RBPMail 6.08, August 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.
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U.K. WANTS ITS OWN LOOK AT INTERBREW-BASS DEAL
Stephen Byers, Great Britain's trade and industry secretary,
has requested permission from the European Union to handle the
competition review of Interbrew £2.3 billion pound ($3.5 billion)
buyout of the Bass brewing business. The deal is being reviewed
by the European Commission, the EU's clearinghouse for mergers.
An EU member nation can request that a certain review be referred
back to it if it believes the deal raises competition concerns
within a distinct market in its home territory. "The Director
of Fair Trading has advised that the proposed merger raises competition
concerns in a distinct market in the U.K. which warrant further
investigation. I agree and am therefore requesting the European
Commission to refer the case to the U.K.," Beyers said. Belgian-based
Interbrew, which acquired Whitbread's brewing business for £400
million in June and would have 32% of the market after buying
Bass, declined to comment.
MILD STYLE ALE HONORED AS BEST BEER IN BRITAIN
Moorhouse's Black Cat was chosen the best beer in Britain during
judging by brewers, beer writers and journalists at the Great
British Beer Festival in London. The mild beer is described in
the 2000 Good Beer Guide as, "A smooth, well-balanced dark mild
with a fruity aroma. Chocolate and coffee flavours complement
the bitter roast character that lingers on into the aftertaste."
The Burnley brewed ale was the first mild in 30 years to be chosen
as the Champion Beer. The silver award went to TEA from Hogs Back
Brewery in Tongham, Surrey; the bronze to Yorkshire Terrier Bitter
from York Brewery. The complete results are at:
As one of the judges in the finals, Michael Jackson writes: "I
loved its distinctively purply-ruby color; chocolaty aroma; and
oily fullness of palate; but found its roasty dryness of finish
slightly astringent." Read more about the beers in the final round
WHITE SHIELD GOING BACK TO BURTON-ON-TRENT
Worthington White Shield, Britain's most famous bottle-conditioned
beer, is going back to Burton-on-Trent, where it will be brewed
by Steve Wellington at the Museum Brewing Co. White Shield was
first brewed in Burton in the 19th century, and Bass continued
to brew White Shield when it merged with Worthington in the 1920s.
In the 1990s Bass lost interest in the beer and its sales slumped.
Bass took it away from Burton, brewing first in a subsidiary brewery
in Sheffield and then at Mitchell & Butler's plant in Birmingham.
Then in 1998 it reached an agreement with Sussex independent King
& Barnes to brew White Shield at Horsham. The beer was once again
under threat when King & Barnes was taken over earlier this year
by Hall & Woodhouse, which plans to close the Horsham plant next
month. But feverish lobbying by Wellington led to Bass/Interbrew
deciding to take the brand back to Burton.
THOMAS HARDY'S ALE FACES EXTINCTION
Thomas Hardy's Ale, one of the most sought-after strong ales
around, may be history. Phoenix Imports, which imports the beer,
recently learned that the Thomas Hardy Brewery of Dorchester,
England, ceased production of all Eldridge Pope brands. Pope began
producing the beer in 1968, and it soon became a cult classic.
Each vintage was blended from as many as six different brews and
underwent three fermentations. In 1997, Eldridge Pope & Co. sold
the Thomas Hardy Brewery to focus on its pubs and wine imports.
When Phoenix placed its order for the 2000 vintage, company president
George Saxon was told that "because of major changes which have
taken place within the Eldridge Pope Management team, Thomas Hardy
(Brewery) has ceased production of their major brands. Therefore,
Hardy's Ale is no longer available." Phoenix then initiated talks
with Eldridge Pope, which retains ownership of the brand, about
finding another brewer to produce the beer. Pope has indicated
interest, but while talks continue it is obvious there will not
be time to brew a 2000 vintage.
