Flossmoor Station Brewing Up A Collaboration

For a number of years, Todd Ashman had the idea to formulate an interesting and unusual beer, share that recipe, and conduct tastings of the various interpretations. This collaboration would serve to demonstrate that just as each brewer has a distinctive brewing style, each brewery also has attributes that make it unique; the local water supply, brewing equipment and ingredient sources all contribute to the distinctive character of a beer. Todd found that special beer in Concentrated Evil: a strong, dark, Belgian-style ale that was originally brewed at Todd’s home base, FiftyFifty Brewing Company in Truckee, California. Concentrated Evil is made with a variety of unusual ingredients including raisins, exotic sugars and aromatic spices. The complex array of flavors and moderately high level of alcohol make this an outstandingly unique beer. Todd chose fellow brewers Zac Triemert and Matt Van Wyk to participate as he has worked with both gentlemen in various capacities.

Zac Triemert, Co-President and Co-Founder of the newly established Lucky Bucket Brewing Company, holds a bachelors degree in microbiology and a masters degree in brewing & distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Zac is the winner of numerous national and international brewing awards. Zac is also a member of various committees for the Brewers Association and a member of their Board of Directors. Zac’s newest venture is opening Nebraska’s first craft distillery. Operations for The Sòlas Distillery begin next spring. When asked about this brewing project, Zac stated: “Concocting this collaboration beer with two brewing friends continues to be a terrific amount of fun. We all plan to put our own unique spin on what is already a great beer. After these beers have sufficient time maturing in wood, the tasting events will be a kick.”

Matt Van Wyk is Brewmaster for Flossmoor Station Brewing Company in Flossmoor, Illinois (Todd Ashman’s alma mater). He attended the renowned Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois in 2001. Matt was formerly a science teacher and previously worked at three other Chicago area breweries. Matt is the recipient of several regional, national, and international brewing awards. In 2006 he was awarded the Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year and Flossmoor Station was named Small Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado. “It is an honor to be asked to participate with these two great brewers in this collaboration project. It just shows what a great industry we work in where cooperation is often more valued than competition. Crafting a beer with Todd and Zac has been a great experience,” said Matt.

Todd Ashman began his long brewing career in 1987 as a homebrewer. After completing a craft brewer’s apprenticeship program, Todd brewed professionally in New Mexico, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2004 Todd joined the Brewers Supply Group division of Rahr Malting as Staff Brewmaster. In 2007 Todd returned to brewing and his native California as Brewmaster for FiftyFifty Brewing Company. He has received numerous regional, national and international brewing awards. Many of those awards have been for beers that utilized unusual and unique ingredients and/or processes. Todd’s thoughts: “I’ve been thinking about working on a Collaboration for sometime now. I really wanted to work with a couple of brewers that knew each other and I’m really glad that Matt and Zac signed on to try this out. These guys have amazing brewing talent and the end result of our Collaboration will not only be fun for our customers at our respective breweries but especially fun for folks at the 2008 GABF. The chance to try our respective beers under one roof will be great!”


Craft Beer Still Showing Double Digit Growth

The Brewers Association just released the numbers for the first half of 2008 and worried brewers everywhere can breath a quiet sigh of relief. There has been the worry that as prices have risen, sales would be slowed as a result. But for the first half of 2008, craft beer surged ahead 11% in dollars over a year ago. According to The Nielsen Company, beer sales are affected the least by the economic downturn, with wine sales showing the most impact. Additionally, craft beer is gaining customers from across all segments of beverage alcohol.

The Brewers Association reports that in the first half of 2008 volume of beer sold by craft brewers grew by 6.5% totaling an estimated 4 million barrels of beer compared to 3.768 million barrels sold in the first half of 2007. Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily stated, “Crafts have really taken pricing this year given high input costs, and yet it is still driving volume gains faster than the beer category.”


SNOB’s Celebrate 2000th Membership

As usual, I was a little lost and a little late as I hammered the accelerator from light to light. I’d been to Portland’s infamous Horse Brass Pub before and count Don “The Caveman” Younger a Beerdom buddy. But I’d neglected to bring a map or even the address of the pub along with me. I knew it was next to Belmont Station on Belmont St., (at least where Belmont Station used to be, turns out Belmont Station’s 4 blocks away on Stark now.) and by god I was going to find it (Thank god my wife wasn’t with me. She’d want me to do something crazy like ask for directions.)

