RBPMail 7.02, February 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.
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EUROPEAN BREWERS LOBBY FOR CHEAPER BEER
Europe's brewers plan to lobby the European Parliament for lower
taxes on beer. Brewers of Europe, a trade confederation, will
attend a hearing at the EU's assembly Thursday to ensure plans
to narrow differences in levels of excise duties imposed by the
15 EU governments will bring the levies down rather than up. The
brewers are seeking to avoid what happened last time the EU sought
to harmonize beer duties, when southern European nations with
lower taxes were obliged to raise the level closer to those with
higher taxes, such as the UK, Ireland and the Nordic nations.
That move in 1993 led to increases in excise duty of 400% in France,
300% in Italy and 250% in Spain.
AUSSIE BREWERS SEEK TAX REFUND
Australia's biggest brewers have taken the government to court
to recover excess taxes that drinkers have been paying for six
months. They want to be repaid tens of millions of dollars in
beer excise should the Senate scrap existing increases in the
tax. The money could be poured back into drinkers' glasses through
cheaper beer, or donated to charities. Drinkers have been paying
a doubled excise rate, plus a sales tax, since July 1. The price
of draft beer increased as much as 11%, while the tax on packaged
beer was up only 1.9%. The tax increase was introduced as a "tariff
proposal," a provision instrument by which the government imposes
a tax increase on the condition that it will legislate within
12 months to make it legal. However, the Australian Democrats
and Labor have said they will scrap the excise increase in the
Senate. Both parties say the government promised in the 1998 election
campaign that tax reform would increase the price of beer by just
INTERBREW APPEALS ANTITRUST RULING
Belgian brewer Interbrew says it will appeal a decision by antitrust
authorities in the United Kingdom to block its $3.36 billion acquisition
of the Bass brewing assets, while admitting it will be forced
to sell Bass. The legal action is an attempt to make the sale
process less damaging to the business. Interbrew wants the courts
to look at the decision by Stephen Byers, the United Kingdom trade
and industry secretary, to force Interbrew to dispose of Bass
Brewers. Hugo Powell, Interbrew chief executive, said the company
had been advised that it was unlikely to succeed in overturning
the decision by the U.K. Competition Commission. Instead it wants
the courts to give it more time to effect a disposal and allow
a greater range of possible bidders to be considered -- including
DIAGEO MAY MAKE BID FOR FOSTER'S
Diageo, the world's largest liquor company and owner of the Guinness
is rumored to be considering a bid for the Foster's Brewing Group.
analysts say that such a bid would make sense, they also note
that a bid of
$6 billion for Foster's beer and wine business probably wouldn't
"Diageo and other bigger investors are looking at Foster's
Australian liquor companies as part of their expansion plans,"
Powditch, equities manager at BNP Investment Management Limited.
think Australian fund managers will let Foster's go for that price."
Foster's Lager is the No. 6 brand worldwide and is available in
CORONA DESIGNATED 'BUDWEISER BRAND'
A deal with Anheuser-Busch should allow Corona beer sales to
keep booming in the United States. El Economista business columnist
Tomas de la Rosa reported that A-B has designated Corona a "Budweiser
brand," which allows A-B distributors to boost their share of
total sales represented by the Mexican beer. Corona became the
No. 1 selling imported beer in the United States in 1997, surpassing
Heineken, and has extended it advantage every year since. Currently,
about 25% of Modelo brands are distributed through A-B's wholesale
system. Anheuser Busch has held a stake in Grupo Modelo, which
brews Corona, since 1993.
EC RAIDS PORTUGUESE BREWERY OFFICES
The European Commission officials raided the Lisbon and Oporto
offices of Portuguese brewing companies Unicer and Centralcer
looking for evidence of suspected price fixing, market sharing
and information exchange. "Any documents seized in this week's
inspections would have to be examined carefully, and it is impossible
to prejudge the outcome of the investigation or to say when it
will be concluded," a statement from the commission read. The
two brewers account for about 98% of the Portuguese beer market.
