RBPMail 8.02, February 2002
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.
In this issue:
* Three Company Merger Would Create Megabrewer
* CAMRA Lobbies for Guaranteed Pints
* Fuller's Wins Battle over Brand Name Rights
* Japanese Beer Garden Admits Recycling Beer
* Study Finds Alcohol May Help Prevent Alzheimer's
* Web Watch
- Battle of the Beers is Coming
- An Imperial Stout Tour
- The Wit and Wisdom of Norm Peterson
* States Eye Higher Beer Taxes - Oregon Included
* Minnesota Brewing Needs Loan to Keep Going
* Jones Brewery Closes, But Stoney's Brand Lives
* Ohio Considers Allowing Stronger Beer
* Fred Huber Dies
* Math Teacher Wins Beerdrinker of the Year
* Not an Editorial: A shorter RBPMail
THIS COMPANY WOULD BE BIGGER THAN A-B
New reports have surfaced that a merger between Miller Brewing Co. of
Wisconsin, Scottish & Newcastle and South African Breweries is in the
works. It would make the new company the largest brewer in the world,
surpassing Anheuser-Busch. The Milwaukee Journal reports that the deal
could be announced as early as March. As part of the deal, Miller's
Milwaukee corporate headquarters -- and its roughly 1,000 jobs -- would
likely remain intact, beer industry analysts said. Miller is the
world's sixth larger brewer, SAB the fifth and Scottish & Newcastle the
CAMRA LOBBIES FOR GUARANTEED PINTS
Britain's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has launched a new campaign to
push for legislation that guarantees beer drinkers a full pint of ale.
It includes a new series of posters protesting short pints and urges
consumers to take action. The consumer group cites research that
indicates that 90% of the pints served in British pubs are less than
100% liquid and 28% are less than the industry's guidelines of 95%
FULLER'S WINS BATTLE OVER BRAND NAME RIGHTS
Fuller's, one of Britain's best-known regional brewers, has won a court
battle to protect its rights to its flagship brand, ESB. The case was
heard in the High Court in London. The dispute was between Fuller's and
Dave West, who trades as EastEnders in Calais, France. West has
exploited the gap between duty rates on beer in Britain and France by
selling large amounts of cheap French beer to Britain in recent years.
More recently, he has attempted to register the trademark for a lager
labeled ESP in Britain. Fullers claimed that ESP and ESB (short for
Extra Special Bitter) were too close for comfort, would confuse
consumers, and infringed Fuller's rights to the term ESB. The court
held that ESB was not a generic term and was distinctive of Fuller's.
JAPANESE BEER GARDEN ADMITS RECYCLING BEER
The Sapporo Beer Garden, a noted tourist spot in the Hokkaido capital,
had been selling draft beer mixed with beer left unsold from the
previous day until last February, its operator admitted. An average of
about 20 liters of leftover beer per day were stored in refrigerators
overnight before being added to fresh beer and sold to patrons the
following day in all-you-can-drink specials.
STUDY: ALCOHOL MAY HELP PREVENT ALZHEIMER'S
A study by Dutch scientists has found that daily moderate consumption
of alcohol may ward off Alzheimer's disease and other types of
dementia. The study published in The Lancet medical journal reported
that it doesn't seem to matter what people drink -- the effect is the
same. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence for the health
benefits of moderate drinking.
BATTLE OF THE BEERS
Would you rather drink Coors Light or Alaskan Smoked Porter? Anchor
Steam or Deschutes Black Butter Porter? Beginning Feb. 18, you'll be
able to vote on choices like those and more. There'll be a new showdown
every weekday, with the winning beer advancing to the next round. We'll
start with 32 beers and by April 1 be down to two. What beers will
advance? That's up to you. The story.
AN IMPERIAL TOUR
Stephen Beaumont spends evening in Manhattan sampling a baker's dozen
of the biggest and most intense stouts brewed in the U.S. and Britain. The story.
THE WIT AND WISDOM OF NORM PETERSON
Sam: "Hey, what's happening, Norm?" Norm: "Well, it's a dog-eat-dog
world, Sammy, and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear." Do you watch Cheers
re-runs just for the wonderful exchanges involving Norm? We'll save you
a little time. Now you can click for a Norm-ism, then for another and
another. Start clicking.