I was supposed to be at Horse Brass Pub at 2pm to join in the celebration of SNOBs 2000th membership. SNOB stands for Supporters of Native Oregon Beer. They’re the Enthusiast Members of the Oregon Brewers Guild. The Oregon Brewers Guild was founded in 1992 and is one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations. OBG describes their SNOBs as “an integral link in the ‘beer chain’ that connects suppliers, brewers, retailers and consumers. Being a SNOB shows off your impeccable taste in beer and gets you a backstage pass to see what’s going on behind the scenes in Oregon’s craft brewing industry.”
The Horse Brass Pub, established waaaay back in 1976, is on every beer geek’s life list and its owner, Don Younger has, through enthusiastic promotion of craft beer, become something of an industry icon himself. Rogue Brewery even named a couple beers after him, Younger’s Special Bitter (YSB) and Imperial YSB.

Horse Brass

What better place to celebrate Oregon’s 2000th SNOB? The place was packed with SNOBs when I rushed in to capture the moment. Luckily, other than a few lottery drawings and consumption of a nice spread of sausage and Oregon Craft Beer, not much had occurred. I’m not sure if Brian was waiting for me or I just timed it perfectly. After shooting a handful of pictures I sat down to enjoy a Pittock Wee Heavy Ale by Mt. Hood brewing. Ummmmmm perfection.

At the Horse Brass

I’d just reached the bottom of my pint glass when Brian Butenschoen, of the Oregon Brewer’s Guild, made the announcement. Through a twist of fate involving black holes, crossed dormant dwarf stars, and a parallel universe, there ended up being two 2000th members. TJ Barlow and Bill Matara will share the honor and the loot attached to being the 2000th members to enlist in the SNOB ranks. Long may they tip their glasses in support of Oregon Craft Beer!

SNOB's 2000th member

For more information on the Oregon Brewer’s Guild or becoming a SNOB go to


Monday Link List

Here are a few interesting links from around the blogoshpere:


Finding Beer in Texas

If you’re having trouble finding your favorite brews in Texas, help is on the way. Texas beer Maps has just launched a new website that aims to list “every single establishment in the state of Texas that serves, sells, or brews alcohol,” and that includes “restaurants, bars, night clubs, beer pubs, food marts, convenient stores, liquor stores and wineries.” All that information has put on a customized interactive map using Google Maps technology.


Here’s how the folks at Texas Beer Maps explain it:

How many times have you been home trying to find a new bar or restaurant to go to, but unless you know the exact name, you can’t find reliable information? You can go to our map, type in your address and the map will automatically zoom into your home location. You can then click on bars, restaurants, or any of the other categorized tabs and it will show you every one of the establishments in your area. You can plan trips, or just try out a new bar or nightclub you never knew existed!

We’ve also got how-to sections on the site, a forum, guest book, store with a ton of cool merchandise, historical beer sites, and we’re currently working on bringing you tubing sites, taxi cabs and limos, camping areas, and all the recreation parks in the state!


Jim Koch Honored By Homebrewers

Jim Koch, Founder of The Boston Beer Company (who makes the Samuel Adams line of beers), was recognized with an award for his outstanding service to the community of homebrewers at the opening session of the American Homebrewers Association’s (AHA) annual National Homebrewers Conference.

The American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee Recognition Award was established to honor those who have made a significant contribution over the years to the growth of the homebrewing hobby.

Jim Koch was recognized for years of proudly marketing his homebrewing roots as part of the Boston Beer Story. In recent years, Boston Beer has created national promotions and advertising campaigns encouraging consumers to learn how to make their own beer.

“In addition to sponsoring many different homebrewing events and programs through the AHA and other organizations, Jim continues to promote homebrewing through the Longshot Competition and has brought homebrewing to a new and wider audience than ever before,” said Randy Mosher, Chairperson of the AHA Governing Committee. “Jim has been a steadfast and vocal advocate for homebrewing and the AHA through his support as member of the Brewers Association Board.”


Oxford Brookes awarded Beer Hunter’s papers

The executors of the estate of the late Michael Jackson, known as “The Beer Hunter,” have donated the contents of his office to the Oxford Brookes University Library.

