE
Anheuser-Busch spent millions of dollars to become the official beer
sponsor of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, while Shirf
Brewing has invested considerably less to make itself the "unofficial
beer" of the 2002 games. Olympic organizers aren't pleased and have
launched a campaign against such "ambush marketing." "It's cheating,
pure and simple," USOC deputy general John Krimsky said. Anheuser-Busch
paid more than $50 million to sponsor the Olympics. Krimsky said it is
his job to protect that investment, 70% of which goes to fund the
Schirf Brewing began its campaign by putting the phrase "Wasatch Beers.
The Unofficial Beer, 2002 Winter Games" on one of its trucks. Brewery
owner Greg Shirf said Olympics organizers are taking themselves too
seriously by claiming ownership of the words "Games" and "2002." "Our
contention is we were careful not to use the word Olympics," Schirf
said. "No one has claim on 2002 and everyone uses the word games."
Schirf is pushing the controversy a step further by marketing a beer
labeled "Wasatch Unofficial 2002 Amber Ale."
Schirf doesn't know how long he can continue to afford to fight Olympic
organizers, but did admit he could change his mind. "We don't want to
make a deal. We just want to have some fun," he said. "The only way we
will acquiesce is if they make us drink Budweiser."
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A Bristol, England, mother gives Guinness credit for her baby being
born with a full head of dark hair, but the Irish brewery hasn't
suggested bald men rush out and start knocking back extra pints. During
every night of her pregnancy, Kim Winstone had a pint of Guinness.
Daughter Sophie was born with a dark mop of hair, and, after two
months, her locks were below her ears. "I knew Guinness was supposed to
be good, in moderation, for pregnant women, but I never expected this,"
Winstone said. Guinness is taking no credit. "We are delighted that
Mrs. Winstone enjoyed our product, but there is nothing in a pint of
Guinness that encourages hair growth. The fact that Sophie's hair is
black is pure coincidence!"
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FTC AGAIN REVIEWS ALCOHOL MARKETERS' TARGETS
The Federal Trade Commission has ordered eight major alcoholic beverage
companies to report on specific advertising practices to determine if
the industry is doing enough to discourage ads that appeal to underage
drinkers. The FTC's order comes as makers of alcoholic beverages are
spending more money on advertising. Beer, wine and liquor companies
spent $1.08 billion on ads in 1997, up 6% from 1996. Beer companies
that must file reports are Anheuser-Busch Inc., Miller Brewing Co.,
Coors Brewing Co. and Stroh Brewery Co. (BEERWeek, 8/10)
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HERE'S SOLUTION: GIVE THEM WEB BROWSERS
For the first time in 10 years, college students have chosen an
activity other than drinking beer as the most "in" activity. Web
surfing was named by 73% of respondents as an "in" activity, while beer
drinking was listed by 71%. Beer drinking had topped the list since
Student Monitor, which polled 1,200 students on 100 college campuses,
began the surveys in 1988. Eric Weil, managing partner at Student
Monitor, warned that the figures don't necessarily mean that web
surfing is more popular than beer drinking - just that the larger
percentage of respondents called it an "in" activity. However, he also
noted, "What's in on campus is an early warning system about what the
adult population will try to do, emulate or adopt in 18 to 24 months."
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WHAT THE 'H'?
Lowell Brewing Co. of Lowell, Mass., spent a year researching the
Harvard Brewing Co., which operated between 1898 and 1956, before
reviving the "Harvard" brand. It has a red label and a crimson flag
with the letter "H" on it. A brewery spokesman said that Lowell never
thought about the university's crimson logo. Harvard University's
trademark attorneys have asked the brewers to stop using the Harvard
name, as well as the style of packaging. Since May, the brewer has sold
about 4,000 cases, the bulk of it in Lowell and surrounding towns.
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LIBERTY MALT SUPPLY TO CLOSE IN SEATTLE
Liberty Malt Supply Co., one of the nation's best known homebrew
stores, will soon be all-but-closed. According To Alan Shapiro, sales
and marketing director of Merchant Du Vin, the parent corporation now
under new management, most of the retail homebrew store will be closed.
