Deschutes, Hair of the Dog collaboration due in 2011

Oregon breweries Deschutes Brewery and Hair of the Dog Brewing today announced that they are working together on a beer that will be released some time next year.

From the press release:

“When we started talking about collaborating on a project, Alan Sprints at Hair of the Dog was the first person I thought of working with,” said Gary Fish, president of Deschutes Brewery. “We’ve known each other for a long time and partnering on a project like this was the perfect way to be able to do something original and unique together. When you have two creative companies embarking on a creative project together, something fun is bound to result.”

Sprints came over to Bend in early March to brew two of his beers at the Deschutes Brewery brewhouse. Then it was Deschutes Brewery brewmaster Larry Sidor’s turn to brew two of his own beers. These four beers (which will remain unnamed as yet) will be aged in various wood barrels and then blended together sometime in early 2011 in a ratio yet to be determined as part of the creative process. Over the next several months, Hair of the Dog and Deschutes Brewery will be meeting to sample the aging beer and contemplate the blending process.

Sprints said, “This partnership was born in an effort to express the vitality of today’s American brewing community and push the boundaries of what is commonly known as beer. Both of our companies share a pride in Oregon products and I have long admired the level of professionalism that Gary brings to the brewing industry. My idea was to do a blend of beers that we already produced, merging our products and passion for beer, hoping to create a beverage that will be deep, complex, earthy and beguiling.”

This is the first collaborative beer for each of the companies, and everyone is excited to see how the new beer will develop. Fish continued, “We have no idea how these four beers will taste blended together, but we do know that the total will be greater than the sum of its parts.”

It would appear that the blend will not include equal portions of each of the brews. Think anybody would buy the leftovers?


Griffin Groups Acquires Anchor Brewery

Big news in the beer world, as I learned today that San Francisco’s Anchor Brewery has been sold. Here’s the press release below.

The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on beverage alcohol brands, announced its acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company which includes its portfolio of craft beers and artisan spirits, including the award winning Anchor Steam Beer.

The Griffin Group is led by beverage alcohol veterans, Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, two longtime San Francisco residents who have been working with Anchor Brewing Company’s owner, Fritz Maytag to maintain the iconic brewery and distillery in San Francisco.

“Anchor Brewing Company has a long history in San Francisco and The Griffin Group is ushering in an exciting era while maintaining our proud, time-honored history,” said Fritz Maytag. “Combining Keith and Tony’s passion for the Anchor Brewing Company, their industry experience and expertise only means that Anchor will be enjoyed in San Francisco for generations to come.”

“Since 1896, Anchor Brewing Company has been an icon of San Francisco’s history and culture,” stated Griffin’s Founding Partner, Keith Greggor, “I am honored to bring Anchor Brewing Company into our family of craft beers and artisanal spirits through establishing Anchor Brewers & Distillers, LLC.”

Anchor Brewers & Distillers intends to establish a “Center of Excellence” in San Francisco for craft brewers and artisan distillers from around the world. An epicenter of development, education, entertainment and innovation, all designed to further contribute to the culture and heritage of craft beer and artisan spirits.

“San Francisco is the perfect place to establish this center,” stated Tony Foglio, “Through our extensive portfolio of craft beers and fine spirits our focus will be to educate and satisfy the increasing consumer demand for authentic, quality and natural products that reflect the passion of their creators.”

Continuing the Anchor heritage, Mr. Maytag has been named Chairman Emeritus of Anchor Brewers & Distillers.


Two breweries on ‘Best Places to Work’ list

“Outside” magazine put two brewing companies — New Belgium Brewing in Colorado and Alaskan Brewing in Alaska — on its third annual list of “The 50 Best Places to Work.”

New Belgium is second on the list and Alaskan 17th.

“It was such an honor to be a part of the inaugural list of companies in 2008, especially as the only company from Alaska,” Alaskan Brewing CFO Ann Metcalfe said for a press release issued by the brewery. “We are lucky enough to brew award-winning beer in one of the most incredible natural playgrounds on earth. To make the list again this year, affirms that we are fulfilling our mission statement and continuing to have fun while we grow.”

The magazine includes a mini-interview with, and retro picture of, Alaskan founder Geoff and Marcy Larson.

