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Aug 01, 2014

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RBPMail 4.10, October 1995

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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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


If you like what you read here and want more every week, subscribe to BEERWeek. Much of the content within is digested from BEERWeek, the paid subscription supported industry email newsletter. Get your free sample today at

http://www.beerweek.com

OKTOBERFEST CROWDS GREAT -- LESS FILLING

The mayor of Munich reported that the final day of this year's 16-day Oktoberfest celebration set an attendance record of 650,000. The event drew 6.5 million visitors overall, 100,000 more than last year, but four percent less beer was consumed than in 1997. Nonetheless, that amounted to 5 million liters of beer. Record overall attendance is 7.1 million, set in 1985. (BEERWeek, 10/5)

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GERMAN BREWERIES FEELING PINCHED

Analysts are predicting that half of Germany's 1,269 breweries may close in the next 20 years. "In the old days, especially in Bavaria, after church guys would go and drink a few beers," says beer industry consultant Andrew Hampp at Roland Berger & Partner in Munich. "Now they're more likely to spend time with the family and go hiking or mountain-biking." So far, 42 breweries have shut down in the last five years and beer consumption is going down (0.7 percent in the first half of 1998).

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JOCKEYING FOR POSITION CONTINUES IN CHINA'S BEER MARKET

In the wake of the pullout of Foster's Brewing Group from China's beer market, the Philippines' San Miguel Corp. announced it plans to sell part of its brewing operation in China. San Miguel is holding exploratory talks with several brewers re setting up an alliance in China. San Miguel is reportedly talking with Anheuser-Busch Cos., U.S.; Carlsberg A/S, Denmark; Heineken NV, Netherlands; and South African Breweries Ltd. Despite cutthroat competition that has caused others to rethink their strategies, Lion Nathan Ltd. of New Zealand opened a $170 million brewery in the eastern city of Suzhou. (BEERWeek, 9/21)

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INTERBREW TAKES STAKE IN FARAWAY BREWERIES

* Belgium-based Interbrew NV, the fourth-largest brewery in the world, has finalized an agreement to invest about $269 million in South Korea's beer market. Interbrew agreed to buy a 50% stake in a joint venture with South Korea's second-largest brewer, Oriental Brewery Co., a unit of the Doosan Group. (BEERWeek, 8/30)

* Interbrew has also purchased a majority stake in western Siberia's Rosar Brewery, located in Omsk. This is the first investment by Interbrew in Russia, and, according to a company statement, is intended to reinforce the company's presence in other areas in Eastern Europe. Rosar was founded in 1980, is Russia's fourth-largest brewery and the largest brewery in Siberia. (BEERWeek, 9/21)

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BEER INDUSTRY BOOSTS BULGARIAN ECONOMY

The brewing industry in Bulgaria is growing seven times faster than the rest of the nation's business sector. Of Bulgaria's 13 breweries, 12 are fully privatized, making brewing the only industry in Bulgaria to be so. The industry has attracted $30 million in foreign investment. Beer production is expected to grow 30% this year. In contrast, the country's overall economy is expected to grow about 4%. (BEERWeek, 9/28)

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PLANS SCUTTLED TO HALVE ENGLISH DRINK-DRIVE ALCOHOL LIMIT

Plans for tough European Union drink-drive laws that would have almost halved the legal alcohol limit for British drivers have been shelved by Neil Kinnock, Europe's transport commissioner. He accepted that pushing for a new Euro-law would conflict with efforts by English Prime Minister Tony Blair and other EU leaders to curb interference from Brussels in areas that can be left to national governments. Kinnock had planned to set a legal alcohol limit for all drivers in Europe of 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. The current limit in Britain is 80 mg - the equivalent of about two pints of beer or two and a half glasses of wine.

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CAMRA BATTLES TO KEEP MORRELLS ALIVE

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is stepping up the campaign to save Morrells Brewery from closure following the announcement that the business is to be sold to a new company. Mike Benner, head of campaigns, said, "This new company appears to have no plans to keep the brewery open, but is promising substantial investment in the pubs and the retention of some Morrells beer brands. Morrells beers brewed away from the St. Thomas Street Brewery (in Oxford) are likely to change beyond recognition. We will be calling for the new owners to see sense and keep this viable brewery alive."

