RBPMail 5.06, June 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.
In this issue:
PUNCH TAVERNS TOSSES WRENCH IN ALLIED-DOMECQ DEAL
Britain's Punch Taverns plans to launch a hostile cash bid for Allied
Domecq's pub interests later this month, a Punch spokesman said last
week. The bid will top the offer launched by Whitbread PLC. The
spokesman said Punch Taverns is waiting for Allied to publish details
on the Whitbread deal before launching an official bid. Whitbread and
Allied have been treating the proposed transaction as a done deal where
Whitbread would acquire around 3,500 pubs and restaurants, Allied's 50%
stake in joint venture First Quench and its 25% stake in Britannia soft
drinks. The deal, should it go through, would nearly double the number
of pubs owned by Whitbread to more than 6,000, making it the largest
operator of pubs in the country. However, the company would have to
sell its brewery business to comply with U.K. regulations that block
brewers from owning more than 5,000 pubs.
GREENE KING BIDS TO TAKE OVER MORLAND
The future of England's Abingdon brewery was thrown into doubt in May
when Morland revealed it was close to agreeing a takeover by rival
Greene King. Discussions are back on, seven years after Morland fought
bitterly to fend off a previous approach. The deal would be to create
one of the largest pub chains in the south of England and reduce the
overcapacity in regional brewing. However, closure of Morland's 138-
year-old Old Speckled Hen brewery could mean up to 100 job cuts and
another historic brewery would be lost.
South Korea fined three breweries a total of 1.1 billion won, or
$924,400, for identical price increases. The Fair Trade Commission
levied the fines in an effort to tighten regulations after the three,
including Hite Brewery, Inc., the nation's largest, raised canned beer
prices an identical 14%, bottled beer by 8.5%, and draft beer by 13%.
The commission had advised the three to raise prices no more than 9%.
"Such price rigging goes against fair trading," said a commission
spokesman. "They increased prices by the same rates, meaning they
didn't take costs, price strategies and competition into
Impact Magazine predicts that the economies of developing countries in
Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America will lead the charge of
alcoholic beverage growth into the 21st century. The report forecasts a
21 million-liter gain in consumption in those areas by 2005. By 2000,
beer consumption in those areas will be 133.9 billion liters. Beer is
expected to lead the growth with an expected annual compound growth
rate of 2%, resulting in the overall percentage of worldwide beer
consumption, of the total alcoholic beverage consumption, nearing 78%.
CZECH SMALL BREWERS FIGHT PRAZDROJ-RADEGAST MERGER
The Czech Union of Small Independent Breweries filed a legal complaint
against Nomura Europe Plc's plan to merge the two largest brewers,
Plzensky Prazdroj AS and Pivovar Radegast AS, saying it will hurt
competition. The Czech Anti-Monopoly Office had already approved the
merger of the two brewers, both controlled by Nomura through related
companies. Union representatives say the office's ruling violated the
anti-monopoly law. The small brewers' union notes that the two
companies now control more than 40% of the Czech beer market and would
dictate prices and drive other brewers out of the market. That would
reduce the number of beer brands in a country famed for dozens of small
regional beer brewers.
NOBLE CHINA, PABST SET EXCLUSIVE DEAL IN CHINA
Noble China expects a huge revenue boost from its deal to be the
exclusive brewer and distributor of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer throughout
China from 2003 to 2033. Noble China president John Pennal predicts
demand for Blue Ribbon will grow, but said even if demand remains flat,
revenue should soar because the company previously distributed just 61%
of Pabst in China. Pennel said that Pabst has about 2.5% of the total
Chinese beer market and Blue Ribbon is the most popular foreign beer in
the country and has a "significant degree of brand loyalty."
DECLINING BEER CONSUMPTION PINCHES NEW ZEALAND'S LION NATHAN
Declining beer consumption and intense competition in the New Zealand
market took its toll on Lion Nathan's bottom line for the half year to
the end of February. Bottom line for the first half was $83 million
compared with $82.7 million for the same time last year. Total beer
consumption dropped 1.4%, with gains in premium beers such as Stella
Artois insufficient to offset the tap beer decline.
MICHAEL JACKSON HONORED AS DRINKS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Michael Jackson has been chosen Drinks Journalist of the Year in The
Glenfiddich Awards. He won the awards for his writing in The
Independent newspaper of London, and his submissions included articles
on beer and single malt Scotches and stories based on visits to sake
breweries in Japan and cachaça distilleries in Brazil. The Drinks
Journalist award is most often given to a writer on wine. The other
nominees were all wine writers. He has in previous years won
Glenfiddich Awards for best book (The Beer Companion), best television
(The Beer Hunter) and best writing on whisky (twice: for The World
Guide to Whisky; and for articles in The Independent). In 1994, he won
the overall Glenfiddich Trophy. Earlier in May, Jackson was made a
lifetime member of the Institute for Brewing Studies in the United
THE REAL BEER PAGE
The list of additions and improvements at the redesigned Real Beer Page
fills a screen. It ranges from new sections like Destinations,
Spotlight and News to improved library search results and easier
navigation. See Version 3.0 at:
FATHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE
OK, J.C. Penney sells Teflon ties, so it is possible to get Dad a
different tie for Father's Day, but think about it: Beer. Teflon tie.
