RBPMail 7.09, July 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 emialed to subscribers.
In this issue:
* Britain's Largest Independent Brewer Stays that Way
* Study by Brewer Claims CAMRA out of Touch
* Molson Plans to Rebuild U.S. Market Share
* Mexican Brewers Petition for Lower Taxes
* Mendocino Acquires Kingfisher Distribution Rights
* Pint of Lager Tops £2 In Britain
* 'Stone Age' Beer Includes Dung in Recipe
* Study Claims Wine Drinkers Smarter than Beer Drinkers
* Web Watch
- Michael Jackson Sees Pink Elephants
* Government Takes Coors to Court on Fish Spill
* Drinkers Feel Happier about Their Health
* Will Volunteer for Beer...
* Microsoft Pulls Beer Book for School 'Care Package'
* A-B Removes Shroud from Michelob
* Coors Sues Bottle Cap Manufacturer
* Fish Brewing and Leavenworth Brewery Merge
* Ukiah Brewing 'First Organic' Brewpub
* Editorial: Beer and Festivals
BRITAIN'S LARGEST INDEPENDENT STAYS THAT WAY
Wolverhampton & Dudley Brewery shareholders have rejected a hostile
takeover bid by Pubmaster. Wolves is the largest independent brewer in
Britain and owns brands such as Marston's and Banks. CAMRA, the
Campaign for Real Ale, cheered the decision. "This is great news for
beer drinkers in the Midlands and for the real ale industry as a whole.
We look forward to working with the W&DB board to make sure
competition, value and choice continue throughout the midlands," said
Mike Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications. Pubmaster began its
battle to acquire Wolves last year after the brewery had received a
takeover offer from hotels magnate Robert Breare and his company Noble
STUDY BY BREWER CLAIMS CAMRA OUT OF TOUCH
A report based on research conducted by a British brewer charges that
the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is out of touch with Britain's beer
drinkers. The research by Cains in Liverpool indicates that terminology
used by CAMRA to describe real ale is confusing. It has received
additional attention because it comes two weeks after CAMRA was
criticized for banning two Greene King ales from the Great British Beer
Festival. The study, conducted around Liverpool, reports there is
"widespread confusion" about real ale. Many drinkers thought it was the
"obscure stuff drunk at beer festivals." CAMRA spokesman Tony Jerome
defended the organization, saying the new NaturALE phase of its Ask if
it's Cask campaign, which features nude models, had gone a long way
towards changing people's perceptions of real ale.
MOLSON PLANS TO REBUILD U.S. MARKET SHARE
Molson chief executive Daniel O'Neill has promised that Canada's oldest
brewer will begin to reclaim its share of the U.S. beer market by
fiscal 2003. "With an 11.3% share of the total $50 billion beer market
and still growing, the U.S. import segment is even more crucial for
us," he said. "We're focusing on the Northeast, including two specific
areas, and we'll apply all we've learned to growing our business,
targeting entry into Texas and California later." Molson's U.S. sales
volume has fallen by half over the last eight years to one million
barrels. Overall, Molson products have dropped from third place among
U.S. imports to seventh.
MEXICAN BREWERS PETITION FOR LOWER TAXES
Mexico's beer makers are lobbying for a tax reduction. They claim they
need a tax cut to remain competitive internationally. The tax reform
proposal would maintain the existing 25% special tax on products and
services and the 15% value-added tax paid by the beer industry, but
would gradually reduce the special tax from 25% to 19% over the next
several years. The Mexican beer industry represents 3.8% of Mexico's
total tax revenues and 1.6% of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
MENDOCINO ACQUIRES KINGFISHER RIGHTS
Mendocino Brewing Co. has acquired the British corporation United
Breweries International Limited, including the wholly owned operating
subsidiary UBSN Ltd., in exchange for 5.5 million shares of Mendocino
common stock. UBSN is the sole distributor of Kingfisher Premium Lager
Beer in the U.K., Ireland, Continental Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
This acquisition further solidifies Mendocino's relationship with
Kingfisher Beer, both of which are controlled by the United Brewers
Group, the fifth largest manufacturer of distilled spirits in the
world. It also may be an avenue for shared and increased distribution
opportunities, both domestically and overseas.
PINT OF LAGER TOPS £2 IN BRITAIN
The cost of an average pint of lager in Great Britain has broken the
"psychologically important" £2 barrier, notes The Publican, an industry
publication. By this time next year, it claims, lager drinkers will
think nothing of spending more than two quid for a pint. Of course,
that's been the case in London for a few years. Tokyo Joe's, in
Piccadilly, charges £3.95 for 330ml -- little more than half a pint --
of Kirin Ichaban beer, while Point 101 in New Oxford Street sells a
pint of the Dutch lager Grolsch for £2.95.
