RBPMail 6.06, June 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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British brewer Whitbread has completed the sale of its brewing interest to Belgium's Interbrew, ending more than 250 years as a brewery. Interbrew will pay 400 million (about $600 million) for the beer business, which brews Boddington, as well as Stella Artois under license from Interbrew. It has a 16% share of the UK beer market. The family-owned Interbrew, which also owns Labatt and Rolling Rock, said it would finance the purchase from its own cash surpluses. It is planning a public stock offering at the end of the year, indicating it may be a serious bidder for the Bass brewing interests or considering other acquisitions. Along with Stella Artois, Whitbread also produces Heineken, Labatt, Hoegaarden and Sam Adams under license in the UK.

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Danish brewing giant Carlsberg and Norway Orkla plan to create a joint brewing company that will be the world's sixth largest. Carlsberg will own 60% of the new venture and Orkla 40%. It will carry the Carlsberg name. Under the deal, Orkla will transfer its Pripps Ringnes unit, the leading brewery in Norway and Sweden, and its 50% stake in Baltic Beverage Holdings to Carlsberg in exchange for shares in the new brewery. Baltic Beverage Holdings is the biggest brewery in the three Baltic states. Carlsberg Breweries will compete heavily in Nordic countries, as well as in Russia, the Baltics, Ukraine and parts of Asia.

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A lack of ingredients for making beer threatens to slow the fast- growing Russian brewing industry. "... further expansion is impossible unless we restore the domestic supply of barley and hops," said Vyacheslav Mamontov, Executive Secretary of the Russian Union of Beer and Non-Alcoholic Drinks Producers. Russia imports about 70% of its malt needs and almost all of its hops.

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Dutch brewer Heineken has acquired a 50% stake of Belgian brewer Affligem Brouwerij (formerly Brouwerij De Smedt). The Affligem lineup includes several beers that are sent to the United States, including a dubel, a tripel and the popular holiday seasonal, Affligem Noel. The brewery mainly produces abbey-style beers for the Affligem Abbey. The abbey first brewed beer in the 11th century. Since 1980, Heineken has marketed and distributed the beer to The Netherlands and France. Heineken also has a license agreement with the abbey for the rest of the world. The license for Belgium and Luxembourg remains with the Affligem Brewery.

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Beer from vending machines may soon be a fond memory in Japan. For decades the machines have symbolized Japanese affection for automated conveniences and alcoholic beverages. But concerns about underage drinking caused the country's liquor stores to adopt a voluntary ban on the machines. "Today I'm taking all the beer out - and putting in the juice," Masayuki Murata told the Associated Press when interviewed at his family's Surugaya Liquor Store in central Tokyo. The 130,000-member All Japan Liquor Merchants Association estimated that up to 70% of the nation's 170,000 alcohol vending machines were shut down by the ban.

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A new study published in the British Medical Journal contends that drinking a pint of beer every day can reduce the risk of heart attacks. A study of Czech men found that those who drank up to two pints of beer a day had the lowest risk of coronary heart disease. The men were chosen because they predominately drank beer and rarely drank wine or spirits. The lowest risk of heart disease was among men who drank daily and drank between four to nine liters (eight to 16 pints) of beer a week. Drinking large amounts of beer led to a loss of the protective effects of alcohol.

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****WEB WATCH****

Father's Day is June 18 and Real Beer has plenty of beer-related gift suggestions for Dad and more. Check out our stories about "Your father's beer" and "Not your father's beer" before heading to the Gift Guide to find him a present guaranteed to make him smile.

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John Palmer has written some of the most read documents on homebrewing available on the Internet. He's put his accumulated knowledge in book form - and the whole thing is available on the Web. He's got tips for everybody from the first-time brewer to the most seasoned veteran.

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American Beer Month will kick off in a big way July 1, with a Brewers Rally in Philadelphia and major festivals in Colorado and Florida. Just as important, you will be able to celebrate the tradition and innovation of American brewing all month long at a bar, brewpub, festival or even in a Real Beer Online Tasting.

