RBPMail 5.11, November 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.
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BREWORLD JOINS REAL BEER NETWORK
BreWorld, the leading online beer publisher in Europe, has joined with
Real Beer, Inc. The result will make beer information more easily
accessible for interested readers around the world. Look for an
enhanced and personalized beer experience, easier searches for
everything from events to brewery locations, more news and stories of
special interest, plenty of additional fun features and just about
anything else you could want to know about beer.
SOUTH AFRICAN BREWERIES ACQUIRE TWO CZECH GIANTS
South African Breweries won the bidding battle to acquire Pilsner
Urquell and Radegast, the Czech Republic's leading two breweries. SAB
will initially buy a 51% interest in a joint venture with Nomura
International for $321 million. Following completion of the acquisition
of Radegast by Pilsner Urquell, the joint venture will own 96% the
combined business. SAB will buy the remaining holdings in the companies
by June 2001 for a further $308 million. Pilsner Urquell, with its long
history and premium status, is considered a brand with tremendous
international marketing potential.
EU RAIDS TWO MORE BREWERS, HINTS CARTEL AT WORK
The European Commission has widened its antitrust investigation of the
Belgian brewing industry, suggesting it is controlled by a cartel. EU
investigators raided the offices of the Alken Maes brewery and the
Confederation of Belgian Brewers last month, said EU spokesman Michael
Tscherny. In July, investigators searched the offices of Belgium's
largest brewer, Interbrew. "This is a spin off from the Interbrew affair
... we stumbled across things that suggest (the three) could be
operating a cartel," Tscherny said. He said the Commission suspected
brewers were guilty of price fixing and carving up the beer distribution
market in Belgium.
CRAFT BEER SOLD ONLINE IN TORONTO AREA
Brick Brewing Co. has made its line of craft beers available online in
the Toronto area through Grocery Gateway at grocerygateway.com.
"Grocery Gateway customers can log on to the company's Web site ... and
purchase Brick products along with their grocery order that will be
delivered to their homes the next day," Brick wrote in a press release.
Customers must place a minimum $45 grocery order and be of legal
drinking age. Identification is requested on delivery.
CORONA'S MODELO TO SPEND $750 MILLION TO BOOST CAPACITY
Grupo Modelo, Mexico's largest brewer, plans to spend $750 million over
five years to boost beer capacity to meet growing demand at home and
abroad. The money will come from cash flow and would increase the
brewer's capacity about 50% from 39.5 million hectoliters to 60 million.
NEW LABEL WARNING PROPOSED DOWN UNDER
The Australian and New Zealand Food Authority has proposed new warning
labels for alcoholic beverages. The authority is considering an
application calling for alcohol labeling to read: "This product contains
alcohol. Alcohol is a dangerous drug." Anti-alcohol groups such as The
Society Without Alcoholic Trauma and the Australian Medical Association
have lobbied for the new labels.
BIG RIVER BREWERIES BUYS GORDON BIERSCH
Big River Breweries Inc. of Chattanooga, Tenn., has purchased all 12
Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. brewery restaurants. Gordon Biersch will
continue to own and operate its large-scale brewery and bottling
facility in San Jose, Calif., where it brews and distributes German-
style lager beer. The 12 brewery restaurants will continue to operate
under the Gordon Biersch name and serve the brand's beer. Big River,
which already operates nine brewpubs throughout the Southeast, plans to
open as many as eight new Gordon Biersch restaurants, including one in
REAL BEER MAKES TWO KEY STAFF ADDITIONS
Stephen Mallery, former publisher of BrewingTechniques along with Linda
Starck, formerly heading sales for the leading industry association,
have joined Real Beer, Inc. Stephen will be responsible for the duties
of publishing, including reach, distribution, content integrity and
more. Linda will be focusing on industry suppliers for advertising
placements. We welcome both to our team.
REAL BEER SPOTLIGHT: FOCUS ON ENGLAND
More than 20 years ago, Michael Jackson wrote: "British beer is an
acquired taste, but so are oysters, steak tartar, or marron glace.