TSINGTAO WILL NOT EXPAND WITH FOSTER'S, MILLER
Despite rumors to the contrary, Tsingtao Brewery Co. recently
said Foster's Brewing Group of Australia and U.S. brewer Miller
Brewing Company will not figure into its expansion plans. Tsingtao
is still negotiating with other foreign brewers. Tsingtao plans
to double its market share in China, the second largest beer market
in the world, with the help of foreign brewery acquisitions. Regarding
the Miller and Foster's rumors, Tsingtao spokesman Zhang Ruixiang
said, "We met these two companies only once, and it's irresponsible
to say we could form alliances with them." Tsingtao is in negotiations
to buy Beijing Asia Shuanghesheng Five Star Brewery Co. and is
also speaking to Carlsberg about its unprofitable Shanghai brewery.
AUSTRALIAN BREWERS CHALLENGE NEW BEER TAX SYSTEM
Australian brewers including Foster's Brewing Group and Lion
Nathan have sought legal advice to combat a new 8% tax increase
on draft beer. Brewers are paying the new tax "under protest"
while they research their options. Both large brewers have been
running TV ads criticizing the new taxes, which were raised 8%
for draft beer but only 1.9% for packaged beer. The difference
is seen in pubs and taverns where the 8% tax is passed on to patrons.
SMALL BREWERY WINS BIG AT AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL
James Squire Beers brewed by the Malt Shovel Brewery were big
winners at the 2000 Liquorland Australian International Beer Awards
in Melbourne, capturing 10 medals and 4 trophies. The competition
attracted 480 entries from 87 companies spanning 25 countries.
All three James Squire beers were winners, and James Squire Pilsener
received a staggering four gold medals. Samuel Adams beers from
the United States and Hoegaarden White of Belgium were among the
most honored international beers. Find the trophy winners at:
We choose to drink a beer for many reasons, but it always serves
us well to know all we can about what we are tasting -- if only
to help us choose our next beer. This month in Spotlight you'll
find a collection of primers on tasting. Learn how you taste, how
to talk about what you taste, how to host your own tasting and more.
MORE ON BEER APPRECIATION
Beginning in September, we'll offer more tips on beer appreciation
in a new weekly newsletter. Beer Break, a concise dispatch intended
to take only minutes out of your day, will include tips on beer
for novices and aficionados, two or three tasting notes about beers
from around the world and a few links to online beer articles. Sign
up now and don't miss an issue.
IF IT'S BRITISH AND GOOD, LET'S DISMISS
On the eve of the Great British Beer Festival, Michael Jackson offered
some forthright opinions on a tough year for Britain's native brews.
About Interbrew's proposed acquisition of Bass, he writes: "Bass
makes nearly ten million barrels of beer a year but, in its fourth
century as a brewer, would rather run bars, restaurants and hotels.
Perhaps its beers will be safer in the hands of a company with 'brew'
in its name, but don't bet on it."
TAKING NO PRISONERS
This month at World of Beer, Stephen Beaumont writes about
"the top five things that piss me off about the world of beer and
brewing." We don't want to spoil any surprises....
The British brewing industry, and the British pub, is subject to
more change than ever before, and the TASTE! magazine covers all
the stories of interest to drinkers. It also never forgets that
beer and everything associated with it is actually good fun.
Now you can buy candles that look good enough to drink. BeerWax
candles come in 16-ounce pint glasses and are available in fragrances
such as Spice Pumpkin, Mocha and Lemon. Each candle is hand-poured
and topped with a delicious "head" of French Vanilla.
BREW TECH INDUSTRIES, INC.
Brew Tech aims to be the king of used equipment - buying, selling
and working on consignment. Run by brewers for brewers, BTI works
with more than 300 breweries, and 90% of its business is supplying
equipment and specialty parts to already existing breweries.
E. J. WREN HOMEBREWER, INC.
The largest home-brewing supplier in Central New York has high-tech
answers for advance hobbyists, but also easy-to-understand advice
for first-time brewers. They want to get brewers started, then guide
them through their brewing careers. Stop by to see if you qualify
for free shipping.
HOBBY BEVERAGE EQUIPMENT CO.
Hobby Beverage comes up with creative ways to provide small batch
brewing equipment that works just like at larger breweries -- for
instance producing the first conical bottom fermentor with all the
attributes of a professional fermentor entirely from thermoplastic.
