Stone Brewing Looking For Brewery Overseas

Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, the founders of Stone Brewing after tweasing (twitter teasing) the news for weeks have announced a bold, audacious plan. After resisting sending their beer overseas, they’ve decided instead to consider opening a brewery there instead. So they’re initiating an open call from municipalities or even nations abroad to see what they might propose to entice them to take over an existing brewery or build a new one somewhere in Europe, Asia or wherever. In the video below, Greg and Steve explain the idea.

Stone to open a Brewery in Europe? from stonebrew on Vimeo.

This is a very exciting project for Steve and me…and all of us at Stone Brewing. We’re going to be learning quite a bit with this endeavor, first and foremost: Will we be welcome? We’re approaching this with no assumptions other than we’d like to consider any and all options (other than having our beers contract brewed by another brewery, as that’s simply not our style). Many of the countries of Europe have great brewing traditions. Some countries are also currently experiencing a bit of a resurgence of small, independent (and independent thinking) breweries. As anyone knows that has visited the Stone Brewing Co. and our attached restaurant – the Stone World Bistro & Gardens – where we have more Guest taps than we do of Stone, we enjoy sharing the camaraderie of great craft beers. We look forward to joining in the fight in Europe by doing our part to add to the growing trend towards unique, flavorful artisanal beers, as opposed to the mass-blandification efforts characterized by megabrand sameness!

-Greg Koch, CEO


Virgin America To Serve 21st Amendment Beer

Great craft beer on planes is finally reaching the blue skies, as the 21st Amendment Brewery is set to launch their Brew Free! or Die IPA in cans aboard Virgin America Airlines. Starting now Virgin America will serve complimentary Brew Free! or Die IPA in First Class and Main Cabin Select and the beer will be available for purchase in the Main Cabin for $7.

21st Amendment co-owners Shaun O’Sullivan and Nico Freccia

“This is a huge day for beer drinkers looking for a full flavored craft beer while flying aboard Virgin America. The 21st Amendment’s innovative approach of putting craft beer with unique flavors in cans partners perfectly with Virgin America, a brand synonymous with innovation, creativity and an emphasis on the customer’s experience,” says Shaun O’Sullivan, Brewmaster and Co-Founder of the 21st Amendment.

Brew Free! or Die IPA is brewed with some serious west coast attitude. This aromatic golden IPA starts with a sucker punch of six different hops to the nose, quickly balanced by a solid malt back bone. The Brewery’s top selling beer, this IPA starts big and finishes clean leaving you wanting more.

“Craft beer in cans is better for the beer than glass bottles and better for the environment with a lower carbon footprint. Not only are cans lighter, take less energy to make, transport and recycled more often than glass, but they also don’t allow light to reach the beer which can cause spoilage. You can also take cans to places where bottles can’t go, like the beach, lakes, golf courses and of course airplanes,” says Nico Freccia, Co-founder of the 21st Amendment.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with 21st Amendment. Our guests have been looking for an expanded onboard beer selection with more locally-produced micro-brews. We’ve received that feedback from many channels – including Tweets and Facebook posts received from 35,000 feet via our in-flight WiFi,” said Porter Gale, Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America. “As the only airline with a touch-screen in-flight entertainment at every seatback that offers on-demand food and drinks, Virgin America is all about offering flyers more and better choices. We’re pleased to partner with another San Francisco-based company to elevate the typical in-flight experience above the ordinary.”

“The great side note and cool little twist about this story is the whole thing started on Twitter. I was flying aboard a Virgin America flight and tweeted about the amazing in-flight experience and later inquired about the possibility of getting the 21st Amendment beer on Virgin America’s planes. One thing led to another and now we’re drinking 21st Amendment’s craft beer at 35,000 feet. Social networking, planes and beer go together,” says Shaun O’Sullivan, a self proclaimed Twitter addict himself.


About that beer for Santa . . .

A Labatt Brewery campaign involving Santa and beer not surprisingly sparked controversy in Canada, even though the beer is non-alcoholic.

Labatt has posted ads in Mac’s Convenience Stores across Ontario saying, “Leave one out for Santa. He’s driving.” They show a bottle of Labatt’s Blue de-alcoholized beer.

The Toronto Sun reported one consumer said this sends the wrong message. “Children see that and they think we’d better leave beer for Santa instead of cookies and milk. I have grandchildren and great-granchildren and I don’t approve of it. Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy,” she said.

Mothers Against Drinking and Driving said it has no problem with it because it’s alcohol-free beer.

“This is not drinking and driving. It’s a Labatt issue and whatever their philosophy is behind the ad is certainly up to them,” said MADD Canada president Margaret Miller.


Sierra Nevada To Celebrate 30th Anniversary With Collaboration Brews

Next year, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will celebrate their 30th anniversary and will mark the occasion with a yearlong commemoration of the trailblazing brewers who helped transform America into the world’s most exciting brewing nation. In 2010, Sierra Nevada will be teaming up with the founders of the craft beer movement to benefit select charities and beer drinkers across the country.

