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Jul 22, 2014

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RBPMail 5.05, May 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 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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

WHITBREAD, ALLIED ON VERGE OF GIANT DEAL

Whitbread, a drinks and leisure group, is in advanced talks to buy Allied Domecq's pubs division. If the deal succeeds, it will create Britain's largest pubs and restaurants group with more than 7,200 outlets. The two companies have been in talks for weeks. After the deal, Whitbread is expected to put its brewing division up for sale to comply with the industry's strict competition regulations. The dramatic deal will transform both Britain's brewing industry and the pubs and eating out sector. Whitbread will dominate the pubs business and own more than 1,000 restaurants across Britain. Allied, meanwhile, will be able to focus on its worldwide spirits interests.

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BECK'S TO BE BREWED IN CHINA

Lion Nathan Ltd. of New Zealand is nearing completion of an agreement that will allow it to brew and market Brauerei Beck & Co.'s Beck's brand beer in China. The brewer estimates consumption in China at 17 billion liters per year, second only to the U.S. Lion Nathan expects production at its Suzhou brewery will rise 30% to 145 million liters per year.

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GERMANY'S TOP BREWER SHOWS A LOSS FOR 1998

Brau und Brunnen AG of Dortmund, Germany's top brewer, posted a loss for 1998. The loss, a net of $7.6 million, is attributed to slumping sales due to a chilly summer season. Beer sales dropped 6% in 1998 compared to 1997.

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U.S. SALES MAKE INTERBREW OPTIMISTIC ABOUT 1999

Belgian brewer Interbrew expects 1999 results to be good, in part because of continued growth in its U.S. market. "I believe they (current trends) are generally good," Interbrew Chairman Paul de Keersmaeker said. Interbrew's Chief Executive for the Americas, Hugo Powell, said he expected the group's performance to be boosted by rapid expansion in the specialty beer market in the United States. "We are growing at around 20 percent per year in the United States," Powell said. Interbrew's specialty beers Leffe and Hoegaarden are selling well in New York and Boston. "The early results in the first months are very strong. Belgian beer in New York is chic ... We're very pleased with progress," he said. Sales of Stella Artois lager also increased since the company earmarked the Belgian market leader for global promotion, Interbrew said.

http://www.bestbelgianbeers.com

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INTERBREW JOINS SUN BREWING IN RUSSIA/UKRAINE

Sun Brewing Ltd., Russia's largest brewer, has joined with Interbrew, the world's fourth largest brewer, to compete with rival brewer AO Baltika. Interbrew will invest $130 million in Sun and start a new company, Sun Interbrew. Baltika recently expanded production and projects an increase of 22% this year. The Russian/Ukrainian beer market has opened up for local, cheaper brands after the ruble fell more than 75% since August. Import brands have become too expensive for the average Russian consumer.

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CHINA'S TSINGTAO POSTS 35% PROFIT IN 1998

Tsingtao Brewery Co., China's second largest brewer, said its net profit for 1998 rose 34.8%. The increase can be attributed to 40 new distribution points throughout China.

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BAVARIAN BEER GARDENS TURN DOWN VOLUME

Bavarian beer gardens have imposed a strict noise level after a federal court ordered they close early. Noise levels must be kept below 65 decibels within town centers, while residential establishments must keep it to 55 decibels. Complaints about the noise prompted Berlin to impose a 9:30 p.m. closing time. Bavarians are furious over the ruling. The lower noise standards are said to be "Berlin-proof." The Bavarian Environment Minister stated, "This ensures Bavarian Beer Garden Culture will survive into the next millennium."

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****WEB WATCH****

THE MICHAEL JACKSON WORLD BEER TOUR
For years, beer writer Michael Jackson has resisted associating his name with a beer-of-the-month club. He said, however, that consumers still approach him to ask questions like, "Why can't I get Sheaf's Stout in the U.S.?" "It's as though I'm personally responsible for what is imported," Jackson said, smiling. Working with the World Beer Tour he can pick special beers for the U.S. market. The tour offers club members beers not available in the U.S., or available only on a very limited basis. The club is Internet based and fully interactive. Members will be provided with a password and be able to go on-line to compare their own tasting notes with those of Jackson and/or other members. The first shipments go out in June but you can join now at:

http://worldbeertour.com

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EXPERIENCE ENGLAND'S FINEST
Merchant du Vin will send one lucky winner and guest to "Experience England's Finest." The sweepstakes grand prize includes a one-week trip for two to London, the unmatched countryside of Yorkshire and Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in Tadcaster. A visit to the Old Brewery, founded in 1758, is an unforgettable experience. Now in its fifth generation of family management, Samuel Smith still draws its brewing water from a well sunk over 200 years ago, and is the last brewery to use the Yorkshire slate square method of fermentation. Of course, the best way to experience Yorkshire and England's finest beers is firsthand. Here's your chance.