Which do you think he really wants? Something new for the home bar.
Teflon tie. Think again. *Anything* beer-related. Teflon tie. So, beer
it is, and we've made it easy for you to shop for over 3,000 beer items
by price, brand, company, you name it, with some recommendation about
some hot items we think he'll really want. Check out our gift guide at:
*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
Founded originally as a brewpub in Bend, Ore., in 1988, Deschutes has
flowered into a highly respected regional brewery. This growth has been
demand-driven with quality remaining the No. 1 priority. Its brewers
make the beer they love to drink. Whether you are interested in
learning how the brewery makes the nation's top-selling porter, about
food at the Public House or the latest seasonal (Paulina Pils) slake
your thirst at:
SIOUX FALLS BREWING CO.
Prohibition came early to South Dakota, forcing the original Sioux
Falls brewery to close in 1917, nearly two years before the Volstead
Act was passed. Nearly 80 years later, Sioux Falls Brewing Co. revived
a rich tradition of brewing. The brewery is located in a restored 1899
warehouse and decorated with pictures and artifacts that reflect Sioux
Falls brewing history. Learn more about the brewery, the restaurant and
the fine beers (like Ringneck Red) at:
KClingers is a little different -- with a chainsaw over the fireplace,
an Elvis Happy Hour on Thursdays and national blues acts like Big Jack
Johnson on Wednesday Blues Nite -- some of the time and a lot different
when it comes to beer. The Hanover, Pa., tavern offers 38 beers on tap,
2 on handpump and 375 craft and imported beers to choose from. There's
Five Guys Brewing used to shop at Homebrew Adventures, now they own it.
They already made several changes in the site to make shopping for beer
and wine making supplies and equipment fun. They know exactly "Where
the brewing adventure begins..."
Looking for items to decorate your home pub? For a Buzzard & Cactus tap
handle? How about imported pubware? Blenders, stainless steel shakers,
creative glassware or ice buckets? Then head for the home of cool
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 Denny Gibson, who wrote, "Not long ago
I might have said Germany (Beck's) but the recent availability of
Caffrey's, combined with Harp's, Bass, and Newcastle, makes the UK most
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Last month we asked which country you are most likely to drink an
imported beer from. More listed the United Kingdom than any other, but
preferences were across the board. The U.K. received 33% of the votes,
Germany 20% and Belgium 18%.
*********** Brewed Fresh For You! **************
The Real Beer Page offers a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
A-B OPPOSES SALE OF BUDVAR IN MARYLAND
The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to get involved in a
decades-old trademark dispute between Anheuser-Busch Cos. and a Czech
rival over rights to the name "Budweiser." The commission said it would
investigate a complaint filed by A-B over the sale of the Czech beer in
the U.S. The Czech beer, called Budweiser Budvar, is being imported and
sold in Maryland. This might be the first time that the Czech beer has
been sold in this country. A spokeswoman for A-B said she knew of no
other place in the country where Budweiser Budvar was for sale. A-B and
the Czech brewer have gone to court around the world to fight over who
gets to use the name Budweiser and derivations of it.
STROH TO CLOSE LA CROSSE PLANT BY END OF JULY
More than 500 employees of Stroh Brewery Co. expect to be out of work
by the end of July as the company shuts its La Crosse brewery. Detroit-
based Stroh has given notices to employees that the plant would close
in about 60 days. "It is our expectation that the plant will close on
July 30th," company spokeswoman Lacey Logan said. "This is a very sad
day for the Stroh Brewery Co." Stroh bought the G. Heileman Brewing Co.
plant in 1996. It announced Feb. 8 it was leaving the beer business,
selling its brands to Miller Brewing Co. and Pabst Brewing Co. and
selling its Lehigh Valley, Pa., brewery to Pabst. Stroh said its five
other breweries, including the La Crosse plant, would close if buyers
could not be found.
Portland Brewing Co.'s Zig Zag Lager captured a gold medal Eurobiere
'99, a beer exposition held in Strasbourg, France last month. "The
Europeans went crazy for our beers, especially Zig Zag," says Marc
Michelle, Portland Brewing's Export Manager. "This award has definitely
opened some doors for us. We sold more than 1,400 cases to one retailer
at the show, and there's demand for more."
Impact Magazine recently listed that six brands in The Gambrinus
Company lineup were named "Hot Brands" for 1998. The entire portfolio
of Grupo Modelo's beers achieved "Hot Brand" status including Corona
Extra, Corona Light, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial and Pacifico. In
addition, Shiner Bock from the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, owned
by Gambrinus, also was so honored.
Montgomery County has a new "fresh beer" law. Because Montgomery County
is the only municipality in the U.S. in which brewers are required to
distribute their products through a county-owned and operated
distributorship, retailers weren't able to replace old beer with fresh
beer on a timely basis. The new law allows beer distributors to replace
beer that isn't fresh, and was praised by Anheuser-Busch, which has
emphasizes freshness in its advertising. "I think it's nice, but I
don't think it will affect craft brewing in Maryland," said Jamie
Fineran, chairman of the Brewers Association of Maryland.
