RBPMail 6.05, May 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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REAL BEER, WORLD BEER TOUR MERGE
Real Beer, Inc., of San Francisco and WorldBeerTour.com of Redmond,
Washington, the largest Internet-based beer club, have announced
plans to merge operations. The new company, to be named RealBeer.com
L.L.C., is designed to provide the ultimate beer experience on
the Internet. Launched six months ago after nearly a year of research
and development, WBT focuses on the developing Internet community
to build its brand. It has exclusive contracts with the world's
top beer expert, Michael Jackson, to bring Americans some of the
best beer in the world -- beer otherwise unavailable in this country.
Jackson selects the beers and provides customers with tasting
notes as well as brewery history.
WORLD BEER CUP FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Nearly 150 breweries will collect cups June 19 at the World Beer
Cup awards ceremony in New York City. Winners were selected in
two days of judging preceding the Craft Brewers Conference in
Milwaukee, Wis., but the top three beers in each of 64 categories
won't be revealed until next month. Winning beers come from small
breweries and large, well known breweries and those you might
never have heard of. They are from the United States, Germany,
Lithuania, Japan and many other nations. The list of finalists
INTERBREW CLOSER TO FLOATING STOCK OFFERING
New reports indicate that Belgian brewer Interbrew, maker of
Stella Artois, is ready to float a stock offer that would raise
cash the company could use to make acquisitions. Interbrew denied
reports in December that it was considering an initial public
offering (IPO). The London Telegraph reports that at the same
time the company sent an internal memo that said: "As part of
the long range planning exercise, we have reviewed different sources
of funding, all based on our own financing capacity, to make further
SUITORS LINE UP FOR SWISS BREWERY
Several brewers have expressed interest in acquiring Feldschloesschen-
Huerlimann Holding, the Swiss brewery that has decided to quit
the business after 123 years. Feldschloesschen plans to become
a real estate company. Heineken, Interbrew, Brau-Union, Carlsberg
and South African Breweries are all said to be considering offers.
INTERNATIONAL BREWING AWARDS
Two U.S. breweries picked up gold medals at the Brewing Industry
International Awards in London. BridgePort Brewing won gold for
its IPA, and Alaskan Brewing Co. took a gold for its Alaskan Stout
and a silver for Alaskan Smoked Porter. Young & Co. of London
captured two golds -- for its Chocolate Stout and its kegged Bitter.
The awards, handed out every two years, date back to the 19th
century and are among the most prestigious in the world.
HALL & WOODHOUSE BUYS KING & BARNES - WILL
King & Barnes, a family run British brewery whose beers have
earned a loyal following in the United States, has been sold.
The brewery will be closed; the future of its brands is under
review. Hall & Woodhouse, which has run a brewery in Dorset since
1777, bought the brewery and its estate of 55 pubs. The amount
paid was not disclosed, but Shepherd Neame - one of four principals
to bid for King & Barnes - reported making an offer of £23.75
SAN MIGUEL MAKES BID FOR AUSTRALIAN BREWERY
Philippines brewing giant San Miguel Corp. plans a takeover bid
for J. Boag & Son Ltd., a small Australian brewer, in a deal that
marks the company's entry into the Australian market. The offer
represents a premium of 60.2% over Boag's stock price before the
bid. A spokesman for Boag said the Australian company's board
would recommend that shareholders accept the bid and that directors
would accept it for their own holdings.
WITH SALES DOWN, GERMAN BREWERIES PLAN PRICE
Sales by German brewers continued to decline in 1999 and now
are 10% lower than when they peaked in 1994. Breweries will be
forced to raise prices to remain in business, said Dieter Ammer,
president of the German Brewer's Association. The Olympic games
and European soccer championships are expected to help raise sales.
"On top of that we need some nice summer weather," said Ammer.
(BEERWeek TM, Week of April 24-May 1)
BRITAIN SET TO LOOSEN PUB HOURS
Britain appears ready to make the most sweeping changes in the
hours pubs may remain open since operating hours were imposed
at the outset of World War I. Hours were limited to prevent factory
workers from getting drunk instead of furthering the war effort.
The Labor government is proposing easing licensing laws and strengthening
measures to tackle under-age drinking and antisocial drunks. Instead
of being forced to close at 11 p.m., pubs will be allowed to stay
open until well into the morning hours - and in a few cases may
operate 24 hours a day.
AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK BEER
Democrats in Australia plan to use their numbers in the Senate
to block a proposed 9% increase in the price of draft beer. Prime
Minister Howard had promised that beer prices would rise by only
2%, but now says that "the service component in draft beer" made
it exempt from that promise. Majority leader Meg Lees wrote the
prime minister to inform him that her party will vote to overturn
the Goods and Services Tax which would raise the price of draft
beer by 9% while raising the price of packaged beer by only 1.9%.
Lees says it is unacceptable to say the promise applied only to
bottled or canned beer.
NEW ORLEANS AND OTHER CITY GUIDES
New Orleans hosts a jumbo party this weekend when the Jazz & Heritage
Festival resumes, but it seems like there's reason to party every
weekend in the Big Easy. As in our other City Guides, it is designed
for New Orleans area residents and visitors alike. Make sure to
check out Cooter Brown's Beer Heaven.
REAL BEER AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
The Real Beer Page has a cousin Down Under. You'll find the same
mix of everything you could ever want to know about beer, beer events,
brewpubs, microbreweries, homebrewing, the beer industry and more.
IN DEFENSE OF BEER
Stephen Beaumont writes that he's tired of people dumping on beer:
"It is not 'just beer,' it is a noble and ancient beverage which,
like wine, food and television advertising, can be extraordinarily
good or unmercifully bad."
ON THE ROAD WITH A BEER DRINKER OF THE YEAR
Bobby Bush, Wynkoop's 1998 Beerdrinker of the Year, writes regularly
for several beer periodicals and a weekly column called "Beer and
Loafing." He offers reviews of beer establishments, breweries, festivals
and much more from across the country.
WIN A REAL BEER DENIM SHIRT
Now you can dress like the insiders at Real Beer. We're giving away
a dozen blue denim Real Beer Inc. shirts previously available only
to Real Beer employees.
*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
Beertrips.com offers adventures that are "hand-crafted" by noted
brewmasters (such as Greg Hall of Goose Island Brewing Co.), well-
traveled beer lovers, and local beer experts throughout the world.
Destinations such as Belgium, Germany, Britain, and the Czech
Republic are rich in both culture and beer culture. Plan a fall
DCI was established in 1955 as Dairy Craft, Inc., producing stainless
steel storage tanks for the dairy industry. It brings more than
40 years of expertise to the production of microbrewery equipment.
You'll find a full range of products and an impressive list of brewing
GRAPE AND GRANARY
The Grape and Granary is a family-operated business run by folks
with equal interest in homebrewing and winemaking. Jim Sr. has been
making wine since 1980, and John began brewing beer in 1987. Kelli,
Jimmy, Dave and Tony are just as passionate about these hobbies
and can answer almost any question you throw at them. Visit them
in person in Akron, Ohio, or shop online at:
Since 1985 Lakefront has offered handmade beers designed to honor
the tradition of early Milwaukee brewers. The brewery recently added
equipment that allows its brewers to make almost as much in one
batch as Lakefront sold its first year in operation, but you still
wouldn't call the place modern. Check out the beers, take a digital
tour and find out what we're talking about at:
SPECIFIC MECHANICAL SYSTEM
Initially focused on supplying local food and beverage industries
with stainless steel welding and machining services and bottling
and packaging lines, SMS now produces stainless steel vessels and
equipment specifically for the brewing industry. It manufactures
systems from 3 1/2 barrels to 100 barrels and has its own line of
grain mills, glycol chilling systems, tank safety devices and kegging
equipment. Look for the "Beer Crossing" sign at:
QUICKIE EMAIL SURVEY
Thanks to all who have been replying to our Quickie Surveys. We
draw one winner each month for a prize. Last month's winner was
Tony Parks. Make sure to reply to this month's question for a
chance to win a particularly special prize.
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Were Real Beer to host fantasy sports competitions, giving away
unique beer- related prizes, would you participate and what sports
would you like to see us offer? Baseball was the first choice,
but barely ahead of football -- and NASCAR racing was a strong
DO YOU HOMEBREW? HOW OFTEN?
This month, you can vote in our RBPMail email survey and/or the
Voting Booth to tell us about your homebrewing habits. Last month,
readers indicated that two bocks are better than one. We asked
about favorite style of bock beer and 34% picked Dopplebock, more
than twice the number who voted for second place Bock (16%). To
vote this month, head to the Poll area, Spotlight or vote in any
of our City Guides. Here's a shortcut:
*********** Brewed Fresh For You!
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
PABST TO CLOSE PEARL BREWERY
The Pabst Brewing Co. has decided to close the historic Pearl
Brewery in San Antonio, Texas, transferring production of beer
made there to Miller Brewing Co. in Fort Worth. Officials said
they will lay off 161 workers in June and close the 114-year-old
plant. "It's just too costly to keep it open," Pabst Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer Bill Bitting said. "A lot of it is
old and inefficient." He said it would have taken $8-10 million
to modernize the brewery. Miller now brews about 75% of the 11
million barrels of Pabst-owned beer sold each year, Bitting said.