http://merchantduvin.com/pages/6_contests/englandsfinest

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MID-ATLANTIC NEWSLETTER FEATURES LOCAL BREWS NEWS
Find out what's brewing at your favorite Virginia and DC breweries with a free subscription to Mid-Atlantic Beer Online. The Mid-Atlantic Association of Craft Brewers is publishing a new monthly e-mail newsletter highlighting the latest local brew news, descriptions of the newest seasonal beers, reminders of area beer festivals and events, and the inside scoop on the VA/DC brewing scene. The newsletter will also feature a special contest each month for subscribers only.

http://www.mid-atlantic-beer.org/online.htm

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*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************

ALE TRAIL
Lovers of Canadian beers may welcome spring on the Ale Trail May 15-16. The tour offers visitors a chance to tour the breweries, meet the brewers, sample the beers and learn about the craft of brewing. The website includes information on all seven 1999 tour weekends, maps to the breweries, information on the breweries, bars & restaurants, accommodations and still more about the attractions in Ontario's brewing heartland. It begins at:

http://www.aletrail.on.ca

JUPITER
What's better than one Jupiter beerhouse? Two, of course. A second Jupiter has joined Berkeley's "church of beer" in Walnut Creek. Although the new Jupiter has U-shaped booths made from recycled pews, it's not decorated in dark, cave-like "Beer Gothic" decor of the flagship. Jupiter-Walnut Creek is bright and lively, with a more modern European look. With a full-size brewhouse, Jupiter-Walnut Creek focuses more on in-house beers than at Berkeley (which offers 40 beers on tap as well as its own), but still features guest brews. To celebrate the arrival of a second pub, Jupiter rolls out a refurbished web site at:

http://jupiterbeer.com

HEARTLAND BREWERY
Don't tell Jon Bloostein, a.k.a. Farmer Jon, how tough the New York City brewpub market is. After stints running his own ice-cream vending business (he was the first person in New York City to sell Ben & Jerry's ice cream) and as an independent banking advisor on Wall Street, he started the tri-state area's largest brewpub, Heartland Brewery in Union Square. He proved that pub's success wasn't a fluke by opening a second brewpub in Midtown. Visit them at:

http://newyork.citysearch.com/E/V/NYCNY/0001/17/56/

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*********** Brewed Fresh For You! **************

The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites 
to check out:
     http://www.universityextension.ucdavis.edu/brewing 
     http://www.bohemianbreweries.com
     http://www.innovativwww.ebrew.com
     http://www.ommegang.com
     http://www.petes.com
     http://www.newbelgium.com
     http://www.safetap.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 a prize, which this month will be a Real Beer T- shirt. Last month's winner was Thames Fulton, who wrote: "Online time at the office not only provides essential research, it allows even more essential screwing around."

LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Last month we asked where you spent most of your time online. About half of you answered home, while another 36% wrote work.
In our April Fool's edition of RBPMail, we asked how many Bud's you enjoy a week. 86% answered "less than zero."

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FULL SAIL EMPLOYEES TO GET SHARE OF BREWERY

As part of a new American Homebrewers Association program, Association of Brewers founder Charlie Papazian recently toured the Northeast and Southwest, meeting often with homebrewers and other beer enthusiasts. Along the way he conducted a series of blind tastings. "I have to tell you when they learned what they were tasting and saw the results they were very surprised," Papazian said. In Cambridge, Mass., at a Samuel Adams beer dinner, Samuel Adams Golden Pilsner beat Corona 25-4; Samuel Adams Boston Lager shut out Heineken 29-0; and Samuel Adams IPA draft bettered Bass Ale 23-5. In a gathering at Rio Grande Brewing in Albuquerque, N.M., Rio Grande's Desert Pils and Grolsch tied; Samuel Adams Boston Lager outpolled Heineken 11-5; and Cabezon Stout (from Cabezon Brewing in Albuquerque) beat Guinness 12-4.

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CRAFT BEERS FARE WELL IN INFORMAL TASTE TESTS

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.

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BEER BUSINESS CONTRIBUTES NEARLY $200 BILLION TO U.S. ECONOMY

The Beer Institute puts the full economic impact of the brewing industry on the U.S. economy at $187.1 billion. "The brewing industry is a dynamic part of our national economy, with more than 90% of the beer consumed in the U.S being produced domestically," Institute President Ray McGrath said. "Brewers, along with their wholesale and retail partners, directly and indirectly employ approximately 2.5 million Americans. These workers earn $60 billion in wages and benefits. Diverse interests, such as in agriculture, transportation, packaging and advertising, also benefit from the strength of the brewing industry." The Beer Institute is the national trade association for the brewing industry.