Before British beer can be enjoyed, experience is required, but the same
could be said for sex. In both cases, mistakes are inevitably made, but
the triumphs make the disasters worthwhile." This month, take a look at
the country and the beers at:
BEST OF THE SEASON
Those independent thinkers at Boston Beer Co. and the Sundance Film
Festival are part of a promotion that will send a lucky winner and
friends to Sundance this year. As well as offering a chance to win, the
website will soon allow visitors a chance to create their own digital
movies and have them viewed and judged by those who visit the Sam Adams
Online Independent Film Festival.
MID-ATLANTIC BREWERS GABF SCRAPBOOK
The fun-loving brewers from the Mid-Atlantic certainly had a good time
at the Great American Beer Festival. When they weren't busy handing out
those "Virginia is for Beer Lovers" buttons, they mugged for the camera.
A collection of those photos is available at the Mid-Atlantic
Association of Craft Brewers website:
And if you'll be in the area on December 8th in the evening, make sure
you head by the association's local tasting of "12 beers of Christmas."
More information is online at:
BEER DAVE VISITS 1,000TH BREWERY
On Oct. 10, Dave Gausepohl -- known to many simply as "Beer Dave" --
visited his 1,000th brewery in the United States when he sampled the
brews at Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder, Colo. When Dave started his
tours in the late 1970s the number of breweries in the nation was
shrinking and would fall to 80 in 1983. Since then more than 1,000 new
ones have opened and Dave's done his best to visit every one of them.
SLEEMAN BREWERIES LTD.
The Sleeman family has been brewing beer in Canada since 1834, the year
John H. Sleeman, arrived in Ontario from Cornwall, England. The brewery
still uses the book he wrote in making its beer. The site is rich with
history about Sleeman and about brewing in Canada, but also has plenty
of current information about Sleeman's popular craft products. Stop by
and hear what John Sleeman has to say:
ROCK BOTTOM RESTAURANTS
You may know the members of this restaurant and brewery clan by any of
many names -- Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, ChopHouse & Brewery, Old
Chicago or Walnut Brewery. As well as casual dining, each offers fresh
microbrewed and specialty beers, often made on site. Although the family
was born in Colorado, it has grown into a national group. Find a
THREE FLOYDS BREWING CO.
The unique beers from the "Hammond squares" fermenters in this small
brewery in Hammond, Ind., have lived up to the company's slogan, "It's
not normal" since the first day they went on the market. The beer is as
distinctive as the labels at the website. The taste? Consider this quote
from brewmaster Nick Floyd: "I love the smell of hops in the morning. It
smells like victory."
CELTIC MALTS/WHISKIES OF THE WORLD EXPO 2000
The West Coast's largest premium distilled spirits show open to the
public promises to pack more into the evening of March 22, 2000, than
one person can see. A visit to the website is a must for those who don't
want to miss the internationally known speakers they want to hear, spend
time in the Connoisseur Room of limited editions and rare bottlings, see
the cask building demonstration or enjoy the rest of the events. Learn
more now -- by visiting areas such as the regularly updated Whisky on
the Edge page -- at:
Get a taste of the great outdoors with Moosehead beer. Feel free to
laugh at the Top Ten list or enter the contests. You'll never have to
venture far to find a smile. Virtually every page has a whimsical
sidebar, perhaps offering a tip for "outdoor self defense" or how to
"keep things lively" when enjoying the great outdoors. Answer the "Call
of the Wild" by heading to:
A-BEST KITCHEN AND BAR SUPPLIES
A-Best ships a wide range of restaurant, bar, beer and other supplies to
both restaurants and homes everywhere. Of particular interest to beer
enthusiasts are items such as a portable beer dispenser and high quality
brewing pots, but this is also a place to find bar supplies and even bar
foot rails. Pull up a stool (if you don't already have one, you can buy
it here) at:
***************NEWS AT REAL BEER******************
BEER WRITERS HONOR REAL BEER EDITORIALS
Excuse us if we seem immodest, but last month the North American Guild
of Beer Writers honored Real Beer and many of the writers whose work
appears in our network when it handed out the 1999 Quill and Tankard
Awards. Stan Hieronymus and Mark Silva won first for editorials that
appeared here in RBPMail. Stan, Real Beer's editor, captured two other
golds and was chosen 1999 Beer Writer of the Year.
Daria Labinsky (www.beertravelers.com) and Alan Moen (whose work is
featured in Real Beer's Authors area) were among those who shared 1st
Runner-Up for Beer Writer of the Year and Gregg Smith (Authors) was a
2nd Runner-Up. Gregg also won gold for his book, "Beer in America."
