RBPMail 5.04, April 1999
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 emialed to subscribers. Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.
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TOP CZECH BREWERS TO RAISE PRICES
Two top breweries in the Czech Republic, Pivovar Radegast AS and Pivovar
Velke Popovice AS, units of Radegast Group AS, plan to raise beer prices
by about 6 percent this month. The decision was announced just weeks
after the Czech Anti-Monopoly Office approved a merger of Plzensky
Prazdroj AS (Pilsner Urquell), the Czech Republic's largest brewer by
market share, and Pivovar Radegast, the second-largest, both controlled
by Nomura of Japan through related companies.
In light of a slowdown in the German brewing industry -- 100 breweries
have closed during the 1990s -- many brewers have turned to exporting
their beers to survive, while others simply shut down or merged with
their more powerful rivals. German brewers now export about three times
more beer than the country imports, and have found a friendly market in
the United States. U.S. consumption of German beer rose 15% from 1994 to
1997. Beck's North America Inc., Beck's U.S. subsidiary, sold $127
million worth of beer in 1997-98 fiscal year.
Danish brewer Carlsberg will discontinue production at its Hong Kong
brewery on the last day in April. Carlsberg Brewery Hong Kong Ltd, 51%
owned by Carlsberg and 49% owned by Swire Pacific, indicated that it was
discontinuing its production on the island because of high costs,
especially high wages. The brewery will supply its Hong Kong customers
from another of its breweries.
The Mexican government is investigating whether its two main beer
companies -- Grupo Modelo and Fomento Economico Mexicano -- are involved
in monopolistic practices in certain parts of the country. The
investigation will look at distribution and beer sales countrywide and
is expected to take about three months.
A "new day" is dawning at Rock Bottom Restaurants -- same as the old
Day. Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., announced that it has entered into a
definitive agreement to be acquired by RB Capital, Inc., a newly-formed
corporation organized by the company's chairman, president and chief
executive officer, Frank B. Day. Day is one of the company's co-founders
and a significant stockholder of the company. Based in Louisville,
Colorado, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates 62 restaurants
-- 39 Old Chicago restaurants and 23 brewery restaurants operating under
the names Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Chop House & Brewery and
MALLYA REPORTEDLY INTERESTED IN BUYING FULL SAIL BREWERY
The Portland Business Journal reports that Vijay Mallya has taken aim at
acquiring the Full Sail Brewery in Hood River, Ore. Mallya is the Indian
liquor and beer entrepreneur who pulled the plug on Jim Bernau's
Portland-based Microbreweries Across America and acquired Mendocino
Brewing Company and other distressed brewing properties. The report says
that Mallya "has vowed to get a piece of Oregon's craft-brewing
business," and Full Sail is "exploring a possible sale because some of
its original shareholders wanted 'liquidity' for their shares."
The State of Washington is considering legislation that would make
driving with a .02 BAC (blood alcohol concentration) a crime. Washington
only recently changed its blood alcohol level from .10 to .08. Under the
proposed bill, drivers over 21 found guilty of operating a motor vehicle
with a BAC of at least .02 but less than .08 would be have their license
suspended for 30 days and have to pay a penalty of $500.
DRUNK DRIVER WITH SUSPENDED LICENSE HITS MADD CAR
Donald Podzka, 48, driving with a suspended license and with four drunk
driving convictions, crashed into a car driven by the Massachusetts
executive director of MADD. No injuries were reported, but Podzka was
arrested for DWI. His blood alcohol was over twice the legal limit. Four
cans of beer were near his car, two open. A witness told law enforcement
that Podzka began throwing beer cans into the woods right after the
crash. He had been convicted four times for drunken driving between 1981
TWENTY-THREE BEERS FROM EIGHT COUNTRIES
Step into Michael Jackson's tasting room and try Alpha King Pale Ale
from Three Floyds Brewing in Hammond, Ind., Regal from the Simon Brewery
in Luxembourg or one of 21 other beers. Discover which strong ale the
Beer Hunter describes as, "The beer world's answer to a gin-and-tonic."
BREWMALL MAKES SHOPPING EVEN EASIER
BREWMall has been redesigned a bit to make it easier to locate just what
you want from nearly 3,000 items. Now you'll find departments within
each of the stores, as well as a list of what other shoppers are buying.
Stop by now.