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SRI LANKA GOVERNMENT TRIES BAN ON ALCOHOL ADVERTISING

Sri Lanka's government has decided to ban alcohol advertising in order to cut back on consumption. Sri Lanka's largest brewery, Lion Brewery Ceylon Ltd., objects to the ban on the grounds that it would only help the country's illicit liquor trade, which is fairly large. According to Lion deputy chair Hari Selvanathan, only 36% of the local market is held by the legitimate alcohol industry; of that, only 6% is held by beer producers. The advertising ban could cause the illicit liquor market to increase to 80% of the total market, according to Selvanathan. The government is also considering introducing a policy to increase the prices of liquor and beer. (BEERWeek, 9/21)

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POLISH BREWERS GET AROUND ADVERTISING BAN

Advertising alcoholic beverages is illegal in Poland, but breweries still mounted a successful advertising campaign that helped boost beers sales 10% in 1998. Huh? They've done this by creating nonalcoholic brands that have the same bottle type, and - except for the small print - the same name and label as their regular beers. They'll spend about $100 million advertising these brands this year for about $20 million in sales. "They are making a mockery of the law," said Krystyna Zazdrosinska, an attorney with the Consumer Federation, which sued the beer industry this summer for violating the law and wants the advertising stopped. "Everyone knows what they are doing."

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HOW WELL DO BANS WORK? ASK THE KUWAITIS

Although alcohol has been banned in Kuwait since the 1960s, estimates are that $40 million was spent on it in the Moslem country between 1992 and 1997. (BEERWeek, 9/14)

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'FAKE' BEER MARKET GROWS IN JAPAN

Sales of low malt or "fake" beers are growing rapidly in Japan. Sales of "fake" beers are fueled by the fact they are lower priced than regular beer because of a tax loophole for low malt beverages. Kirin Brewery, Sapporo and Suntory Brewery all produce low malt beers, but Asahi does not. Anheuser-Busch Cos. entered the low-malt market with a beer called Buddy in June. According to one securities analyst in Japan, for every 1% switch to low malt brews, the government loses 7.7 billion yen in tax revenue. (BEERWeek, 9/7)

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HEINEKEN PAINTS ROSY FINANCIAL PICTURE

Losing its position as the top-selling import in the United States hasn't hurt the pocketbook of Dutch brewer Heineken. The company said that it expected net profit growth over 1998 to match the 28 percent increase in the first half. In the first six months, Heineken reported net profit rose to 418 million guilders ($218 million) from 326 million guilders a year earlier. Beer sales were 9 percent higher in volume terms, despite problems in Asia, where sales were affected "by the adverse economic situation in a number of countries."

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***WEB WATCH***

BREWMALL

You guessed it, all the stores in BREWMall sell beer and brewing-related items. Shopping need never cut into your beer-drinking time again. This mall is divided not only into traditional stores - such as the glassware shop or the clothing store - but it's also like having a personal shopper greet you at the door. Know exactly what you want? Just use the search button. Looking for something in a particular price range? All those items are together. Put everything you like into a shopping cart and we'll rush you through the checkout lane in just minutes.

http://www.brewmall.com

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IF IT'S TUESDAY, MICHAEL MUST BE WHERE?

Want to have Michael Jackson autograph your copy of his new book, "Ultimate Beer," or just see what he looks like in person? You can track where he's headed soon as well as find comments about places he's been the last few days. On the rare occasions that he's home, he'll still be filing regular updates for Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter.

http://www.beerhunter.com

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MERCHANT DU VIN

When Charles Finkel founded Merchant du Vin in 1978, his idea was that fine beer could be sold much in the same way as fine wine. He decided the secret is to educate the consumer and arouse curiosity as to the differences among classic beer styles. This web site perfectly reflects that philosophy, whether you decide to play student at Ale University, do everything but actually taste the beer at Pike Brewery or Pike Pub, or find out about the breweries Merchant du Vin represents.