The corporation has decided to expand the brewery pub into Liberty's
expensive First Avenue storefront retail space. "The lease was coming
up for renewal, and we feel that the future of homebrew suppliers will
be Internet-based," Shapiro said. Shapiro noted that this move will
give the Pike Brewery & Pub important visibility on the street (it is
currently located inside a shopping complex next to the Pike Place
market.) Liberty Malt Supply was founded in 1921 and purchased by
Merchant Du Vin in 1989. (BEERWeek, 8/17)
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Art Beall of Hudson, Ohio, was awarded the 1998 Ninkasi award at the
American Homebrewing Association's annual meeting. The Ninkasi, named
after the Sumerian goddess of brewing, is awarded to the brewer who
scores the most points at the AHA's annual homebrew competition. Beall
took a gold medal and two silver medals for his German-style Double
Bock, a German-style Schwarzbier and a German-style Weizenbock. Boston
Beer Co. sponsored the Ninkasi. Beall receives a two-week course at the
Siebel Institute of Brewing in Chicago and a trip to Boston Beer's
pilot brewery in Jamaica Plain, Mass., to brew with the Sam Adams
brewers. Beall plans to brew his Schwarzbier when he visits the
brewery. (BEERWeek, 8/24)
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WISCONSIN BREWERY FLOODED AGAIN
Wisconsin Brewing Co., almost put out of business in 1997 by a flood
that is supposed to occur but once every 100 years, was swamped again
this summer. Friends in the brewing community rallied to keep the
Wauwatosa, Wis., brewery afloat, so to speak, last year. Things may not
be so bad this time around. Last year, the flood hit on a weekend and
at night; this time there was time to prepare. Still, the brewery
filled with more than four-feet of floodwater from the nearby Menomonee
River. "God, this is unbelievable," co-owner Gary Versteegh said.
"(But) it's not as bad as last year -- I've just got to keep saying
that." It was a little easier because, unlike last year, he and his co-
owners now have flood insurance. (Provided by Lucy Saunders)
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BREWERIES GIVE BACK: WILD GOOSE ADOPTS OYSTERS
A century ago, the Chesapeake Bay oyster population could filter the
entire Bay in three to six days. Today, it would take the existing
oyster stocks at least a year to do the same job. This year Wild Goose
Brewery is again participating in a protective program to help save the
Chesapeake Bay. Wild Goose, WRNR Radio of Annapolis, Md., and the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation are sponsoring the "Adopt-an-Oyster" program.
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PITTSBURGH BUYS WANKER BRAND FROM BANKRUPTCY
Pittsburgh Brewing Co. has acquired another branded trademark, Wanker
Beer, originally established and marketed in New Zealand. Pittsburgh
also recently acquired the brands of Evansville Brewing Co. in Indiana
and entered into an exclusive service agreement with Blues City Brewing
Co. in Memphis, Tenn. (BEERWeek, 8/24)
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NATIONAL BOP COMPETITION OCT. 17
The first National Brew-on-Premise Brewing Competition will be held in
conjunction with the Real Ale Festival on Oct. 16-18 in Chicago,
according to an announcement from New Hampshire BOP Red, White & Brew,
Inc. owner, Steve Friedman. Approximately 18 categories will be judged.
The competition is for owners/operators of BOPs, rather than BOP
customers. The beers will be judged by judges already at the Real Ale
Festival, and Michael Jackson has agreed to serve as judge for the Best
of Show aspect of the competition. (BEERWeek, 8/17 & 8/24)
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GUEST EDITORIAL: FROM FRED BOWMAN, PORTLAND BREWING CO.
Northwest breweries have achieved a reputation for great beer that
extends around the world. What has not been talked about as much, and
should be of equal or greater importance to people who don't even care
about beer, is the economic and social significance of this industry.
Brewery employment in the state of Oregon is over 1,800. Thousands of
people come here every year just to visit the breweries, including many
of the nearly 100,000 attendees of the Oregon Brewer's Festival. The
industry pays considerable amounts of money in the form of taxes, not
only normal business and property tax, but state and federal excise tax
Most of the raw materials for beer, barley and hops, are products of
Northwest agriculture. There are many supporting industries, from
equipment manufacturing and maintenance, to cleaning supplies. Solid
waste from the breweries (spent grains and yeast) becomes food for
Community involvement is a hallmark of this industry and contributions
to local charity fund raising events, support for local amateur sports
teams, the arts, public broadcasting, churches, community projects,
etc., are the rule.
These breweries and brewpubs usually occupy older buildings many of
which had been derelict for years. Many historic buildings have been
given a new life, becoming important factors in the revitalization of
neighborhoods which had fallen to neglect.
Knowing all of this, it's interesting to look at sales numbers for
northwest regional beers which have leveled off or fallen, when
virtually every imported beer of significance is showing increases from
20 to 90%. Do Mexican breweries purchase supplies and equipment from
Oregon companies? Do European breweries contribute to local charities?
Has a Canadian brewery renovated any old buildings? How many Oregonians
do any of these breweries employ?
Virtually every popular style imported has a local counterpart. The
breweries support their communities in every possible way. The people
should support their local Northwest breweries. If they weren't here, a
lot more than the beer would be missed.
Fred Bowman is a founder and vice president of Portland Brewing
Company, which operates two brewpubs and a microbrewery in the heart of
Portland. They can be found on the web at: http://www.portlandbrew.com