March of 2010 will see the first of four beers in a series of collaborative projects with America’s craft-brewing pioneers: Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing; Jack McAuliffe, founder of New Albion Brewery; and authors, homebrewers, and beer advocates Fred Eckhardt, and Charlie Papazian. Together, this group is credited as ‘the men who launched a thousand breweries;’ and without them, our current day craft-beer-renaissance might never have happened.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the original pioneers who helped me and hundreds of others get started,” said Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman. “Few people in the craft-brewing world have accomplished more than these guys, and we thought it might be fun to get the original crew together and make something special.”


This project will begin where craft brewing started—Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco. Maytag bought the historic brewery in 1965, and his vision for American beer changed everything. In December 2009, these pioneers gathered at Anchor to catch up, reminisce about craft beer’s beginnings, and share their vision for the project.

“I feel honored to sit at the table with these guys,” said Grossman. “Without the help that these guys gave me in the early days, I never would have gotten started. Each of them has shaped craft beer in some meaningful way, and without them, who knows what American beer would be today?”

The beers will be released periodically throughout the year, starting with the first release in March, and continuing until Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary on November 15. These limited-release 750ml cage-and-cork bottles will be available at select retailers and beer-centric bars.

These beers will be much more than a tribute: Proceeds from the project will go to benefit select charities chosen by the four pioneers.

Sierra Nevada started in 1980 with a humble hand-built brewhouse and some interesting ideas about beer. Today it’s America’s longest-running craft startup, and boasts the number-one best-selling craft brand in the country—the legendary flagship, Pale Ale.

A lot has changed in the generation since Grossman first met these brewing pioneers. When Sierra Nevada first opened its doors, there were less than 50 breweries in the United States. Today, there are more than 1,500 craft breweries in operation, and American brewers lead the world in variety of styles, innovation, experimentation, and quality.

Follow this collaboration of pioneering brewers at


Original Sin rolls out Pear Cider

Original Sin, producers of a highly thought of apple cider since 1997, has added a pear cider to its lineup.

Original Sin Pear Cider is a dry cider, a modest 4.5% abv, and is gluten free.

In 2003 a tasting panel for The New York Times judged Original Sin Apple the “top American cider” in a test involving 21 ciders. Original Sin is available in 22 states, recently shipping to the West Coast and to the United Kingdom.

Rock poster artist, R. Black, has created a series of posters for Original Sin featuring models from New York City’s nightlife and art scene. The posters, some more provocative than the one (left) created for Pear Cider, are for sale at the company website.


Andrew Van Til first ‘Master Cicerone’

A Michigan man has become the first to earn the title of Master Cicerone. Andrew Van Til, an account manager at Elite Brands Michigan, one of seven beer industry professionals who took the Master Cicerone exam last month in Chicago and the only one who passed.

“During the Master Cicerone exam, Van Til distinguished himself with his knowledge of all aspects of beer and his skill in tasting beer and in managing draft beer systems,” said Ray Daniels, Director of the Cicerone Certification Program.

Van Til earned the certification through a series of exams culminating with two days of intense written and oral questioning about beer styles, draft systems, beer evaluation, brewing technology and beer and food pairing.

Master Cicerone is third and top level of the Cicerone Certification Program. Founded in 2007, the program tests and certifies beer expertise similar to the wine world’s Master Sommelier program.

To date, the Cicerone Certification Program has given more than 1,000 exams across the three levels of the program. Approximately 800 individuals have earned the first level title of Certified Beer Server and about 75 individuals have achieved the title of Certified Cicerone.


Protz & Penguins, plus Heineken in India

In the event you missed the dust up between British beer writer Roger Protz and upstart Scottish brewery BrewDog you might start with a little background if you are to appreciate this cartoon from The Publican.

– Cincinnati Restaurant Group Inc., which operates a Hofbräuhaus in Newport, Ky., under license from the famous beer hall of the same name in Munich, Germany, announced it had dropped plans to either lease or buy the former Pabst visitors center and hall inn Milwaukee. However, a spokesman for the group said they are still looking at other locations at the former Pabst complex, now known as The Brewery. Meanwhile a developer proceeding with plans to operate a tavern at the visitors center and Blue Ribbon Hall.

Heineken has reached an agreement with India-based United Breweries that will allow the Dutch brewer to brew and sell its own brand of beer in that growing market. Heineken’s managed the breakthrough via a deal with Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya and his United Breweries, brewer of Kingfisher, to distribute Heineken beer in what it called “one of the world’s fastest growing and most exciting beer markets.” The Wall Street Journal has details about the intricate transaction, revealing how complicated the business of big beer can be.


Pete Brown top British beer writer

Pete Brown was tapped as as Beer Writer of the Year at the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards.

Brown won the Budweiser Budvar Travel Bursary for his book Hops and Glory as well as the overall title, which this year was re-named to honor the late beer writer Michael Jackson.

“The fact that, for the first year, the award was renamed in honor of Michael Jackson, makes winning it doubly special to me,” Brown said. “I have been writing about beer for six years, but everything seemed to click into place in 2009 and I am over the moon to win this.”