Also honored were Michael Jackson (www.beerhunter.com) with a gold in
Columns, and Authors Lisa Variano and Kurt Epps. Partner publications
BrewingTechniques, BrewPub, Brew Your Own and Celebrator Beer News all
published award winning stories. We toast all the winning writers and
publications because they are at the fore in spreading the word about
specialty beer. For the complete list of winners and to learn more about
the North American Guild of Beer Writers, go to:
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR BREWING CLIENTS
Forward thinking and artisinal integrity have been honored for years at
the Great American Beer Festival -- which is one of the reasons we
stepped up as the official online sponsor of the 1999 GABF. It's a
privilege to be associated with winners, and we're proud that winning
breweries make their internet connections with Real Beer. We offer
congratulations to these medal winners from our online family of
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 Tim Ahaus. He wrote: "Hey, it's New Years
Eve, of the 2000 Millennium ... as much as I hate to say it because
frankly, champagne sucks ... I've gotta celebrate it with a toast of the
old bubbly. But, I've got 6 bottles of Hair of the Dog Adam and 6
bottles of Golden Rose that have been sitting for about 2 years now that
will have to be un-topped and used to it's fullest ... gotta let the
beer breathe too ya know????"
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
We asked: How does beer fit into your plans to celebrate the arrival of
the year 2000? What will you be drinking on New Year's Eve? While a
majority of those who answered indicated that champagne will be part of
their celebration, beer did even better. Fifty-two percent plan to drink
both beer and champagne on Dec. 31 and another 38% beer only.
**********REAL BEER ONLINE POLL***************
IF YOU CAN'T TRUST YOUR FRIENDS, WHY DRINK BEER?
Special prices, advertising and awards won may look good, but visitors
to the Real Beer Page poll area say they rely first on friends when
deciding to try a new beer. A resounding 40% indicated they count on
recommendations from friends when trying a new beer, while 12% look to
expert picks first. This month you can vote for your favorite food to
have with beer. Head to the Poll area, Spotlight or in any of our City
Guides. Here's a shortcut:
*********** Brewed Fresh For
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
DIVER SAMPLES 105-YEAR-OLD BEER
A diver who recovered a 105-year-old bottle of beer from a shipwreck
didn't realize it might be worth £1,000 before he went ahead and drank
it. Jim Phillips said that the beer, rescued from the wreck of the Loch
Shiel off the Welsh coast, was the most expensive pint he had drunk. The
ship sank on its way from Glasgow to Adelaide in 1894 when it hit rocks
off Thorn Island, Pembrokeshire. Phillips and fellow divers found eight
pint bottles. When they surfaced, the cork in one bottle popped and
Phillips gave it a taste. "The first thing I noticed was the very strong
smell of hops. It certainly didn't put me off, so I took a swig," he
said. "We later had the find valued at £1,000 a bottle, so that was
certainly the most expensive pint I have had. It had popped its cork
anyway so I couldn't see the point in wasting it. We still have seven
bottles to auction."
STAGNANT US BEER INDUSTRY SEES THE LIGHT
Beer sales in the United States are expected to rise 2% this year, due
mainly to light styles. Light beers, including imports such as Corona,
have driven the growth. Light beers accounted for 38% of the US market
at the end of 1998, up from 35.7% in 1997. Four of the year's top six
beers were light styles. Analysts predict that foreign beers will
represent at least 12% of the US market by 2002.
A-B REVELS IN BOOMING TEQUIZA SALES
Anheuser-Busch celebrated Tequiza's first nine months on the market by
announcing the beer is its most successful non-brand extension
introduction ever and that it has exceeded all expectations. Although A-
B would not say what specific targets Tequiza had bettered, it said
Information Resources Inc., which tracks supermarket sales, recently
ranked Tequiza as one of the top four best-selling high-end beers in
supermarkets in the time it's been available nationally. IRI also said
Tequiza is in the top 30 list of best-selling beers in supermarkets,
surpassing brands such as Samuel Adams. Industry analysts pointed out
that while this indicates that A-B has made roads into the popular
Mexican- and Mexican-related beer market that the industry has witnessed
other new products do well in their first year, including dry beers,
only to go flat after that.
