RBPMail 7.03, March 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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Heineken has made its long-awaited move into Germany, the largest beer market in Europe, through a joint venture with brewing group Schorghuber. The Dutch brewer, the second largest in the world behind Anheuser Busch, will own 49.9% of the new company with Schorghuber unit Bayerische BrauHolding controlling the rest. The company, to be called BrauHolding International, plans to export Paulaner Weiss -- using Heineken's sales and distribution network to market the beer around the world. Under the terms of the deal, Heineken also gets a minority stake in German brewers Paulaner and Kulmbacher, both controlled by Schoghuber, a Bavarian holding group that owns one of the country's largest brewery businesses.

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Belgium will take the U.K. government to the European Court of Justice for blocking beer giant Interbrew's to buy the Bass brewing interest. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last month ordered the Belgian brewer to sell all of Bass' U.K. interests in one package. Trade Secretary, Stephen Byers, ruled that the combined Interbrew/Bass Brewers' 32% market share in the United Kingdom would give the group too much control in the sector. The Belgian government will challenge the DTI ruling over "whether the European competition rules were properly respected." "We will file a complaint in six weeks," said a spokesman for the Belgian Ministry of Economics. Byers has given Interbrew six months to sell Bass.

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Heineken would be interested in buying some Bass brands if the company were to be sold, Heineken Chairman Karel Vuursteen said recently. "It would depend how the company would be split," Vuursteen said. "We wouldn't be interested in buying a regional part but we would look into brands." Heineken, the world's second largest brewer after Anheuser- Busch, doesn't own brewing operations in the U.K. but has a distributing agreement and has indicated it would like to expand in the country.

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Tsingtao, China's largest brewery, will make and sell its own lower priced beer in Beijing and compete head on with foreign brewing giants Anheuser Busch and Heineken. Rather than lower its price, Tsingtao plans to brew beer in two plants that it purchased last year under the Yanjing brand. "We want to take on Budweiser and Heineken in the Beijing market," a brewery spokeswoman said.

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Polish lawmakers have taken action to severely limit beer advertisements. PAP news agency reports the measure includes restrictions on content of the ads. Various laws would: Ban beer advertisements from television, radio, cinemas and theaters from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.; prohibit advertisements that allude to sex, relaxation, sport activities or success; ban beer advertisements from video cassettes, youth-oriented magazines, magazine covers and billboards; ban consumption of alcohol on the street and in parks; and give employers the right to demand employees submit to alcohol tests.

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The Irish government has bought the hop store and surrounding buildings on Guinness' 60-acre brewery site for 15 million, adding to speculation that Guinness is planning to move out of Dublin city, where it has operated for the past 240 years. The proposal is for parts of the St. James's Gate brewery to become the site for a new multi-media village called the Digital Hub. Denying rumors it will leave Dublin, a Guinness spokesperson said that the site was surplus to requirements and that the brewery remained committed to Dublin.

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The Irish Republic has canceled St. Patrick's Day festivities in Dublin because of the continued concern of the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. This highly contagious disease has swept through animals in Great Britain, and there has been at least one confirmed case of the disease in Northern Ireland. Usually, more than a million Irish pause in their penitence during Lent in favor of four days (March 16-19) of merriment and take to the streets of Dublin to honor St. Patrick with a festival of music, street theater, and parades and plenty of stout.

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Studies by the World Health Organization show that wine drinkers such as the French, Spanish and Italians have been cutting back since 1955 while beer drinkers have nearly doubled their intake. In 1955, French, Spanish and Italian alcohol intake was nearly triple that of beer drinking strongholds such as Germany, Britain and Denmark. "The average difference between the beer- and wine-drinking countries in total consumption now appears to be no more than a few deciliters of pure alcohol per year," according to the WHO.

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Dozens of breweries in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria are joining forces to create what they hope will be the world's biggest pub crawl to draw drinking tourists to the three countries. The project has already secured sponsorship from the European Union cultural-historical fund. Tourists taking the beer route will be able to learn about the brewing traditions of countries and sample the products.

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****WEB WATCH****

Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub in Syracuse, N.Y., has a small door for leprechauns right beside its regular front door, fully trimmed and with a light above. A former Syracuse resident swears he once saw a patron who obviously had consumed much too much stout try to crawl through the door at closing time. Stories like that remind us of the magic of Irish pubs -- both in Ireland and elsewhere -- and thoughts of drinking dark beer from a green island.

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Last year, there was an outcry among beer-lovers last year when rumors spread that Rodenbach Grand Cru might cease production. Michael Jackson reports that Belgian brewery is working on plans which, if they are successful, will surprise and delight devotees of its sweet-and-sour Grand Cru.

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When Michael Jackson was on Conan O'Brien's TV show a couple of years back there was some discussion of "hot rocks" because Jackson brought a sample of Boscos Flaming Stone Beer. Brew Your Own online has details about how you can make your own traditional stein beer at home.

