RBPMail 6.01, January 2000

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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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

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Despite company protests to the contrary, the London Telegraph continues to report that Belgian brewing company Interbrew is considering going public. The company reportedly has held talks with a number of investment banks in London -- including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Merrill Lynch -- to discuss an initial public offering. It is considering a limited issue of shares to the public to raise about $1bn in cash to help fund its strategy of growth by acquisition. The IPO would value the business at $8bn to $10bn.

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British beer drinkers face high prices for draft beer in the new year. Customs and Excise told brewers that the tax regime for beer casks would change in a way that adds about 1% to the cost of a pint. Bottled, canned and keg beer is not affected. Independent brewers protested that this "stealth tax" was "sneaked through" by the government. The measure was to go into effect New Year's Day but after protests, the ministers have agreed to a delay. Under the new plans, tax will be payable on the entire contents of beer casks while before brewers paid duty on the notional contents. Traditionally they have overfilled casks in order to take account of spillage and to comply with weights and measures laws. Anthony Fuller, chairman of the Independent Brewers of Britain, said the move was a "stealth tax which will hit hardest, the smaller brewer, the community pub and the drinkers of traditional draft beer".

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Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar has won the latest round of its ongoing battle with U.S.-based Anheuser-Busch. Budvar announced that courts in Latvia and Lithuania had thrown out cases brought by A-B attempting to stop Budvar's use of the "Budweiser" trademark in the two countries. The rulings will allow the Czech government-owned beer maker to continue to sell its beer in Latvia and Lithuania under the trademark. The two breweries have fought a decades-old trademark battle over rights to use the term "Budweis." It is the German name for the south Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice, where Budejovicky Budvar is based. On the other hand, A-B began producing its Budweiser before Budvar was brewing. A-B has had mixed success in pursuing its trademark claim in courts around the world. A recent decision in Britain allows both companies to use the name, while the Swiss have banned Anheuser-Busch from selling beer under the "Budweiser" name.

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Heineken must cut its production in Spain by at least 17% as part of the conditions for its takeover of Spain's Grupo Cruzcampo. "The conditions set by the Spanish authorities are tough but we are happy with the approval," said Albert Holtzappel, a spokesman for the Dutch brewery. Spanish authorities reportedly were concerned that with the purchase of Cruzcampo, Heineken's position in certain parts of Spain would be too dominant. With the takeover of Cruzcampo, Heineken plans to merge its operations with its other Spanish subsidiary, El Aguila. Heineken and the merged group, Cruzcampo and El Aguila, will be market leaders in each segment of the Spanish beer market despite the cuts.

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Danish brewer Carlsberg denies reports it has begun talks with Scottish & Newcastle of Scotland about a strategic alliance. The London Telegraph reported executives from both companies met within the past five weeks to explore a number of issues including joint venture distribution and marketing initiatives in overseas markets. Carlsberg does acknowledge, however, that there will be further consolidation in the British market. "We all know that the four big brewers can't continue to operate as they are doing now, and we want to be one of two - perhaps three - brewers in the U.K., after a consolidation," said Flemming Lindeloev, the company's chief executive. The brewery's Carlsberg and Tetley brands have a 13% to 14% share of the U.K. market. The other major players are Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, Whitbread and Bass.

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City Brewing Co. of La Crosse, Wis., has reached an agreement to acquire virtually all the assets of Genesee Brewing Co. Genesee Corp. did not reveal the amount for which it sold the brewing operation. City Brewing, a closely held firm that is part of the New York investment company Platinum Holdings, will take ownership of all the Genesee brands and operating assets, including the 3.3-million-barrel brewery in Rochester, NY. City Brewing will continue to produce the Genesee and HighFalls brands at the Rochester plant. It expects the brewery will continue contract brewing for Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams beers.

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A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional an Indiana law prohibiting residents from buying alcoholic beverages from out-of-state sellers and having them shipped to their homes. The law also applies to ordering and selling alcohol via the Internet. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp in South Bend, Ind., declared that the 1998 law interferes with interstate commerce. "This court now, and has always been, greatly reluctant to wield the federal Constitution against state legislation," Sharp said. "But here, the result is inescapable because these statutes on their face discriminate against out-of-state commerce." Similar laws are in place in 18 other states, but the Indiana law was the first to be challenged, said Robert Epstein, attorney for the plaintiffs.

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A three-week occupation of a Molson Inc. brewery in Barrie, Ontario, ended in mid-December after the 300 unionized workers approved a tentative agreement, company and union officials said. Molson spokesman John Paul Macdonald said production was expected to fully restart in about two weeks. Canadian Auto Workers union spokesman Hemi Mitic said an agreement offered preferred hiring for 70 Barrie employees at an another Molson plant in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as a lower retirement age and better severance package. The occupation and a boycott of Molson products were launched Nov. 21 after Molson announced the closure of the Barrie plant. Nearly 30 brewery workers took over the plant and others protested outside.