http://www.merchantduvin.com

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****REAL BEER PICKS****

TORONADO

Don't go near this site unless you live close to San Francisco or have some frequent-flier miles that are about to expire. Otherwise you're likely to find yourself in Haight-Ashbury, Toronado pint glass in hand while you toast owner David Keene with Anderson Valley Belks E.S.B. or Lindemans Framboise.

http://www.toronado.com

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J.T. WHITNEY'S PUB & BREWERY

Award-winning beers are just one of the reasons that J.T. Whitney's earned a reputation as a beer hot spot in beer-hip Madison, Wis. The pub offers a complete menu from simple salads and pub favorites to house specialty raspberry barbecue ribs, live music, a mug club and plenty of other reasons to keep coming back. No free beer, but the jukebox is free every day until 8 p.m. and they're giving away recipes at the web site.

http://www.jtwhitneys.com

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NEW ZEALAND BREWER NETWORK

Quite simply everything you could want to know about beer, brewing and breweries in New Zealand is located here. Also, the complete results of the 1998 Australian International Beer Awards.

http://www.brewing.co.nz

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BEER TRAVELERS

Another journalist once referred to Daria Labinsky and Stan Hieronymus as "a couple with maybe the best job in the world." They brew beer, drink beer and write about beer together, compiling lists for just about every beer interest: brewpubs, British pubs, German bierhalls, multi- taps and good old neighborhood bars.

http://www.beertravelers.com

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MAINE BREWERS' FESTIVAL

The fifth Maine Brewers' Festival highlights the diversity of beer produced in a state with one of the highest number of breweries per capita in the country and is called: "A World of Beer - Made Right Here!" At a time when many festivals are run by promotional companies, at the Maine festival owners and brewmasters still pour beer and meet beer enthusiasts face to face.

http://www.mainebrew.com

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*** Brewed Fresh For You! ***

The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites to check out:
http://www.belgianstyle.com/mmguide
http://www.independencebrew.com
http://www.hopheadcollection.com
http://www.portlandbrew.com/merchandise.php
http://www.4rapid1.com
http://www.specialtyproductsltd.com
http://www.triplerock.com
http://www.fmbhops.com
http://www.jvnw.com
http://www.labattblue.com
http://www.magnoliapub.com
http://www.mcs.net/~rdan/RAF.php
http://www.traditionalbrewing.com
http://www.uppercanada.com
http://www.acecider.com
http://www.elysianbrewing.com
http://www.grainmillers.com/brewing.htm
http://www.growlers.net
http://www.homebrewadventures.com
http://www.ncoast-brewing.com
http://www.nwextract.com
http://www.phoenixcigar.com
http://www.siebel-institute.com
http://www.sonomamountainbrewery.com

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QUICKIE EMAIL SURVEY

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, N.Y.-based Brewery Ommegang. Last month's winner was Roger A. Ksenich, who wrote his top reason for a beer becoming his favorite was flavor, and that it "is definitely what brings me back to a beer a second time, a third time and more ..."

LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Last month we asked you for the top reason a beer becomes your favorite/regular beer. An overwhelming number, 85%, of you answered "flavor" or "quality," and less than 1% total said it was based on the first beer you had or "fun ads."

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A-B LOSES ON MISSOURI LABEL LAW IN FEDERAL COURT

Beer will continue flowing into Missouri from microbreweries and contract breweries after a federal court ruling in Kansas City. The decision by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple struck down a state law that would have required beer labels to contain the name and address of the owner of the brewery where the beer was made. According to the plaintiffs, the law would have forced smaller breweries to print special, expensive labels for beers sold in the state. They contended that would have chased many small brewers out of the Missouri market and hurt the profits of others. In his ruling, Whipple chastised legislators and Anheuser-Busch. "A-B's aggressive support of this legislation certainly belies any claim that it would not benefit from the passage of this statute," Whipple wrote. "The court believes that the purpose (of the law) was to discriminate against the out-of-state competitors of A-B ..."