Don Marshall, of Oxford Brookes University Library, said: “We are very excited to receive this gift of the books and papers of ‘The Beer Hunter.’ The Michael Jackson Collection will work in parallel with the National Brewing Library, already located in Oxford Brookes University Library and jointly managed by members of the Library and the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. It will also complement other special collections in food and drink – one of the key areas of research excellence in the University.”


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What Would You Do For A Kegerator?

If you’d like to have your own Kegerator to dispense draft beer in your home, all it takes it a video camera and enough creativity to be the next George Lucas or Martin Scorsese. is holding a video contest with a grand prize of a kegerator. The deadline to submit your own kegerator-themed Citizen Kane is August 13 and full details can be found on the Kegerator website. Just release your inner Jackass in video form, showing just what you’d do to win a free Kegerator, upload it to YouTube or Google Video and then submit it using the online form. That’s pretty much it, though there is the requisite fine print at the bottom, but it looks like pretty standard stuff. Maybe this is how Stephen Spielberg got his big break.


Chico Estate Harvest

As Sierra Nevada Brewing puts their newest seasonal release, it’s “fresh from the field to the glass with no stops along the way.” With the third installment of Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Ale Series, they introduce a beer that is close to the brewery’s heart. Chico Estate Harvest Ale is a beer made with hops grown just feet from the brew house. They grow the hops themselves, pick them, and put them directly into the beer, still bursting with the signature flavors that have put Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on the map. Hops this fresh can be found nowhere else.

Chico Estate Harvest

By stealing a page from the winemaker’s playbook, Chico Estate Harvest Ale will use all of the hops grown in the brewery fields for one big full-flavored Sierra Nevada beer. Typically, hops are collected and dried for use throughout the year, but as they dry, the precious oils and resins break down and some of the big flavors become muted. With Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Ale series, the brewery takes care to use the freshest hops possible, and in the case of Chico Estate and fall Harvest Ales, they use only “wet” or undried hops to add not only bitterness, but the full range of character and flavors that the small but mighty hop has to offer.

The Chico Estate Harvest Ale was originally called 20th Street Ale, and was available only on draft. At the end of August, it will be bottled for the first time under the new name.


Happy International Brewers Day

I can’t see any reason why I can’t toot my own horn here at Beer Therapy. A few months back I had this idea to start a new holiday, and today is the day. July 18 we celebrate the first International Brewers Day. If you see a brewer today, remember to give him or her a hug. Or you could just buy him a beer or drink a toast to her honor, if that’s more your style.

If you want to know more about this new holiday to honor brewers who make the great beer we all love to drink, please visit the official International Brewers Day website. Cheers!


San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Introduces New Beer Cans

Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan, the co-founders and iconic personalities behind the 21st Amendment Brewery, recently announced, “We Drink What We Can, We Can What We Drink!” The brewpub in San Francisco’s South of Market district has taken two of the pub’s beers, the award-winning, but renamed, “Hell or High Watermelon” Watermelon Wheat Beer and “Brew Free! Or Die” IPA, and dressed them up in the finest package for a beer: the can.

“Craft beer in a can? Quite CAN-didly, that’s the number one question we get around here,” says Chief Hop Head and Brewmaster O’Sullivan. “The can is actually a brilliant CAN-cept all around for craft beer,” adds Chief Watermelon Officer Freccia. “Cans are simply better for the beer–they keep it fresher by protecting it from light, they are lined so they don’t affect the flavor of the beer and they fit the craft beer drinker’s lifestyle by going places where glass just doesn’t dare—like beaches, pools, boats, parks and golf courses”. And cans are better for the environment. They use less energy to produce and transport, and they are far more often recycled than glass.

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, an American-style wheat beer made with hundreds of pounds of fresh pressed watermelon, and Brew Free! Or Die IPA, a big, hoppy beer to be reckoned with, will both be available in cans in stores and bars throughout San Francisco beginning on Tuesday, July 22nd. To celebrate, the 21st Amendment is throwing a “Can Release Party” at the legendary Toronado bar, 547 Haight St. in San Francisco at 6 p.m. on that day. The beers will be distributed by DBI Beverage in San Francisco and will also be available in limited supply throughout California with wider distribution to follow. For up to date availability, events and promotions, visit their website.

Watermelon Wheat

In their own words:

Who the heck are these guys? Hey, we’re Nico & Shaun. We live for great beer. In 1920, there were thousands of breweries across America making unique hand-crafted beer. The passage of Prohibition wiped out this great culture. After thirteen years without beer, the states ratified the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition in America. At the 21st Amendment Brewery, we celebrate the right to brew beer, the freedom to be innovative, and the obligation to have fun.