'STONE AGE' BEER INCLUDES DUNG IN RECIPE
Historians have recreated a "Stone Age" beer flavored with animal dung,
and put it on sale in the Orkney Islands off northern Scotland. Merryn
Dineley, a Manchester University historian and chief brewer of the
ancient beer, told the weekly paper, The Observer, on Sunday that the
brew was "quite delicious." The ale is brewed in clay pots with traces
of baked animal droppings. He and others recreated the recipe after
uncovering what they claim is a 5,000-year-old pub and brewery on the
remote archipelago. Dineley examined stone-lined drains running under
houses in the neolithic village of Skara Brae in the Orkneys and found
evidence of a kiln for malting grain and traces of a cereal-based
WINE DRINKERS SMARTER THAN BEER DRINKERS?
A study that started out trying to explain the apparent health benefits
of drinking red wine suggests that wine drinkers could be smarter than
beer drinkers and better adjusted. The report published in the Archives
of Internal Medicine confirms that moderate wine drinkers experience
better overall health than either abstainers or those who choose other
alcoholic beverages. The conventional view, associated with the now
famous French Paradox, is that red wine contains compounds that raise
good cholesterol levels and reduce the blood's tendency to clot,
promoting overall cardiac health. However, the researchers conclude, it
may not be ingredients in the wine itself. They argue that it's the
higher socioeconomic status, elevated IQ, and enhanced personality
function of average wine-drinkers that are the probable sources of the
good health and comparative longevity they enjoy.
PINK ELEPHANTS: SEEING TWO OF THEM
Visiting eight Belgian breweries in one day with Michael Jackson --
plenty of surprises are in store, including one for the Beer Hunter
himself. The story.
Across the United States and around the world, Oktoberfest celebrations
are set to start. Find out how the original Oktoberfest began in
Germany, learn how to do the Chicken Dance, taste some Oktoberfest
beers and more. The story.
GOVERNMENT TAKES COORS TO COURT ON FISH SPILL
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has filed suit in Jefferson County
District Court against the Coors Brewing Co. to recover the value of
more than 50,000 fish killed last year after the company discharged
77,000 gallons of beer into Clear Creek. Colorado law values each fish
at $35, making the potential fine at least $1.75 million, said Todd
Malmsbury, a wildlife division spokesman. Wildlife officials said that
a year of discussions with the brewing company has not rectified the
damage and that it's the division's "duty" to file the complaint to
"protect Colorado's aquatic resource and recover damages caused by this
DRINKERS FEEL HAPPIER ABOUT THEIR HEALTH
If drinking beer doesn't actually make you healthier, apparently it
might make you feel happier about your health. A study conducted by
Autonoma University in Madrid found that moderate drinkers feel better
about their health than non-drinkers. Previous studies have suggested
that a daily glass of beer or wine helps people stay healthy. The
researchers used data from Spain's 1993 National Health Survey of
20,000 Spanish adults. "The results showed that people who drank
alcohol, including beer and spirits, were less likely to report ill
health than people who abstained altogether," according to the report
in the British-based Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. "And
overall, the higher the consumption of total alcohol the lower levels
of subjective ill health."
WILL VOLUNTEER FOR BEER...
The Great American Beer Festival is looking for more than 1,500
volunteers to help put on the 20th annual festival this year in Denver.
Volunteers assist in a variety of ways at the festival, including icing
kegs and bottles of beer, setting up tasting stations on the festival
floor, pouring beer for attendees to sample, working in administration,
managing the festival floor and selling brewery merchandise in the
retail area. Volunteers receive tickets to the festival, a Great
American Beer Festival limited edition T-shirt, on-site meals and more.
This year's festival is Sept. 27-29. Those interested in volunteering
should call (303) 393-0361.
MICROSOFT PULLS BEER BOOK IN SCHOOL PACKAGE
Microsoft has removed a book on beer drinking games from its MSN back-
to-school shopping section. The American Medical Association (AMA) had
sent a letter to MSN, chastising the Internet services company for
including the book and a brewing kit in care packages for college kids.
"It is MSN's current policy not to advertise alcohol-related products
targeted toward children," said a company spokeswoman.
A-B REMOVES SHROUD FROM MICHELOB
The shroud is off: Anheuser-Busch has quietly removed the shroud from
the top of Michelob and Michelob Light bottles, abandoning a 40-old
tradition. That's fine with Stephen Andrews, a bartender in Little
Rock, Ark. "I love the paper off the top," Andrews said. "With the
paper on, you always would have to open it twice." Bob Franceschelli,
marketing director of Michelob beer and specialization for Anheuser-
Busch Co., said the shroud was removed to make the bottle easier to
handle and open. "We like to think of this change as a minor
adaptation," he said.
