RBPMail 7.05, May 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 Often, links you will see are out of date, and businesses referred to may also be long gone.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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A German court has ruled against Anheuser-Busch's efforts to use its Bud brand name in Germany. It said "Bud" is too much like "Bit," the diminutive of the popular German beer Bitburger. "It's very difficult, Bud, Bit, Bit or Bud," said Wolfgang Krueger, spokesman for the Federal Court of Justice, which ruled on St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch's request to market its Budweiser beer under two new brand names in Germany. The court said it struck down the proposed name "American Bud" and deferred judgment on "Anheuser-Busch Bud" because using them in Germany would likely water down the brand name Bit. "We are optimistic that the Hamburg court will eventually clear the way for 'Anheuser- Busch Bud,'" said Stephen J. Burrows, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch International. "We continue to believe both names in the case would not lead to confusion with 'Bit.'"

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A strike at Guinness lasted less than a day last month. The interim settlement came after seven hours of talks by union and management negotiators. Earlier, more than 1,000 workers shut down plants in Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny and Dundalk, a border town to the north where Guinness plans to shut a packaging plant later this month. The strikers were demanding that the Dundalk plant remain open, saving 150 jobs. As part of the late-night deal, Guinness executives agreed to reconsider when to close the plant, but insisted it still needed to be shut eventually. The strike was not expected to affect supplies or sales outside Ireland in the short run, but much of the Guinness sold in the United States is brewed at its Dublin brewery.

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There's talk that one or more American breweries may enter the bidding for Britain's Bass Brewing interest should a ruling that Interbrew must sell it stand up in international court. In Colorado, Coors has asked shareholders to change the way the company is structured and how its stock is issued and voted. That would make it easier to issue shares to raise money for transactions. "It looks to me like they're trying to do a transaction, perhaps in Europe," said beverage industry analyst Caroline Levy, citing Bass as a possible target. A stock analyst says that Anheuser-Busch should be just as interested. "Adding Bass to the A-B stable of brands would give a natural lift," wrote Marc Greenberg of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. "Bass would benefit from more consistent branding and support from the unparalleled leader in on-premise marketing and national media campaigns."

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Sleeman Breweries Ltd. has signed a strategic alliance with South African Breweries International PLC. The five-year deal calls for Sleeman to sell, market and distribute SAB's Pilsner Urquell brand in Canada. The Guelph, Ont., brewer is hoping the partnership will eventually enable it to begin making SAB labels for export to the United States. "The people at South African Breweries are in the process of building a U.S., or at least a North American strategy, and this alliance allows us to be involved in those discussions," said John Sleeman, chairman and chief executive of Sleeman. "We could help them if they chose to have their brands made in our facilities in Canada and sent to the United States and labeled as imports."

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Predictions of a summer heatwave have prompted Britain's biggest brewers to spend millions of pounds on campaigns to promote beer on the chance that the country will be basking in the sun this June. Brewers paid for long-range forecasts which have told them that both May and June will be particularly warm, and that the following months will be better than in recent years. The pub industry has been hit by foot-and- mouth in many areas that rely on tourists and are banking on a hot summer to lift fortunes. One-in-10 pubs across the UK is being hit by the crisis, according to the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association. Average sales in affected pubs are down 18%, and pubs with accommodation have seen bookings fall by an average of 22%.

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Pubs and clubs in Blaenau Gwent, among the most socially deprived areas of Wales in terms of sickness and unemployment are to be flooded with 10,000 beer mats and posters in a bid to encourage positive thinking. At the bottom of their pint will appear the message, "It's Never Too Late To Learn." Black and white beer mats, displaying the message 'Look!' on one side and 'Learn' on the other, are part of a campaign based on a research project by the University of Wales College Newport. The project is being promoted by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council's community education team, in partnership with the Workers' Educational Association (WEA). Coordinator Jeremy Gass said, "There is widespread concern that relatively few men are taking part in adult education."