OREGON WOMAN WINS GUINNESS PUB CONTEST
A Portland-area woman won an Irish pub in the Guinness Win Your Own Pub
in Ireland contest. It is the second time in six years that a woman
from Oregon has triumphed in the contest. Erika Lee, a 27-year-old
Administrative Manager from Tigard, Ore., won the J. O'Sullivan pub,
named in honor of retiring Guinness veteran John O'Sullivan and valued
at some $440,000. Lee was one of ten finalists selected from thousands
of entries on the basis of completing an essay in fifty words or less,
"The Perfect Pint of Guinness is..."
Rogue Ales has opened a new style B&B above Rogue Ales Public House on
Newport's historic Bayfront. This B&B, Bed & Beer, features two
furnished and fully equipped apartments with a 6-pack of Rogue in the
refrigerator and two complimentary pint glasses. The apartments face
the Bayfront, home of the largest fishing fleet in Oregon and a
thriving tourism industry. Both have a view of the magnificent Works
Progress Administration-era (circa 1936) bridge over the Yaquina Bay
depicted on the Oregon Golden Ale label. The Rogue Ales Public House is
only a staircase away.
SAN DIEGO REAL ALE FESTIVAL DRAWS 1,000
Real Ale is alive and well in Southern California. The 2nd Annual San
Diego Real Ale Festival drew more than 1,000 consumers during two days.
With the Real Ale festival in Chicago taking 1999 off, this was the
largest real ale gathering in the United States this year. The festival
featured 41 different firkins and beer from four states - California,
Arizona, Oregon and Hawaii. "The event exceeded all of our expectations
...," said organizers Tomme Arthur and Tom Nickel. "We were forced to
close early Saturday night after the awards ceremony as only six
gallons of Real Ale remained. Truly, this weekend showed us that Real
Ale is alive in this country." The San Diego Strong Ale Festival is
scheduled for Dec. 3-5 at Pizza Port Carlsbad.
CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY MOURNS LOSS
Members of the craft brewing industry were shocked by the recent death
of Steve Perry, an administrative assistant to the Institute of Brewing
Studies in Boulder, Colo. On May 20, the same day of the arrival of his
first child, Caroline Ann, Perry was admitted to Boulder Community
Hospital for complications believed to be caused by Wilson's disease, a
hereditary disease that does not allow the body to process copper,
resulting in an acute liver ailment requiring a liver transplant. A
helicopter flew him to a Denver hospital on Saturday in an attempt to
get a transplant - but he did not live long enough. Cause of death was
a heart attack brought on by acute liver failure.
EDITORIAL: WHAT'S BEHIND THE REAL BEER PAGE 3.0
At Real Beer, Inc. we like so say, "It takes a lot of Real Beer to make
great websites!" You can rest assured that plenty of real beer was
poured into Version 3.0 of The Real Beer Page, which we launched this
last weekend. If you haven't clicked onto http://realbeer.com we
suggest you do so now.
It looks different and it is different.
We listened to you. Those of you who have answered our Quickie Email
Surveys over the last year helped us learn what you want most.
Connection speeds, graphical interfaces, monitor preferences and many
more factors were considered in the new design.
We studied our statistics. We retained the features that our readers
proved they love and visit often enough to make Real Beer the No. 1
portal for beer.
We innovated. We also added many new features. You must stop by to see
all the changes, but among them are new City Guides, a News section, a
monthly Spotlight and improved searches for stories, news and events.
We've just begun to make additions; there will be more in coming
When Real Beer began five years ago the Internet was much different.
Most of you connected through much slower modems. We designed our pages
with that in mind. Now, technology allows us to provide more bells and
whistles and, we believe, a more enjoyable experience. As technology
marches forward you can be certain that Real Beer will keep pace. Fact
is, we've been in deep redesign since August of last year and have
invested thousands of hours into the effort. We hope you like where
It feels the same and there are similarities.
Always present on our site will be that welcoming, smiling beer guy.
You know the one: the Real Beer 50s guy you see where ever you find
good beer information on the 'net. The model's name in real-life is
John "Ace" Baldwin, and he's nearing his octogenarian years with the
same love for life you see spread across our pages. And that's the feel
we remained committed to retaining. Ace is our spiritual guide over
here at Real Beer and represents our approach to business:
Professional, but with a wild spirit in our eyes and a beer raised
high; Always congenial; Trust-worthy; Social; Friendly. We hope you
find the site the same.
Our goal in the redesign was to add new features and make the old ones
easier to find and use. Unfortunately, that means some things are not
where you used to find them. Don't worry, we've added help areas and
will be reviewing reader feedback and improving directions all the
time. No matter where you are in the site, you'll find information
about how to contact us on every page.
Real Beer has always been a work in progress. Yes, the new look is
dramatically different and we think much improved, but in reality the
Real Beer Page has changed a little bit almost every day during the
last five years. Stop back again tomorrow. Let us know what you think.