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GABF SETS NEW ATTENDANCE RECORDS

Based on the huge turnout at this year's Great American Beer Festival, consumer interest in specialty beer continues to soar. The attendance at the final session of the three-day festival Oct.1-3 in Denver, Colo., was more than 8,000 paid. The total count in the hall, including volunteers, brewers, media and exhibitors was thought to be about 11,000, according to festival director Sharon Mowry. The Professional Panel Blind Tasting, held just prior to the GABF, announced its annual awards at the "Members Only" session Saturday afternoon.

Real Beer offers congratulations to all the winners and special kudos to our customers. Check out the winners at:

http://www.beertown.org

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SOME SKUNKS APPARENTLY COME WITH A PEDIGREE

Skunked is a term for beer whose taste has been ruined, either because it's too old or because it's been exposed to too much heat or light, and two years ago Anheuser-Busch began a massive advertising campaign to emphasize its battle against skunked beer. Now A-B is distributing its Catalina Blonde beer in clear bottles and telling retailers that a skunky aroma is OK. One distributor informed retailers that it learned from A-B that brewmaster Scott Menen said the skunked flavor was anticipated. Corona and Heineken, which also come in clear or green bottles that leave them susceptible to skunking, characteristically have a skunky aroma that consumers identify with those brands. A-B apparently wants drinkers to associate Catalina with those beers.

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MILLER STICKS WITH CONTROVERSIAL AD CAMPAIGN

Miller Brewing Company hasn't given up on its current ad campaigns despite slow and flat sales. The campaigns, the quirky "Dick" campaign (for Lite) and the gritty black-and-white ad campaign (for Miller Genuine Draft), have met with mixed response. Some wholesalers say the advertising is not moving sales, and that sales are flat. Miller counters that its ad plan is "living up to expectations." For the 52 weeks ending July 12, Miller case sales climbed 2.6%, Anheuser-Busch, 4.5% and Coors, 3.1%. (BEERWeek, 9/7)

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FREE-TRADE GROUP ENTERS FLORIDA BOTTLE LAW FRAY

Miami's Association of Binational Chambers of Commerce has entered the battle over Florida's archaic beer container law. The 1965 law requires beer be sold in only 8-, 12-, 16- or 32-ounce containers, which effectively shuts out beer bottled in metric proportions as well as 22- ounce "bombers" used by some microbreweries. "The law is an obstacle to the fair distribution of our products," said Nathan Herzog of Kedem Royal Wine Co., which tried to establish Florida distribution for the Israeli beer Maccabee, but found the 11.2-ounce containers were illegal in Florida.

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ANHEUSER-BUSCH BOOSTS SHARE IN GRUPO MODELO TO 50.2%

Anheuser-Busch Cos. has increased its share in Grupo Modelo SA, Mexico's largest brewer, from 37% to 50.2%. A-B was able to take advantage of the falling Mexican peso, only paying $556 million instead of as much as $900 million as had been predicted by value analysts. Anheuser-Busch now has indirect access to Mexico's market, the seventh-largest beer market in the world. Grupo Modelo makes Corona, the number one-selling import in the U.S. (BEERWeek, 9/14)

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LEHIGH COLLEGE DENIED LICENSE FOR ON-CAMPUS PUB

Sending what is called a get-tough signal against excessive collegiate drinking, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board denied a liquor license to Lehigh University to establish an on-campus pub. The decision prompted a debate on the best way to deal with campus alcohol problems. Lehigh officials argued that the proposed pub in the student union would have created a "healthier, safer and more controlled" drinking environment on campus. But LCB chairman John E. Jones said that approving the application would have conflicted with the board's goal "to change the culture and environment in campus universities that leads to binge drinking and underage drinking." In contrast, the student union at the University of Wisconsin in Madison offers more than 20 beers on tap in a dining area known as Der Rathskeller.