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You've got until Tuesday morning to put in a bid on the original Three Floyds Brewing Co. brewhouse in an eBay auction. Don't worry, Three Floyds ( isn't going out of business. The popular Indiana microbrewery has moved into a bigger facility with a new brewery. It's selling the old system, complete with the "famous Hammond squares."

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*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
Continental's Rupture Discs protect brewing tanks against implosion or overpressure caused by excessive vacuum, hot water or steam cleaning of tanks, or abnormal process pressure conditions. They are easy to clean and dual direction, relieving either overpressure or vacuum. See them at:

MicroPure's segmented design incorporates stainless steel disks, which direct the flow of the air, gas, or liquid to be filtered through self-sealing filter media clamped securely between the disks. Take a closer look at how the filters work and more from MicroPure at:

The folks at Primal Brewer figure that you want to show pride in your work whether you you brew at home, at an on-premise brew shop or in a microbrewery. Although they sell a "Brew Naked" T-shirt, their other products are designed for those who want to brew in a little more style. They are on display at:

The Washington Brewer Guild carries on the tradition of the Herbfarm Father's Day Microbrew Festival -- which was canceled due to a pending sale of the property -- with this new event. Beer lovers will still be able to enjoy a country setting, family-friendly atmosphere, and great beer June 17-18. Check out all the details:

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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 Ralph Bacon. He wins a $50 gift certificate from Homebrew Adventures.


Do you brew beer at home, and how many times a year? Of those who answered the question via RBPMail, 66% currently brew (and 28% brew 8 or more times a year), while 28% never have brewed. We asked the same question in the Real Beer Page Voting Booth. There 50% of the voters currently brew and 44% never have.

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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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San Antonio's Pearl Brewery received a stay of execution this week when the Pabst Brewing Co. decided to keep the 114-year-old plant open for at least three more years. That reverses an April decision to close the brewery, but still means layoffs for about 300 of 340 workers. Pabst will cut production at the plant to 500,000 barrels, about half of what it had been making. The brewery will continue to produce Pearl and Lone Star, two beers that were first brewed in San Antonio, as well as (malt liquor) champales. Production of Old Milwaukee, Schlitz and other Pabst-owned brands will be made under contract by Miller Brewing in Milwaukee.

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Genesee Corp. has terminated its deal with City Brewing Co. to purchase Genesee Brewing Co. and plans to retain the business, at least in the short term. "We believe that the interests of our shareholders will be better served by terminating the agreement, which will allow management to focus on our brewing business during the critical summer selling season," said Tom Hubbard, president and chief executive officer of Genesee Corp.

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Sleeman Breweries of Canada and the Boston Beer Co. of the United States -- the two largest craft breweries in their respective countries -- have entered into a two-way agreement intended to make the beers of both breweries more widely available in North America. As part of the strategic partnership, Sleeman will immediately begin representation of Samuel Adams products in several key markets in Canada. Boston Beer will conduct market research in the United States to identify potential markets for Sleeman brand products and assist Sleeman with brand development and selling strategies if sufficient market potential is identified.

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A unique Beer Amnesty Program instituted by The Boston Beer Co. adds new meaning to the phrase "put a little Sam Adams in your tank." The company informed 450 distributors that it would buy back all out-of- code Samuel Adams for the month of March -- that is beer beyond the "freshness date" on the label. Such cost is usually absorbed by the distributor. The brewery expects to spend up to $2 million in the buyback. It says no other brewery has ever done this. So far, more than two million bottles of Samuel Adams have been recycled -- the glass, the packaging and even the beer, which was superheated into ethanol, an additive for gasoline.

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A suburban Chicago couple who own a microbrewery were winners of half of last month's record setting $363 million Big Game jackpot. Joe and Sue Kainz, who operate the Wild Onion Brewing Co. in Lake Barrington with the help of their children, said they have no plans to retire and will use some of the jackpot to invest in the microbrewery. The family also owns a medical supply company. Kainz said his grandfather emigrated from Germany in the early 1900s and started a dairy business. When Prohibition was enacted, he used the dairy equipment to start a clandestine brewery and supplied the beer to speakeasies in Chicago, Kainz said. He said the business returned to a dairy, in which both he and his father later worked.