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The Boston Beer Company can call its Samuel Adams brand the "Best Beer in America," but cannot prevent competitors from making the same claim, a federal appeals court ruled in December. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's 1998 rejection of Boston Beer's application to register the "Best Beer in America" as a trademark. Samuel Adams beers were widely promoted as the "Best Beer in America" after winning that title in consumer polling at the Great American Beer Festival in the 1980s. (BEERWeek TM, Week of Dec 13-20, 1999)

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Small brewers contribute more than $11 billion annually to the U.S. economy, according to a study released by the Beer Institute. The small brewer segment, along with wholesalers and retail partners, directly and indirectly employ approximately 70,000 Americans who earn nearly $5 billion in wages and benefits. "Diverse interests, such as agriculture, transportation, packaging and advertising, also benefit from the strength of the brewing industry," said Institute president Jeff Becker. The small brewers segment directly and indirectly accounts for approximately $750 million in tax collections at federal, state and local levels, according to the Institute.

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The Institute of Brewing Studies and brewers guilds across the nation have selected July 2000 for the first American Beer Month. American Beer Month is a national promotional campaign designed to raise awareness of the variety and quality of American craft beers. American Beer Month will provide many different avenues for celebration and promotion. State brewers' guilds will organize beer festivals and beer dinners. Individual brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional breweries will organize their own events, inviting other restaurants and breweries to partner with them, or will highlight their own examples of American brewing and American beer cuisine. The IBS hopes that companies in the business of selling beer, such as wholesalers, taverns and beer retailers will participate. All events will be united under the American Beer Month umbrella.

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****WEB WATCH****

The renovated Beer Notes site archives three great brewspapers in one spot. Beer Notes provides coverage of the Midwest, Rocky Mountains and Northwest regions, offering features, news, brewery information and more. The redesigned website makes navigation easy, whether you want to focus on one region or surf through all three. The site also features breaking news stories and photos that capture the spirit of craft brewing. Reading three publications at one time has never been this easy, so head to the front page at:

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Maureen and Bernie Kilkelly dedicate to the pursuit of great beer, fine wine and good fun (what the Irish call 'craic') around the world. They've found that there is nothing like heading to the source to experience great beer and wine and their stories share these experiences. Any beer traveler should check them out before hitting the round, particularly those bound for the East Coast.

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A beer almost always tastes better in the company of friends, be it in a brewpub, a bar or at a beer festival. Real Beer and combine to offer a way to hook up with friends over a beer. Whenever you use the City Guides or do a Brew Tour or Events search you'll see the Evite logo with the result. Just click on the symbol and you'll be launched to one of the simplest and most robust tools on the 'net: an Evite with all your beer information already filled in for you. Invitations have never been so easy. Check it out at:

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Stephen Beaumont offers his own view of the 1999 Year in Beer. We'd almost forgotten that fast-moving urban legend about a Japanese beer called Suiso that was inoculated with hydrogen. The story went that the flammable gas could be lit when expelled by the drinker via a burp, allowing karaoke singers to belch blue flames across the bar. That one wasn't true, but Beaumont reminds of those that were, and of course adds his own opinions about them at:

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

Denver has become such a beer Mecca that it is hard to believe that Wynkoop Brewing, Colorado's oldest brewpub, opened less than a dozen years ago. Founders John Hickenlooper and Russell Scherer had plenty of work to do in the early days. "People forget you had to explain beer styles 50 times a night," said Hickenlooper. "It was like being the first one on the Santa Fe Trail ... a lot of boulders to move." Wynkoop, housed in the beautiful J. S. Brown Mercantile Building, grew into what was until recently the biggest producing brewpub in the country. Its influence can been seen in brewpubs from coast to coast, but there's still nothing like the original at:

The Michigan-based Stoney Creek combines a hip, beautiful website with good old-fashioned beer. The highly acclaimed beer was one of five beers and seven single malts served during the "Old Cask, Old Scotch" malt dinner at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology hosted by Michael Jackson ( While speaking about "Original" Vanilla Porter, Jackson said: "A remarkable beer... reminds me of a very, very smooth stout. It has a nice dry flavor with a smooth liquorice and rooty dry finish." Check out the rest of the Stoney Creek family at:

The original brewery (then known as the Pike Place Brewery) - created in 1989 in a narrow 2,000 square foot storefront - grew, moved and added a pub but still adheres to time-tested brewing traditions. The pub and website mix old (such as the pub's friendly museum) and new (the site's 360-degree moving videos) at:

Now in its fifth generation of family management, Samuel Smith's Old Brewery at Tadcaster epitomizes traditional brewing. Founded in 1758, it is Yorkshire's oldest brewery and is among the last anywhere to use the classic Yorkshire Square system of fermentation. The yeast at The Old Brewery has not been altered since the turn of the century. The brewery's wide range of beers has been particularly influential as U.S. beer drinkers rediscovered flavorful beer.

