Oskar Blues ‘breakout brand of the year’

Beverage World has announced that Oskar Blues won gold as “breakout brand of the year” in the publication’s analysis of all beverages in the market today. Oskar Blues topped other products such as TY KU Sake, New Leaf Tea, FRS Healthy Energy Drinks, MonaVie açai berry drinks and Guayakí Yerba Mate as the “breakout brand of the year.”

The first craft brewery to can its own beer on premise back in 2002, Oskar Blues has been joined by about 75 other small breweries (so far) in canning their own beer.

“We were the can guys,” Oskar Blues owner Dale Ketchis told Beverage World. “Early on we had an advantage because we weren’t trying to add a canning line to a current bottling line, this was our baby, so we wanted to drive it home. We wanted to educate everyone that it’s a better package, period. In order to do that we truly had to have 110 percent buy-in. The biggest advantage was that we bought in early to the idea and we’re still riding that wave.”


Harpoon Canning Their Beer

Another regional brewery is joining the ranks of those who are canning craft beer. Harpoon Brewery is canning two of their beers, the I.P.A. and the Summer Beer.

From the press release:

The Harpoon Brewery is pleased to announce that your backpack will be a little easier to carry on hiking trips this summer; introducing Harpoon IPA and Harpoon Summer Beer in cans. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the Harpoon Brewery will offer its flagship India Pale Ale and seasonal Summer Beer in 12-ounce aluminum cans. The beer, which was brewed at Harpoon’s Windsor, VT brewery, is being canned at FX Matt in Utica, NY today. The new cans will enable New England craft beer lovers to enjoy Harpoon beers during summer activities and at locales where glass bottles are not convenient.

It’s interesting to see more larger craft breweries turn to cans these days. I’m guessing we’ll see more and more of this size brewery adding cans to their line-up.

harpoon-summer-can harpoon-ipa-can


Nøgne Ø grand champion in Australia

American brewers won five major awards at the 2010 Australian International Beer Awards and a boutique Norwegian brewery, Nøgne Ø, captured the biggest prize, the Champion Exhibitor Trophy. Nøgne Ø also took home the Champion Small Brewery Award.

An international panel judged more than 1,170 beers, including 495 international entries. “We were extremely impressed with the entries received at this year’s Awards. Now recognized on a global stage as the pre-eminent showcase for premium beer and brewing excellence in the Asia Pacific region, the international dominance has not come as a surprise, receiving more and more high caliber international entries each year,” Peter Manders, the awards chairman, said for a press release.

Half of the entries came from what organizers call “boutique” breweries and half from large scale breweries and there was a 20 per cent increase in international brewers entering.

The Australian International Beer Awards was first held in 1993 recording 94 entries from 30 exhibitors from Australia and New Zealand.

The major award winners were:

• Champion Lager – Hoss Rye Lager, Great Divide Brewing Company, Colorado, USA
• Champion Ale – The Runt, Feral Brewing Company, Western Australia, Australia
• Champion Porter – Hunter Chocolate Porter, Hunter Beer Company, New South Wales, Australia
• Champion Stout – Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, Mikkeller, Copenhagen, Denmark
• Champion Reduced & Low Alcohol Beer – Redoak Bitter, Redoak Pty Ltd, New South Wales, Australia
• Champion Wheat Beer – Emerson’s Weizenbock, Emerson’s, Dunedin, New Zealand
• Champion Belgian & French Ale – The Sixth Glass, Boulevard Brewing Company, Missouri, USA
• Champion Scotch & Barley Wines – Samuel Adams Longshot Barley Wine, The Boston Beer Company, Massachusetts, USA
• Champion Hybrid Beer – Black Butte XXI, Deschutes Brewing, Oregan USA
• Champion Packaging Award – Scotts Pale Ale – 6 Pack Holder, Scotts Brewing Co, Auckland, New
• NEW Champion Gluten Free Beer – No trophy awarded
• Premier’s Trophy – Voodoo, 2 Brothers Brewery, Victoria, Australia
• Gary Sheppard Memorial Trophy (best new exhibitor) – Big Sky Brewing Company, Montana, USA
• Champion Large Brewery – Weihenstephan Brewery, Friesing, Germany
• Champion Small Brewery – Nøgne Ø – Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri, Grimstad, Norway
• Grand Champion Exhibitor Trophy (awarded to the most successful exhibitor) – Nøgne Ø – Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri, Grimstad, Norway

The complete list of medal winners is here (a pdf).