COORS SUES BOTTLE CAP MANUFACTURER
Coors Brewing Co. is suing an Oklahoma bottle cap manufacturer for more
than $3 million over a batch of Coors Light beer the Golden brewer says
tasted like cardboard. "We dispute Coors' characterization," said
Denver lawyer Sonja McKenzie, representing the defendant company,
Zapata Industries Inc. "We're taking the position that there wasn't a
problem (with the twist caps) when they left our plant." The beer,
bottled at a plant in Memphis in 1999, never made it to store shelves.
Coors said the beer was destroyed after a "drinkability panel" detected
a sustained cardboard aftertaste in beer samples retrieved from a
special line of 7-ounce Coors Light.
FISH BREWING AND LEAVENWORTH BREWERY MERGE
Fish Brewing Co. of Olympia, Wash., is merging with the Leavenworth
Brewery of Leavenworth, Wash. "After nearly one year of careful
planning between Scott Hansen, founder of the Leavenworth Brewery, and
Lyle Morse, CEO of Fish Brewing Co., the two companies will now be
combined under one roof with the corporate name Fish Brewing Company,
brewing two distinct product lines; Fish Tale Ales and Leavenworth
Beers," according to a press release from Fish. The Leavenworth Brewery
will phase out its brewing in Leavenworth over the next several months
and consolidate all brewing operations in Olympia.
UKIAH BREWING 'FIRST ORGANIC' BREWPUB
Ukiah Brewing Company & Restaurant, located in California's Mendocino
County, claims it is the first brewpub and only the second restaurant
in the United States to be certified organic. The California Certified
Organic Farmers granted certification in July. Nora's Restaurant in
Washington, D.C. is cited as the only other certified organic
restaurant in the country. "It's great to be recognized for something
that more people should be doing: paying attention to their food
sources and supporting local small farmers and suppliers," said Els
Cooperrider, co-owner. "We've been in business for only one year, but
we were out searching for organic suppliers long before we opened the
doors. They're just aren't very many organic producers with enough
quantities to supply food service operations."
EDITORIAL: BEER AND FESTIVALS
Later this month about 22,000 beer lovers will sample beers from 300
breweries during the course of three days at the Great American Beer
Festival in Denver, Colo. Beer writer Fred Eckhardt, who was there for
the first festival in 1982 when there were a modest 20 breweries and 35
beers, points out that the GABF "has been instrumental in making
America into a true world-class brewing power."
That's indisputable. There are bigger beer festivals -- in the United
States, for instance, the Oregon Brewers Festival attracts 100,000 --
but the GABF offers a breadth of choices seen no place else in the
world. It shines well-deserved attention on the nation's best brewers.
It gives brewers an opportunity to try each other's beers and talk
about beer, which lifts the quality of beer across the country. It
allows beer drinkers to sample a selection of regional beers they'd
otherwise have to spend weeks or months of traveling to reach.
As important as the GABF is, there are other festivals closely
associated with beer in the next two months that dwarf the GABF and the
Oregon Brewers Festival when it comes to attendance. Oktoberfest-
Zinzinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sept. 15-16 will draw a half million
people, while the Tulsa, Okla., Oktoberfest next month expects to
attract at least 200,000.
Other Oktoberfests not as big but still larger than GABF begin soon
across the country and continue through October. They are patterned
after the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, which draws 6.5
million visitors. It's the biggest public festival in the world and
most accurately described as a folk festival. However, tourists around
the world make the pilgrimage to Munich in part because of the beer and
call the event a "beer festival." More than 6 million liters of beer
will be consumed in the course of 16 days.
Although Cullman, Ala., stages an Oktoberfest without any beer, most
U.S. Oktoberfests make beer an integral part of the celebration -- and,
again, many of those who attend will refer to them as "beer festivals."
We like to say that it's the food, camaraderie and good times -- what
the Germans call "gemutlichkeit" -- that bring us together and it's the
beer that keeps us here. If it's not about the beer, then why do you
think USA Today called Realbeer.com last year for a list of 10 great
Oktoberfests rather than somebody like Folkfestival.com?
In the years following World War II, German-American societies used
Oktoberfests to build positive images of Germany -- but along the way
they obviously built up some good will for responsible beer
consumption. The choices of beer vary widely from one U.S. Oktoberfest
to the next, with some offering only the most popular mainstream beers,
some serving German beer and others including U.S. craft beer.
We prefer the beer choices not stop at the mainstream, but we think all
beer drinkers benefit when adults can hoist a stein, talk loudly over
the oom-pah band and have a good time in a family friendly setting.
Besides, when you discover your neighbor is out on the dance floor
wearing lederhosen you want to buy him a beer. And when your 8-year-old
insists your join her in the Chicken Dance, well, it helps if you've
had a beer or two first.
We hope to see you on that dance floor this year.