Merchant du Vin introduced Lindemans lambics to the United States in 1979, making them the first lambics marketed in U. S. history. Lambics, or spontaneously fermented beers, are among the world's rarest and remain unknown to many beer drinkers. Lindemans beers are a perfect introduction to the style and, and this site is a great place to learn more about it.

If you visited the old Pete's Brewing Co. website then will look familiar but a little more wicked. The old favorite features - like Pete's Landscape of Beers - are there along with nifty additions. Beer News is updated weekly while the fashions available in the E-store remain timeless. Get wicked at:

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Chem Lab Supplies is an independent distributor for various scientific supply and chemical manufacturers, providing supplies for both craft brewers and homebrewers. It's a source for hard-to-find items and chemicals, and offers small quantities as well as large. There's no need to buy a case of glassware if you only need one. The online catalog is at:

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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 Beer 2000 Calendar. Last month's winner was Delos Pieper, who wrote, "I vote for having articles and info on homebrewing including recipes and techniques."

Last month we asked if you would like to receive a second (or third) Real Beer newsletter every month, and if so what you would like the topic to be? The clear favorite was a homebrewing newsletter, with 39% of the votes registered. Second was information on free beer stuff, contests and other giveaways with 19%.

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**********REAL BEER ONLINE POLL*****************

The December Real Beer Page Poll confirmed how special holiday and winter beers are. We asked how many such beers readers hope to sample during the season. Almost two thirds indicated they expect to try four or more, with 34% picking 7 or more and 30% four or more. This month you can let us know if you prefer draft beer, bottled beer or beer from a can. Head to the Poll area, Spotlight or vote in any of our City Guides. Here's a shortcut:

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

The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites to check out:

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Beer maker La Brasserie Fischer rolled out something new for the millennium. The French brewery is selling 1,000 3-bottle boxes of a special beer called 63N46W. It is made from water taken from ice the brewery says could be up to 250,000 years old. The ice blocks were acquired during an expedition into Greenland headed by glacionaut Janot Lamberton. They were taken at 63 Northern latitude and 46 Western longitude -- thus the name. Each bottle is numbered and dated. Fischer promoted this as a beer to taste "at the dawn of the millennium" and claims the water dates to the days before pollution. The pale beer contains 5% alcohol by volume. 63N46W is on sale only at a special Internet site --, which is in French.

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A computer simulation has been used to show that even though bubbles float up, they also go down in a glass of Guinness. Professor Clive Fletcher and students at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, used FLUENT computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software from Fluent Inc. to illustrate that bubbles go both up and down in a glass of Guinness. Fletcher's team used the software to simulate the motion of the bubbles and discovered that, as expected, most bubbles do move upwards. The bubbles in the center of the glass, free from the effects of the glass wall, move upwards most quickly and drag liquid with them. But the liquid moving up in the center of the glass, having nowhere else to go, must eventually turn towards the walls and start to move downward. The liquid moving downward near the walls tries to drag down bubbles with it. Larger bubbles have sufficient buoyancy to resist but smaller bubbles are continuously dragged to the bottom of the glass.

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The McAuslan Brewery has commissioned four original works of art by contemporary Quebec artists to appear on McAuslan beer coasters. Elisabeth Liston of IDEM Edition approached the Montreal brewery with the idea. In France, beer coasters (also known as beer mats) often feature original art and are highly collectible. "It just struck me as a neat idea," said Peter McAuslan. McAuslan chose four pieces of art from a stable of artists IDEM represents. He purchased three of the original works, which have now been added to the brewery's art collection. The brewery has ordered 50,000 copies of each coaster. They will be distributed to bars around Montreal.

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A British pub in a small country town has reemphasized its status as community center by installing a life-saving device for heart attack victims. The 2,500 defibrillator - which gives electric shocks to "jump start" patients back to life - has been installed at the Deane Gate in Deane, near Andover, Hampshire. Andover, a village of 63, is 20 minutes drive from the nearest hospital. The machine will serve residents of Andover and two other villages minutes away. Mike Perkins, the landlord, had the idea after a friend died of a heart attack yards from the pub. Figures from the British Heart Foundation show that of the 780 people who suffer a heart attack every day in Britain, between 200 and 250 die before reaching hospital.