Louisiana homebrewers work for legalization

Support Your Local BreweryNow that Oklahoma has legalized homebrewing the attention turns to Louisiana. The American Homebrewers Association is working with a group of homebrewers in Louisiana to legalize the serving of home brew in licensed establishments for homebrew events.

Here’s the call to action:

House Bill 1484, which is an improved substitute for a previously filed homebrew bill, if passed would create a free three-day permit, allowing the possession, serving and consumption of homemade beer, mead and other fermented beverages at businesses licensed for on premises consumption of alcohol. This will allow homebrew clubs to legally have club meetings, competitions and other organized events at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments.

HB1484 was passed favorably from the House Judiciary Committee on May 13th and will be debated on the House floor soon. We request that you contact your Representative’s office today to ensure that HB1484 is passed by the House and is sent to the Senate for consideration.

Call Your Representative Today!
Click here to find contact information for your Representative.

During business hours, calls to the Representative’s receptionist are the most productive means of communication. The calls will be quick and easy. Your message should at least relate these points, phrased in your own words:

* Please pass HB1484 through the House when it comes up for debate.

* Louisiana homebrewers are solely seeking to gain legalization of serving homebrewed beer in licensed establishments for homebrew club meetings, competitions and events, which will help us share and improve our craft, so please help us in this effort.

It is up to Louisiana’s beer and brewing community to help the homebrew bill move through the legislative process. Please commit to making these communications, and forward this message on to anyone you think would be interested in supporting this cause. Without paid lobbyists, showing strong popular support is the only mechanism that will move this bill forward.

Thank you for your support of Louisiana’s homebrewers!


Oklahoma governor signs homebrewing bill

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has signed into law legislation that makes homebrewing beer legal in the state.

House Bill 2348 officially legalized the home production of beer for personal use in Oklahoma. Home production of wine and cider for personal use was already legal in Oklahoma. The passage of HB 2348 leaves Alabama and Mississippi as the only remaining states where the homebrewing hobby is not yet legal. The U.S. government made homebrewing legal on a federal level in 1979.

Gary Shellman, a member of the American Homebrewers Association and editor for Oklahoma City’s homebrew club, the High Plains Draughters, initiated the legalization process and worked to ensure the bill’s passage. Shellman spent months lining up a sponsor for a homebrew bill.

“Our theme from the very beginning was to get support from all sectors of the brewing community to bring parity for homebrewed beer with that already long enjoyed by home wine and cider makers,” Shellman said. “We are proud to say that we finally got the job done, but none of this would have been possible without the diligent efforts of Rep. Colby Schwartz.”

The AHA is currently working with homebrewers in Alabama and Mississippi on efforts to legalize homebrewing in those states.


Saint Arnold backs book drive for Craft Beer Week

With American Craft Beer Week in full swing from Chicago to Seattle the number of events is dizzying and local. But here’s one worth special mention:

Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Texas’ oldest craft brewery, will open its doors Tuesday evening May 18th for a book drive to benefit nearby Crawford Elementary School.

“I think of every week as American Craft Beer Week, but I appreciate the focus that this week brings to everything we do all year,” said Brock Wagner, founder and brewer of Saint Arnold Brewing. “The book drive is a perfect marriage of great beer and community.”

Saint Arnold will open the doors to those who donate at least two new or gently used books appropriate for children between the ages of five and 10. As a thank you and to celebrate American Craft Beer Week, donors can sample some of Saint Arnold’s tasty beers and root beer. The book drive for Crawford Elementary School will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18th at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons Avenue in Houston. Bilingual editions are especially appreciated.

The full press release.


Brewers Associatioin promotes Bob Pease

Bob Pease has been promoted form vice president to chief operating officer of the Brewers Association. Pease will take on additional responsibilities in the area of personnel administration, and oversight in key operational areas such as finance and IT, with an enhanced role in government affairs.

Pease was hired in 1993 as the operations director and promoted to vice president in 1999.

Charlie Papazian remains president and CEO with continued focus on Brewers Association stewardship, government affairs, beer community relations and serving as a beer ambassador.