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BECOME A HOPHEAD, LIVE LONGER

Preliminary research at Oregon State University has found that some chemicals in hops may have anti-cancer properties. The chemicals are called flavenoids, said Donald R. Buhler, a toxicologist at OSU's Agricultural Experiment Station. "We have not studied the beneficial effects of drinking beer," Buhler said. "We are looking at some chemicals from hops. We have not studied hops directly, but these are the chemicals in hops, these same chemicals are in beer." He stops short of saying only beer drinkers will reap any benefits. "I'm not sure we'd even want to say it if it was true. It varies a lot according to the type of beer, how much hopping they do to the beer." Don't expect your doctor to start prescribing pints of your favorite India Pale Ale. "Obviously, there is a downside to drinking beer," he said. "I would guess that if anything comes of this, that the drugs or chemicals would be made available in some sort of pill form."

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IS IT TEQUILA? IS IT A BEER? ONLY YOUR BEERTENDER KNOWS FOR SURE

Anheuser-Busch has released a malt beverage made by combining lager beer with blue agave nectar and a flavor combining lime and imported tequila. The beer's name, Tequiza, is derived from "cerveza," the Spanish word for beer, with "tequila." Tequiza was first tested in a few markets in late 1997 and has been available in an expanding number since. It is being priced at Mexican import and specialty beer prices. (BEERWeek, 10/5)

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COORS FOOTBALL PROMOTION: PIGSKIN BOTTLES & CANS

Coors Brewing Co. continues to offer limited-edition packaging for collectors as well as consumers. The "Pigskin" releases include cans and bottles featuring a design intended to give the look of a football's pebble-grained leather and distinctive lacing. (BEERWeek, 9/7)

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WYNKOOP LOOKS FOR 1999 BEERDRINKER OF THE YEAR

Wynkoop Brewing Co. has set a Nov. 17 deadline for its 1999 Beerdrinker of the Year competition. Entrants must include their personal philosophy of beer drinking, height, weight and T-shirt size. Bobby Bush Jr., from Hickory, N.C., won the 1998 contest. Entries -- with resumes not longer than 4 pages -- must be submitted to Beerdrinker of the Year Competition, c/o Wynkoop Brewing, 1634 18th St., Denver, CO 80202. (BEERWeek, 9/7)

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BOSTON PUB CELEBRATES 10 BUD-FREE YEARS

Doyle's Cafe in Boston (actually Jamaica Plain) recently celebrated 10 years of not serving any Anheuser-Busch products. According to a story in "Yankee Brew News," the Burke brothers, who run Doyle's, say the Bud ban was a result of a dispute with a delivery man. The Burkes had just paid to get their parking lot resurfaced when they discovered that beer delivery men were digging new holes in the pavement by dropping kegs from the rear of their trucks. Billy Burke asked all the delivery men to start using a rubber bumper when making deliveries. All complied but the A-B drivers. One time, an exchange got so heated that Billy Burke says he swore that no A-B product would ever again be sold by Doyle's.

"The war has gotten worse over the years," Billy Burke said. "Bud guys were fond of saying, when you're out of Schlitz you're out of beer, but when you're out of Bud you're out of business."

http://www.yankeebrew.com

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MICHAEL JACKSON OFFERS TWO CALENDARS FOR MALT ENTHUSIASTS

Two calendars have been published featuring Michael Jackson's encyclopedic knowledge of American craft brewers and single malts. "Michael Jackson's Beer Lovers Calendar 1999: American Microbreweries and Great Beers to Know in 1999" features full-color photos of 12 craft breweries throughout the U.S., along with a brief passage on each brewery. "Michael Jackson's Single Malts Calendar 1999" is based on Jackson's research into single-malt Scotches. Twelve Scotch-related scenes are shown, with a brief commentary on each page. (BEERWeek, 9/28)

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NEW ON THE BOOKSHELVES

* "Ultimate Beer," by Michael Jackson. Written for the novice as well as the connoisseur, "Ultimate Beer" is a complete guide to every aspect of beer. Just as wine can be consumed at any time, so can any beer, but like the grape, the grain has its favored moods and moments, including the right beer for every occasion.

* "The Great Beers of Belgium Third Edition," by Michael Jackson. A big- seller in other countries, the book gets its first full-fledged rollout in the United States. For details, see http://realbeer.com/rbp/authors/epps/mjbelgium.php.