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*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
The Vancouver, Wash., store is dedicated to making quality home beverages from quality ingredients. They've got plenty of beer and wine starter kits -- a great way to get going in the hobby.

Set in a grand Mt. Vernon townhouse, The Brewer's Art offers a seasonally-influenced menu of European-style country fare featuring meats, fish, seafood, pasta, and vegetarian offerings. It supplements its Belgian-style beers brewed on the premises with an exceptional menu of beers and fine wines from around the world.

Brewlab's extensive teaching facilities provide full support to a variety of teaching courses -- theoretical, practical, laboratory and business based. Brewlab also specializes in providing services to the brewing industry, particularly analysis and yeast supply.

The Darwin Brewery started producing specialty beers for the brewing school at the University of Sunderland, and now offers these beers and others from its brewery in Crook. Among its products are two beers developed at Brewlab -- Flag Porter and Norvig Ale -- as historical recreations.

Whether you plan to toast St. Patrick at home or in the pub, the Guinness WebStore has got just what you need to party in true GUINNESS style. Get what you want delivered to your door direct from the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin.

The complete line of "PHIL'S" equipment can be found here. These include the famous "Phil's Phalse Bottom" and the "Phil Mill 2." Home of Dan Listermann's famous first-timer's guide to all-grain brewing: "So You Wanna Mash..."

England's oldest brewery, founded in 1698, continues to be one of its most forward-looking. There is plenty of information about its beers and pubs and it's also lots of fun. You can download Shepherd Neame wallpaper taken from the two controversial ad campaigns that were banned from London's underground.

Founded in 1875, Steinecker is known throughout the world as a manufacturer of first-rate, high quality brewing plants, grain mills, filtration systems, and automated control systems. The company combines tradition with future-oriented technologies and innovations. Last year it established Steinecker, Incorporated, to serve North and Central America.

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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 winners were Chip and Trudie Heemsoth.

We asked how many of you have a second refrigerator to store beer. More than half (56%) of you who answered have a fridge dedicated just to beer and another 15% a second refrigerator for beer and food.

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

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

Beverage Machinery supplies a wide range of engineered products for the brewing industry. It offers a comprehensive and versatile line of beer handling systems which cover: kegging, filling, filtration, pasteurizers, deaeration, etc. The quality of its work is affirmed by its customers around the world.

Brewers Wholesale Supply uses warehouses in two locations to supply a wide range of fine quality malt, hops, and clarification products. They are exclusive distributors of Crisp malt, Quest brewing products and flavors, J E Siebel, Savilles and Glen Eagles malt as well as a supplier of many other products.

For the record, the Party Pig is a self-contained beer packaging/dispensing system. It replaces bottles and/or kegging systems for finishing and serving beer. One Pig holds 2.25 gallons, and scores of brewpubs and microbreweries across America use them to sell beer-to- go.

Fermenters and brewers of all levels take note: RCB Equipment is the premier business in obtaining, and reselling quality 5 gallon ball lock kegs. The focus on quality materials and low overhead operation allows them to offer kegs to the market at extremely competitive prices.

The Fawcett family has been making malt in Castleford, West Yorkshire, since the late 1780s. The company was established officially in 1809, and today the sixth and seventh generation of Fawcett are actively involved in running it.

Also visit:

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San Antonio's historic Pearl Brewery may have dodged a bullet for the last time. Pabst Brewing Co. has told brewery workers they should expect to be out of work by the end of April -- and this time Pabst means it. Pabst announced last April that it would shutter the 115- year-old brewery, then reversed itself and promised to keep it open three more years. It laid off about 300 workers while keeping 80. Pabst will retain its corporate staff in San Antonio but will operate only one brewery, the Lehigh Valley Brewery in Pennsylvania.

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Paul Gatza, current director of the American Homebrewers Association, will replace David Edgar as director of the Institute for Brewing Studies as well as retaining his job as AHA director. Gatza's selection, as well as the decision to consolidate positions, was made recently after Edgar announced his resignation to pursue new opportunities. "My vision for the Institute for Brewing Studies includes continuing to grow the industry for the benefit of our members and the building of strategic alliances within the industry," Gatza said.

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The Georgia House of Representatives has rejected legislation that would have permitted the sale of beer with an alcohol content higher that 6% by volume. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Stuckey (D-Decatur), was to raise the legal alcohol content in beer to 14%. Proponents said the change would permit the sale of a greater variety of beer styles in Georgia. Stuckey said she was stunned by her bill's sound defeat, by a margin of 108-60. "Last year, it (a similar bill) got 126 votes" in the House, she said.

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Illinois stout lovers are getting a head start on St. Patrick's Day as Guinness test markets selling "draught beer" in bottles. At the center of the effort is a "rocket widget" that rattles when drinkers shake the bottle. The plastic, rocket-shaped device floats inside the bottle and is "activated" when the bottle is opened. Each time the bottle tips, a mixture of gases is released, creating the same creamy head Guinness drinkers expect when ordering the beer on tap.

