Craft beer sales soar (again)

Craft beer sales

Repeat after us:

Craft beer sales soared in 2005.

Craft beer sales soared in 2004.

Craft beer sales soared in the first half of 2007.

It’s starting to seem like something other than news. But the Brewers Association did in fact have something new to report today when it released first-half data: For the first time ever craft beer has exceeded more than a 5% dollar share of total beer sales.

The volume of craft beer sold in the first half of 2007 rose 11% compared to this same period in 2006 and dollar growth increased 14%. Overall, the U.S. beer industry sold one million more barrels in the first half of 2007 compared to 2006, with 400,000 of these new barrels produced by craft breweries.

Scan data from Information Resources, Inc. provide confirm that craft beers sales are rocking. Craft sales in the supermarket channel through July 15 showed a 17.4% increase in dollar sales compared to the same period in 2006.


Helping the ocean one beer at a time

Alaskan Brewing Co. is committing one percent of proceeds from its newly released Alaskan IPA to improve the health of the Pacific Ocean and coastlines in an initiative called the Coastal CODE (Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone).

The CODE web site provides insights on ocean preservation; information on volunteer opportunities; ways to donate to the fund; and information about how to apply for Coastal CODE grants for such activities as beach cleanups, water quality improvement and ocean conservation education.

“Big problems like ocean pollution can feel overwhelming, but if each of us does something small, together we can make a big difference,” said Marcy Larson, co-founder of Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau. “We’re happy to do our part through the Coastal CODE and participating in beach cleanups. We chose ocean preservation because the ocean is such an important resource to us all.”

The small craft brewery is involving others, calling on ocean-minded organizations to help create the Coastal CODE, which began by surveying more than 500 Pacific Northwesterners about the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 100 percent of respondents said they are concerned about the health of the world’s oceans and more than 50 percent think the condition of the Pacific Ocean and western coastline is poor or at-risk.


German kosher beer sells out quickly

A small brewery in eastern Germany has gone so far as to employ the services of a rabbi to make sure its beer is kosher, and has so far benefited financially.

Almost all German beer brewed to the Reinheitsgebot is technically kosher — fit for consumption according to Jewish law. However, Brauerei Hartmannsdorf has Berlin Orthodox Rabbi Yitshak Ehrenberg oversee the brewing and bottling process and give it official kosher certification.

“For very religious Jews the availability of kosher beer is tremendously important,” a psokeman said. “The certification takes it to the next level.”

The Jewish organization Saxonian Friends of Israel and SCHALOM, a Jewish restaurant in Chemnitz, came up with the idea of producing a certified kosher beer and approached the brewer at the Brauerei Hartmannsdorf in Saxony for help.


National Organic Homebrew Challenge

Seven Bridges Cooperative, a certified organic homebrew supplier, is hosting the worlds first all organic homebrew competition which is open to home brewers of beer throughout the United States.

This is the first time a contest has been held for beer brewed at home using only organically grown ingredients, GMO free yeast (most yeast packaged for homebrewers, including White Labs and Wyeast brands, is GMO free), and no chemical or artificial additives. By accepting only organically brewed beer entries, the contest represents the first opportunity organic homebrewers have had to compete fairly against other organic brewers in an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition.

National Organic Homebrew Challenge winners will get a chance to brew in at commercial breweries that produce organic beer. One winner from the western side of the country will be selected to brew their winning recipe at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery in Santa Cruz, Calif. One winner from the Eastern side of the country will brew their winning recipe at Otter Creek Brewery in Vermont, home of the Wolavers brand organic beer which is distributed nationally.

The winning recipes will be selected from the top scoring entries that also meet the requirements of the breweries which have limitations on what styles can be brewed on the brewery equipment and a limited range of organic ingredients that qualify as USDA certified organic. Other prizes will also be awarded, including organic ingredients, T-shirts, brewery merchandise, and pint glasses.

The contest rules will differ slightly from other homebrew contests because all of the ingredients will have to be verified organic. Just as professional brewers of certified organic beer have to show documentation that all ingredients are USDA certified, the entries will have to include a complete recipe listing the source of each ingredient.

Entry details.


Sacramento Brewing shines at California fest

Sac-squatch Scottish 80 schilling from Sacramento won Best of Show in judging as part of the California Brewers Festival. The festival itself is Sept. 15 in Sacramento.

Nectar IPA, brewed at Firestone Walker, and Allagash White were awarded honorable mention in the BOS judging. Nectar IPA won the IPA category and Allagash White was the top wheat beer. Judging took place in 13 categories.


The ‘Latinization’ of American beer

Don Russell (Joe Sixpack) reports on the “Latinization” of America, specifically American beer.

So, what’s driving Latin American beer sales? Immigrants surely are a big part of it.

An estimated 45 million Latinos live in the United States. Naturally, many reach for familiar brands from their homelands. But that isn’t the only reason you see more and more people with limes stuck in their longnecks.