STATES - EVEN OREGON - LOOK AT HIGHER BEER TAXES
Many states are looking at raising "sin taxes" in order to cover
falling state tax receipts because of recession. The Distilled Spirits
Council of the United States reports that eight states want to boost
taxes on beer, wine or hard liquor. In 2001, Washington and North
Carolina lawmakers boosted a surcharge on alcohol sales and a liquor
tax, respectively. In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber has proposed a
"nickel-a-drink" tax on beer and wine. Jim Parker, executive director
of the Oregon Brewers Guild, points out that brewing beer isn't a sin
and questions the math on the "nickel a drink" computation. The
governor's proposal works out to an increase of 53.7 cents a gallon, or
more than six times the current rate of 8 cents a gallon. The proposed
tax of 61.7 cents a gallon would be more than triple the national
average and the second-highest tax rate in the country. You may have to
paste this rather long URL into your browser to read the story, but
it's worth the time.
MINNESOTA BREWING NEEDS LOAN TO KEEP GOING
St. Paul won't guarantee a $2 million loan that Minnesota Brewing Co.
officials claim is needed to keep the financially shaky company in
business. However, city officials told principal owner Bruce Hendry
that they will help him find financing in the next two months if a
number of conditions are met. The troubled brewery is $14 million in
JONES BREWERY CLOSES - STONEY'S BRAND LIVES ON
The Jones Brewery in Smithton, Pa., closed last month, but Stoney's
beer will continue to be produced by Pittsburgh Brewing Co. "All the
emails I have gotten, 90 percent of the people said, 'Just keep the
Stoney's coming. We don't care where it's coming from,'" said Gabriel
"Gabby" Podlucky, owner of Jones Brewery Co. The brewery was founded in
1907 by William B. "Stoney" Jones, a Welsh immigrant who labeled his
beer "devoid of any artificial materials." Among his descendants is
actress Shirley Jones.
OHIO CONSIDERS ALLOWING STRONGER BEER
An Ohio lawmaker has proposed allowing state residents to brew and
drink stronger beer. Ohio currently limits beer to 6% alcohol by
weight, and Rep. Jim Trakas would increase that to 12%. Although some
southern states limit beer to 6% alcohol (and Utah and Oklahoma only
allow breweries to sell 3.2 abw beer except in state run stores),
brewers in state surrounding Ohio do not operate under such strict
FRED HUBER DIES
Fred Huber, who long ran the Joseph Huber Brewing Co. in Monroe, Wis.,
died last month. Huber was one of the last independent family brewers.
He was also one of the first brewers to welcome -- and assist - Michael
Jackson's efforts to write informed books on beer for the consumer.
Jackson recalls his travels with Huber, including one rather harrowing
MATH TEACHER WINS BEERDRINKER OF THE YEAR
Gary Steinel, a high school math teacher from White Plains, N.Y., last
week was chosen the 2002 Beerdrinker of the Year. Steinel, who reached
the finals for a second straight year, won free beer for life at
Denver's Wynkoop Brewing Co. (which sponsors the competition), $100
worth of beer at his home brewpub (Southampton Publick House), his name
on a trophy and plenty of Beerdrinker of the Year wearing apparel. Tom
Ciccateri of Shawnee Mission, Kan., and John Marioni of Bothell, Wash.,
were the runners up.
NOT AN EDITORIAL: NEWSLETTER CHANGES
You'll notice that you got to this point in RBPMail faster than usual.
There aren't quite as many stories and we've kept them as short as we
could. We've also eliminated the Quickie Email Survey, and will no
longer include an editorial in this space.
Why? Plenty has changed since we emailed the first edition of RBPMail
more than seven years ago. Most important, all your email boxes and
ours are much more crowded. Not just with SPAM, but with plenty of
friendly notes and newsletters we never seem to have time to read. We
don't want RBPMail to be one of the ones you pass on because it is just
too darn long.
Don't worry, we'll be as windy and opinionated as ever -- we just don't
expect this newsletter to do all the heavy lifting. There's more at
Realbeer.com than ever -- more features, more news, polls,
updates every weekday in BeerLog, etc. If you still want more beer in
your email box, then you may sign up for the weekly Beer Break