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Roger Protz, chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers, was recently honored by the Czech brewery Budweiser Budvar when it gave him his own beer stein and key to Box 68 in the "Beer Chapel" based in the Business and Economic Center next to the brewery in Ceske Budejovice. He is now entitled to free beer whenever he visits the brewery. The honor is recognition of Protz's tireless support for the Czech company and its long fight to remain independent.

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There was no shortage of rescue volunteers when a truck carrying 24,000 bottles of beer crashed into an Australian river -- some locals donned scuba suits and others just dived in. People spent the Easter weekend salvaging beer from the Tweed River north of Sydney or watching others dive for bottles, police said. One man reportedly walked away with 400 bottles of beer.

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****WEB WATCH****

Playboy magazine recently asked Beer Hunter Michael Jackson to choose the "five best brews for summer" from anywhere in the world. Find out what he picked.

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We scan scores of websites each day looking for interesting bits of beer information. The best are collected here, with an occasional bit of commentary thrown in at no extra charge.

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Sign up for Pyramid's new Beer:30 online newsletter for a chance to win cool garb. Beer:30 keeps subscribers up to date on Pyramid news, happenings, special offers and more. One winner a week will score a Pyramid T-shirt. Look for the Beer:30 logo at:

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*****************REAL BEER PICKS***************
"Home of Incredible Views and Delicious Brews." This brewpub offers an eclectic bistro-style menu and a changing array of ales, with everything from Belgian-inspired choices to British-style offerings on handpump. The fresco paintings commissioned by the WPA in the 1930s make the interior as spectacular as the ocean views.

Big Systems specializes in providing high-quality, digital output solutions for the professional graphics and photo-imaging industries. Its products offer craft brewers an opportunity to create their own POS materials and save.

The Richardson, Texas, store supports its large supply of equipment and ingredients for beer brewing or wine making needs with information to improve the brewing adventures of everybody from beginners to advanced brewers.

Meheen offers fully automated bottle filling and crowning machines with pre-evacuation and long filling tubes for low air pick-up. Merlin features new 3-tube filling technology controlled by computer. These machines can produce up to 2,400 bottles per hour.

Midnight Sun is celebrating its sixth anniversary. With "Alaska as our inspiration," Midnight Sun produces a full line of wild ales and lagers, including Kodiak Brown Ale and Sockeye Red IPA. Check the site for upcoming anniversary events and special releases:

Despite its relative "youth" -- Sapporo USA won't be 21 until 2005 -- Sapporo has established itself as the most popular Japanese beer imported into the U.S. Find out about the beer, how it's made, where it's sold and plenty more at:

When America's top brewers want kegs, tanks and other stainless steel products that protect the taste and quality of their product, they call on Spartanburg. Its containers have earned the company a reputation that is as strong as they are.

Located in downtown Santa Rosa, a Mecca for great food and beer lovers alike. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner, and late night dining: AleWorks offers an extensive menu, and an impressive variety of beer styles. Billiards and darts upstairs, a beer garden outside.

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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 Jim Callender.

We asked: How old were you when you when you had your first drink of beer? Not surprisingly, 97% of you reported you were not yet 21 when you first tried beer.

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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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Roger Briess of Briess Malting, a family-owned producer of quality malts for the craft beer industry and homebrewers, died April 25. His death shocked the craft brewing community (see editorial below). A memorial service for Briess will be held May 19 in Chilton, Wis. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Briess, please donate to PowerFlour Action Network, PO Box 226, Chilton, WI 53014 "In Memory of Roger C. Briess." PFAN is devoted to improving infant nutrition in developing countries through the use of "PowerFlour," a malted barley flour that turns starchy foods into liquid for weaning babies.

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The Florida Legislature has passed a measure that would lift size restrictions on beer bottles and cans, and it needs only the signature of Gov. Jeb Bush to become law. Existing Florida law limits beer and other malt beverage containers to 8, 12, 16 or 32 ounces. It keeps many imports and American microbrewed beers out of the state because they are sold in containers, often metric, of other sizes. Rep. Tom Lee first introduced legislation in 1999 to change the law, which was enacted in 1965. The Florida Beer Wholesalers Association mounted a quick and powerful campaign in 1999 to make sure the repeal measure went nowhere. They argued that the existing law is for "consumer protection," and that consumers might be confused by new sizes and drink too much. They said prices could go up because they would need more trucks and stores would have to add to shelf space.