“We whole-heartedly follow the old ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality,” Marcy Larson said for the press release. “We all are passionate about putting out an outstanding and quality product but we also work hard to ensure that we are enjoying all that Alaska has to offer. Around here, we call that . . . living life Alaskan.”

It’s not unusual for employees to schedule their work hours around prime fishing times or ski seasons. Last year, 22 members of the 80 member Brew Crew traveled to Skagway to compete in the Klondike Road Relay — a 110 mile road relay between Skagway and Whitehorse, Canada. At the same time, another group of the Brew Crew was climbing local peaks in preparation for their summit of Mt. Rainier to celebrate a co-workers 50th birthday.

Outside’s “Best Places to Work” list was compiled with the help of the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group . The year-long selection process began with an outreach effort that identified a wide range of non-profit and for-profit organizations with at least 15 employees working in the United States. Participating companies were then sent confidential employee-satisfaction surveys and employer-questionnaires to collect information about benefits, job satisfaction, environmental initiatives, and community outreach programs. All of the results were analyzed by Best Companies Group experts, who selected the 50 companies that strive to enhance their employees’ enjoyment of active endeavors, and environmental and social involvement.


Canadian wine sales cut into beer consumption

Statistics Canada reports that growing interest in drinking wine has cut into Canadian beer sales.

“We can’t say definitively, but if you look at the age of baby boomers in 1976 and you look at the age of a baby boomer in 2009, that might help explain the story,” analyst Jo Ann MacMillan said. In 1976 the average person consumed about 115 liters of beer, and today the average is down to 83.5 liters.

“In 1976, baby boomers were quite young. They didn’t have a lot of money and their preference would have been to drink beer. Today, when the boomers are . . . 40 years older, we have beer consumption going down and wine going up.”

Other noteworthy numbers from the report:

  • Beer’s market share had decline from 53 per cent in 1993 to 46 per cent in 2009.
  • Canadians bought 441.4 million liters of wine, 64 per cent of that red and rose. Dollar sales of red and rose have more than doubled between 2000 and 2009, while white wine sales have climbed by 50 per cent.
  • Domestic wines grabbed more market share of that increase than imported. Just over 24 per cent of all reds and rosés sold in Canada were domestic, compared with almost 39 per cent of whites.
  • Imported beer has more than doubled its market share in the last decade, to up to 13 per cent of the beer market in 2009.
  • A 5.6 per cent increase in vodka sales kept revenues up for hard liquor sales across the country, but a drop in domestic liquor sales kept volumes down. Whisky, scotch and bourbon stayed the most popular spirits, accounting for 27 per cent of all spirit sales in 2009.
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    Wynkoop begins horse-powered deliveries

    Friday Wynkoop Brewing in Denver begins the first of bi-monthly beer deliveries by wagon.

    A wagon pulled by two 2,000-pound Clydesdale horses will roll out from the alley behind Wynkoop Brewing at 7 p.m. and head to a few of the brewery’s downtown beer retailers. The public is invited to watch.

    “We’re bringing back a piece of our city’s beer-blessed past,” Marty Jones, cheersleader/Idea Man, said for a press released. “Our local historians tell us it’s been nearly 100 years since beer was delivered in Denver in this fashion.

    “It’s a great way for us to shrink our carbon footprint while expanding our hoof print.”

    Denver historian Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel said, “It’ll be a joy to see horse-powered beer wagons rolling down Denver’s streets again. . . . Wynkoop Brewing Company brought back boutique beer in Denver, and now its bringing back horse-drawn thirst aid.”

    For this debut run, the horse-drawn wagon will leave Wynkoop and visit Wazee Supper Club at the corner of 15th & Wazee streets.

    The wagon’s other stops include Wines off Wynkoop (the brewpub’s first Rail Yard Ale can account), Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret (in the historic D & F Tower on Denver’s 16th Street Mall) and Scruffy Murphy’s Irish Pub at 2030 Larimer St.

    Wynkoop will continue horse-powered deliveries on the second and fourth Friday of each month.

    Dennis Holzrichter, owner of D & D Featherfoot Clydesdales & Carriages, will provide the retro transportation for these deliveries. He has been offereing horse-drawn carriage rides in downtown for 20 years.


