RBPMail 6.10, October 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.

In this issue:

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REALBEER.COM, WINE.COM STRIKE DISTRIBUTION DEAL and recently announced an agreement under which exclusive beers sourced by will be delivered to consumers through the distribution network that now fulfills wine orders placed through "The high quality of our online consumer experience is matched by the high standards of our order fulfillment system," said Bill Newlands, president and CEO of "This agreement leverages our expertise in managing a fully compliant system for delivering alcoholic beverages to American consumers and makes good economic sense for both companies."

"We believe that has done a great job in developing a viable delivery system in a challenging environment," said Robert Imeson, president of "This agreement will allow us to focus our efforts on sourcing the world's most exotic beers for members of our exclusive club, The Michael Jackson Real Beer Tour. It will also provide us with the opportunity to continue to develop a vibrant and exciting e-store that will be stocked with some of the world's best, yet hardest to find, beers."

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German brewers Brau und Brunnen and BrauHolding have called off their planned merger to form Germany's largest drinks group because they couldn't agree on its valuation. The provisional agreement to purchase Dortmund-based Brau und Brunnen, reached in June, would have created Germany's largest brewer. BuB's major shareholder, HypoVereinsbank AG, which holds more than 50%, had agreed the company should be brought under the umbrella of the Schoerghuber group, which owns 98% of Bayrische BrauHolding, and was prepared to reduce its stake to some 20% of the new group. Closer inspection of BuB's accounts, however, changed the Bavarian holding company's view. A takeover would have required a far more wide-ranging and costly restructuring than originally planned. BuB lost DM18 million in the first half of 2000. Last week it was reported that BuB plans to cut about a fifth of the 2,690 employees at its beer-brewing unit by 2002.

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Belgium's Interbrew, the world's second-biggest brewer, is in talks to buy AT Pyvzavod Rohan, a brewery in Ukraine. "We are looking at this opportunity," said Interbrew Spokesman Corneel Maes. "Eastern Europe is one of the areas we are concentrating on," Maes said. The acquisition would strengthen Interbrew's activities in Ukraine, where it already owns breweries Chernigov, Mykolayiv and Simseropol. Ukraine's Anti- Monopoly Committee should decide by mid-month whether to allow SUN Interbrew Ltd., which was created last year from Russia's Sun Brewing Ltd. and Interbrew, to buy 80% of Rohan, Interfax-Ukraine.

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Ukraine's breweries have found a new market -- the United States. The country's top two breweries -- the Kiev-based Obolon brewery and Zaporizhya's Slavutych brewery -- both entered the American beer market in the past year. The companies boast significant exports -- most of which supply a dedicated following of beer drinkers with Ukrainian roots. Immigrants of both Ukrainian, Russian and Jewish descent make up most of the drinkers. Beer from both breweries currently can be bought in about 20 states -- including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California -- all of which have large populations of Ukrainian immigrants. Both breweries say that they will distribute in all 50 states and Canada by the end of 2001.

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A descendant of the German royal family that launched Munich's Oktoberfest in 1810 criticized this year's organizers for turning the event into what he claims is a moneymaking exercise devoid of its Bavarian cultural heritage. Wittelsbach Prince Luitpold, a great grandson of the last King of Bavaria, Ludwig III, said: "If you go to the festival now there is little Bavarian music. In the beer tents you hear things like New York, New York, and there is barely a pair of lederhosen to be seen. How can you get a taste of typical Bavarian comfort if a table designed for eight is sold to 14?" Luitpold is also unhappy that his brewery is not allowed to sell beer at the event. Oktoberfest began Sept. 16 and ends Tuesday. Astrid Ganssen, an Oktoberfest spokesman, said: "We are on target to pass even last year's record, where 6.5 million litres of beer and 400,000 sausages were consumed. This year we hope for more visitors than ever."

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The British Journal of Psychiatry reports research that shows that cutting blood pressure and drinking moderately, already shown to promote heart health, may also ward off the mental decline that comes with age. Researchers found that those whose blood pressure dropped over time were less likely than others to see their mental abilities decline. "I must say, this is good news," Dr. Jorge A. Cervilla said. Some studies have linked uncontrolled high blood pressure to mental decline, and some have suggested moderate drinking protects the brain; however, Cervilla said, it has been unclear whether these associations hold over the long term. Subjects in his study had their mental functioning re-tested 9 to 12 years after their original tests.