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The liquor industry has agreed to support a lower threshold for drunken driving. It said that it will urge state legislatures to lower the legal standard for drunken driving to 0.08% blood-alcohol content. Most states have a 0.10% standard, but federal legislation has made it costly for them if they don't quickly move to 0.08%. Representatives of the beer industry, while not endorsing the 0.08% blood-alcohol standard, said they won't oppose it. Legislation signed last fall by President Clinton would take away 2% of federal highway money from states that fail to adopt the 0.08 standard by 2004.

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The Institute for Brewing Studies honored several of its members during the National Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America last month in Portland, Ore. The IBS Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing was presented to John Harris of Full Sail Brewing Co., while the IBS Recognition Award was awarded to Jim and Bobbie Kennedy of Columbia Distributing. IBS Board Chair Larry Bell also presented a Special Thanks award to Ken Allen of Anderson Valley Brewing Co. for his contributions to the craft brewing industry as chair of the IBS Board of Advisors during 1998 and 1999. At the end of those presentations, Association of Brewers president Charlie Papazian and vice president Bob Pease paid tribute to outgoing IBS director David Edgar's 14 years of service to the craft-brewing community.

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Women who drink beer have a better chance of matching their male drinking buddies drink for drink, while those who have wine and whisky get drunk more quickly than men, the New Scientist reports. "The lesson is, if you have parties, you should have two separate sizes of glasses, one for women and one for men," said Charles Lieber, a pathologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

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People with heart disease who consume moderate levels of alcohol may have a lower risk of mortality after suffering a heart attack than those who abstained from alcohol, according to a new study. In the April 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers report that moderate drinkers had a 32% lower risk of dying from a heart attack than those who didn't drink alcohol. Moderate drinkers were defined as people who drank at least 7 drinks a week (14 alcoholic beverages a week on average). Light drinkers, or those who had fewer than seven drinks a week, had a 21% lower risk. The findings were similar for both men and women.

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Men's Health reports that sipping on a highly carbonated beer can settle a stomach just like Seven-Up or Sprite can. Plus, the alcohol helps buffer pain. "I've never seen a true medical study supporting this," says Larry L. Alexander, M.D., medical director of Central Florida Regional Hospital's emergency department, "but I have patients tell me it works. The only time you have to be careful is if you have an ulcer or gastritis. Alcohol can inflame that."

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A British student claims her breasts went up three cup sizes after she started drinking pints of beer instead of wine. Helen Birtwhistle says she started drinking three pints a night because she could not afford bottles of red wine. The 21-year-old Manchester University student says she went from a 34B bust to 36DD within weeks, but did not put on weight.

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Roger Briess of Briess Malting, who died April 25, was not a tall man but he cast a long shadow. That was evident in the days following his death as those in the craft brewing family -- many of whom had enjoyed his hospitality less than a month before at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Ore. -- reacted to the news.

- Michael Jackson, the world's best-known writer on beer:
"In the early days of the micro-brewery movement, its protagonists and supporters were a mixed bunch: Schoolteachers, actors, a swimming coach, hippies, rich kids, vaguely foreign types such as myself. We must have seemed an unlikely crowd to people who had given their lifetime to the formal disciplines of mainstream brewing. We were at best ignoring, if not rejecting, the beers they made. We talked often of British and, much stranger, Belgian styles; but rarely of the American-German tradition. Despite all that, some people from the mainstream industry began to appear at our events. The most constant was Roger Briess.

"Some might argue that he appeared out of self-interest. Certainly, he wanted to sell his malt to micro-brewers, and where would they have been without him? They hardly offered Roger a crock of gold. He went to some trouble to supply extremely small quantities and meet the demands of brewers using far more complex grain bills than the giants. Given the precariousness of the micro-brewing "industry", and the slenderness of its business knowledge, he probably had more than his share of slow payers and bad debts.