COMPANY WILL MIX BIOTECH RESEARCH, BEER
When beer aficionados talk about pairing beer and food they don't
include animal feed, but a Kentucky biotechnology firm plans to make
just that sort of pairing. No, not to mix the two in production or serve
the two at beer dinners -- but to brew beer and do biotech research in
the same building. Alltech Inc., a Nicholasville firm, bought Lexington
Brewing Co.'s equipment and lease on its building on the west edge of
downtown Lexington. "We needed a place where we could put fermenters.
They have a fermenter," T. Pearse Lyons said. "It's a good fit." Alltech
needed another lab in which to research diets that reduce waste from
hogs and dairy cows, Lyons said. Lexington Brewing Co. will no longer
brew beer but plans to continue selling its Limestone Ale and Kentucky
Hemp Ale brands. It will have them made by an out-of-state brewer. Lyons
has a brewing degree from a school in England and plans to develop his
own line of beer, which will be produced at the former Lexington Brewing
AIRLINE GIVES PASSENGERS TASTE OF PORTLAND BREWING BEERS
Travelers who missed the free beer on Horizon Air flights in September
will get another chance to sample Portland Brewing beers this month and
in and December. "When we announce that we're serving free beer, and
then tell them it's craft beer, they start talking amongst themselves,"
said Brenda Ellering, Horizon Air's Purchasing Assistant. "It's very
well received, and as far as I know, we're the only airline offering
this kind of service." Horizon Air, which serves the Western U.S.,
Canada and Mexico, is offering Icicle Creek free of charge this month
and its new winter seasonal, BobbyDazzler, in December.
LARRY BELL CROWNED 'ALPHA KING'
In one of many entertaining sideshows at this year's GABF in Denver,
Larry Bell of Kalamazoo Brewing Company, Kalamazoo, Mich., won the Alpha
King Challenge. The competition set out to find the best hoppy brew in
the United States to match (or better) Alpha King Ale from Three Floyds
Brewing in Hammond, Ind. - which checks in at 60.2 International
Bittering Unites (IBU). Bell's Two-Hearted Ale was the hands-down
favorite of the judging panel, which included Ralph Olson of HopUnion
USA; Dave Suurballe of the Toronado, San Francisco; Northwest Beer
Notes' editor Alan Moen; Bill Klinger of KClinger's Tavern, Hanover,
Pa.; and Nick Floyd of the Three Floyds (the Alpha King Ale was tasted,
but not officially judged in the event). Second place went to Rogue's
Shakespeare Stout, and taking third was Midnight Sun's Sockeye Red Ale.
OPENING BID ON BOTTLE OF SAM ADAMS MILLENNIUM: $1,000
The Boston Beer Co. will auction the first bottle of Sam Adams
Millennium, the strongest commercially brewed beer in the world, on Nov.
15 at www.yahoo.com. The starting bid for the bottle, which comes in a
cherry wood case, was set at $1,000. The brewery debuted the beer at the
Great American Beer Festival. After the auction, Boston Beer will offer
just 3,000 750 ml bottles, each numbered and signed by company founder
Jim Koch, for sale at about $200 apiece.
THE SECRET INGREDIENTS? HOPS AND MALT
Speaking of auctions, here is part of the lengthy description of an item
that sold in www.ebay.com last month for $9.99: "Would you like an all
natural, botanical complex derived from precisely cultivated and chosen
cereals, grains, and plants and produced under the most stringent
manufacturing procedures, that will give you a bigger bustline? There
are no chemicals, artificial ingredients or hormones. THESE ARE THE
INGREDIENTS: Barley Bran, Hops, L-Ornithine Hydrochloride, Barley Malt,
Rye Flour, Dicalcium Phosphate, Microcrystaline Cellulose, Magnesium
Stearate, Stearic Acid, Silica." Based upon the ingredients,
particularly the barley malt and hops, we expect it works as well for
those seeking a larger beer belly as those whom want a bigger bustline.