That figure will approach 80% when the Pearl Brewery closes.
MILLER SELLS SHIPYARD, BUYS OUT CELIS
The Miller Brewing Co. has divested itself of one craft brewing
company that it took a share of in 1995 and purchased 100% ownership
of the other it also bought into in 1995. The Milwaukee-based
brewer now wholly owns the Celis Brewery in Austin, Texas, while
Shipyard Brewing Co. founders Alan Pugsley and Fred Forsely are
back in charge of their Maine brewery. Miller's other specialty
brewery, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., registered a 2.8% sales
increase in 1999, selling 329,000 barrels of beer in 1999. Leinenkugel
is the nation's third-largest specialty brewer.
CATAMOUNT BREWING CO. CLOSED BY BANK
Reports are that employees at Catamount Brewing Co. in Windsor,
Vt., were locked out of the brewery by a company creditor in April.
The brewery was shut down by representatives of Chittenden Bank,
to which Catamount is reported to owe more than $1 million. Catamount
was a craft brewing pioneer when it opened in the 1980s in White
River Junction, Vt., and was long one of the region's most distinctive
and respected breweries. But it has struggled since 1997, when
it borrowed $5 million to open a large facility in Windsor at
the same time that sales began to plateau. No beer is being brewed
and Chittenden Bank is looking for buyer to run the facility as
a brewery. (BEERWeek TM, Week of April 10-17)
MAY DECLARED 'VIRGINIA BEER MONTH'
Governor James S. Gilmore, III, proclaimed May "Virginia Beer
Month." In an official Certificate of Recognition, the Governor
cited Virginia's rich brewing heritage, number of award-winning
microbreweries, the positive economic impact of local breweries,
and the strong commitment of Virginia's breweries to promote responsible
beer enjoyment. Highlights of the month include a Virginia Beer
Lover of the Year Contest and the River City Real Beer Festival.
STUDY FINDS BEER MAY WORK AGAINST HEART DISEASE
Dutch researchers report that beer could be better for your heart
than red wine or spirits. Scientists have long known that red
wine helped to protect against heart disease. The Dutch study
found that the vitamin B6 in beer prevents the build-up in the
body of a chemical called homocysteine, which is thought to be
linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease.
CRAFT BREWERS HONOR TRIO
The Institute for Brewing studies honored Mark Carpenter for
innovative brewing and Ralph Olsen and Ralph Woodall for their
ongoing contributions to the craft beer industry during the Grand
Banquet at the Craft Brewers Conference in Milwaukee. Carpenter,
of Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco, received the Russell Schehrer
Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing. Olsen and Woodall, of Hopunion
in Yakima, Wash., were given the IBS Recognition Award, which
goes to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm
and support have contributed to the brewpub and microbrewery movement.
NEW HOP CLAIMS TO MAKE BEER TASTE LIKE WINE
Horticulturists in Nelson, New Zealand, have developed a new
hop that makes beer taste like wine, according to a New Zealand
Herald article. The new hop, dubbed Nelson Sauvin, is a "pilsner-style
lager hop" which gives the beer "aromas of gooseberries, tropical
fruits, passion fruit and grass clippings" for "a similar taste
experience to Sauvignon Blanc wine." The hop is being used in
a new beer called AroMac, brewed by McCashin's Breweries. (BEERWeek
TM, Week of April 10-17)
BEER, BOWLING REUNITED IN MASSACHUSETTS
After nearly 40 years, beer and bowling are almost back together
again in Massachusetts. Both houses of the state legislature have
passed a bill that would legalize the consumption of alcoholic
beverages at bowling alleys. The governor must still sign the
measure. The alcohol ban, which affects about 80 bowling alleys
statewide, was enacted in 1962 to ensure that the businesses remained
EDITORIAL: LET'S HAVE A BEER TOGETHER
We usually reserve this space to reflect on the implications
of real world events that affect our access to and enjoyment of
beer. To expand on our lead story, we believe the World Beer Tour
and Real Beer merger amounts to nothing short of earth-shattering
news along those lines. Bear with us while we explain the implications
for you as we welcome you one step deeper into the good beer community.
