RBPMail 7.01, January 2001

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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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 authorities last week rejected Interbrew's £2.3 billion takeover of Bass brewing and ordered the Belgian brewer to sell the assets. Trade Secretary Stephen Byers said the Competition Commission advised that only voiding the whole takeover would prevent the creation of an unhealthy duopoly in the market between Interbrew and Scottish & Newcastle. The deal would have given Interbrew a 32% share of the U.K. market and made the Belgian brewer the second largest in the world. Interbrew said it will take several weeks to review the order, but thinks that a successful appeal is possible. Interbrew's head of investor relations, Patrick Verelst, acknowledged however that no similar competitions commission decision has ever been overturned. Thus Interbrew faces the prospect of a forced sale, probably to one of its global rivals such as Heineken, Carlsberg or South African Breweries.

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The Swedish competition authorities have given conditional approval to Carlsberg and Orkla ASA to merge their Swedish breweries Falcon and Pripps as a part of the formation of Carlsberg Breweries. Carlsberg A/S will own 60% of Carlsberg Breweries and Orkla ASA, 40%. The Swedish authorities have requested that the following brands be sold: Three Towns, Fat, Arboga, Eagle, Bayerbrau, Starkbock and Sailor. Furthermore, Falcon and Pripps will have to give up their rights to distribute the five imported brands, Lapin Kulta, Warsteiner, Caffrey's, Bass and Staropramen.

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Anheuser-Busch expanded its presence in South America by purchasing a stake in Chile's leading brewery. The St. Louis-based company bought a 14% share of Compania Cervecerias Unidas S.A. for $224 million. The company operates primarily in Chile and Argentina, and holds 90% of Chile's domestic beer market. The two brewers have been partners for five years in Argentina, where Anheuser-Busch has an 11% share of CCU's Argentine beer subsidiary. Also, CCU brews and sells Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser brand in Argentina, and exports it to Chile and Paraguay.

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Heineken has exercised an option that allows it to buy a majority stake in Nigerian Breweries. By converting a loan to the breweries into equity, Heineken, increased its share of the ownership from 43.3% to 54.2%. The loan was taken to modernize and extend the capacity of the brewery to meet growing demand. Nigerian Breweries has a 52% share of the national market, the second largest in Africa. Since the foundation of Nigerian Breweries in 1946, Heineken has rendered technical support and other management services.

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Grupo Modelo, Mexico's largest brewer, reported that it has completed expansion of its Sonora brewery to double annual production capacity. Modelo produces its Corona Extra, Modelo Especial, Pacifico and the Light Modelo brands for its domestic and fast-growing export markets at the newly refurbished plant. The new capacity will allow the company to have major presence in the north of Mexico and continue with its export strategy.

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Coors Brewing Co. has lost a bid in federal court to protect use of a trademark for a Mexican beer it spent $2 million developing. Coors wanted a judge to rule that its use of the names Mexicali and Bandido wouldn't violate the trademark rights of the Dumex Corp., a Mexican- beer distributor based in California that also claims ownership of the names. U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch turned down Coors' request and dismissed the complaint in favor of a related lawsuit pending in California. In that case, Dumex won the right to keep Cerveceria Mexicana (CerMex), a Coors subsidiary based in Tecate, Mexico, from using the brand names at least until a trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

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Genesee Brewing Co. of Rochester, New York, completed its management buyout, a move that saved 450 jobs. Eight Genesee Corp. executives bought the company for $25.8 million, $14.8 million of it in cash. The new company will be called High Falls Brewing Co. and be the fifth largest beer producer in the United States. The Genesee name will remain on all the company's beer labels but new specialty brews will bear the High Falls name.

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Miller Brewing Co. has complete a nearly $4 million pilot brewery within its Milwaukee Technical Center. The brewery is designed for producing and testing new products in smaller batches. Currently, Miller makes new products as part of its normal brewing process, which can interrupt production of brands. The new brewery is a 10-barrel system, the same size as an Anheuser-Busch pilot brewery in St. Louis. The new products produced by Miller will be for testing, not consumer sale, but may be available as free samples for those who visit the Miller Tour Center.

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****WEB WATCH****

"I wish I were in Anchorage right now. Alaskans have proper snow, lots of it, often, and know how to live with it," writes Michael Jackson. The upcoming barley wine festival might also have something to do with the way he feels. Read about his trip to Alaska for last year's festival, including a close encounter with "seven insanely enthusiastic huskies."

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Stephen Beaumont looks back on the year in beer, including the best beers he tasted and the ones he wishes he hadn't, the most obnoxious beer ad, trends and more.

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Oregon's Deschutes Brewery begins an ongoing educational beer series at its website on Jan. 16. The first in a series of four classes opens with a close look at porter, with pale ale (Feb. 1), stout (Feb. 16) and ESB (March 1) to follow. Brewmaster Bill Pengelly will be answering questions from visitors.

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*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************

BeerTrips offers high quality, personally designed beer tours to the best European beer destinations and U.S. festivals. Packages include visits to classic breweries, bars, pubs and cafes, events with local beer experts, fine hotels, great beer meals, transportation and more. Many trips are available in 2001. Space is limited to 15 travelers per trip.