HEINEKEN'S 'SAFE CALL'
Heineken USA recently launched a new responsible consumption program
titled Safe Call. It is intended to aid bar and restaurant staff in
dealing with customers who have had too much to drink. The program will
offer pre-paid 5-minute phone cards to restaurant staff to allow them to
call a cab for patrons who are too drunk to drive. The program kicked
off in four US markets this fall and will spread across the nation in
the first quarter of 2000. Those who use the service will hear a pre-
recorded message thanking them for "doing the responsible thing" and not
driving while intoxicated.
BROOKLYN BREWERY HOSTS POETRY OLYMPIAD
The second Poetry Olympiad at New York's Brooklyn Brewery is set for
Nov. 13. The Poetry Olympiad is a "game show/athletic competition"
parody meant to foster an appreciation of poetry. Five New York metro-
area university writing programs will compete for the coveted Silver
Barrel in events such as Dead Poet's Slam, Instant Haiku and the Bad
Sonnet Contest. Admission is free. During the event, the Art of Fine
Beer Contest 2 will be held and four winners will be awarded $500 for
the best poem or artwork on the back of a Brooklyn Brewery bar coaster.
TOAST THE NEW YEAR WITH BETTER BEER
Association of Brewers founder Charlie Papazian recently posed an
interesting question in the Institute of Brewing Studies' Brewers Forum:
"Who is in charge of informing the public that American craft and
specialty beers will be in short supply for the New Year's Eve
celebrations? People better stock up with specialty beers and perhaps
think of getting the most expensive beers they can afford. I think that
with specialty American craft beers only commanding 3% of the market and
about 98% of the beer drinking public wanting to have something special
there will be a shortage. Perhaps it's worth recommending that Americans
make sure they have an adequate supply of those special beers and
uppriced ales and lagers that will make their segue into the millennium
all the more memorable."
What a wonderful thought. A full 90% of those who answered the Real Beer
monthly email poll in October indicated they plan to make beer part of
their New Year's Eve celebration (see above), but they are going to need
a lot of help if we are actually going to see a run on (fill in the
blank with the name of your favorite specialty beer).
You have to do your part. If you plan to dine out or attend one of those
extravagant parties in a hotel or restaurant, make sure in advance that
specialty beers will be available. If you plan to celebrate quietly at
home or host a party then start planning the beer menu now. And if you
will be partying in a friend's home now is a good time to offer to bring
a few special beers, and suggest that others do the same.
You don't have to wait until Dec. 31. When you get together with friends
and family for Thanksgiving, you can take a poll about the best beers
with which to celebrate the holidays. Start the discussion then about
better beer and you'll have even more opportunities to enjoy it before
the millennium arrives.
Everybody who sells craft beer -- from breweries to wholesalers to
brewpubs to retail storeowners to bartenders -- must contribute. They
may choose to be as bold as Boston Beer Co., where founder Jim Koch says
he challenged brewers several years ago to come up with something
special for the millennium. The result, called Millennium, is the
strongest commercially brewed beer ever and 3,000 hand-signed bottles
will sell for about $200 each.
They may decide to do something a little fun. Brewer Richard Stueven --
who you may know better as "gak" of beerismylife.com -- began earlier
this year setting back special beers at Egan Brewing in DePere, Wis. He
will release the five beers throughout December, noting, "If you can
survive these five beers, you're ready for the next thousand years ..."
Most important they must recognize, as Papazian points out, that
consumers will be looking for something special. Importers certainly
understand that. Special 3-liter bottles for Duvel and Paulaner Salvator
were announced long ago and Merchant du Vin has been promoting Lindemans
lambics as an alternative to champagne.
Gerd Borges, owner and brewmaster of Franz Joseph Sailer brewery, came
up with two different packages for his Rauchenfels Steinbier. The
History line of the German brewery's unique steinbier has labels that
depict major events during the last 1,000 years. It comes in a space
helmet beer cooler. A special millennium package features a 2-liter
white stein inscribed with the words "America's Millennium 1000 A.D. -
2000 A.D." as well as a montage with scenes from U.S. history.
Rauchenfels Steinbier doesn't come cheap, and don't expect to see the
bottles marked down in January. "Our plan is to sell the product for the
whole year," said Charlotte Rowell of Noble Union Trading, which imports
the beer. "This is an opportunity to get people to try something new."
The arrival of a new millennium (whether you think it will actually
happen this Dec. 31 or next) is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It gives all
of us interested in specialty beer an opportunity to make sure drinking
it is a little more commonplace.