Papazian is the founder of the American Homebrewers Association and the Association of Brewers (subsequently merged into the Brewers Association), as well as the Great American Beer Festival.

“Since 1978, I have enjoyed championing the best interest of craft brewers and craft beer. I have seen the beer community through many dramatic changes—changes that are ultimately serving the best interests of both beer drinkers and brewers,” Papazian said. “I feel fortunate to continue leading the organization with someone as loyal and dedicated to the beer community as Bob. It’s also a privilege to have the guidance of a group of people as dynamic and passionate as our board of directors. Continuing my involvement is like waking up each morning in a beer garden, knowing there’s always another round being served.”


Ska focuses on food bank for Craft Beer Week

American Craft Beer Week, also known as the “Mother of All Beer Weeks” and beginning Monday, reminds us that craft beer thrives at the local level. For example, consider that Ska Brewing in Colorado will support its hometown Durango Food Bank through a week-long food drive.

From the press release:

A food drive all week will benefit the Durango Food Bank, along with a portion of beer sales on certain nights, so they can continue their crucial support of people in our community who need a little extra help.

Ska’s commemoration of American Craft Beer Week kicks off Monday, May 17th, with “A Community Toast”, an informal gathering at Ska’s World Headquarters and Tasting Room in Bodo Park to toast our community, sign “The Declaration of Beer Independence”, and taste some delicious craft beer. Beginning at 5 p.m., the public is invited to join the Ska Brew Crew and Mayor Michael Rendon for a toast, a taste (or several), and a tour of the Ska Brewing World Headquarters. Complimentary appetizers will be provided by Ska Brewing and Zia Taqueria.

The events continue throughout the week, and a complete schedule is included on page 2 of this release. Attendees to events throughout the week are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the Durango Food Bank, and will have the opportunity to sign the Declaration of Beer Independence, which will then be framed for display at Ska. The week will culminate on Friday, May 21st, with “She’s Crafty”, a blowout party featuring five special, limited release Ska beers on tap, a free pint for craft-beer lovin’ ladies, and live ska music from “The Casual Fridays”.

“When a business steps up to help us, it enables us to better serve the community members who most need our help. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Ska Brewing to do just that”, said Sarah Smith, director of the Durango Food Bank, which recently opened a new facility in Bodo Park.

Here’s the complete national calendar of events.


New from Firestone Walker, Alaskan and Zatec

Firestone Walker Parabola Firestone Walker Brewing has made Parabola Imperial Stout available for the first time in bottles, and the limited one-time release isn’t expected to last long.

Parabola has long been a component of Firestone’s anniversary beer series. The anniversary beers are a blend of barrel-aged beers released one time each year in very limited quantities. The individual components are sometimes sold on draft or poured at beer festivals.

“We brewed our first Parabola 5 years ago as an experiment in barrel aging. This first bottle release show cases what we have learned and what we love about barrel aged beers and amazing flavors and textures that oak can bring to beer,” brewmaster Matt Bryndilson said for a press release.

Only 1000 cases of Parabola, 13% abv, are available in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington by mid-May.

Alaskan Brewing Co. has announced a new “Pilot Series” of limited edition specialty beers with Alaskan Raspberry Wheat Ale. The Alaskan Pilot Series will feature a rotating collection of beers packaged in 22-ounce bottles and will be available throughout the 10 states where Alaskan beers are sold.

“Each new recipe is first created on our 1-barrel experimental brewhouse, perfected in our 10-barrel pilot brewhouse, then put to the test through our Rough Draft series of draft-only beers distributed in Alaska,” said production manager Dave Wilson. “Alaskan Raspberry Wheat has been one of our favorite Rough Drafts.” It won a silver medal at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival.

Alaskan Raspberry Wheat is an American-style wheat ale highlighting the bright flavors and inviting aroma of more than 3,000 pounds of real raspberries added during fermentation.

– Importer Merchant du Vin expect Zatec Dark Lager (5.7% abv, 25 IBU) will join Zatec Bright Lager on shelves June 1. Made from Moravian two-row barley and local hops, Zatec Dark is produced via a double-decoction mash, open primary fermentation, sand filtering, and 45 days of lagering in cool cellars 80 feet underground. Brewing in the Zatec region — known for Saaz hops — of the Czech Republic dates back to at least 1004 AD. The Society of Privileged Brewers was founded in Zatec in 1261, the cornerstone for the current Zatec Brewery was laid in 1798, and brewing began in 1801.