* "Beer in America: The Early Years -- 1587-1840," by Gregg Smith. "Beer in America" covers the history of brewing and beer in the United States, and the role both have played in the formative years of the American colonies and of the United States.

* "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation," by Stephen Harrod Buhner. This book describes the sacred nature of ancient fermentation practices, and how the medicinal, spiritual, sacred and ceremonial properties of nearly 200 plants came into play when they were used in fermented beverages.

* "Pennsylvania Breweries," by Lew Bryson. This is a travel guide, presenting full information on each brewery, along with area beer bars, local attractions and lodging suggestions.

* "The Good Bottled Beer Guide," by Jeff Evans. The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) publishes the first edition of its guide to bottle- conditioned beer in Great Britain. This is a sister publication to the best-selling "Good Beer Guide," which focuses on draught real ales and pubs.

* "Kolsch," by Eric Warner. Part of a series on Classic Beer Styles from Brewers Publications, the book is about a style of beer originally brewed in Cologne, or Köln, Germany.

* "Brown Ale: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes," by Ray Daniels and Jim Parker. Another in the Classic Beer Styles series, this book covers the art of brewing brown ale, reviews the history of the style, tells how to serve it and what to serve with it.

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GUEST EDITORIAL: FROM DARIA LABINSKY, SOUTHERN DRAFT BREW NEWS

As I get older and more cynical about how statistics can be manipulated, I hold less and less faith in polls and surveys. And nothing's less reliable than a call-in or fax-in survey. So, I groaned when I saw a fax poll in the March/April issue of "The New Brewer: The Magazine for Micro- and Pub Brewers." It purports to track beer styles in brewpubs around the country, showing which style of beer sells best, which style showed the most growth in 1997, which seasonal had the best sales; and which styles are showing the greatest decline.

I understand that the poll is not meant to be scientific. My main complaint is the way the Institute for Brewing Studies grouped states together for the survey. Specifically, Arizona and New Mexico are lumped in with the Mountain West.

True, both have mountains. But when the educated person thinks of these states, the word "southwest" usually comes to mind. It's hard to believe that the beer people are drinking in Tucson has much in common with what's being quaffed in Missoula.

According to the survey, in the Mountain West, amber ale is the best seller; the beer showing the most growth is brown ale; the best-selling seasonal is Oktoberfest/Märzen (true nationally, despite the fact that relatively few brewpubs make lagers); and the styles showing the greatest decline are stout, hefeweizen, fruit beers, golden/blonde ale, American wheat and amber ale. That's correct: amber ale is both the best seller and one of those in decline.

It doesn't take a skeptic to wonder about the inclusion of hefeweizen, golden ale and American wheat beer in the "decline" category. Having visited many of the Arizona and New Mexico brewpubs, I just don't believe it. This is light beer country. In late fall and winter, brown ale, stout, dopplebock and the like may sell OK, but most of the year, what many drinkers here want is something along the lines of golden ale or hefeweizen.

It would have made more sense to include Arizona and New Mexico with their neighbors California and Texas, which are grouped with the Pacific states and South, respectively. In those regions, the best seller by far is golden/blonde ale - 31 percent of respondents in the Pacific and 38 percent in the South chose golden ale.

So why should I care about this poll? Partly because it's my nature as a journalist to demand accuracy. And partly because I'm afraid that some brewery's marketing person will see the result, tell a brewer, "Stop making ____," and bam, one of my favorite beers will be offline.

Luckily, microbrewers are generally an independent bunch. While they know what it takes to make customers happy, they're not afraid to trust their instincts instead of some stinkin' poll.

Bob Beckley, the owner/brewer at Three Rivers Eatery and Brewery in Farmington, N.M., sees a mixture of locals and tourists at his restaurant. What are the two most popular beers? Golden Honey Wheat Ale and Roustabout Stout.

Go figure.

Daria Labinsky is editor of Southern Draft Brew News, lives in New Mexico and writes for several other beer publications. She was first runner-up for 1998 Beer Writer of the Year. You can read more from her at http://www.beertravelers.com.

The views presented here are not necessarily those of Real Beer, Inc., and are presented here to provide perspective from within the industry.

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