Russell suggest that the melting pot in action is “something that should be welcomed by every beer lover.”

He’s also candid about the beers themselves, writing: “As explorations go, Latin American beer isn’t exactly Mount Everest.”


Hops 401

“It’s kind of like the Lollapalooza of every chemist, scientist and brewer.”
– Tom Shellhammer, associate professor of brewing and food engineering at Oregon State.

The first international brewers’ symposium to focus on the crucial role hops plays in beer-making began yesterday at Oregon State University.

Officially it is known as the 1st International Brewers Symposium Hop Flavor and Aroma the meetings include seminars on subjects such as What is an “IBU” and Where Did It Come From? and Humulene Oxidation and Its Role in Hop Aroma.

More from the Ashland Daily Times.

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Hobsons Mild honored as best beer in Britain

Hobsons Mild from Hobsons Brewery in Shropshire was judged to be the best beer in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court.

Roger Protz, one of the finalist judges and Editor of the Good Beer Guide said: “It’s a great victory for a traditional British beer. It’s bursting with flavor and, unusually for a Mild, it’s got plenty of hop character.”

Nick Davis, Director of Hobsons said: “What a great surprise! It’s a nutty mild and despite being only 3.2% abv it’s packed full of flavour. I would like to thank all the team at Hobsons in Cleobury Mortimer for their outstanding work in achieving this prestigious award.”

The Silver award went to Mighty Oak brewery in Essex for their Maldon Gold. The Bronze was awarded to Green Jack brewery in Suffolk for Ripper.

Gold – Hobsons Mild
Silver – Nottingham Rock Mild
Bronze – Brain’s Dark

Gold – Castle Rock Harvest Pale
Silver – Twickenham Crane Sundancer
Joint Bronze – Surrey Hills Ranmore Ale & Fyne Piper’s Gold

Best Bitters
Gold – Purple Moose Glaslyn Ale
Silver – George Wright Pipe Dream
Joint Bronze – Fuller’s London Pride & Nethergate Suffolk County & Station House Buzzin’

Strong Bitters
Gold – York Centurion’s Ghost
Silver – Inveralmond Lia Fail
Bronze – Brain’s SA Gold

Speciality Beers
Gold – Nethergate Umbel Magna
Silver – Little Valley Hebden Wheat
Bronze – St Peter’s Grapefruit

Golden Ales
Gold – Mighty Oak Maldon Gold
Silver – Oak Leaf Hole Hearted
Bronze – Otley 01

Bottle-conditioned Beers
Gold – O’Hanlon’s Port Stout
Silver – Titanic Stout & Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout
Bronze – Wapping Baltic Gold


Sam Adams second quarter sales up 14.6%

Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams beer, reported a 17.1% increase in revenue in the second quarter. The net revenue increase in the second quarter was primarily driven by a 14.6% core shipment volume increase and an increase in revenue per barrel of approximately 2%.

Samuel Adams sales have generally been a good barometer for small breweries, those the Brewers Association refers to as “craft breweries.”

Company founder Jim Koch said, “We feel very positive about our second quarter depletions growth of 16%. This was our sixth successive quarter of double digit increases. We believe these results are driven by drinkers trading up to our full flavored craft beers and increasing retailer and wholesaler support for the craft category and Samuel Adams.”

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Boston Beer signs deal to buy brewery

The Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams beers, said Thursday it has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Diageo North America to acquire a historic brewery in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

Boston Beer chose this acquisition over building a new brewery in Freetown, Mass., where it had entered into an agreement with an option to purchase a parcel of land.

However, after a $4 million evaluation of the cost of constructing a new brewery, Boston Beer has decided that route would not be the company’s best long-term brewing option.

“Comparing the projected construction costs of a new brewery against the price of buying and renovating the Pennsylvania brewery, leads us to believe that this is the better long-term strategic decision for the company,” said Martin Roper, president and CEO, in a prepared statement.

Boston Beer also owns the former Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery in Cincinnati, where it brews much of its beer. It also contracts to have beer brewed elsewhere, including at the Latrobe plant in Pennsylvania where Rolling Rock was once brewed.

The Lehigh Valley brewery was built for the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company in the 1970s, and was operated by the Stroh Brewery for many years. During part that period Stroh brewed Samuel Adams beer for Boston Beer.

When Stroh exited the brewing business, Pabst Brewing Company bought it. Pabst and operated it until September of 2001, when discontinued making its own beer. Diageo then bought it to make Smirnoff Ice.


Government proposes nutrition labeling for beer

A proposed federal regulation would make nutrition labels mandatory on all beer, wine and other alcohol sold in the United States.

The labels would list calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates and percent of alcohol by volume.

Currently, listing such information is optional.

Officials said calorie labeling “could provide a constant, low-cost reminder that alcohol consumption adds generally empty, discretionary calories to the diet.”