Here’s to original beer…IN YOUR FACE!


American Craft Beer In Germany

On July 4th, a new American embassy opened in Berlin, Germany. Naturally, the opening was accompanied by American craft beer. A reception was held on Pariser Platz square and attended by over 4,500 guests, including former President George H. W. Bush, current German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a host of ministers from the German government.


Bobby Richey, Sue Timken, Ambassador Timken, and Sam Bessinger show off American Craft Beer at the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany.

“We wanted to celebrate the return of the U.S. Embassy to its historic home in downtown Berlin in a very American way,” commented Bobby Richey, Jr., Counselor for Agricultural Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. “We chose to serve U.S. craft beers because they embody many of the attributes typical of U.S. agricultural products: quality and innovation.” Richey contacted the Brewers Association’s Export Development Program, who provided 47 different craft beer brands from 13 American craft breweries from member breweries at the reception.

“The Brewers Association is very proud to be a part of the festivities surrounding the new opening of the German Embassy in Berlin. Exposure of American craft beer abroad actually increases demand in the U.S.,” stated Brewers Association Vice President Bob Pease. “To have our members’ products requested and sampled at the birthplace for many of the beer styles our members proudly brew today is a testament to the quality, flavor and diversity of American craft beer — which is increasingly being recognized as a world-class brand.”


InBev / A-B Press Release

InBev and Anheuser-Busch have now sent out an official press release regarding the agreement between the two brewing giants, a portion of which is listed below:

InBev and Anheuser-Busch today announced an agreement to combine the two companies, forming the world’s leading global brewer. Anheuser-Busch shareholders will receive $70 per share in cash, for an aggregate equity value of $52 billion, in an industry-transforming transaction. The combined company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev. Both companies’ Boards of Directors have unanimously approved the transaction. InBev has fully committed financing for the purchase of all of Anheuser-Busch’s outstanding shares.

The combination of Anheuser-Busch and InBev will create the global leader in the beer industry and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies. On a pro-forma basis for 2007, the combined company would have generated global volumes of 460 million hectoliters, revenues of $36.4 billion (€26.6 billion) and EBITDA of $10.7 billion (€7.8 billion). Anheuser-Busch and InBev together believe that this transaction is in the best interests of both companies’ shareholders, consumers, employees, wholesalers, business partners and the communities they serve.

The company will make St. Louis, Missouri the headquarters for the North American region and the global home of the flagship Budweiser brand. With about 40% of the combined company’s revenues to be generated in the U.S., the company will draw on the collective expertise of Anheuser-Busch’s dedicated and experienced employees and its culture of quality. Given the limited geographical overlap between the two businesses and the efficiency of Anheuser-Busch’s brewery footprint in the United States, all of Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. breweries will remain open.

InBev CEO Carlos Brito will be chief executive officer of the combined company. The Board of Directors of the combined company will be comprised of the existing directors of the InBev Board, Anheuser-Busch President and CEO August Busch IV and one other current or former director from the Anheuser-Busch Board. In addition, the combined company’s management team will draw from key members of both InBev’s and Anheuser-Busch’s current leadership. Anheuser-Busch will become a wholly owned subsidiary of InBev upon the completion of this transaction.

The expanded company will be geographically diversified, with leading positions in the world’s top five markets – China, U.S., Russia, Brazil and Germany – and balanced exposure to developed and developing markets. A combination of Anheuser-Busch and InBev will result in significant growth opportunities from leveraging the companies’ combined brand portfolio, including the global flagship Budweiser brand and international market leaders such as Stella Artois and Beck’s, maximizing the combination’s unparalleled global distribution network and applying best practices across the new organization. Budweiser and Bud Light are the largest selling beers in the world, and the combined company will have an unmatched portfolio of imports, local premiums and local core brands.

Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev, said, “We are very pleased to announce this historic transaction today, bringing together two great companies that share a rich history of brewing traditions. We are extremely excited about the opportunities that this combination will create for consumers worldwide, as well as our shareholders, employees, business partners and wholesalers. Together, Anheuser-Busch and InBev will be able to accomplish much more than each can on its own. We have been successful business partners for quite some time, and this is the natural next step for us in an increasingly competitive global environment. This combination will create a stronger, more competitive global company with an unrivaled worldwide brand portfolio and distribution network, with great potential for growth all over the world.”