Tour de Fat swapping bikes for cars

New Belgium brewing has posted the tour dates for the 11th season of Tour de Fat, its “traveling celebration of all things bicycle.” The tour begins June 26 in Chicago and concludes Aug. 30 in Austin, Texas.

For the fourth year in a row, Tour de Fat is looking for volunteers for the “swapper challenge.” One volunteer in each city will give up their car and receive a hand-built Black Sheep commuter bike. A volunteer is chosen after submitting a video or essay describing their desire to live sans-car for a year. To submit an application, log on to the Tour de Fat site.

“The car-for-bike swap is the pinnacle of the day, illustrating one person’s true belief in all that a bicycle can offer,” said Bryan Simpson, spokesman for New Belgium. “Bikes represent freedom, fun, fitness and folly while helping the environment. It’s a way of life that we live and share at New Belgium.”

The full schedule:

June 26 – Chicago, Palmer Square Park
July 3 – Milwaukee, Humboldt Park
July 10 – Minneapolis, Loring Park
July 31 – Seattle, Gasworks Park
August 14 – Portland, Waterfront Park
August 21 – Boise, Anne Morrison Park
September 4 – Fort Collins, Mothership
September 11 – Denver, City Park
September 25 – San Francisco, Lindley Meadows in Golden Gate Park
October 2 – San Diego, Balboa Park
October 9 – Tempe, Tempe Town Park
October 23 – Los Angeles, L.A. Historic Park
October 30 – Austin, Fiesta Gardens


Sam Adams suspends brewing in Boston

Boston Beer will not be brewing any of the Samuel Adams beers at its small Boston brewery for the next few days in an effort to conserve as the greater Boston area deals with a shortage of drinkable water, company spokeswoman Michelle Sullivan told

Most Samuel Adams beer distributed nationally is brewed in Cincinnati and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

Sullivan said the company got a call asking it to conserve water shortly after a pipe that carries water to the area broke on Saturday. “Today, tomorrow, the next few days, we’re just planning not to brew,” she said. “We want to obviously be a good local business and certainly respect [that request] and wait until the shortage has passed.”


South Carolina breweries ask for consumer help

Support Your Local BreweryThis call to action is intended for South Carolina residents.

South Carolina Beer Lovers,

We are asking you to get in touch with your elected officials to support legislation beneficial to SC breweries.

House Bill 3693 will allow a brewery in SC the ability to sample 4 brands and sell up to a case equivalent (288 ounces) per person per day. The case equivalent volume includes sales in any size containers, such as growlers (this is big for us!). While still restricted, the fact that we can now have tours, limited samples and ANY sales direct is a major milestone for South Carolina.

This bill will allow us, the small brewers of South Carolina, to interact with consumers and represent the beer personally, the beer we work so hard to brew. We also hope the resulting increased direct sales will allow for expansion and growth.

Already passed by the House, HB 3693 is currently under consideration by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, May 4. Because it is possible the full committee will vote the same day the subcommittee votes, we are asking you to call and/or email ALL members of the full Committee IMMEDIATELY and express your support for passage of this legislation.

Let these Senators know that you want them to support you as a beer consumer and the small brewers of the state by passing this bill. Let them know that this is good for businesses, consumers and the state’s economy by making South Carolina breweries more competitive with breweries in neighboring states.

Judiciary Committee (the 4 subcommittee members are starred)

Lee Bright
Paul G. Campbell, Jr.*
George “Chip” E. Campsen, III
Raymond E. Cleary, III*
Creighton B. Coleman
Tom Davis
Robert Ford
Bradley C. Hutto
John “Jake” M. Knotts, Jr.
Joel Lourie
Gerald Malloy
Larry A. Martin
Shane R. Martin
Shane A. Massey
Glenn F. McConnell, Chair
Michael “Mick” J. Mulvaney*
Floyd Nicholson*
Luke A. Rankin
Michael T. Rose
John L. Scott, Jr.
Vincent A. Sheheen
Phillip W. Shoopman
Kent M. Williams*

Thanks and cheers!

South Carolina Brewers Association