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Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams beer, has made a donation of $5,000 to Northwest PAL Football Organization on behalf of Sam Adams, the defensive tackle and pro bowl lineman for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Though Adams is not a beer drinker himself, he agreed to participate in the donation and check presentation because he saw it as an opportunity to help children and teens of the Northwest PAL Football Organization. Boston Beer donated the check to PAL at the Towanda Recreational Center in Baltimore, Md.

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Anheuser-Busch has given $20,000 to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to restore the cellar at Jefferson's Monticello, Va., home where beer probably was brewed. The project will include information about brewing at Monticello during Jefferson's lifetime. It's known that Jefferson's wife, Martha, used to brew light ales between 1772 and 1774. Jefferson's taste for wine is well documented, but the foundation indicates that beer was also a drink of choice at Monticello. Anheuser- Busch's gift was matched by John and Bobbi Nau of Houston.

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Chip McElroy, owner of Live Oak Brewing Co. in Austin, put Miller Brewing's decision to close the Celis Brewery in interesting perspective. "It's a huge loss to Austin. It's like if you had an internationally recognized symphony and no one came to hear it," he said. "Among beer people, the fact that Austin couldn't support Celis is like Kennedy being shot in Dallas."

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The neo-Prohibitionists won a round in Georgia last month when the state House of Representatives defeated a measure that would have allowed the sale of beer stronger than 6% (see the story above). Now they are at work in Kansas.

Last week, Sen. Jim Barnett introduced legislation to boost the tax on alcohol. The money raised would go to fund public schools. That sounds great, but Barnett and several groups concerned about underage drinking also indicated they are looking at another "benefit" of the higher tax. If the proposed increases price some people out of a drink, especially minors, so much the better, they said. "I do have great concerns regarding the impact of alcohol on our society, and, particularly, our youth," Barnett told to the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, telegraphing possible underlying motives.

David Corbin, the committee chairman, said he doubted Barnett's tax proposal would pass but noted that anything is possible because lawmakers are trying to find more revenue for public schools. Sen. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, a member of the committee, added she would consider tax increases on alcohol and cigarettes, but she opposed Barnett's proposal because it placed too much of an increase on beer.

No kidding. Barnett's plan would increase the state tax on a gallon of beer from 18 cents to 98 cents (545%); on wine from 30 cents to 36 cents per gallon (20%); and from $2.50 per gallon on alcohol to $3 (20%).

Chuck Magerl, owner of Free State Brewing Co. in Lawrence, said the measure could put his brewpub out of business. "This is a direct attack on the life of my business and all that I've worked for over these years to create," he said. Shawn Schlegel, owner of Brown Bear Brewing Co., which operates just down the street from Free State, added: "We're probably the most regulated business in Kansas. I probably pay taxes six times a month."

In pushing for the tax, Barnett said the revenue would not come close to paying for societal problems caused by alcohol, including fetal alcohol syndrome, violent crime and alcohol-related vehicle accidents. The problem with this approach is it puts the issue "in the bottle," and not with those guilty of the offenses. History tells us this approach, while making an emotionally persuasive argument, doesn't work when it comes to application. Nobody gave Prohibition more of a chance than Kansas (it passed there in 1880 and the state remained dry until 1958), but eventually it was abandoned because Prohibition just doesn't work.

Outlawing drinking was an ugly, failed experiment, so now the neo- Prohibitionists have taken a different approach -- basically making it harder and more expensive for you to enjoy a glass of beer or wine whenever they can. They are good at what they do, using emotional statements to lead us to what appear to be logical conclusions, but that aren't really at all.

Consider this claim from one neo-Prohibitionist: "You don't see bottles of cabernet in the back of a kid's car at an accident scene." There's a clear, emotional image presented here: open bottles, car crash, injured kids. Bad, bad, bad. No one could defend such an outcome. A great way to malign beer through extreme imagery.

You can't counter this cleverly twisted logic by arguing about the outcome of abuses of a legal, adult activity. If it were about traffic accidents we would confiscate cars from fatigued drivers, who often are as dangerous as drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08% or less. But don't go there in an argument; doing so allows the emotional imagery to drive the debate. The issues run deeper than car crashes, and into solutions that actually work.

So maybe that's where the real dialog should begin. Point out what is working in the joint battles against underage drinking and drunk driving. Real education --discussing alcohol use openly with our children -- will save more kids than any "sin tax," no matter the intended use of the proceeds.

Consider these facts:

- The percentage of high-school seniors who reported having a drink in the last 30 days is 12% lower in 2000 than in 1990, and down 28% since 1982.

- Today there are 2.2 million fewer teen drinkers than there were in 1990, and 3.2 million fewer teen drinkers than there were in 1982.

- The number of people killed in drunk-driving crashes has declined 32% since 1990 and 41% since 1982.

You'll find more like this at They are proof that real education works a lot better than Prohibition ever did.