The appeal of Irish pub is so broad that versions of them have popped all around the world, but to really appreciate an Irish pub you should be in Ireland. Pub Tours of Ireland offers a chance to do that. The trips include plenty of pubs, but also a fair sampling of what else the Emerald Isle has to offer.

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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 Tom Fleming.

We asked readers about their Internet experience -- not only how long they've been using only the World Wide Web but also parts of the Internet that have been around longer, such as email and discussion groups. Almost 90% of those who answered have at least two years
experience and 41% answered seven years or more

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*********** Brewed Fresh For You! **************

The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites to check out:

Alaskan Brewing's award winning Alaskan Smoked Porter, Amber, Pale, ESB and Stout are internationally known and loved. Their historic recipes, Alaskan spirit and quality of life in the last frontier and breathtaking beauty of Alaska is reflected in their stellar website.

The T-shirts at this Denver beer destination read "No Crap on Tap!" and the beer list is kept up-to-date at the website. Whether you are looking for the best of the Rockies, the best from around the world or the taphandle nobody else in town has, you'll find it here.

Find Flying Fish beers in many fine New Jersey, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia bars and restaurants as well as package stores. Also at Disney World's Flying Fish Cafe! Visit the brewery at 18 Olney Ave., Cherry Hill for free tours and tastings each Saturday (1-4 p.m.).

New Hampshire's original brewpub, established in 1991. Located in the heart of historic downtown Portsmouth, the brewery offers fine, handcrafted lagers and ales and a wide ranging menu of outstanding food, all served in a lively, friendly atmosphere. Large parties are always welcome.

Founded in 1994, Smuttynose Brewing Company is named for one of the Isles of Shoals, a small, rugged archipelago that lies offshore from Portsmouth. Smuttynose beers include Shoals Pale Ale -- recently cited by the Boston Globe as "the closest thing to an English ale in an American bottled beer" -- Old Brown Dog, Portsmouth Lager, Robust Porter and the Big Beer Series.

Spaten-Franziskaner Brauerei, producers of the world's first Oktoberfest beer, have been brewing great beer for over 600 years. This site offers a wealth of facts -- whether you love Spaten, brewing or are just a beer history buff.

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Beer drinkers in Northern Californian can now buy a pilsener brewed in Ceske Budejovice, home of Budejovicky Budvar, the Czech brewer involved in a long-running trademark dispute with U.S. brewing giant Anheuser-
Busch for the rights to sell beer under the "Budweiser" name. The beer, called Czechvar, uses the same Moravian malt, Czech Saaz hops and deep well water as Budvar Budweiser. Is it Budvar Budweiser? "I can't answer that," said Mike Cechetini of Wine Warehouse, which distributes the beer. "You can try the beer and say what you want." Importer Kip Bruzzone's goal is to avoid any trademark wrangling that would put him in court instead of out selling a beer that tastes like the one he fell in love with more than 20 years ago. "We're going to sell it based on the beer in the bottle, not the name," Bruzzone said.

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Coors Brewing Co. has agreed to change the labels on cans and bottles of its "Blue Moon Belgian White" beer to settle a lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by the Confederation of Belgian Breweries November 1999, alleged the packaging on Coors' Belgian-style beer led drinkers to believe it was brewed in Belgium. The group, which represents the majority of Belgian brewers, also alleged that the labels on bottles and cans saying that the beer is Belgian-style are too small and can be obscured by packaging of six-packs. As part of the settlement, Coors agreed to increase the size of the label with the words "Belgian-Style Wheat Ale" and to place it in prominent places on its bottles, taps and other promotional material.

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A modest amount of alcohol a day is good for the brain cells, according to a Japanese study that found moderate drinking can improve
intelligence. A team from the National Institute for Longevity Sciences tested the IQs of 2,000 people aged from 40 to 79. They found that on average men who drank moderately had an IQ 3.3 points higher than those who did not drink. Women drinkers scored 2.5 points higher than females who did not drink. The Japanese scientists defined moderate drinking as less than 540ml of sake or wine a day. They said the type of alcohol did not influence the results. Volunteers drank beer, whisky, wine and sake. The scientists also concluded that drinking alcohol excessively impaired intellectual ability.

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Additional research shows that antioxidants in beer can reduce the risk of cataracts and heart disease. Researchers in Canada and the United States presented results at the 2000 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies showing that beer, especially the darker ales and stouts, may reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis and cataracts by as much as 50%. Darker beers have more antioxidants than the lighter lager beers, according to Canadian researchers John Trevithick, Ph.D., and Maurice Hirst, Ph.D., of the University of Western Ontario, and Joe Vinson, Ph.D., of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. The Canadian team focused on determining why antioxidants in beer seem to help reduce the risk of cataracts, especially in diabetics. Vinson investigated beer's beneficial effect in reducing the risk of heart disease. At the University of Scranton, Vinson, a professor of chemistry, found that giving hamsters the human equivalent of two beers a day halved their rate of atherosclerosis. "This is a significant effect," he noted. "Beer has a fair amount of antioxidants compared to other beverages. There is a definite benefit from the antioxidants in the beer."