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Advertising Age magazine ranks Anheuser-Busch fourth among corporations showing the most market savvy in their respective businesses. The magazine wrote that A-B shows a "deep understanding of the nuances of the brewing industry and target markets and stellar ads building knockout (market) share." A-B's aggressive pricing and solid image have made it the "king of beer marketing." The rest of the top five included Proctor & Gamble (1), McDonald's (2), Coca-Cola (3) and Nike (5). (BEERWeek TM, Week of Dec 20-27, 1999)

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Researchers don't have many good words for beer bellies these days. One study by a German expert on metabolism links beer paunches to a variety of health risks. Another in Great Britain points out that beer bellies are much more dangerous than the extra "padding" some women put on around the middle. In the German study, Gerard Klose said too much fat makes diabetes, certain forms of cancer and heart disease a distinct possibility. An article in the Times of London reported that fat that collects around the internal organs to form the typically male beer belly also finds its way into the bloodstream, thus raising cholesterol levels.

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BrewPub and Brew Your Own magazines recently changes ownership. Carl Landau, who launched those publications as well as WineMaker magazine under the Niche Publications umbrella, sold them to employees. Craig Bystrynski, who has been the editorial director since start-up, and Corey Gerhard, advertising director, will operate BrewPub Magazine and the National Brewpub Conference & Tradeshow. Brew Your Own magazine and WineMaker will be owned and published by Brad Ring, who has been circulation director for Niche Publications. (BEERWeek TM, Week of Dec 20-27, 1999)

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We spend a good bit of our time every year at Real Beer, Inc. figuring out what we are going to do next. However, we stop occasionally to look back and grade ourselves. Our goals don't necessarily change a lot -- from the beginning we've thought "more" and "better" -- but specific objectives may. In 1999 we wanted to:

- Roll out a redesigned version of the Real Beer Page.
- Add more features to the Real Beer Page.
- Extend and improve the Real Beer Network.

That meant accomplishing things that appeared pretty dramatic -- if you looked at the Real Beer Page the morning of June 5 (hours before EVERYTHING changed) and then checked it later that day, you know D-Day came a day early in 1999. The Real Beer Network jumped in size in November when BreWorld, the largest source for brewing information in Europe, joined.

It also meant making daily changes. Often it was with the help of our publishing partners, with Celebrator Beer News adding an issue, Beer Notes several issues or Brew Your Own new killer homebrew stories. Or another day it was Authors chipping in, with Kurt Epps providing a great beer travelogue on Bermuda or Gregg Smith putting the role of U.S. taverns in historic perspective. During the course of the year, grew into a Beer Superstore with nearly 4,000 items.

While we are always recruiting new publishers -- Eric's Beer Page strengthened the network in several categories -- and Authors, we still appreciate the incredible lineup of allies we already have. Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter wasn't new to the Real Beer Page in 1999, it was just great. Stephen Beaumont's World of Beer got a new look in 1999, but underneath he offered the same straight-from-the-hip opinions.

Not that we don't get a thrill from the big changes. Your reaction to our redesign was gratifying. After all, your loyalty has been the key to Real Beer's success so we weren't about the change for the sake of change. We went over years of your answers to our email quickie questions, reviewed your ongoing suggestions and studied our traffic statistics before deciding what to keep, what to change and what to add.

We created a site that is easier to navigate and easier to communicate with. Beyond that, we made several additions, chief among them among them new City Guides, a News section, a monthly Spotlight and improved searches for stories, news and events. It took a year of planning and work to implement and was a foundation on which we continue to build. For instance, we opened with two City Guides in June and now have 18. There will be plenty more in 2000.

Our ongoing international expansion was just as extensive, ranging from the New Zealand Brewers Network to BreWorld in Europe. We're already at work integrating these great resources with Real Beer. The result should 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 and plenty of additional fun features.

Our alliance with (see above) qualifies as such a tool. With the click of a mouse readers will find it easier to hook up with friends when they use the Brew Tour and Events databases or the City Guides.

Not all the changes in 1999 were so obvious. Behind the scenes, Real Beer moved to new, bigger, offices because it takes a big team to produce all that we do. We added new members to every department. Stephen Mallery joined as us Publisher to make sure we keep delivering great content and growing our viewership. Dan Gaffey took over Sales Management, with Linda Starck, Mark Walker and Tim Chadsey joining the sales team. Luke McDowell and Nathan Day bolstered the back end with their web design and programming skills. Anne Gray came aboard in Account Services as Leslie Wilmot took charge of Account Management. Down under, Luke Nicholas heads business development for New Zealand. And, of course, Thomas Lange heads up BreWorld and our European efforts.

We also remain committed to beefing up the "back-end," investing in networking equipment to guarantee Real Beer won't experience a frustrating outage or painfully slow downloads and adding technology for faster and more relevant data delivery.

We plan to make 2000 even more exciting. We apologize when we don't offer more details, but we work in an industry where vaporware is all too common and we like to promise satisfaction upon delivery. We can tell you that while the changes may not look as dramatic as in 1999 at first glance, the improvements will be just as big. The principles that guide us remain the same as when we launched Real Beer in 1995: To grow the category, the network and resources for beer online.