BEER AND WINE HOBBY
Beer and Wine Hobby has moved to a new location, allowing it to expand
its warehouse. The store keeps long hours, making it easy to stop by the
Woburn, Mass., business to pick up what you need. Farther away? Don't
worry, the mail order department is adept at dispatching orders to
anywhere in the world. Not only will you find everything you need to
brew beer, but also to make wine, make cheese, grow mushrooms, create
BOHEMIAN BREWERIES INTERNATIONAL
This global, leading equipment supplier earns testimonials like, "It's a
whole package deal with Bohemian. You don't just get a piece of
equipment and have to go out there and install it. You get a full
service application, and that's what we were looking for." The site is
full of information about the company's people, products and services.
Don't leave without test driving the system size calculator in the
resource center. Start the tour at:
UC DAVIS PROFESSIONAL BREWING PROGRAM
"I picked this program because I thought it would be the most
comprehensive in the country," notes graduate Jason Oliver. "After
completing it, I've definitely found that to be true. You learn about
all aspects of the brewing industry." The brewing programs offered
through University Extension at UC Davis are world-renowned and the only
North American programs accredited by the prestigious Institute of
Brewing in London. Find out more about them at:
*********** Brewed Fresh For
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
QUICKIE EMAIL SURVEY
Thanks to all who have been replying to our Quickie Surveys. We draw one
winner each month for a prize, which this month will be a Real Beer T-
shirt. Last month's winner was Ricardo Rojas, who wrote: "I greatly
enjoy reading your newsletter every month. My Internet connection at
home is a 56k modem, but due to some really silly technical mumbo-jumbo,
it can only run at 33.6k. Such a shame. It almost makes me want to go
into work on weekends, just to use the Internet ... nearly, but not
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Last month we asked how fast your Internet connection at home is. It
turns out that 56% of those who responded connect at 56K or faster.
Anheuser-Busch is selling Budweiser and Bud Light beer in 16-ounce
plastic bottles in a test in Dallas and Phoenix following a similar test
last summer in New York. Miller Brewing Co., the nation's No. 2 brewer,
has been selling beer in plastic bottles in similar market tests since
October. Dan Hoffman, director of Budweiser marketing for Anheuser-
Busch, said last year's test in New York showed that consumers preferred
plastic bottles at places like beaches and pools, where glass is
prohibited. "We will determine the long-term recycling viability of the
bottle," as part of the Dallas and Phoenix tests, Hoffman said. Miller
has come under attack from environmentalists who charge that its plastic
bottles are not easily recycled.
OREGON BREWERS GUILD PUSHES FOR SELF-DISTRIBUTION
The Oregon Brewers Guild and the Oregon Restaurant Association recently
introduced a bill in the Oregon State senate to allow brewpubs to self
distribute limited amounts of beer themselves. Currently, holders of
microbrewery licenses can self-distribute, but not holders of public
house (brewpubs) licenses. The proposed law would allow brewpubs to
distribute up to 500 barrels of beer a year.
COMING SOON TO A STATE NEAR YOU: A HOPS BREWPUB
Hops Restaurant Bar & Brewery recently opened its first brewery-
restaurant in Connecticut and 50th in the United States. "I'm looking
forward to the future growth of Hops as we expand beyond a regional base
and establish our brand nationally," said chief executive officer,
president and Hops co-founder Tom Schelldorf. The chain began operating
in Tampa, Fla., in 1988, and began serious expansion after becoming a
subsidiary of Avado Brands in 1997. It has grown from 18 restaurants to
50 in 25 months and plans to open 20 Hops restaurants this year while
expanding into eight new states.
The state of Idaho has legalized homebrewing, now affording homebrewers
the same rights as home winemakers. "Jennifer Graham spearheaded the
effort completely," said Paul Gatza, director of the American
Homebrewers Association. "The AHA supported her effort in a minor way
with a letter and email campaign to AHA members in Idaho. Cheers for
Jennifer and all Idaho homebrewers."
LABATT USA INTRODUCES BELGIUM'S STELLA ARTOIS TO NYC
Labatt USA has begun marketing Stella Artois, the best-selling Belgian
lager in the world, into the New York market. Stella Artois has a
heritage that stretches back to 1366 in the town of Leuven, where it is
still brewed today.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE DARK SIDE
While some were wondering what non-green beer to celebrate St. Patrick's
Day with, Stephen Beaumont had some advice for readers of World of Beer
Update, a free monthly newsletter that contains information not
available at his website. Although St. Patty's day has passed, his
recommendation remain worth considering:
- Porter House (Dublin, Ireland) Wrasslers XXXX Stout: An intense hop-
and-roast nose leads to a generously roasty body with pleasingly
discernable hop and plum notes. A lingering finish with fading hop notes
ends this excellent dry stout.
- St. Ambroise (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) Oatmeal Stout: Tasted fresh,
this is one of the finest oatmeal stouts I have ever had the pleasure of
coming across; rich, silky smooth and with just a hint of sweetness.