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Dutch scientists have found a way to serve beer in space, but after three and a half years research haven't quite figured out how to put a good looking head on that beer. The British publication New Scientist reported that researchers at Delft University of Technology cracked the No. 1 challenge: getting the beer out of the barrel. On Earth, an inert gas such as carbon dioxide is used to force the beer out of a keg and through the tap. But in space, the liquid would float around idly inside the barrel, which means that as much gas as beer is likely to come out of the tap. "It has a flexible membrane, which contains the beer, inside the barrel," project supervisor Kajsa van Overbeek explained. "Normal air is pumped between the barrel wall and the membrane to force the beer out." The team tested their invention at conditions near zero gravity. They were surprised to find that the beer plopped neatly out of the tap in identical, ping-pong ball-sized amounts. But there was no foamy head on the beer. Gas bubbles need gravity to rise.

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A study by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research concludes that alcohol use among American adolescents continues to decline. It found that: the percentage of teens, ages 12 through 17, who report having a drink in the last 30 days is 47% lower in 1999 than it was in 1982; the percentage of college freshmen who say they drink beer frequently or occasionally is at its lowest level since record keeping began in 1966; an that fatalities and crashes involving drunk teenage drivers, ages 16 through 20, decreased 61% from 1982 to 1998.

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The finalists competing for the coveted title of 2001 Beerdrinker of the Year have been announced, with the winner to be chosen Jan. 20 in at Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver. Colo. Among the finalists is Tom Ciccateri, who publishes the New Mexico Virtual Brewpub ( at the Real Beer Page. Other finalists are Cornelia Corey of Clemmons, North Carolina; and Gary Steinel of White Plains, New York.

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German-bashing ads from Shepherd Neame's Spitfire beer have once again sparked controversy in Great Britain. The London Underground ordered Spitfire posters removed from subway trains because they were considered offensive. Poking fun at Germans became the theme of subway ad campaigns from the Kent-based brewery three years ago. One of the current posters is titled "enemy identification chart." A takeoff on the charts used during the war to spot enemy aircraft, it shows the silhouette of two beer glasses - one a squat British pint and the other an elaborate German stein. The pint says "ours," the stein says "theirs." Some Germans are clearly not amused by the advertising. Last year, the departing German ambassador, Gebhardt von Moltke, accused the British of "profound ignorance" about modern Germany and suggested that history instruction in Britain seems to end with Hitler.

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Because of the space we work in and the subject we write about, it shouldn't surprise you that we find the similarities between the Internet industry and the specialty beer business particularly obvious. We saw brewers learn hard lessons in the mid-1990s that Internet entrepreneurs didn't find out about until the last six months. Hundreds of "dot-coms" went out of business in 2000, just as hundreds of breweries failed in the 1990s while more than 1,000 were opening.

It turns out that Internet is not a magical place where upstart teen-agers get rich by letting people push buttons to get anything they want delivered instantly for free. Just as it turned out that it takes more than a few shiny copper kettles and catchy beer names to make a good brewery.

Passion, vision, business basics, commitment to evolution, focus and integrity characterize the brewers who have survived and thrived in the microbrew industry. These are the same elements we strive for in our business at Real Beer. If the quality of the company we keep -- from brewers to authors, publishing partners to employees -- speaks to these elements, we're confident we're on the right track. The bottom line for beer drinkers and web users: More choices; better choices.

And the bottom line for us: We get to work in both worlds. Every year since Real Beer was founded in 1994 our goals have been to grow the category, the network and resources for beer online. In 2000 we added the final piece of the puzzle -- now we can put some of the great beers we've been writing about in your hands.

As those of you who drop by regularly know, Michael Jackson's Real Beer Tour ( was only one of many additions we made in 2000. Once again, we spent the year expanding the network. We suggest exploring the Real Beer Library or spending a little time in the Spotlight or Destinations areas to get an idea of what we mean, because the list of what's new is much longer than you want to read here.

Also, we hate to start listing exciting additions such as an entire book from John Palmer (How to Brew -- and Bobby Bush's reports ( from all over the country without mentioning that regular updates from publishers like the Celebrator ( and Brew Your Own ( are just as important.

Not all the changes were in the library. We continue to make behind the scenes upgrades to make sure each visit to is enjoyable, as well as offering new features. In September we launched a weekly newsletter -- BEER BREAK: Your two-minute beer primer -- that's shorter than this one and focuses strictly on beer appreciation. We've added discussion boards where you can chat with us and other Real Beer Page readers.

In 2001? Our goals are the same as always -- "more and better." Like the commercial Internet, Real Beer turns six with a continued focus on the hard job of creating useful electronic tools. We can't predict there will be a time when we can reach out through the screen and hand you a beer, but that's a pretty good goal.

In the meantime, we'll do our best to inform you about all your beer interests, from beer news to brewing to just plain enjoying beer.