Lawmakers resolve: It’s Michigan Craft Beer Month

The Michigan House of Representatives has adopted a resolution officially designating July 2007 as Michigan Craft Beer Month.

It begins:

A resolution designating July 2007 as Michigan Craft Beer Month and commending the Michigan Craft Brewers.
Whereas, Michigan craft brewers are a vibrant affirmation and expression of Michigan entrepreneurial traditions, operating as community-based small businesses and providing employment for more than 1000 workers; and

Whereas, Michigan has craft brewers in every region of the state and more than 70 craft brewers statewide; and
Whereas, The Michigan Brewers Guild is celebrating its 10 year anniversary of its
Michigan Summer Beer Festival this July; and

Read the whole thing.


In Oregon: Beer rich get richer

As we’ve already written, July is Oregon Craft Beer Month.

But they couldn’t wait.

On Tuesday The Oregonian featured an article by Lisa Morrison about the joys of grilling with beer. This is a spot usually reserved for wine, so even in beer-hip Portland it was a pleasant surprise to see Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant and Alan Sprints of Hair of the Dog prominently featured.

And yesterday the paper published a 16-page Oregon Craft Beer Month Pullout Guide.


Carlsberg reported eyeing Scottish & Newcastle

Reuters is reporting that Copenhagen-based Carlsberg, the world’s sixth-larger brewing company, has a plan to take over Scottish & Newcastle, the fifth largest.

Carlsberg, which proclaims its brew is “probably the best beer in the world,” would be taking over Britain’s last big brewer in a move that would lead to an accelerated rate of brewery closures across western Europe, analysts said.

The new company would be the No. 1 brewer in Britain, France, Russia and the Nordic countries.


Pub’s attempt to skirt smoking ban fails

A British pub owner’s inventive plan to get around the UK smoking ban that goes into effect Sunday has suffered a setback.

Bob Beach, the landlord of The Wellington Arms in Southampton tried citing diplomatic immunity by turning his pub into the embassy for a tiny Caribbean island.

However, the Foreign Office has decided that Redonda is not classified as a country and therefore can’t have an embassy.

Beach had his pub the British consulate for uninhabited Redonda, which lies off the coast of Antigua. Redonda was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493.

As “foreign soil” it would have been exempt from the smoking ban.


Summit launches community for fun and obscure

Summit Brewing in Minnesota has launched a website it is calling The Social Element. It is video-driven and designed to “show off the mad skills of the adventurous, outrageous, exciting, fun and obscure groups you thought may exist, but were afraid to ask.”

The web-based community project focuses on the kinds of outside-the-box activities seen on the streets of Saint Paul and beyond.

They’re the activities that make you say, “Say What?” It’s the double-tall bike makers and riders, nordic battle reenactment “warriors”, and the Lake Superior surfers who make what it is – a community of groups that share the common bond of passion for activities one wouldn’t ordinarily see or do.

Dozens of smaller breweries have tapped into Internet social networks, most often at MySpace. A few (with links to their MySpace pages, so you may want to turn down the volume on your computer):

Flying Dog Brewery
New Holland Brewing
Boulevard Brewing
Schlafly Beer


Everything you always wanted to know about Miller Chill but were afraid to ask

“Brew” Blog, published by Miller Brewing, has a complete rundown on what’s going on with Miller Chill, a topic that draws an astonishing number comments around here.

There are excerpts from a conversation with CMO Randy Ransom. For instance, who is buying the beer?

“I would say a good 30 to 40% of the incremental volume is coming from outside the beer category. Within the beer category, we’re getting most of the volume coming from A-B brands, and we’re seeing that Miller Lite is not being affected to any great degree. It’s actually being affected less than we expected in those markets.”

The blog also quote’s from Miller’s monthly e-zine about the development of Miller Chill.

Previously: Miller Chill goes national, Miller Chill includes lime, salt in bottle


Oregon celebrates craft beer all month

Remember American Beer Month?