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A-B CELEBRATES STRONG FIRST QUARTER

Anheuser-Busch Co. announced that its first-quarter net income rose a better-than-expected 20 percent, to $319.1 million, as beer sales improved. Gross sales, which exclude excise taxes, rose 7 percent to $3.16 billion from $2.95 billion a year ago. Anheuser-Busch said the higher earnings reflected stronger domestic beer sales volume, increased revenue per barrel and better earnings from the company's investment in Modelo, the Mexican brewer of Corona beer. The gains were partially offset by increased marketing, distribution and administrative expenses. "If there is a heaven for beer companies, it was in this quarter," said Emanuel Goldman, beverages analyst at Merrill Lynch. "They're in very good shape going forward."

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BUSINESS ALSO BOOMING FOR NO. 3

Adolph Coors Company of Golden, Colo. reported a 22.4% first quarter earnings jump largely due to escalated sales of its Coors Light product and increased prices. This increase indicates the third largest U.S. brewer has gained ground on No. 2, Miller Brewing. Price increases are considered a large factor in the increase in revenue. The 3% price increase is the largest in three years.

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A-B ABANDONS PLASTIC BOTTLES

Anheuser-Busch abandoned its latest tests of how well beer would sell in 16-ounce plastic bottles only a month after it started. The company said the early research indicated "limited public interest."

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SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HONORS ALASKAN BREWING

The United States Small Business Administration selected Alaskan Brewing Company's co-founders Geoff and Marcy Larson as the 1999 Small Business Persons of the Year for the State of Alaska. "Marcy and I are clearly honored by this selection. We've always stood by our mission to make a great beer in a place we love. This award recognizes the years of hard work and the dedication of all our employees to deliver a quality product in a constantly changing market place," said Geoff Larson.

http://alaskanbeer.com

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MASSACHUSETTS WOMAN MARKETS 'GAY PRIDE' BEER

A Northampton, Mass., woman has begun selling "Gay Pride" beer in Massachusetts. Jenn Wolper said she developed the idea in 1997 as she scanned the beer list at the Grotto, a gay bar in Northampton. "How come we don't have our own beer?" she asked. The contract-brewed pale ale features the initials "GP" and a banner saying "Gay Pride" on its label. The Queer Brewing Co. sells Q Pale Ale, a year-old beer, mainly around the San Francisco area. 10% of its profits are earmarked for gay causes.

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YUENGLING BUYS SHUTTERED STROH PLANT IN FLORIDA

D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. is buying the shuttered Stroh plant in Tampa so it can make and sell its Yuengling beer in Florida. Dick Yuengling Jr., president of the Pottsville, Pa., company, said he hopes to hire many of the 154 people put out of work when Stroh closed the facility in January. With sales thriving in its market area of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey - Yuengling has quadrupled production in nine years to 635,000 barrels a year - the company is building another plant near the original site. That facility is set to open in 2001. The Tampa plant will also add to production and help the company grow geographically. "We will grow our production carefully in Tampa," Yuengling said. "We will send some of the beer back north, but also hope to sell a lot of it in Florida."

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ANOTHER STUDY FINDS BEER GOOD FOR WHAT ALES YOU

A researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center reports that men and women who consume moderate amounts of beer (one to two a day) have a 30-40% lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to men and women who didn't drink. The positive health effects of light to moderate consumption of beer match that of previously released studies regarding red wine and provides more benefits than white wine. The report states that "per drink, beer contains a similar amount of polyphenols (antioxidants) as red wine and 4-5 times as many polyphenols as white wine." A Texas beer distributor partially funded the research by Margo Denke, M.D., Associate professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern.

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CLOSED MICRO WILL BE TEST BREWERY FOR SHINER

San Antonio-based Gambrinus Co. has purchased the defunct Frio Brewing Co.'s equipment to produce test beers for the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. "It's basically going to be a brewing laboratory for Shiner," said Gambrinus Co.'s Jaime Jurado. Frio opened five years ago, but remained in business for less than three. It took two years for Gambrinus to close the deal for the plant. Frio's 30-barrel kettles and fermenting tanks are one-sixth the size of those at Spoetzl. The purchase makes Spoetzl the smallest brewery in the country with a separate test brewery, Jurado said.

