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Ohio Beer Week begins

Ohio Beer Week is under way.

The first Ohio Brew Week Microbrew Cooking Competition, to be held at 6 p.m. today at Toscano’s, will feature a variety of unusual foods prepared with microbrews. This event, and all other paid events, are being put on to benefit the Jon Sparhawk Memorial Scholarship Fund. Sparhawk, one of the originators of Ohio Brew Week, passed away unexpectedly June 2.

Twenty-three brewers from throughout the state will be in southeastern Ohio all week to show off their craft during the second annual festival, which continues through Saturday.

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Q&A with Great Divide founder

The Denver Post interviews Brian Dunn, founder of Great Divide Brewing Co., “one of Colorado’s small brewers riding a national wave of demand for craft beers.”

And not without a little humor.

Q: Where do you see Great Divide in 10 years?

A: Hopefully we will have nicer office furniture. We will be quite a bit larger, but without a lot more geographic expansion. We will be doing what we are doing, maybe not in the same building, but we will still be Denver-based and hopefully making high-quality beer.

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Swedish will add warning on beer

Following a recommendation by the Swedish Brewers Assocation, most brewers will begin putting information labels on beer to highlight that consumption of alcoholic beverages may be inappropriate under certain conditions.

The proposed warnings are: “Under 18? Avoid Alcohol,” “Pregnant? Avoid Alcohol,” “In Traffic? Avoid Alcohol” and “At Work? Avoid Alcohol.”

The report in the Edmonton Journal does not indicate if winemakers do anything similar.

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Free beer Al Gore would approve of

Sign spotted Saturday at an eco-festival in Manhattan:

Sign up for clean energy and drink free beer.

Those who signed up for electricity from Community Energy, which owns three wind farms in New York and Pennsylvania, received tickets for four pints of Brooklyn Lager.

Brooklyn Brewery, itself, is one of the nation’s first wind-powered breweries, and gets is energy from Community Energy windmills.

[Via the New York Times, free registration.]

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Beer bottles ‘spiked’ in Canada

Labatt Breweries and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are issuing a consumer advisory over bottles of Stella Artois beer that may have been tampered with.

The agency says it knows of six bottles into which someone added concentrated alcohol. There are some reported cases of people being sickened after drinking the contaminated beer.

The affected bottles are 330 ml Stella Artois beer bottles with best before dates of November and December 2005 and production codes of L32343T and L35243G. These codes have expired and the product should no longer be on the market.

There are no reported incidents involving the beer purchased at beer or liquor stores, and Stella Artois cans and draft are not affected, the agency says.

According to the Toronto Star, Labatt was aware of the first tampering in January 2006, but thought it was a “one-off,” and didn’t react. He said it only recently became evident that the police would have to be called in.

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Martson’s buys Ringwood Brewery

Brewer and pub operator Marston’s has acquired the Ringwood Brewery in the south of England.

Americans know Ringwood – founded by Peter Austin in 1978 – best because Shipyard Brewing produces its Old Thumper under license in the United States. Many small breweries, particularly on the East Coast, use “Ringwood yeast” sourced from the British brewery and brew on systems manufactured by another company Austin started.

Hampshire-based Ringwood’s pubs will also be added to Marston’s estate.

“We plan to develop its excellent brands as part of our strategy to meet consumer demand for premium ales with local provenance and heritage, said Alistair Darby, Marston’s beer company managing director.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) expressed concern that the latest acquisition will encourage a “domino effect” of consolidation in pubs and brewing.

CAMRA Chief Executive, Mike Benner said: “The practice among larger breweries of acquiring smaller competitors is a race where the only loser is the consumer who is often denied a locally brewed beer. As one of the larger breweries buys a brewery and expands their estate their competitors start hunting for their next purchase to keep up. CAMRA’s fear is that an increasing number of smaller breweries will be lost if this race continues and consumer choice will suffer as a result.

“In the last three years alone we have seen another Hampshire brewery, Gales, bought and closed by Fuller’s and Greene King bought and closed Hardys and Hansons in Nottingham, as well as buying and closing Ridley’s brewery in Essex.

“Marston’s purchased Jennings in Cumbria and invested in the future of the brewery and we hope they will continue this model with Ringwood. But, it begs the question, who is next in line for acquisition?”

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Brewer for a day, at Anheuser-Busch

A television reporter in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Jacksonville.

Do My Job: Making and Tasting Beer as an Anheuser-Busch Brewmaster

It’s a job most people wouldn’t mind having: brewing and tasting beer. It’s part of the daily routine at the Anheuser-Busch brewery on the Northside. They brought me on board as a brewmaster to give it a shot.

And as brewmaster, it was my job not just to keep it running, but to make each of the 125 million cases brewed there every year taste just like a beer brewed on the other end of the country.

It’s part science and part art.

The most interesting fact (well down in the story)?

“One bad batch of beer means 13,000 ruined cases of Bud Light.”

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Michelin chef wins UK Beerdrinker of Year

Hey, they have a Beerdrinker of the Year in the UK, too.

Unlike current US champion Diane Catanzaro the UK award winner has Michelin stars as well.

Michel Roux was honored at Wednesday’s annual dinner of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG).

The chef of Le Gavroche in London’s Mayfair, son of the legendary Albert Roux, earned the honor by building an eclectic beer list at the prestigious restaurant.

Steve Wellington of the Worthington White Shield brewery in Burton-on-Trent was named brewer of the year.