PYRAMID LAUNCHES NEW FALL SEASONAL
Pyramid announces the newest addition to its seasonal lineup, Broken
Rake Amber Ale. Copper in color and big in taste, this robust well-
balanced brew is the perfect yard work companion. To learn more
about the new brew and to enter to win an Autumn Adventure to Yellowstone
National Park, visit
RED DOG SALOON
As the oldest man-made tourist attraction in Juneau, Alaska, the
Red Dog is synonymous with Alaska. The floors are covered with sawdust,
flags are draped from the ceiling, and the walls covered cherished
memorabilia of Alaskans: Wyatt Earp's gun, a walrus oosik, trophy
wildlife mounts, historical posters and photographs, and currency
signed by miners.
QUICKIE EMAIL SURVEY
Thanks to all who have been replying to our Quickie Surveys. Last
month we drew two winners, Mark White and Michael Doyle, who will
both receive Real Beer T-shirts. Mark wrote: "I have taken several
tours, but the best has to be the Sprecher Brewery in Milwaukee."
Michael told us, "Yes. I sometimes will attempt to match beer
and grub. The perfect match is to include beer in the recipe though!"
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
- Have you ever taken a brewery tour? A full 90% of readers who
responded have been on at least one brewery tour. - When you have
beer with a meal at home, do you try to match it with what you
are eating? Almost 60% of those replying indicate they sometimes
pair food and beer, while an equal number responded always as
*********** Brewed Fresh For
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
RELABELED PYRAMID HEFEWEIZEN SPARKS SUIT
A class-action lawsuit claims Seattle's Pyramid Brewery is selling
Pyramid Hefeweizen under two different names in order to sell
beer at a lower price to Washington's top beer retailers. "Pyramid
Brewery has done nothing wrong. We intend to vigorously defend
this litigation," said Wayne Drury, chief financial officer for
Pyramid. The suit charges that Pyramid conspired with a distributor,
Alaska Distributors Co., to sell Bavarian Hefeweizen for $70 a
keg, instead of the standard $95 a keg for Pyramid Hefeweizen.
That deal, however, was only available to Service America Corp.,
Safeco's vendor, and Host International Inc., concessionaire at
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It is against state law
to sell the same beer wholesale at different prices to different
retailers. The class-action lawsuit seeks damages for every bar
in Washington that sells the regular Hefeweizen.
AMERICAN BEERS SPARKLE IN TASTE-OFFS
American beers successfully defended their home turf in a series
of "Liquid Lunches" and other tasting events during July. Boston
Beer Co. sponsored most of the events, including nine of its ongoing
Liquid Lunches in cities across the country. A 10th blind tasting
was held in Philadelphia in conjunction with "Beer Philadelphia"
when American Beer Month kicked off in that city with a variety
of events. Generally, each tasting featured three Samuel Adams
beers and two local beers against some of the best known and best
advertised imports -- and American beers were preferred in most
cases. Toronado, one of America's premier beer bars, conducted
a slightly different sort of showdown, rating two California beers
and two highly regarded British beers in each of three categories.
The California beers topped all three categories. Find the complete
results and read more about American Beer Month at:
A-B TAKES AIM AT KILLIAN'S
Anheuser-Busch is testing a red lager beer in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
and could make the beer a national product by next year. "Advertising
Age" reports that Killarney is brewed with Irish whiskey and brewers
malts. It will compete with George Killian's Irish Red Lager,
marketed by Coors Brewing Co. Killian's is the No. 2 domestically
brewed "superpremium regular" beer, after A-B's Michelob. A-B
started testing Killarney's on tap in late February. It reportedly
plans to expand the test later this year, including a bottled
product. A-B launched three reds beers in 1994 -- Red Wolf Lager,
Elephant Red and Elk Mountain Red Lager -- but since dropped the
DOS EQUIS FOLLOWS CORONA'S LEAD IN CANS
Mexican brewer and bottler Femsa has become the second Mexican
brewer this summer to expand its line of canned beer, making Dos
Equis Lager available in cans for the first time and supplementing
its 12-ounce Tecate cans with a 16-ounce version. Grupo Modelo
earlier announced it would begin selling its popular Corona beer
in cans in the United States. Previously, Corona, the No. 1 import
in the U.S., was available only in bottles.