BUD LIGHT FLOPS IN BRITAIN
American brewing giants Anheuser-Busch has pulled Bud Light out
of Britain because the lager failed to make enough impact in the
fiercely competitive U.K. beer market. Anheuser-Busch introduced
Bud Light to Britain two years ago, hoping it would attract a
following among people who wanted to drink beer but worried about
their calorie intake. Instead, the drink appears to have fallen
into a void between the two, proving too light for serious drinkers
and too macho for calorie-conscious women. Bud Light has 25% fewer
calories than the regular Budweiser, but is only a little less
strong. The alcohol content is 4.3% by volume compared with 5%
for Bud. A-B acknowledges that many British drinkers were confused
by the word "light," thinking it meant low-alcohol rather than
SIEBEL INSTITUTE, DOEMENS PARTNER IN WORLD
The Siebel Institute of Technology of Chicago and Doemens Brewing
Academy of Munich, Germany have partnered to form a multinational
brewing institute. The new venture will be named The World Brewing
Academy, and its mandate will be to revolutionize the form and
content of contemporary brewing education. A unique feature of
the WBA will be to provide students the opportunity and choice
of studying at either the Chicago or Munich campus. The Siebel
Institute and Doemens Academy will continue to offer separate
educational and research programs, as well as hosting the mutual
courses offered by the World Brewing Academy.
BEER IN BELGIUM
Everything you've always wanted to know about Belgian and Belgian-style
beers but were afraid to ask can now be found in one place. "Belgian
have become fashionable," Michael Jackson writes, "yet
the pleasures they
offer have been truly explored by only a discerning minority of
Come explore them with us.
YA BIG JESSIE!
The Scottish language isn't always easy to comprehend -- but you
won't have any trouble understanding an authentic Scotch Ale such
as Pyramid Tilted Kilt. Stop by this site to learn to speak Scottish.
You may not be able to understand exactly what the Scotsman is saying,
but it's a good excuse to have a Tilted Kilt and listen again.
WHY CRAFT BEER IS HERE TO STAY
Stephen Beaumont has spotted a sure-fire indicator that craft beer
has come of age in North America, and moreover, that it is not about
to go away.
*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
BEER AND WINE HOBBY
The Boston-area store opened in 1972 has everything needed to brew
beer, make wine, make cheese, grow mushrooms, create vinegars -
and more. Very beginner friendly, with plenty of kits and useful
tips for the brewing newcomer.
BEER, BEER & MORE BEER
Stop by this virtual store and you'll be greeted with the message:
"Welcome to a business founded on hobbies gone astray!" The everything
beer supercenter has complete catalogs for beermakers, winemakers
and beer enthusiasts. Free shipping on all orders over $40 to the
Who is Graham Heffer and just how big a star is this cool spokescow
for Boddingtons Ale? Learn more about Graham and the creamy ale
that has been enjoyed by beer drinkers in England for more than
200 years. Be sure to visit the history area and the section on
serving great beer.
BREW PACK PRODUCTS
If you've always wondered about the history of the growler, you'll
find it here. Since starting to make modern day growlers in 1989,
Brew Pack Products has grown into a full service provider of promotional
products and packaging items for the micro brewing industry.
HOP BACK BREWERY
Founded in Wiltshire in 1986, Hop Back immediately began winning
medals in Real Ale competitions and never stopped. Still growing,
it provides a wide range of ales to its own pubs, the free trade
and even the United States.
JAMES CLAY & SONS
An importer and distributor of specialty beers for 20 years, James
Clay imports directly from breweries in Belgium, Holland, France,
Germany and the United States. Click on "Beer Cuisine" to find out
why "life is something that happens between meals."
MENDOCINO BREWING CO.
Mendocino Brewing Co. was born in 1983 in Hopland, Calif., the state's
first brewpub since Prohibition and the second in the country. It now
produces its distinctive ales at Ukiah, 110 miles north of San Francisco
and in Saratoga Springs, NY.
NORTH AMERICAN BREWING SERVICES
Founder Ian Day stands ready to construct a brewery that most any budget
can afford. NABS will assist in initial design layout, in-house training,
recipe formulation, installation and sourcing used and new equipment.
THE PILGRIM BREWERY
Pilgrim was one of a new wave of smaller brewers that opened in England in
the 1980s and the original "two men and the dog" operation. The brewery
makes a wide variety of award winning beers, has organized an innovative
Hop Club and remains true to its motto: "You thirsty fought every day."
POTRERO BREWING CO.
The brewpub is located on the Western slope of San Francisco's Potrero
Hill. The picturesque backdrop of the San Francisco Fog as it rolls over
Twin Peaks makes the roof deck ideal for unwinding, and is soon to be the
site of the Potrero Brewing FOG CAM.
