RBPMail 6.07, July 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 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.
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AMERICAN BEER MONTH PLEDGE
American Beer Month has begun in style across the nation. Happy
beer drinkers jammed festivals from Florida to Oregon on Saturday.
In Philadelphia, brewery representatives from more than 20 states
climbed the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (yes, just like
in the movie "Rocky"). Kalamazoo Brewing Co. president Larry Bell
asked those on hand to take the "American Beer Pledge" and also
administered the oath last month at the National Homebew Conference
in Livonia, Mich.
On my honor, I do hereby pledge,
That for the month of July I will celebrate the breadth and diversity
of the beers and ales of the United States of America.
That I will recognize the heritage, tradition and future of brewing
in our republic,
And that I will savor the flavor of American made beer responsibly,
moderately and exclusively.
Hail to beer, America's beverage!
Read on for more about American Beer Month.
WORLD BEER CUP WINNERS CELEBRATE
The state of Wisconsin showed its brewing muscle in New York
last month when the World Beer Cup medals were handed out in 64
categories. Wisconsin breweries captured 18 medals, more than
any other state or country. United States breweries won 65% of
the medals (and had 63% of the 1,127 of the entries). Three U.S.
breweries -- Rogue Ales of Newport, Ore., Montana Brewing Co.
of Billings, Mt., and Brew Moon Restaurant & Microbrewery in Boston
-- won three medals apiece. The winning breweries represented
19 countries. Breweries in 30 U.S. states captured medals.
"Winning a gold medal means everything for our brewery," said
Mark Szymczak of the Piast Browery in Wroclaw, Poland, which won
a gold medal for its Piast Premium Beczkowe in the European-style
Pilsener category. "For our workers this is a fantastic reward
for their dedication and hard work and delivers a sense of pride
in being the best in the world."
INTERBREW, BASS FINALIZE DEAL
Belgian brewing giant Interbrew will acquire the brewing unit
of Britain's Bass for £2.3 billion ($3.4 billion). The acquisition
comes less than a month after Interbrew bought Whitbread's beer
interest and gives the Belgian brewer 32% of the UK market, including
the top-selling UK beer Carling. The Bass deal will vault Interbrew,
which makes Stella Atrois, past Heineken as the world's No. 2
brewer. Anheuser-Busch is No. 1. "It was an important transaction
in a very important beer market," said Interbrew Chief Executive
Hugh Powell. Powell said Interbrew expects more acquisitions.
"We certainly have the means. Our declared interest is in playing
the role of consolidator," he said. "We will continue a process
of organic growth and where transactions become available completing
In the deal, Bass also sold Interbrew its UK joint venture with
Royal Grolsch and its Czech beer interests including the Staropramen
brand. Bass, which controls 24% of the UK market, said the transaction
requires approval by the European Commission but not Britain.
Analysts indicate that the Commission may make Interbrew divest
some brands. Bass ends a 223-year connection with the beer industry,
from when William Bass started brewing in England's brewing capital
of Burton-on-Trent in 1777.
CARLSBERG WILL USE TIVOLI MONEY TO SHOP FOR
Carlsberg sold its 43% share of Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens amusement
park to Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni, Scandinavia's largest tobacco
producer, for $40 million. Carlsberg will use the money to fund
brewery acquisitions, and is looking to the British market after
Interbrew outbid it for Bass' beer business. "We will use the
funds to buy breweries," said Carlsberg chief executive Flemming
Lindeloev, "but I don't want to go into details now. We are definitely
interested in looking at what other parts will be available after
Interbrew buys the Bass operations."
WINE MAKES MORE INROADS INTO BRITISH MARKET
Sales of wine for consumption at home are growing more rapidly
than those of any other alcoholic drink in Great Britain. The
switch is at the expense of lager beer, traditional ales and spirits.
Heineken dropped out of the country's top 10 alcoholic drinks,
although other lager brands are still selling well, with Stella
Artois and Carling growing more than 20% apiece and holding the
top two spots. American- made Budweiser is fourth in total drink
sales. The survey showed that more alcohol was bought from supermarkets
than from off-licenses. It does not take pub sales into account.