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German-owned Falcon Group has entered an agreement with Cetoni for the marketing rights to Cetoni's patented resealable beverage can. Falcon is expected to target the brewing industry with its marketing. The agreement contains several sales targets, the first of which calls for a signing of a supply agreement with a leading Western European brewery for a minimum of 200 million resealable beverage cans per year.

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Divers have recovered 150 bottles of beer that have been on the seabed for nearly 120 years off the coast of the Dutch island of Terschelling. The German and Norwegian beer was recovered from the wreck of the German schooner Lisette, which sank while heading for Africa and Peru in 1881. The divers say they do not know if the beer can still be drunk but hope to test it this winter.

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****WEB WATCH****

You think you know beer? Here's your chance to show it. If you will be attending the Great American Beer Festival this weekend all you have to do is pick a few beers you think will capture medals and you may qualify for Free Beer for a Year from The Michael Jackson Real Beer Tour.

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For more than 20 years, specialty beer brewers have emphasized its all about the taste. Stop by for hints on tasting beers, to read Michael Jackson's Taste of the Tour, to look for recommended beers and to add your thoughts to the discussion.

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Michael Jackson's "The World Guide to Beer" was published in 1977. This treatise on beer history and styles sparked interest by importers and homebrewers alike and contributed greatly to the American beer renaissance. You can own your own copy of this book, personally signed by the Beer Hunter himself. We'll be giving away a copy to one lucky winner, randomly selected from the list of everybody who is subscribed to our weekly Beer Break newsletter by Oct. 31. If you've already subscribed you are automatically entered. If not, check out the newsletter at:

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If you remember how to play Hangman and know a little about the legend of Blair Witch you are ready for a new game from Moosehead Beer. Players attempt to answer trivia questions, and with each wrong answer another piece of an ancient language-rune -- some of the markings you might recall from the house in the original Blair Witch movie last year -- appears. A complete "rune" means you're done for the day and will have to return to try another day. The stakes for winning are high, so the game is challenging. Those who solve all four weekly puzzles will be entered in a drawing for a hometown premier screening of "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" for 50 of their closest friends.

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Entrants in a new sweepstakes from Pete's Wicked Ale not only have a chance to win an appearance in the filming of Blair Witch 2 but as part of entering the contest also receive a set of three Twana Stickmen Guardians that are all their own. To collect your guardians and enter the sweepstakes just hit the Twana figure at:

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Newcastle Brown Ale has designed an engaging twist on the popular, time-passing roadtrip ditty, "99 bottles of Beer on the Wall," with an online game and contest. The Shockwave game involves knocking 99 bottles off a virtual wall to reveal trivia questions from 11 fun- filled categories. "99 Bottles of Brown on the Wall" players are automatically entered into a drawing to fly to Las Vegas for a mid- December chance at a $150,000 Grand Prize. As in the real world contest, finalists will choose from one of 99 bottles on a wall, one of which earns the big bucks. Play the game at:

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*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
Austin Homebrew Supply is serious about living up to its boast of having "the largest selection of homebrew supplies." The choices -- from recipe kits to grains, from hops to yeast, from equipment for beginners to big and small upgrades for the advanced enthusiast -- are impressive, but ordering online is fast and easy.

Cask Brewing Systems specializes in the sale, supply and servicing of brewing systems for all the small brewing industry -- brewpubs, microbreweries and brew on premises (BOPs). It also provides expertise and products at all stages of the project development, offering quality equipment, complete training and proven brewing ingredients.

FlavorActiV provides sensory training products and services to the world's brewing companies. They understand that tasting is the only way to tell a good beer from a bad one. Their courses, training aids and validation program cover the whole supply chain, from raw materials evaluation to consumer testing.

Larry's Brewing Supply does all it can to make sure that shopping in its virtual store is like shopping in its physical store. That way you know which items are seasonal, which ones might make good gifts, and you can check on items where freshness is a particular concern. The web site was just redone to make shopping for homebrewing supplies and other needs even easier.

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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 is a Real Beer T- shirt. Last month's winner was Steve Mason.