The Brewers Association conducted the promotion for six years, the last in 2005, and it has been replaced by American Craft Beer Week.

But it lives on some places, such as the Boscos restaurant-breweries in the mid-South and the entire state of Oregon.

“We are proud to be the only state that has designated a special month to recognize our local craft brewers,” Brian Butenschoen, Executive Director of the Oregon Brewers Guild, stated in a press release to announce the return of Oregon Craft Beer Month. ”Beer is one of Oregon’s iconographic agricultural products and Oregon Craft Beer Month is a wonderful opportunity to stop and lift a glass to all the passion and success we have had here.”

The month builds toward the Oregon Brewers Festival, July 26-29, which celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland provides the Willamette River and Mount Hood as backdrops for the Brewers Festival. At least 50,000 beer enthusiasts are expected to attend.

Other Craft Beer Month events include a beer and sausage fest, cheese pairings by the dean of American beer writers, Fred Eckhardt, an Oregon Brewers Guild barbecue featuring 24 special beers that you can’t get at the Brewers Festival, and a parade of brewers strutting along Portland sidewalks to the beat of the March 4th Marching Band.

Look for details at the Oregon Brewers Guild website.

Meanwhile feel free to pour yourself one of “Oregon’s iconographic agricultural products.”


Miller to brew Foster’s in the U.S.

Miller Brewing Co. plans to enter a licensing partnership to brew and sell the Australian beer Foster’s Lager in the United States.

Miller is entering a 10-year agreement with Foster’s Group Limited. Under the arrangement, brewing of the Foster’s Lager and Special Bitter brands sold in the U.S. will transfer from Molson Coors of Canada to Miller breweries in Fort Worth, Texas, and Albany, Ga., in November.

The new arrangement will reduce shipping costs and allow Miller to invest more in the brands’ long-term growth, according to a statement Monday from SABMiller Plc, Miller’s corporate parent.

The Foster’s brands would continue to be distributed and marketed in the U.S. through Foster’s USA LLC, a joint venture between Miller and Foster’s Group Limited.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that this represents “a new commitment to the lagging brand.”


Best of Czech beer culture

Evan Rail, author of the Good Beer Guide Prague and the Czech Republic, offers his tips on the best of Czech beer culture at the Guardian Unlimited.

Quite a list of 10, from beer baths to beer hotels to the beer tram.

And then there’s the unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell:

With a name that means “original source,” Pilsner Urquell has staked its claim as the world’s first Pilsner, and it remains one of the country’s favourite producers. However, even many locals don’t know that there are actually two varieties of Pilsner Urquell available on draught here: the regular kind sold throughout Europe, and a special, unpasteurised version sold only in the Czech Republic at special “tank” pubs which forego kegs for high-volume tanks. Without pasteurisation, the rich malt body is far sweeter and the bitter Saaz hops are decidedly sharper and more fragrant.

More malt character; more hop character. We’re there.


Carding Grandpa in Tennessee

Tennessee is set to become the first state in the nation to require proof of age from anyone, no matter the age, who buys beer for off-premises consumption.

The Tennessee Responsible Vendor Act, designed to curb underage drinking, takes effect July 1. It will expire after one year to give lawmakers and vendors a chance to review its effectiveness. The legislation does not apply to the sale of wine and liquor purchases or to beer sales at restaurants and bars.

[Via The Tennessean]


Saint Paul Homebrewers win Club of the Year

Richard Skains of Rocky River, Ohio, won Best of Show and National Homebrewer of the Year in the National Homebrew Competition judged in Denver, Colo. Jamil Zainasheff of Elk Grove, Calif., won the Ninkasi Award as the winningest brewer in the second round of judging.

Awards were presented Saturday at the National Homebrewers Conference Grand Banquet.

The National Homebrew Competition is the largest beer competition in the world, this year attracting a record breaking 5,052 entries from 1,172 homebrewers. Last year the number of entries was 4,548 from 1,067 homebrewers.