August Busch IV, Anheuser-Busch President and CEO, stated, “Today’s announcement brings new opportunities for Anheuser-Busch and its business, brands and employees. This agreement provides additional and certain value for Anheuser-Busch shareholders, while enhancing global market access for Budweiser, one of America’s true iconic brands. We will leverage our collective strengths to create a truly diversified, global company to sustain long-term growth and profitability. In the United States and Canada, both InBev and Anheuser-Busch have seen significant benefits from our existing relationship and we look forward to replicating this success in other parts of the world.”

Budweiser, together with Stella Artois and Beck’s, will become the combined company’s leading global brands, leveraging InBev’s expansive international footprint. InBev has a history of successfully building brands around the world, which will complement the unparalleled strength of Anheuser-Busch’s brand-building in the U.S. The two companies already have a successful U.S. distribution partnership for InBev’s European premium import brands including Stella Artois, Beck’s and Bass. Anheuser-Busch’s world-class sales and distribution system will continue to support the expansion of these brands in the U.S. market.

Anheuser-Busch’s partners fit very well with InBev’s global franchise. Anheuser-Busch has equity investments in two companies with strong brands in two key markets: Mexico’s Grupo Modelo, which owns Corona Extra, the number five brand globally; and China’s Tsingtao, the leading Chinese premium brewer. In addition, Budweiser is a strong and growing national brand in China, and the two companies’ footprints in China are complementary. InBev’s China business in southeastern China will be enhanced by Anheuser-Busch’s strength in northeastern China.

The transaction creates significant profitability potential both in terms of revenue enhancement and cost savings. The combination will yield cost synergies of at least $1.5 billion annually by 2011 phased in equally over three years. Given the highly complementary footprint of the two businesses, such synergies will largely be driven by sharing best practices, economies of scale and rationalization of overlapping corporate functions. InBev has a strong track record of delivering synergies in past transactions and is confident in its ability to achieve these synergies.

In addition, there are meaningful revenue opportunities through expansion of Budweiser on a global scale: InBev is the number one brewer in 10 markets where Budweiser has a very limited presence, and has a superior footprint in nine markets where Budweiser is already present.

The transaction is expected to be neutral to normalized earnings per-share in 2009 and accretive beginning in 2010, and return on invested capital will exceed weighted average cost of capital during the second year after close.

The transaction is subject to the approval of InBev and Anheuser-Busch shareholders, and other customary regulatory approvals. Shareholders of both companies will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed combination at special shareholder meetings that will be scheduled at a later date. InBev’s controlling shareholder has agreed to vote its shares of InBev in favor of the combination. In light of the limited overlap between the InBev and Anheuser-Busch businesses, the combination should not encounter any significant regulatory issues, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

InBev has received fully committed financing with signed credit facilities from a group of leading financial institutions, including Banco Santander, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Fortis, ING Bank, JP Morgan, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland. The transaction will be financed with $45 billion in debt, including a $7 billion bridge financing for divestitures of non-core assets from both companies. In addition, InBev has received commitments for up to $9.8 billion in equity bridge financing which will allow the company flexibility in deciding upon the timing and form of equity financing for a period of up to six months after closing. The combined company is expected to retain a strong investment-grade credit profile, and rapid de-leveraging of the balance sheet is expected through strong free cash flow generation.

InBev has retained Lazard as lead advisor, JPMorgan as co-lead advisor, Deutsche Bank, and BNP Paribas as financial advisors, and Centerview Partners as industry advisor. Legal advisors are Sullivan & Cromwell, Clifford Chance, and Linklaters. Financial advisors to Anheuser-Busch are Goldman Sachs & Co., Citigroup Global Capital Markets Inc. and Moelis & Company and legal advisor is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is legal advisor to the Anheuser-Busch Board.


Anheuser-Busch Accepts InBev’s Takeover Offer

In a Sunday afternoon vote of Anheuser-Busch’s Board of Directors, meeting at the Spirit of St. Louis airport in Chesterfield, Missouri, the $70 per share offer by InBev to acquire A-B was approved. The total sale will be nearly $50 billion and the board of directors of the newly merged company will include two Anheuser-Busch members, most likely including August A. Busch IV. The new company will be known as Anheuser-Busch InBev.