Do you feel that an Oktoberfest celebration can be considered "genuine" if no German-brewed Oktoberfest-style beer is served? A whopping 74% of you who answered indicated that it is not necessary to have German beer for a successful Oktoberfest

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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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Two lucky people -- Claudia Cooper and her guest -- are headed to Denver this week, winners of Real Beer's Win a Trip to the GABF contest, held during July as part of Real Beer's American Beer Month celebration. And what better way to celebrate American Beers, with more than 1,500 beers from almost 300 breweries representing 45 states? The lucky winners will be flown from their hometown of Seattle to Denver courtesy of Travel sponsor Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, which has locations in both cities, plus more than 75 restaurants across the country. Accommodations sponsor is Ramada Inns. Thank you sponsors, and have fun Claudia!

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More than 50,000 fish were killed by a 2,500-barrel beer spill from the Coors Brewing Co. plant into Clear Creek in August, but the Colorado Division of Wildlife indicates that the company might get off without a fine. Under state law, the company could be subject to $1.75 million in penalties, but Todd Malmsbury, a spokesman for the Division of Wildlife, said the agency would instead try to work with the brewery to improve fish habitat in the affected portion of the stream. The Colorado Water Quality Control Division is also evaluating what kind of penalty to impose against the company. "We will have an enforcement action," said Carla Lenkey, an industrial compliance and enforcement specialist in the division. "Instead of issuing a violation, we'll probably enter into a compliance order on consent with the company." Malmsbury said 50,422 fish were killed along 7.4 miles of stream by the spill, which wiped out virtually every fish in its path.

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Coors Brewing Co. finds itself lock in a trademark battle that has slowed its plans to begin selling a new brand of beer brewed in Mexico. Coors filed suit in U.S. District Court against, Dumex, a California company that claims it owns the trademark Coors wants to use. Coors said it has spent more than $2 million developing its "Mexicali beer business plan." Coors plans to market the Mexican beer in the United States under the names Mexicali and Bandido. Coors' Mexican beer would be produced by Cervacia Mexicali S.A. (Cermex) of Tecate, Mexico. Dumex first filed a lawsuit in state court in California against Cermex and a company known as the Cabo Group. Coors isn't named as a defendant, but Dumex obtained a court order requiring that anyone "acting in concert" with Cermex, such as Coors, stop using any of the trademarks relating to Mexicali and Bandido beer. Dumex's "ulterior purpose for using the state court proceeding in California is to exact a settlement from Coors, knowing that Coors is eager to launch and test the Mexicali beer product," Coors said in its complaint.

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Two different fires in less than two weeks in Yakima, Wash., destroyed warehouses loaded with bales of hops. The loss of 3.5 million to 4 million pounds of hops when nationwide production is estimated at about 68 million pounds is significant, but it's too early to say what effect the fires will have on crop prices, Doug MacKinnon, director of the Yakima-based Hop Growers of America, said. "You hate to benefit from anybody else's misfortune, but this really is an industry that thrives on tragedy. Things like this cause movements that may benefit other people," he said. "It seems the prices have reacted positively to recent events." A Sept. 15 blaze at the Hollingbery and Son warehouse caused $5 million in damage. The second fire at the John I. Haas warehouse caused at least $2 million in damage, Yakima Fire Chief Al Gillespie said. The causes are under investigation, but spontaneous combustion in bales of resin-loaded hops is a storage problem. A year ago, fire gutted another Haas warehouse.

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South African Breweries has raised the price of its Pilsner Urquell beer in the U.S. in an attempt to highlight the quality of the product. The boost makes Pilsner Urquell 10% more expensive than Heineken. SAB bought Pilsner Urquell last year and plans a new marketing push and new packaging for the brand starting early next year. The company is testing new product presentations such as twelve-packs, and is "showing a very good return." "The timing for Pilsner Urquell in the U.S. is tough: Heineken is everywhere, and if you turn on to any sporting event, all you see is Anheuser-Busch," said Paul Kirbabas, GM of United Distributors Inc. of Atlanta. Nonetheless, Pilsner Urquell sales have risen 35% in the past year.

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Portland Brewing Co. is the first craft brewer in the United States to import a scotch under its own label. The brewery won approval from the staff of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to have MacTarnahan's Scotch listed as a product eligible for distribution by the state's liquor warehouses and sold in liquor stores. The 15-year-old scotch will sell for $49.95 per 750 milligram bottle and $299.70 per six- bottle case. PBC projects it will sell around 180 cases per six months. It will be stronger -- 46% alcohol -- than most of its category counterparts, which normally are 43% alcohol.