We think two of the best things about Real Beer are the beer
in all its diversity -- we admit it, it's a great perk -- and
our readers. For over five years we've worked to bring the two
closer together. We've built databases of breweries and events
that help readers find craft beer. We've recruited some of the
best beer writers in the world -- Michael Jackson, Stephen Beaumont,
the industry's leading publisher and editorial talent, three of
the last four writers to win North American Beer Writer of the
Year, and many others -- to act as tour guides and taste mavens.
Each year we've vowed to ourselves to do more and do it better.
We pledge it to you at the end of each newsletter. Working in
an industry where vaporware is all too common, we've been reluctant
to make promises to our audience until we knew we could deliver.
We take the "Real" part of our name very seriously. We knew long
ago what we wanted to do -- share some of the world's finest beers
with our friends -- we just couldn't do it all at that time.
Now, with the merger of the World Beer Tour and Real Beer, we
can change the way consumers access beer. This merger is exciting
because it puts our network to the best possible use: the joining
together of readers and extraordinary beers in the real world.
Real Beer co-founder, Mark Silva, likes to say, "The three best
beers you can have are the one handed to you by a brewer, the
one recommended by an informed friend, and the one you use to
turn someone else on to a great discovery." It's been our vision
to leverage the internet to facilitate this interaction.
The World Beer Tour gives us the chance to sample some incredible
beers, handpicked by beer authority Michael Jackson just for club
members. What do we mean by handpicked? Read the articles posted
and you will realize these are not casual selections. Jackson
has personally discovered these beers on his world travels. The
beers are distinctive, unique and of extremely high quality. And,
most are not available anywhere in the United States except through
We'd love to be able to stick a bottle through your computer
screen right now and pour you a glass; unfortunately, the technology
isn't quite there yet. Bringing World Beer Tour and Real Beer
together, however, is a step in the right direction. Now we can
arrange for the delivery of beer to you in many areas of the United
States and soon other parts of the world.
You've undoubtedly heard some of the debate surrounding the beer
distribution within the United States. We won't bore you with
the fine print, but when we say the World Beer Tour is three tier
compliant program it means the beer flows through the same system
that gets you beer now -- it's just that World Beer Tour brings
you beer that the current channel hasn't been able to deliver.
The beer is available exclusively to customers of legal age, and
only where it is legal to deliver. Right now that's not every
state, but we're working on it.
As challenging as delivering beer legally is delivering it with
the taste intact. Handling and storage gets a lot of attention.
We want the beer to be as good as when Michael Jackson tasted
it. The World Beer Tour approach delivers the most direct path
from the brewery to you, limiting storage time and handling. As
an added measure, the club promises a satisfaction guarantee.
So, how good are these beers? Take it from professional brewers.
We just got back from the Craft Brewers Conference in Milwaukee,
where we were able to share with American craft brewers the same
beers that are sent to WBT club members. We wish you could have
been there to see the brewers' reactions to these high-quality
These are the sorts of beers that helped inspire American brewers
to make world-class beer. Brewers often tell stories of sampling
fine beers like these in other lands and discovering they weren't
available in the United States, or due to aging or mishandling
barely tasted like the beers they remembered.
In Milwaukee, we watched brewer after brewer sample one beer,
then another. "Whew, what's going on here?" said one with delight
after a sip of Poperings Hommel. "I've always wanted to try Worthington's
White Shield," said another. And then there was the brewer who
took a sip of Olde Suffolk, looked at the glass, took another
drink, finished the beer and put the glass down, obviously waiting
for a refill. "Where do I sign up?" he said.
We're looking forward to having a beer with him. You can too.
We started this editorial by welcoming you one step deeper into
the beer community. By participating in this club, you can taste
and judge your beers against the palates of world beer authorities,
brewers and other members. The membership includes a privateweb
area for members-only to compare and share notes online. Eventually,
you might even be able to influence what beers are offered.
Ready to try? For the next two weeks, you can sample what we
are talking about at no risk -- see the ad at the top of this
newsletter or go directly to http://worldbeertour.com/rbpmail5.
If you don't think it's as good as we've said, you'll get a complete
refund from World Beer Tour.
Like firing up a web browser years ago and instantly understanding
the implications of the medium, we hope that you can begin to
appreciate the implications of the merger between Real Beer and
World Beer Tour. It's all about you getting access to great beers
and being able to share the experience with family, friends and
your community online.