- Jamtlands (Jamtland, Sweden) Porter: With a full, roasty, smoky nose
and a dry-ish, faintly fruity body with perhaps a note or two of
nuttiness, this a very fine porter deserving of its style name.
- Guinness (Dublin, Ireland) Extra Stout: No, not the nitro-poured
draught stout, but the more intense bottled version available only in
Ireland. When I visit the Emerald Isle, I like to drink draught stout
during the day and switch to this much roastier, sharper brew around
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Plans are in the works for a sequel to the McKenzie Brothers' 1983 film,
"Strange Brew." There's talk that Dan Aykroyd will appear with Dave
Thomas (Doug McKenzie) and Rick Moranis (Bob McKenzie). The McKenzie
Brothers, of course, began life on the comedy show SCTV, drinking beer,
eating donuts and back bacon sandwiches and discussing all things
Canada. The new film reportedly will be "about a bunch of losers who try
to launch their homemade beer as a major brand and (louse) everything
Brewers at Las Vegas brewpub have challenged those from Hawaii to
compete head-to-head April 24 in the Main Event Beer Festival in Las
Vegas. BJCP-certified judges will conduct a blind judging and overall
points will determine the winner. All seven Las Vegas brewpubs will be
on hand, while Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch & Crab of Honolulu is
expected to be joined by more Hawaiian breweries. Such a competition
makes sense because 80 percent of guests at the California Hotel (a
sister property of festival host Main Street Station) are from Hawaii.
For information call 702-798-8345.
1,500 bicyclists from throughout Texas are expected to ride
approximately 90 miles May 1 to Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, for
the first annual Kiwanis International Shiner B.A.S.H (Biking from
Austin, San Antonio and Houston). The ride, sponsored by Spoetzl Brewery
and Sun & Ski Sports, will benefit the Austin, San Antonio and Houston
chapters of Kiwanis International. The ride coincides with Spoetzl's
For up-to-the-minute event listings of your area and wherever you may
travel, check out:
April 10, - Athens, Georgia
4th Annual Classic City Brew-Fest
Contact: (706) 254-2739
April 18, Chicago, Illinois
Real Ale & Real Beer History. The events features cask-conditioned ales
from Chicago area breweries.
Contact: (414) 821-8004 or 1-800-GooseMe
April 23- 24, Durham, North Carolina
6th Annual Brews & Blues & Southeastern Microbrewers' Invitational
Contact Phone: (919) 484-1128
EDITORIAL: WHY THE BOTTOMS WON'T FALL OUT OF THIS MARKET
Later this month, industry movers and shakers of the U.S. will gather in
Phoenix for the National Craft-Brewers Conference and Trade Show. When
they leave the exhibition hall many will make it to Leinenkugel's
Ballyard Brewery, an expansive brewpub next to Ball One Ballpark. There
they'll settle in on the barstools made to look like major-league bases,
with square seats and white leather upholstery.
Also later this month, hundreds of thousands of music lovers will
descend on New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival featuring
hundreds of musicians and beer from one brewery -- Miller Brewing. After
a day of music many will make it to the Rivershack Tavern in Jefferson
in search of Real Beer. They may grab a seat outside on barrels with
metal footrests and cupholders or wander inside to check out the "Home
of the Tacky Ashtray." As well as truly tacky ashtrays and 20 beers on
tap, the Rivershack has stools with carved legs that look to be human.
They depict a golfer, a shrimper, a cowboy, a woman in high heels and
others from below the knees. Conversation comes easy here.
Perhaps your favorite barstools are the brass tractor seats at Anderson
Valley Brewing's Buckhorn Saloon. You may prefer the padded tree stumps
at Chilkoot Charlie's in Anchorage, Alaska, or the communal picnic
benches at Berkley Front in Berkley, Mich. At the Rhinoceros in
Missoula, Mont., the barstools next to the tall tables are screwed to
the floor. Then there's the Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago, where the
classic standup bar has no stools at all, a reminder of when the bar
area was for men only.
Every one of these places serves beer with character, which is one
excuse to find an interesting stool and be close to the taps. Quite
often we find that there are more reasons. Any place that goes to the
trouble to make hand-crafted beer available is still in the minority and
deserves credit. The ones that are special do even more -- having bar
stools that are out of the ordinary is one example. They make sure the
beer is served right, offer a setting for civilized conversation, live
music, excellent food, good wines and spirits, etc.
If you want these pleasures to continue to be available then encourage
the places that offer them with your patronage. Not only will they stay
in business but they'll be joined by others.
Grab a bar stool and take it for a spin.