Stephen Foster, editor of Checkout magazine, said that the survey
"confirms we are no longer a nation of warm ale and low-quality
plonk drinkers. The UK consumer is becoming a more discerning
alcohol drinker as we continue to shift towards a continental
pattern of consumption."
DALESIDE ALE CHOSEN 'ULTIMATE FISH AND CHIP'
Daleside Brewery's FCP (Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas) Ale was chosen
Britain's "ultimate fish and chip" beer by a panel of Britain's
top brewers, beer writers and fish friers. The competition was
devised by the National Hop Association of England, who grow England's
hops, and HRI, who develop England's world-leading new hop varieties,
to develop new commercial opportunities for Britain's brewers.
FCP was specially brewed for the competition using the new dwarf
hop First Gold, with Challenger hops for bitterness and Fuggles
for spiciness and depth. The Beauty Of Hops English Ale Awards
Also read a report on the event from Roger Protz:
IRISH MAY CUT BEER PRICES
Irish Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy is considering ordering
pubs to cut the price of beer in order to help fight soaring inflation.
Inflation in Ireland has reached a 15-year high of 5.2%, the highest
in the European Union. Michael Kilcoyne, chairman of the Consumers
Association of Ireland, said 20% of the current inflation rate
was caused by the rise in the price of drinks. "The drinks industry
in Ireland is a protected cartel which needs to be broken up,"
PIZZA HUT READY TO DELIVER BEER IN NEW ZEALAND
Pizza Hut in New Zealand may soon deliver customers beer to go
along with their pizza. Restaurant Brands, which operates Pizza
Hut and the KFC chain, plans to leverage its recent $28.3 million
purchase of 53 Eagle Boys stores and expand into home delivery
of liquor and other products, possibly including videos. Chief
executive Jim Collier said a trial will begin in Auckland Pizza
Huts later this month.
CORONA JOINS CAN CROWD
Corona Extra, the No. 1 import in the United States, is available
in cans for the first time this summer. The can has a "wide mouth"
opening to accommodate the lime wedge that is often served with
Corona. "For years our customers have asked us to offer a Corona
can and we're excited that our Grupo Modelo partners have committed
to producing this new package for the U.S. market," said Alexander
Berk, CEO of Barton Inc., one of two companies that import Corona.
"Corona in the clear bottle will remain the primary Corona Extra
package, but the can will offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy
the number one imported beer in places where they previously could
not," said Carlos Alvarez, president of The Gambrinus Co., the
other importer of Corona.
AMERICAN BEER MONTH
This first-event celebration gives us another excuse to drink American
beer and reflect on its role in more than 400 years of U.S. history.
We've got special things planned every day this month at realbeer.com,
so stop by daily.
Among the unique events are online tastings. Check out our moderators'
tasting notes and add your own comments.
WIN A TRIP TO DENVER
Make sure to enter our sweepstakes to win a trip for two to the
Great American Beer Festival in Denver. No essay required.
PROTZ ON BEER
Roger Protz has searched 25 years for the best beers and the best
pubs and bars in which to enjoy them. Often editing the Campaign
For Real Ale's "Good Pub Guide" and sometimes its monthly "What's
Brewing" newspaper that goes to members, his books are a must
addition to any serious library, and his contributions to a variety
of periodicals are timely. He is not only one of the leading advocates
for what the British call "real ale," but an authority on beer
on both sides of the Atlantic.
CREAM CITY SUDS
Nobody makes it to more beer events between Minneapolis and Chicago
than "Whispering Jeff" Platt -- and we mean nobody. He accumulates
information so quickly that he'd put out a daily brewspaper if there
were a market for it. Instead he jams all the news and events into
the CCS website, sometimes updating it more than once in the course
of a day.
*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
ALEXANDER'S SUN COUNTRY MALT EXTRACT/CALIFORNIA
Alexander's is well known for its malt extracts and custom blends
crafted to fit any need. It also offers a range of quality specialty
grains as well as selling grape concentrate and grape juice. Brewing
authority Dr. Michael Lewis had a major role in the design of the
system that produces California Concentrate's extracts and has called
Alexander's the "finest pale malt extract with the lightest color
of any on the market today."
Having built a reputation for quality products and service in automotive
chemicals, this Boston-based Company has expanded its service area
and line of products. For the brewing industry, it's well versed
in handling the challenges of your glycol delivery.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Need an elegant traditional turned tap handle in natural wood?