PYRAMID ALES & LAGERS
Since 1984, Pyramid has been brewing a wide variety of hand-crafted
ales and lagers. There's a beer for every occasion. With so many
distinctively different and flavorful beers, there's really nothing
like a Pyramid. Not even another Pyramid. Sign up for Pyramid's
Beer:30 online newsletter at the new and improved site:
Founded in 1866, the Radeberg Brewery near Dresden was the first in Germany
to brew a Pilsner-style beer. The much-honored brewery -- it won 13 medals
in 1910 alone -- soon became "Royal Court Brewery of Saxony." Now Germany's
best kept secret can be found in the United States.
ST. PETER'S BREWERY
St. Peter's was founded in 1995 with a keen eye toward tradition,
in the brewery in a 13th century manor house, and acquiring two
hotels and a 15th century village pub to act as "shop windows"
brand. Now its unique bottles are available far from its Suffolk
including the United States.
STELLA ARTOIS UK
The ultimate film source for the United Kingdom. Stellascreen has
up-to-date film news, and invites visitors to rate the newest movies and
register to win free beer and movie tickets.
QUICKIE EMAIL SURVEY
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 Robert Gehringer.
LAST MONTH'S QUESTION:
We asked readers: If you've never ordered beer by mail, why not?
A majority of those who gave a specific reason said that it was
because beer-by-mail was not legal in the state where they live.
*********** Brewed Fresh For You! **************
The Real Beer Page announces a diverse group of brew websites
to check out:
GOOD NEWS FOR REAL ALE, PUBS
A new survey by Britain's Campaign for Real Ale finds that Real
Ale and traditional pubs may be holding their own. "The market
share of Real Ale has been falling for the last six years," Mike
Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications said, "but this survey
indicates that beer drinkers are starting to turn their backs
on bland fizzy lagers and head for tastier Real Ales, despite
the lack of marketing they receive from big brewers." Among other
things, the survey discovered:
- 17% of people would use pubs more if they had a play area for
- 25% of people choose a pub based on the price of drinks.
- 50% of people prefer country pubs, compared to only 16% who
favor themed town center bars.
- Nearly a fifth (17%) of pub goers would most like to be seen
drinking real ale, but 22% prefer lager.
- 65% of beer drinkers prefer pints to halves
- and one in four women prefer pints.
- 53% of people choose a particular pub because of the people
who use it.
BUD'S SUPER BOWL ADS SCORE; SAM ADAMS SNEAKS
IN BACK DOOR
Advertising critics may not have agreed about the best single
commercial during the Super Bowl, but they all called the year
Anheuser-Busch spent refining its ads for Budweiser and Bud Light
time well spent. The Wall Street Journal said the "Whassuppp"
in space effort stole the show, USA TODAY rated the spot where
Cedric accidentally sprays his dream date with Bud Light the best
commercial of the Super Bowl, and Ad Critic picked the Bud spot
with the portly dog as A-B's best. However, nobody made mention
of what appeared to be perfect product placement by Boston Beer
Co. Although Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Sam Adams was
officially credited with only one tackle it seemed like you heard
his name mentioned every other play.
GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL SEPT. 27-29
The Great American Beer Festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary
this year, has been set for Sept. 27-29. It returns to the Colorado
Convention Center in downtown Denver. The festival has a new director,
Nancy Johnson, who has served as events director of the Association
of Brewers and director of the National Craft Brewers Conference
and BrewExpo America for the past 6 years. She was recently named
the Director of Brewing Matters, the division of the Association
of Brewers responsible for presenting the Festival and the World
Beer Cup. The festival moved to the Colorado Convention Center
in 2000 after spending seven years at Currigan Hall, which is
no longer available.
MICHIGAN BREWERIES JOIN TO BREW ONE BEER
Microbreweries from all over the state of Michigan have brewed
the same beer using the same ingredients for a public tasting
Feb. 18 at Royal Oak Brewery in Royal Oak. The Single Recipe Tasting
is one of the main attractions of the Polar Beer Festival. Ingredients
for the Single Recipe Tasting were supplied by Schreier Malting
Company of Sheboygan, Wis., and Hopunion of Yakima, Wash. The
beer is a pale ale brewed to a recipe designed by Tim Selewski
of Royal Oak Brewery. "I designed a beer that will allow subtle
differences in each brewing system, their local water, and house
yeast to be perceived" said Selewski. "So while the beer is the
same style with the same amount of malted barley and hops, each
example will demonstrate subtle differences between the different
NO BEER IN IOWA HEAVEN
The Iowa marching band will no longer sing the words to the polka
tune "In Heaven There Is No Beer" because a parent of a band member
complained about the lyrics: "In Heaven, there is no beer. That's
why we drink it here. And when we're gone from here, all our friends
will be drinkin' all the beer." he song has been played for years
after Iowa Hawkeye football and basketball games. Les Steenlage,
administrative associate in the Iowa athletic department, says
the song isn't meant to promote drinking. "I think fans react
more to the polka style and upbeat tempo," he said. "To us, it
isn't sending a message and isn't meant to send a message either.