Judging for the competition begins at 10 regional sites, with up to three beers, meads or ciders in each category advancing to the second round.

The other major award winners:
Meadmaker of the Year – Steve Fletty, Falcon Heights, Minn.
Cidermaker of the Year – Joseph Franconi, Red Hook, N.Y.
Homebrew Club of the Year – Saint Paul Homebrewers Club, Minnesota.

Complete results.


Heineken puts Light in ‘slim can’

Heineken Slim CanFor the first day of summer (today), Heineken officially introduces a slim can for Heineken Premium Light.

Heineken began an advertising blitz this week with a full-page ad in USA Today, primetime TV advertising, Internet advertising, insertions in men’s publications and more. According to Brandweek, the on-premise campaign, themed “Mission Irresistible,” will feature samplers dressed as secret agents — complete with trench coats, hats and sunglasses.

The slimmer can was created by VBAT Brand Design, Amsterdam, and is designed to distinguish HLP from both Heineken Lager and domestic light beers. A company press release points out that nearly 60% of domestic light beers are sold in a can.

“The new 12-ounce slim can now offers Heineken Premium Light and domestic light beer drinkers the ability to enjoy its deliciously smooth taste on more occasions,” said Andy Glaser, director-Heineken Brand, Heineken USA. “Particularly in the summer months, beer drinkers look for ways to enjoy their favorite beverages in outdoor locations that may not allow glass packaging.”

A little over four years ago Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colo., started a mini-revolution among craft beers by packaging Dale’s Pale Ale in cans and selling craft beer places it previously was not available. Dozens of small brewers have since installed mini-canning lines.

Heineken is targeting a different drinker. The brewer said it must overcome the “Heineken Hurdle” — a perception among light beer drinkers who previously have tasted Heineken that HPL would be too robust for them.

Brandweek reports the company’s mission is sell 270,000 more barrels of Permium Light this year. HPL sold more than 570,000 barrels in 2006, the year it was introduced.


Beer on a stick: Asking for trouble?

A Washington, D.C., restaurant has begun selling “beer pops” – but Virginia authorities say that’s against the law.

Rustico, located in Alexandria, sells three flavors of beer pops for $4 in the six-ounce size, shaped like a traditional Popsicle, and $6 for a larger “beer cone.”

The company put out a press release, and an Associated Press reporter placed a call to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, asking whether a frozen beer would pose any regulatory problems.

Philip Disharoon, special agent in charge of the Alexandria division of the Virginia ABC, said beer must be served in its original container, or served immediately to a customer once it is poured from its original container.

“If we’re talking about taking a beer and pouring it from a bottle or a keg into some sort of mold and freezing it, then that product is not legal,” Disharoon said. He planned to send an agent to investigate.

A spokewoman for the restaurant said they were confident they could find a way to comply with Virginia regulations, and planned to keep selling the beer pops.


Welcome to Science Pub

Posted by Banjo Bandolas

There’s something new going on at the old pub on the corner. Instead of rehashing old stories with your friends or spending hours hoping that pretty girl at the end of the bar will soon be drunk enough to approach, you can stimulate your brain cells at Science Pub!

Lucky for me the first Science Pub ever was held last Thursday right here where I live in good old Eugene, Oregon at the Luna.

When I heard about Science Pub I thought it was a novel idea, listening to cutting-edge scientific lectures while enjoying a nice brew and a bite. If college had been more like that I might have gone all the way to my PhD, because, as everyone knows, it’s much easier to take in information during, rather than after, drinking.

I arrived at the Luna at precisely 7 p.m., when it was scheduled to start. I had planned to be early but had a little trouble locating the place. As I approached I noticed all of the seats outside were full and looking inside I saw that those seats were completely filled as well.

Full house

Who woulda thunk Nanotechnology could draw a packed house! I saw a seat open up and quickly weaved my way thru the gauntlet of chairs and tables and scored a place to rest my weary bones. I flagged down a very tense looking wait-person and asked if they had a beer-list.