Maybe a more creative one-of-a-kind molded handle? Located in
Oak Harbor -- a town known for the works of its artisans -- at
the north end of Whidbey Island in Washington, What's On Tap specializes
in taps that look as good as customers' beer tastes.
California-based William's has been selling supplies to homebrews
just about everywhere since 1979. The store offers everything
from kits for beginners to a full menu of ingredients to sophisticated
testing equipment. The website also includes a list of items currently
out of stock from the print catalog and dates they are expected
to be restocked.
QUICKIE EMAIL SURVEY
Thanks to all who have been replying to our Quickie Surveys. We
draw one winner each month for a prize. Because of technical difficulties
last month the results were not recorded and there is no winner.
We'd appreciate it if you'd take the time to answer two questions
this month. We'll be awarding prizes for both.
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
Have you ever taken a brewery tour?
*********** Brewed Fresh For
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
HARPOON BUYS CATAMOUNT BREWERY
The Boston-based Harpoon Brewery has finalized its deal to buy
Vermont's shuttered Catamount Brewery. Harpoon acquired a state-of-the-art
plant that might have cost $5 million to build as well as the
Catamount brands for a reported $1 million. The Boston-based brewery
plans to continue brewing Catamount products in the Windsor, Vt.,
facility as well as its popular Harpoon beers. With annual beer
production exceeding 60,000 barrels, Harpoon has reached capacity
at its Boston brewery. Acquiring Catamount's modern facility,
which has been closed since March, will help Harpoon meet its
increased capacity needs. "All of us at Harpoon have a great deal
of admiration and respect for the Catamount Brewery and the pioneering
role it played in New England craft brewing. We plan to continue
brewing and selling Catamount and at the same time expand Harpoon's
brewing operations to meet the growing demand of our New England
customers," said Dan Kenary, Harpoon co-founder and President.
SENATE VOTES FOR .08% BLOOD ALCOHOL MANDATE
The Senate has passed a measure that would make .08% blood alcohol
content the allowable limit for drivers nationwide. The proposal
faces opposition in the House as negotiators from both houses
try to adopt a transportation spending bill. The House has blocked
past Senate efforts to make the standard 0.08, which is now the
limit in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The other 32
states allow 0.10% levels. In the past two years 31 states have
LAWS DON'T STOP UNDERAGE DRINKERS
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health finds that current
laws are little deterrent to underage college students who want
to drink. "Students today come to college expecting to drink,"
said Henry Wechsler, director of Harvard's College Alcohol Studies
Program. "They think that's what you're supposed to do in college,
and they find plenty of ways to do it." The study found that underage
students either have older friends buy for them or frequent local
bars and on-campus parties.
HOPS NOW TOP-SELLING BREWPUB CHAIN
The Hops, Bar & Brewery chain passed Rock Bottom Restaurants
to become the largest-selling brewpub group in the United States,
according to figures compiled by the Institute for Brewing Studies.
Hops, which operates more than 70 pubs, estimated selling 37,500
barrels of beer in 1999, compared to 33,500 by Rock Bottom. Brew
Brothers in Reno, Nev., remained the highest-selling single-site
brewpub in the U.S. with sales of 5,240 barrels.
NATIONAL HOMEBREW WINNERS HONORED
The Kansas City Biermeisters were honored as Homebrew Club of
the Year during the National Homebrew Conference in Livonia, Mich.
More than 250 of the nation's most avid homebrewers gathered in
Livonia, Mich. from June 22 to 24 for the conference presented
by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). Winners of the
2000 AHA National Homebrew Competition were announced during the
conference. The National Homebrew Competition, the largest homebrewing
competition in the world, awards gold, silver and bronze medals
in 29 categories. Homebrewer, Cidermaker and Meadmaker of the
year are awarded to the top amateur brewers in the nation. Winners
were selected from more than 2,700 entries. The results:
HEMINGWAY HELPS VIRGINIA BEER LOVER
Jennifer Barker was chosen Virginia Beer Lover of the Year. Barker,
a recent University of Virginia graduate majoring in Psychology,
called upon Ernest Hemingway to help her win the first-ever award.