"The early micro-brewers were an unruly lot, but they truly loved beer. I believe that passion was what really engaged Roger. Quietly, he gave of his knowledge and support. He very successfully encouraged others from the mainstream brewing industry to help the micro-brewers. He was a comrade to anyone who loved beer, and his friendship was shown in an easy, quiet, unshowy, way.

"He was also a friend to children in the Third World, through the charity for which he campaigned. Late at night, after a long day, what was he discussing over a beer in the bar? Not necessarily sport, or jokes, or whatever beer-drinkers are thought to talk about in such situations. Again quietly, he spoke on behalf of those children.

"A generous, caring, warm, human being has been lost to us, inexplicably, before his time. A day after his death, I was writing about a brewery, and consulted the notes I had taken on my visit. 'Malts from Briess,' my notebook revealed. This will happen time and again. I shall be saddened by these constant reminders of Roger, but such continuing appearances will remind me of his example."

- Charlie Papazian, Association of Brewers:
"For those of you who have been around the Association of Brewers for a while you know what a friend (Roger) has been to the community that is the Association of Brewers and the beer community over the years. Singularly, Roger was one of very few professional individuals who in 1982 attended and participated in one of the first American Homebrewers Association National Conferences here in Boulder, Colorado. That's when I first met Roger after he had telephoned with great excitement about wanting to be involved in contributing to the cause of better beer.

"Roger's continued participation as a speaker, as a homebrew judge and as a mentor in those early years was undoubtedly paramount in bridging the chasm between professional and amateur craft brewing technology. There is no doubt in my mind that his participation through the years as an advisor, supporter, mentor to the Association of Brewers and all of its activities was critical in establishing the dialogues of communication that eventually led to accessibility of quality beer and brewing information to the entire craft and homebrewing community.

"Roger was a pioneer whose frontiers were integrity and quality brewing. His legacy will be the many bridges he built throughout his life, connecting good people with good causes and good information. He wasn't afraid to be different. He wasn't afraid to take professional risks in his pursuit of improving the quality in all of our lives as brewers and people involved in the brewing community.

"I feel very special in that I counted Roger as one of my best friends. Losing him will be felt not only in the brewing world, but in many other personal worlds he contributed so much to. I'll never forget him every time I enjoy a glass of quality American made beer." (From the IBS Brewers Forum)

- Fred Eckhardt, the dean of American beer writers:
"It is sad hearing of Roger Briess passing. I have known him for at least sixteen years, maybe longer. He was always upbeat and easy to talk to. I spoke with him at the Portland Craft Brewer's conference earlier this month, joking about his long-time support of lager beer production (in the early days he would always ask me "why don't any of these brewers brew lager beers?"). His answer was that ale brewers are missing much of the good life. However, he was always supportive to this industry and its supporters."

- Pete Slosberg, founder Pete's Wicked Ales:
"Roger, I miss you already! You have been a friend and an associate for well over a decade and want to thank you for being such a vocal advocate for our industry segment. Ever the voice of reason and desirous of our working together, you deserve a lot of praise from the Craft Beer segment. On a personal level, it was great when you called me or I called you just to check up on how things were. You even had a talent for remotely knowing my mood. Just when I may have had some down times, a package of triple dipped malted milk balls would arrive in the mail. Thanks! I'll always remember you."

- Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing:
"I remember Roger early on when no one was interested in supplying malt to (the craft beer) industry. He was making specialty malt with consistency. I visited his malting facility in Chilton, Wisconsin and was impressed with his innovations in roasting malt. He will be missed." (From BEERWeek)

- Mark Silva,
"One of Roger's last public speaking engagements that I had the privilege of attending was during a gathering of state guilds, attempting to organize a national awareness campaign for the category. Roger spoke passionately about the many points in which the brewers touch consumers lives, encouraged a quality message to match the product and reflected on the history of the category to unite behind the right causes. American Beer Month was born out of that meeting, thanks to the uncompromising support and vision of pioneers like Roger. Each July I'll include a toast to Roger in my celebration of better beer."