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Wisconsin brewpubs’ protest works

Tuesday Wisconsin brewers organized a protest that harkened back to the Boston Tea Party and drew attention to a proposed law they opposed.

Wednesday that bill was tabled by the Senate Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance.

The Brewpub Tourism Development Act would allow Wisconsin brew pubs to have up to six locations and produce up to 10,000 barrels of beer a year. Under current law, brew pubs can have no more than two locations if they produce more than 4,000 barrels of beer a year. The bill’s supporters said it would lift a production ceiling faced by Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., which this year opened its third brew pub in the Madison area. Other brew pub and small brewery owners said Great Dane’s problem should be fixed. But they said the proposed legislation’s 10,000-barrel limit could affect their growth plans, especially for brew pubs seeking to also sell their beer in packaged form at liquor stores and other retail outlets.

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Beer Activist help needed in Pennsylvania

Beer ActivistsSupport Your Local Brewery has issued an E-Action Alert for Pennsylvania.

Here are the basics:

The Pennsylvania Senate is set to vote on a transportation funding bill that includes a provision giving Allegheny County (which includes the city of Pittsburgh) the authority to levy a 10% tax on alcoholic drinks poured within that jurisdiction, to be used for transportation projects. This proposal, like many tax increase provisions, will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on the local businesses, in this case breweries, brewpubs and retailers of alcoholic beverages, as more people will be unable, or unwilling, to spend significantly more for a drink. It is also conceivable that consumer choice will suffer within Allegheny County, as some businesses find their ability to remain in the market compromised.

If you live in Pennsylvana you can help fight this by contacting your state senator immediately to express your opposition to the 10% Drink Tax. This could be voted on today. To find your contact information, go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ and look to the far right-hand top corner of the page for the “Find Members” resource.

More from the alert:

The following information has been provided by Sean Casey, Founder and Owner of the Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, a leading opponent of this proposal:

The “10% Stealth Tax” on beverages served in the hospitality industry is very close to coming to a final vote on the Senate Floor. Allegheny County is the only county being taxed 10% to fund the woes of the transportation industry; no other county in the state is being isolated like we are. Don’t ask the hospitality industry to bail out the mismanaged transportation business. You as the consumer will get saddled with this tax without any feedback. Currently, your State Senators don’t have any idea of the true amount of revenue it will generate, they don’t know if it applies to a bottle of wine, they don’t even know the language of the bill but most are lined up to vote yes.

Please contact your State Senator and, if you live in Allegheny County, let County Chief Executive Dan Onorato hear about it at (412) 350-6500 or executive@county.allegheny.pa.us.

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Wisconsin brewers stage old-fashioned protest

A group of Wisconsin brewers blasted open barrels of beer on the docks of the Milwaukee River in their own version of the Boston Tea Party.

They did this to protest a proposed bill they said would create complications for startup breweries.

The measure would divide small breweries into two licensed classes – those who want to serve food as brewpubs and those who seek to bottle and distribute their product on a larger scale. Startups would have to immediately declare which class they were in.

“Every business takes on a life of its own,” said Jim McCabe, proprietor of the Milwaukee Ale House. “For the guy that wants to start a brewery tomorrow, he’s got to make decisions early in his business life that aren’t possible.”

The portest was serious, and important to the future of small breweries in Wisconsin, but it’s OK to giggle for a moment at this line from the story:

“One tourist boat full of onlookers yelled ‘Beer!’ with a woman opening her mouth in a vain attempt to reach the fountain of foam more than 20 yards away.”

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An ultrasound for your beer?

This is science, so we don’t recommend reading these sentences if you’ve been drinking:

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have devised a way to quickly measure and track the quality of fermenting liquids, such as beer, without having to draw samples from a batch. Sampling fermenting liquids is necessary to ensure quality, but it can be time-consuming and potentially contaminating. By using ultrasonic backscattering, a method of reading sound signals as they bounce off targets and back to a sensor, the PNNL team’s system avoids these drawbacks and gives the brewer greater control over the fermenting process.

Here’s the full explanation.

And Robert Cannon, a brewer at the Boston Beer Co., says that it could make a difference: “A real-time, in-line sensor is something I couldn’t imagine any brewer not being interested in.”

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Flying Dog giving away trip to GABF

Having already given away one weekend trip to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival (to Tom Havey for naming Woody Creek White), Flying Dog is offering another trip.

This is a sweepstakes – enter your name before Aug. 31 for a chance to act like a VIP at the GABF Oct. 11-13.

The winner receives airfare to Denver and hotel accommodations for two, two three-day passes to the festival, and invitations to exclusive Flying Dog activities during GABF weekend. In all, over 500 prizes in all will be awarded, including sets of Flying Dog Ales pint glasses, Flying Dog T-shirts and key chains.

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More craft beer headed to China

The reception for U.S. craft beer has been so positive in China that the Brewers Association is sending more.

The BA first sent a “mixed container” in February. It contained beers from Brooklyn Brewery (New York), North Coast Brewing (California) and Rogue Ales (Oregon).

Another order was placed in May, including beers from two additional companies Kona Brewing Company (Hawaii) and Gordon Biersch Brewing (California).

Gordon Biersch president Dan Gordon said: “It really is remarkable that American craft beer is one of the few American consumer goods that are desired in China. Gordon Biersch is very excited to ship beer to China and I personally plan on working the market.”