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Paulaner North America apparently has lost its long-running battle with the state of Ohio over the label for Mannekin Pis, a beer that PNA imports from Belgium. The beer's label features the famous bronze statue of a small naked small boy urinating. Ohio officials first called the label "offensive and in poor taste" and banned Paulaner from shipping the beer into the state. PNA lost its latest round in appeals court when the court agreed that government can't legislate taste, but upheld the ban based on an Ohio law that forbids the portrayal of children on beer bottles.

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The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and Anheuser-Busch have begun a statewide initiative to help prevent underage drinking among Oklahoma youth. They are distributing educational materials to 85,000 Oklahoma households with children aged 12-17. The educational materials, called "Family Talk About Drinking," are designed to help parents and teens have open communication about alcohol beverages and the risks of underage drinking. Nationally, underage drinking is down significantly according to the federal government. Since 1982, teen drinking has declined 45% and teen drunk driving fatalities have declined 65%. In Oklahoma, there has been a 64% decline in teen drunk driving fatalities during that time period. You can vote on how you think we should educate teens and young adults about responsible drinking in this month's Real Beer poll at:

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Budweiser's popular "Whassup!?" campaign, which turned a greeting among friends into the nation's hottest catch phrase, earned one of the advertising industry's most prestigious awards, the Grand Clio for television. The award, given to the campaign's original 60-second spot, titled "True," was one of 14 garnered by Anheuser-Busch at last night's 41st Annual Clio TV and Radio Gala. Budweiser's "Louie the Lizard" campaign received half of those awards, including a Gold Clio for national radio campaign.

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You may have seen the story recently that suggested boosting beer prices reduces sex among youth, and consequently the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

It had the ingredients -- beer and sex -- that guaranteed good exposure in newspapers and on local television stations across the country.

First, let's look at the study on which these sensationalized stories are based. Researchers in the study analyzed state alcohol policy changes -- either increasing the beer tax or increasing the drinking age -- between 1981 and 1995. They found that increasing the tax on a six-pack of beer by 20 cents reduced the rate of gonorrhea among teens and young adults ages 20 to 24 by an average of 9%. The report also found that raising the drinking age could lower the gonorrhea rate by an average of 7%.

Like many of you, those of us at Real Beer with kids grapple every day with the challenges of sending those children out into a scary world. We look at these sorts of studies with serious concern, but if some legislators use this research even to suggest raising taxes we're ready to protest loudly.

We won't go as far as Beer Institute president Jeff Becker, who said, "The connection (between beer taxes and gonorrhea) is absurd." However, we do agree that the suggested action and effect - boost the heck out of beer taxes, lower the rate of teen sex -- isn't guaranteed. "Underage drinking is a complex issue that doesn't lend itself to fixes like raising beer taxes," Becker said.

If somebody actually pushes for higher taxes based on this study, there will be plenty of assumptions to challenge. The most drastic reductions in gonorrhea rates came immediately after taxes were raised. So if "sticker shock" was a contributor does that mean taxes will have to be raised every year to keep down the STD rate? The neo-Prohibitionists would love that.

As always, those are the folks we're on the lookout for. They use stories like this to build their case against alcohol use. Many neo- Prohibitionists want to see alcohol banned just as much as their brethren did 100 years ago, but they are smart enough to realize Prohibition failed miserably last time around. Their goal now is de facto Prohibition.

Somehow they would justify raising taxes on all styles of beer for all consumers with the idea that will change the behavior of a few. That kind of big net thinking by tuna fishermen didn't work out too well for dolphins. The fact is, neo-Prohibitionists have helped lower the legal blood alcohol level for drivers below the threshold many scientists consider necessary (0.12%), yet drivers with multiple DUI convictions keep their licenses. The fact is, they've partnered with other special interests to make it difficult for wine and beer lovers of legal age to order through the mail or over the Internet. The fact is ... well, you get the point.

Stories that insinuate beer is bad help them. Beer isn't bad. Gonorrhea is bad. Let's tackle that head-on instead of trying some indirect route that we don't really know will work.