Other winners included Ben McFarland for beer and food writing, Mark Dredge in the new media category for his blog pencilandpsoon and Jeff Evans, editor of for trade writer of the year. Alastair Gilmour picked up the regional journalist of the year award, and author Arthur Taylor was named national journalist of the year.

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Guinness lets drinkers pour their own

The Publican reports that a “pour your own pint of Guinness” experiment in Irish pubs shows higher sales and that the trials could be headed for pubs in the UK.

A handful of pubs currently offer Guinness from taps on bar tables, with customers pouring their own pints from the metered units after handing over their credit card at the bar.

Diageo’s Brian Duffy said the trial was still being evaluated, although the early signs had been very encouraging.

“Where we have tested ‘pour your own pint’ it has produced significant sales improvements, and shifted share towards us from other brands,” he said.

Duffy denied that the kit would encourage irresponsible drinking.

“What we have actually found in the trials to date is that people actually drink a little slower, as it takes them out of the round culture,” he said.

Bars in the United States have experimented with similar “pour your own” systems.


Long Trail set to buy Otter Creek

Long Trail Brewing Co. announced Monday that it had signed a letter of intent to purchase Otter Creek Brewery. Long Trail CEO Brian Walsh said he hoped to close in about a month.

Walsh said he intends to continue both the Otter Creek and Wolaver’s, a line of organic beers put out by Otter Creek, brands. He does not plan to scale back the distribution of Otter Creek, which is sold in 15 states.

“Some of the states they’re in are the mid-Atlantic region where we’re looking to expand,” he said. “That’s a pretty good synergy right there.”

Walsh said Long Trail produces 76,000 barrels a year and estimated Otter Creek at 25,000 barrels. Both have capacity to grow.

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New site for American Homebrewers Association

The American Homebrewers Association has launched a new website. Destinations within the site include:

AHA Forum – An online discussion group for all topics of homebrewing, and is open to all everyone, from the most accomplished brewer to the beginner. Within the first few days of the website launch, more than 6000 participants had registered and more than 3,500 posts were listed.

Homebrewopedia: a Recipe Wiki –The AHA Homebrewopedia is a wiki-based resource, allowing homebrewers from around the world to share their recipes and brewing knowledge.

Pimp my System – This gives homebrewers the opportunity to show off their elaborate and creative brewing systems on the homepage.

Brewer of the Week – Brewers can post a bio about themselves in the Homebrewers Bio area on the AHA forum, and several will be chosen each month to featured.

Club Profiles & Resources – These pages contain articles geared towards helping homebrew clubs with events and management as well as a section on homebrew Club Profiles.


Beers and links for the weekend

– Pennsylvanian Dale Van Wieren has recorded every beer he’s drank since 1971 and tomorrow he’ll knock back No. 10,000. Don Russell has the story.

– Yule Beer Blog Photo Contest returns. You’d already know this if you were reading Beer for the Holidays.

– A six-pack of holiday beer suggestions: Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve, Goose Island Christmas Ale, Stoudt’s Winter Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and Alaskan Winter Ale.

– Women of Craft Beer: A Quick List. Pioneers, brewers, advocates and more.

– How do you know beer’s hip? They’re loving it in Hollywood and the rest of Los Angeles.

– Looking ahead. Deschutes Jubel will be back in February. From the press release: “This ‘Super Jubel’ was discovered by accident two decades ago when a clumsy burglar didn’t realize the weight of his stolen keg of Jubelale. He dropped it outside to freeze in the season’s sub-zero temperatures – only to be discovered the next morning by Gary Fish, Deschutes Brewery owner. More than half the liquid in the keg had frozen and the remaining beer was a very cold, highly concentrated ‘Jubelale on steroids.’ It was so good that the brewers set about recreating it, coming up with an annual ‘Super Jubel’ that is aged in oak barrels. A limited amount has been available on tap every year, 2010 will be only the second time that the brewery has bottled up this brew for sale. The first time it was available by bottle was a special millennium edition in 2000.”

– MillerCoors has launched, a “consumer website designed to educate consumers about its corporate social responsibility initiatives.”


Smuttynose beer Wood/Barrel champion in Chicago

Smuttynose Brewing Co. won Best of Show honors at the 7th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel-aged Beer last weekend in Chicago.

The New Hampshire brewery claimed top honors with its its Farmhouse Ale, a saison aged in a neutral oak barrel with Brettanomyces Claussenii. Runner-up was Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Stout, an imperial stout aged in 6 to 13-year-old Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.

The festival attracted 1,500 drinkers, who sampled more than 135 beers from 53 different breweries, representing 18 states.

The winning beers:

Classic Stout/Porter (8 entries): Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, Pullman Brown (Brown Porter)
Strong Stout/Porter (20 entries): Goose Island Beer Company, Bourbon County Brand Stout
Barleywine (9 entries): Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, Barrel aged Mooseknuckle Barleywine
Classic Styles (11 entries): Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Lil Opal
Strong Pale Beer (14 entries): Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Demon Sweat
Strong Dark Beers (19 entries): Allagash Brewing Company, Odyssey
Experimental Beers (20 entries): Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Cappatown
Wild Beers (33 entries): Smuttynose Brewing Company, Farmhouse Ale

Complete results.