In her short essay answer, she wrote: " 'Beer is good for you.'
-- Hemingway. I agree whole heartedly with Hemingway, a well-renowned
author and alcohol lover too. I love beer -- it's a cross cultural,
interracial, class- undifferentiated medium, fostering social
interaction. If only such social cohesion were accepted by our
political leaders, the world might be a happier place." The contest
was part of "May is Virginia Beer Month" festivities, sponsored
by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Craft Brewers (MACB). Barker
teaches special needs children and is assistant manager at an
ice cream shop. She has also just started working as a hostess
one night a week at a Charlottesville brewpub, South Street Brewing
EDITORIAL: TEN REASONS TO CELEBRATE
AMERICAN BEER MONTH
American Beer Month kicked off this past weekend with a
great deal of hoopla across the country. We hope the fun is just
beginning. There's plenty of time to join the celebration, whether
at a major event or with a toast in your local pub.
For instance, Flossmoor Station Brewing Co. in Flossmoor, Ill.,
marks its fourth anniversary this weekend by pouring 1906 Pilsner.
In this classic American pilsner, brewer Todd Ashman used flaked
corn, an ingredient not often associated with craft beer, to make
it historically accurate.
"I wanted our customers to envision the original Flossmoor train
station being built (in what is now the suburbs, but 100 years
ago was in the country south of Chicago) and the construction
crew getting off work and sitting down in front of an iced down
bucket of bottles of locally brewed beer," he said.
It's not hard to find an excuse to drink a beer or to make it
American, and American Beer Month certainly must be about drinking
beer. But its also a time to remember how American beer fits into
our lives today and how beer has been a part of American culture
for 400 years. On a hot and muggy Illinois afternoon an iced own
bucket of beer seems like a particularly good reason to celebrate,
and worthy of anybody's Top 10. It's where our countdown begins.
9. Beer is the drink of moderation. Nearly 400 years ago, the
Puritans understood that the early American settlers were going
to drink and promoted beer over "demon rum" and whiskey. Today,
two cold pints will quench a considerable thirst on a hot July
day, and your blood alcohol level should safely remain within
8. Beer belongs. Following World War II, the Brewers Foundation
commissioned popular magazine artists to produce a series of 115
paintings using the theme "Home life in America" and showing folks
socializing at home with beers at hand. These portraits appeared
as advertising in all the popular publications, noting "perhaps
no beverages are more 'at home' on more occasions" than American
beer. The tagline on each -- "Beer belongs ... enjoy it" -- is
just as timely today.
7. Beer is a social lubricant. During our colonial period, the
tavern was the focal point of the community. In the 19th century,
the union movement found its early home in saloons. In the past
20 years, the addition of more than 1,000 brewpubs to the landscape
has helped return the word "pub" to our vocabulary -- a public
house where you can escape the private domains of home and work.
6. Beer drinkers don't spit. Do you really want to be there for
American Wine Month?
5. You can drink it where (or very near where) it's made. There's
nothing quite like a fresh pint from your local brewpub or the
microbrewery across town. Peter Austin (the father of microbrewing
in England) once said that beer should be sold no farther from
the brewery than a horse can walk in one day. Technology has changed
that, but fresh beer still has a home court advantage.
4. Hops. Let's not argue about balance or what styles such as
IPA tasted like 100 years ago. American brewers plus hops equals
3. There's a beer for every occasion, be it a special event or
an everyday pleasure. Thirst-quenching? Try a traditional pilsner.
Sociable? A hand-drawn brewpub bitter. Greet friends with a wheat
beer. Serve an American pale ale with steak or a Vienna with pizza.
The list doesn't end -- there's a beer to celebrate the birth
of a child or a raise at work, for after work or for before bed
... or to have while you think about the next beer to drink.
2. The time to be embarrassed about American beers is not history.
As beer writer Michael Jackson points out: "If I wanted to find
a traditional Marzen-Oktoberfest, I would have to look harder
in Bavaria than the U.S. Should I desire a true India Pale Ale,
the style's country of origin, England, would have a hard time
delivering; the American examples are far more assertive."
And the No. 1 reason to celebrate American Beer Month is ...
1. Prohibition lasted 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours,
32 1/2 minutes. That was long enough.