5,000 YEARS OF DRINKING CULTURE CELEBRATED
IN NEW YORK
"Drink and Be Merry: Wine and Beer in Ancient Times" at the Jewish
Museum in New York City until Nov. 5 showcases more than 180 objects
including art, artifacts and paraphernalia of the wine and beer
trade. Organized by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, this exhibition
explores two of the oldest known beverages, valued throughout
time for their abilities to lift spirits, inspire religious fervor,
deaden pain and cure illness. The Jewish Museum is located at
1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd Street.
CLASSIC BEER POSTERS IN ST. LOUIS
The St. Louis Library is featuring an international traveling
exhibition of historic beer posters from the collection of Heinrich
Becker of Cologne, Germany, through Sept. 16. This is the only
showing in North America. About 50 posters are on display Monday
through Friday at the Central Library, and 100 different ones
are presented Monday through Sunday at the St. Louis Merchatile
Library. The exhibit is sponsored by St. Louis Brewery/Schlafly
Beer. Schlafly's summer seasonal beer is a Kolsch using yeast
flown in from Becker's Gaffel Braueri in Cologne.
BRAND STUDY SINGLES OUT BUDWEISER, COORS LIGHT
The strength of the Budweiser and Coors Light brands stood out
in a recent customer loyalty survey conducted by Brand Keys, a
New York- based research firm. The study probed customers' relationships
with 129 brands in 24 categories, ranging from mobile-telephone
manufacturers to diet soft drinks to online brokerages. Budweiser
rated No. 1 in the beer category, while Coors Light was tops in
light beer. Coors Light is the nation's third best selling light
beer, behind Bud Light and Miller Lite.
EDITORIAL: ON FRESH BEER AND POTATO
Most microbrewers visiting the Utz potato chip factory
in Hanover, Pa., would feel right at home.
Although the facility is bigger than all but a few micros and
Utz has more employees, in the potato chip world Utz is a small
batch producer. The potatoes are carefully selected, then inspected
before slicing, after cooking and all along the way. The plant
combines high-tech machinery and hands-on human guidance.
The emphasis, in the end, is on quality and freshness. Sound
A key difference between Utz and microbreweries, though, is what
happens after the chips leave the production area. They remain
in Utz's control. Utz distributes snack foods in 10 Eastern states,
from New York to North Carolina, with sales people taking orders
one day and Utz trucks often delivering fresh shipments the next.
The company estimates that 90% of its chips are eaten within a
week of when they are made.
It's against the law for breweries to do the same thing. One
of the legacies of Prohibition is the three-tier system, which
requires that breweries go through middlemen, in this case distributors,
who sell beer (and other alcoholic products) to retailers.
As a result, a salesman for High Krausen Brewing Co. can't stop
in your favorite tavern or beer store, find out that supplies
of High Krausen Pilsner are running low and promise the owner
that a batch will be delivered fresh from the brewery the next
day. And if you buy a 6-pack of HK Pilsner that smells of Band-Aids,
you don't know if you should blame the brewer or a truck driver
employed by somebody else who left it in the sun on a loading
dock during his lunch break.
Is this fair? No. Don't producers and consumers both benefit
when a producer is allowed to make sure its products are sold
under the best conditions? Yet as much as we like the idea of
freshness and local control, we know the law isn't going to change.
If you care about your beer as much as your potato chips, however,
there are things you can do to help High Krausen and other breweries.
- When you find old and abused products at bars and in retail
stores, politely inform both the bar or storeowner and the brewery.
Good bars and stores appreciate educated customers.
- Reward the bars and stores that take good care of beer with
your business. Perhaps the store down the street is selling High
Krausen at $1 less per 6-pack because the owner is pushing old
It's that simple -- expect freshness and quality and be willing
to pay for it.