“Don’t need one.” She replied. “We’ve only got four on tap.”

“Oh,” I said swallowing hard as my brain screamed out the rest of the sentence (MY GOD! Please don’t let it be Bud, Miller, and Coors!) “What are they?”

“Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale,” she said ticking them off on her fingers as she went, “Lagunitas IPA, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, and the Mac & Jacks Wheat beer.”

“Well, if you’re only going to have four beers on tap, those are four fine beers to choose from.” I thought and chose the Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale for my starter. The Boont Amber Ale was the first beer offered by Anderson Valley back when the brewery began back in 1987, and though they served it in an over-sized water glass, (they’d run out of pint glasses), the unfiltered bright copper hue, roasted malt and caramel aroma, and the wonderfully malty flavor with a slightly bitter hop finish seemed undaunted. Also the size of the glass, generously poured gave me a good 4-6 extra ounces. Score!

The first speaker, Ben Lopez, a University of Oregon grad student started off the “Science” portion of the evening with and explanation and demonstration of how a Scanning Electron Microscope worked and showed us some wonderful pictures of the unseen teeny-tiny world around us. The edge of a sheet of paper looked as coarse as a log jamb and who knew that there were actually hairs on the wings of an insect. He also planned to let the audience work the machine but unfortunately, as often happens with highly technical equipment and trained dogs, it would perform no tricks for the audience and we moved on to the keynote speaker, Dr. Jim Hutchison, Professor of Chemistry and the Director of the UO Materials Science Institute.

Perfect timing for me to move on to something a bit more aggressive to keep my eyes open for what I expected to be a long a probably boring dissertation. The Lagunitas IPA, a clear amber, aggressively hopped, beer tickled my nose with citrus and toasty malt aromas, then delivered with a rich malt flavor followed by an excellent, long, lingering, hop bite. It was the perfect preparatory beer for the upcoming onslaught of knowledge.

Dr. Jim Hutchison

Dr. Hutchison (above) proceeded with his lecture and managed to do what I, up to that point didn’t think was possible. He made the subject of Nanotechnology interesting and understandable. At one point he demonstrated the size of a “nano” (A prefix meaning one-billionth) by starting with a picture taken from 100 kilometers above the earth and stepped it in to the point where we were actually looking at the makeup of a leaf at the molecular level … incredible.

As the lecture went into the final Q&A from the audience. I decided to order my last beer of the evening; I’d saved my favorite beer, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, for last. It would be my desert.

“I’m sorry,” the wait-person said, “we’ve run out of that beer sir.”

Shoot! I was this close to a perfect evening too.

If you’re in Eugene, Oregon on the 2nd Thursday of the month drop by the Luna on Willamette and Broadway at 7pm for an interesting and informative pub experience. If you’re in Portland, Oregon, Science Pub is on the last Monday of the month at the Bridgeport Brewery at 1313 N.W. Marshall, also at 7pm.

Drop on by, you might learn something, and you’ll definitely drink something.


Sapporo now ‘lifestyle brand’

And you thought Sapporo was a beer.

The brewing company is billing itself as more, in this case a lifestyle brand, by launching a campaign called “Sapporo Inspired,” a marketing program that allows Sapporo to create co-branded products with brands within the apparel category.

This spring, over 30 Sapporo inspired products created by 9 different brands including Jhung Yuro, Ciano Farmer, Crooks and Castles, New Era, Jungle Gurl, Cassette, Alex Nash, Artful Dodger, and Zero Halliburton, were presented on the runway at Sapporo Inspired, a fashion show which took place at Mansion in Miami Beach.

Already the most popular Japanese beer imported into the U.S., Sapporo Premium has doubled its sales since Sapporo began working with Epiphany Media in 2005.

“We are excited to see the impact these brilliant (apparel) products has had for our Sapporo client, the traction the brand has experienced has been nothing short of amazing,” says Coltrane Curtis, the founder and Creative Director of Epiphany Media.