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MISSISSIPPI'S FIRST BREWPUB OPENS

Mississippi is no longer the only state in the nation without a brewpub. Coast Brewing Co. has opened in the Beau Rivage Casino Resort in Biloxi. Under construction are another casino brewpub in Biloxi plus one in Jackson. Mark Admire of Rockhouse Development Group indicates several other projects are likely. "Brewpub projects under consideration or development (six currently) are located from the Gulf Coast to Oxford in the northern part of the State," he said.

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SAN DIEGO REAL ALE FESTIVAL MAY 14-15

The second San Diego Real Ale Festival is scheduled for May 14-15, adjacent to the Pizza Port Brewpub in Carlsbad. The festival will be the largest real ale festival in the country this year as there is no Chicago National Real Ale Festival (delayed until Spring 2000). Organizers are anticipating 40 casks from breweries in five different Western States including one from Big Wave Brewery in Hawaii. They will also conduct the West Coast Cask Ale Championships in conjunction with the festival.

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JUST THE BEER FACTS

- The biggest commodity of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament was beer. Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill on Central Avenue across from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., went through 3,500 cases on the Final Four Saturday night alone.

- Taco Mac in Cumming, Georgia, now offers more beers on tap "than any other bar in the world." The Taco Mac at 525 Lake Center Parkway has 224 taps, each pouring a different beer. The Yard House in Long Beach, Calif., has 250 taps but repeats several handles and usual offers about 180 different beers at any time.

http://www.tacomac.com

- When Great Lakes Brewing Co. celebrated its 10th anniversary, the brewery got out the calculator and discovered that more than 2 million guests have visited the brewpub.

http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com

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EDITORIAL: AN INDUSTRY GETTING BACK TO ITS ROOTS

We are just back from the annual Craft-Brewers Conference, held this year in Phoenix. We go there to do business, of course, but also with the goal to have more fun than anybody else. With the Ralphs (http://www.HopUnion.com) on hand, that's quite a challenge. It's a fine opportunity to catch up with old friends, many of whom were around long before craft beer was a "hot industry" and have remained leaders in marketshare, vision and quality as the business matures.

With more than 10 years in the rear view mirror, John Hickenlooper, co-founder of Denver's Wynkoop Brewing Co., is fond of pointing out how different things were in the 1980s. "It was like being the first one on the Santa Fe Trail ... a lot of boulders to move," he's said.

Yet as the conference was drawing to a close, Ray Deter echoed the same idea. Deter runs Manhattan beer haven d.b.a. 41 first avenue, and served on a panel with other bar owners who have proved bars can flourish serving quality beer. "Not every bar owner is going to be like us," he said, "but I think it will happen - one bar at a time."

Charlie Papazian, founder of the Association of Brewers, said the same thing at a makeshift press conference on the last day of the CBC tradeshow. During the discussion, both Papazian and Michael Jackson noted it is hard to get mainstream media attention when the "newness" wears off. (Most of the beer press didn't show up for the press conference, adding an exclamation point to that thought.)

"If you are going to make an impact on the national level it has to be drip, drip, drip," Papazian said.

And, unlike two years ago when the CBC was in Seattle, that's just fine with some people. Then the Institute of Brewing Studies announced that year-over-year growth had slowed to 26% in 1996, and many reacted like the sky was falling. In 1998, IBS figures showed zero growth and the reaction wasn't nearly as sullen.

"It's good to see us getting back to our roots," said Bill Sugars of Mickey Finn's Brewery in Illinois, "instead of talking about expansion and whatever."

IBS director David Edgar used the same phrase the next day. "The industry is returning to its roots ... emphasizing locally produced fresh beer," he said.

We were reminded of that during our annual Cigar Hospitality, put on this year at Leinenkugel's Ballyard Brewery (http://leinie.com) with plenty of support from our sponsors. There's nothing like a great beer in one-hand and a cigar in another to get the community of brewers and suppliers talking.

Among those arriving early was Mitch Steele. Mitch used to be head specialty brewer at Anheuser-Busch, but since has been promoted to overseeing production of some of A-B's mainstream beers. Late in the evening, he was just another of many brewers, stout in hand, talking about a product that binds so many together.

He had tasted the cask-conditioned version of the stout that Ballyard Brewery head brewer Chris Swersey rolled out in a firkin as an event surprised. "Nice. Really nice," Steele said of the cask ale. "But this is nice, too," he said, pointing to the nitrogen-poured stout he had in his hand. "I hadn't intended to stay this long, but I'm really enjoying this."

For those of you who are consumers who wonder if the beer business is really as good as it seems, it is. For those of you who are in the biz, thanks for keeping it friendly. We're looking forward to participating in our little corner of the industry and sharing the stories of better beer for a long, long time.

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