It's just a celebration song." The band will continue to play
the song but won't sing the words.
A BITTER END FOR PIGS
The London Telegraph reports that the pig farm owned by the Suffolk
brewers Adnams is on the market and the 570 pigs, who gorged themselves
daily on up to three gallons of waste beer, yeast, grain and hops,
have been sold. The downturn in the pig market has prompted the
tenant farmer to sell the herd; the brewery has decided to get
rid of the farm. Jonathan Adnams, managing director of the family
brewery, said: "The pigs were very pleased with their diet." The
brewery's by-products are now being made into fertilizer.
EDITORIAL: LEND THE FOLKS IN GEORGIA
Will this be the year that a group called Georgians for
World Class Beer succeeds in its three-year battle to provide
the state's beer drinkers access to popular beers people across
the rest of the country already enjoy?
We're rooting for them.
The alcohol limit on what is called "beer" has been 6% alcohol
by volume in Georgia since the state repealed Prohibition in 1935.
Rep. Stephanie Stuckey, D-Decatur, recently introduced a bill
in the General Assembly to boost the limit to 14%. That would
mean drinkers could sample strong ales from the U.K., German bocks,
Belgian Trappist ales and a whole range of American-made craft
A similar bill passed the House last year but died in a Senate
committee. Peter Marte, president of ThunderHead Distribution
Inc., an Atlanta specialty beer wholesaler, said one reason was
that the misrepresented it as a way to bring "high-octane beer
to Buckhead." Another probably was that the measure zipped through
the House so quickly that no groundwork was laid for it in the
Senate. Stucky has promised that won't happen this year.
"We're not talking about kids getting drunk on the weekend,"
Stuckey said. "We're talking about an expensive, high-quality
beverage that connoisseurs would drink."
That's the point. We're pretty sure neo-Prohibitionists will
be checking in on this -- and they'll be playing the underage
drinking card. Do they really think youths looking for a quick
buzz are going to go out and spend the higher prices (for one
thing, beer stronger than 6% would be taxed as twice the rate
as 6% and lower) these beers command?
That's why we salute the Georgians for World Class Beer. They
don't argue that they have a constitutional right to buy specialty
beer. They don't pretend this is the most important legislative
issue the state has to deal with this year -- there's the matter
of what appears on the flag, for instance. They are simply laying
out the facts that 37 states, including neighbors Tennessee and
Florida, don't have similar restrictions.
"It's just an educational issue," group member Ted Hull told
the Associated Press. "Because it's about alcohol, it's something
that folks who are not interested in seeing any changes in alcohol
law can sensationalize."
That's for sure. For instance, Rep. Garland Pinholster, R-Ball
Ground, was among several Republicans who voted against the measure
last year. "My district up in north Georgia is much more a part
of the old Bible Belt," he said. "I didn't take a poll and I could
be wrong, but my judgment was that my district would not want
a higher alcoholic content in their local stores."
The good news is that the bill has already received more media
attention this year that includes arguments on both sides. And
the Savannah Morning News essentially endorsed it with an editorial
title "Bottoms up to beer bill." In part, it noted:
"You can't judge what you can't taste. And that's unfortunate.
When state government is playing beer referee at package shops
and the corner tavern, something is amiss."
The editorial concluded:
"It's hard to see how such a change would erode morals or hurt
public safety. Those looking for a cheap beer buzz aren't going
to spend $12 or more for a six-pack of the specialty product.
And if individual counties object to alcohol, they have the option
to go 'dry.' They have a choice. Those dry 'world-class' beer-drinkers
What can we do to help the cause? We wouldn't suggest bombarding
Georgia legislators with email -- we know how we'd react to that.
Instead, visit the Georgians for World Class Beer website. You
can even donate money to the cause if you want. These are the
guys at ground zero, and they'll know best how to use it.