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Atlanta-based Fado pubs has purchased Irish pubs in downtown Seattle and downtown Portland from the Ram International group that runs brewpubs across the country. Ram partner Jeff Chandler said his company found the Irish bars to be much more complicated to operate than its casual brewpub concepts. Ram has paired its Big Horn Brewery with restaurants (usually The Ram, C.B. & Potts or Humperdinks) in states as far east as Indiana. Fado will rebrand the Tir Na NOg pubs with the Fado name. Fado currently operates eight pubs and plans to open another in Philadelphia in December. All were built by the Irish Pub Co., importing fixtures from Ireland. The Irish Pub Co. has built several other similar pubs -- with a variety of names, including Tir Na NOg -- across the country.

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University of Pennsylvania archaeologists have recreated an ancient brew of the Phrygians, a recipe that dates back 2,700 years. The beer - - called "King Midas Golden Elixir" -- "tastes like hard cider and sparkles like champagne" and is made by mixing fermented grape juice and beer, honey mead, herbs and spices. The Phrygians lived about 2,700 years ago in what is now Turkey. In 1957 archaeologists discovered the tomb of Midas, legendary king with "the golden touch," complete with his skeleton. A leftover libation from his funeral feast was discovered among the debris. Chemical analysis of the dregs in a leftover cup found in the tomb led to the recipe used to brew the beer. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware helped the archaeological team with the brewing. "I was scared out of my pants," said Calagione. "There was no benchmark or precedent for this project -- anyone who'd had a benchmark for this brew was long dead." He gathered the ingredients from California, England, Italy and India, and made a test batch.

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Earlier this year our monthly poll at asked readers, "What's the best way to educate teens and young adults about responsible drinking?" Four out of five voted for education in the home. In fact, 71% indicated that education should include sampling. Thus, when we received Stephen Beaumont's Monthly World of Beer Update a couple of weeks ago we thought we should pass it along to you.

We recognize that no single solution works for everybody -- and urge you not to overlook the part that reads "set limits appropriate to age and development" -- and as with all guest editorials we add this disclaimer: The views presented here are not necessarily those of Real Beer, Inc., and are presented here to provide perspective from throughout the beer world.

Now, here's what Stephen wrote:

An unexpected insert arrived recently in a mailing I received from the Brewers Association of Canada. It was a well-produced, official-looking pamphlet entitled "A New Way of Thinking About Drinking," and much to my surprise, it made a lot of sense.

"The majority of people who drink, drink responsibly," the pamphlet says in its introductory paragraph, "That is to say, 95 percent of those who drink understand that responsible drinking is the difference between drinking enough and drinking too much."

Now, that's a good start. But even so, I was still bracing myself for a moralistic message about keeping beer and other alcoholic beverages away from kids, or some other related theme. Imagine my surprise, then, when I got to the fourth paragraph:

"When relaxing after a day's work, without fuss or self-consciousness, share a sip of beer with your child should he or she ask. When having a glass of wine with dinner, let your child have a small, watered-down quantity."

Brilliant! Some organization is actually advocating in print the common-sense approach I have espoused for years. Who, I wondered, are the people responsible for this fresh approach? The brochure was attributed to the Health Education Foundation, so I sent off an email to them and received a speedy reply.

According to Lila Campos, program manager for the Health Education Foundation, the HEF is a "non-profit tax-exempt organization (supported by) the general public and several industries, including the alcohol industry." They are also the people behind the development and administration of TIPS, a two-decade-old training program for service industry workers involved with the sale of alcohol.

I would encourage anyone with children to get a copy of this intelligent brochure, or even arrange to get a box of them for your school or community centre. As the final paragraph says:

"Remove the mystery, defuse the allure, break down barriers, set limits appropriate to age and development. Then young people will learn to view the use of alcohol less as a dangerous, forbidden substance -- and more as a social part of life."

Contact the Health Education Foundation at or The Health Education Foundation, Inc., 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 502, Washington, DC 20037.

Editor's recommendation: To receive Stephen's informative free updates every month used the subscription form at