    Danes end strike over beer ration

    The Danish beer strike is over. Details from The National Post:

    Employees at a Carlsberg warehouse on the outskirts of Copenhagen returned to work on Monday, ending a five-day strike over a decision to cut their daily ration of free beer, their union said.

    Some 200 warehouse workers in Hoeje Taastrup had walked off the job last Wednesday after their daily beer ration was cut from three bottles to one.

    Around 50 drivers for the brewery had joined the work action in solidarity with their thirsty colleagues.

    “We have agreed with management that we will meet very soon to find a temporary solution while waiting for a legal settlement of the matter,” 3F union delegate Michael Christensen said in a statement on the union’s website.

    Carlsberg recently introduced a policy that authorizes drinking beer in the canteen during the lunch hour.


    Grossman, Bell, Hindy honored at CBC

    The Brewers Association honored three of its own Thursday as the Craft Brewers Conference began in Chicago.

    The Brewers Association Recognition Award went to Larry Bell, founder of Bell’s Brewery. Bell started Kalamazoo Brewing in 1984, later renaming it Bell’s. It was the first craft brewery in the eastern half of the United States.

    “Larry is a leader in our industry known for his innovative beers and the passion he brings to craft brewing,” said Brewers Association Board of Directors Chair Nick Matt, CEO of Matt Brewing Company.

    Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada was awarded the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. Grossman received this year’s award for his leadership in technical brewing science for craft brewers. He remains deeply involved in technical brewing projects at Sierra Nevada and has led numerous initiatives in the area of sustainability and beer quality.

    “Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Company 30 years ago based on one principle, to make the highest quality beer in America,” Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co. wrote in a nominating document. “I think Ken’s never-ending quest in life is to make Sierra Nevada’s beers even better than they already are.”

    The BA presented the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award to Steve Hindy, chairman and president of The Brooklyn Brewery. Hindy recently testified in a congressional hearing to communicate how state franchise laws can hinder the ability for small brewers to grow their businesses and how self-distribution is important to many small brewers to develop their access to market.


    Second congressman on stage for CBC keynote

    Congressman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) join Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) in delivering the keynote address at the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Chicago. Neal and DeFazio will speak Thursday morning.

    Congressman Neal introduced H.R. 4278 in December 2009, to create a graduated beer excise tax rate for America’s small brewers. Congressman Neal introduced the legislation along with fellow House Ways & Means Committee member Congressman Kevin Brady. The bill would help create jobs for America’s 1,500+ small breweries, which employ nearly 100,000 people in communities throughout the country.

    “I am pleased to be a champion of our nation’s small brewers. As small business owners, they exhibit the important American values of hard work and ingenuity on a daily basis. These entrepreneurs have followed their passion in life to start their own companies despite the many obstacles small brewers face when competing against huge multinational companies. Since many of these success stories come from the New England region, it is one of my priorities to help foster and preserve America’s craft brewing community. I look forward to continuing my work on this issue in a bipartisan manner in the United States Congress,” Neal said.


    New Belgium seeks video originals

    New Belgium Brewing is seeking short digital, film and video submissions for the first season of its traveling cLips of Faith Beer & Film Tour. Chosen entries will screen in 14 cities throughout the summer and fall of 2010. From the press release:

    The top three winning filmmakers will travel to New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO for a private screening and beer dinner extraordinaire.

    “The cLips of Faith Beer & Film tour is a celebration of the innate creativity of both brewing and film,” said event director, Meredith Giske. “We’re looking for eclectic and creative short film submissions to complement the beers we are bringing from our Lips of Faith portfolio. These are some of the most creative beers we make, so it will be a one-two combo like you’ve never seen.”

    Each stop along the fourteen-city tour will feature an outdoor screening of the collected films, a full tasting of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith beers and food from local vendors. All proceeds will benefit local bike non-profits. The series will run between mid-June and mid-October.

    “At this point, we’re looking for you and your friends to create something original and fun for all of us to watch,” said Giske. “We’re looking for stories that touch on beer, whimsy or sustainability in the categories of comedy, drama, adventure, documentary or animation. The slate is completely blank and the possibilities are endless.”

    To learn more about New Belgium’s cLips of Faith series or to submit content, go to