SBA, White House honor Deborah Carey of New Glarus

The U.S. Small Business Administration named Deborah Carey, president of New Glarus Brewing Co., the Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year for 2011 and runner-up for the national prize. She was also selected as a Champion of Change by the White House.

Deb Carey founded New Glarus along with her husband, Dan Carey, in New Glarus in 1993. Although the brewery does not sell its beer beyond the borders of Wisconsin, it sold about 92,000 (31-gallon) barrels in 2009.

In 2007, New Glarus completed a $21 million brewery on a hilltop that overlooks the village of New Glarus. The company now employs more than 60 workers.

Carey told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she thinks New Glarus Brewing’s personnel policies figure in the attention she’s receiving.

The company covers virtually all of its employees’ health insurance costs, Carey said, with workers responsible only for a small co-pay. The firm pays tuition for work-related education, and its 60-plus employees average about $16 an hour.


Master brewer Steve Wellington to retire

Steve Wellington — the master brewer who helped resurrect several of the famous Burton beer brands — has announced he is retiring later this summer.

Wellington started working for Bass in 1965, a year after the Worthington’s brewery was demolished, and brewed both Bass and Worthington’s beers. He left Bass to run his own business, teaching people how to brew at home, then returned in 1994 to run the White Shield microbrewery as part of the Brewing Museum in Burton. He brewed some of the beers Burton had lost: Worthington’s E, Imperial Stout, Barley Wine, and the legendary Worthington’s White Shield.

Molson Coors, which since bought the brewery, gave Wellington what they call a “Christmas present” in 2010, a new William Worthington’s Brewery, constructed in listed buildings at the National Brewery Centre.

In a press release from Molson Coors, Wellington said of his time brewing in Burton:

“I’ve been brewing all my life and enjoyed every minute of it. I have worked with some of the most inspiring people in the industry and am honoured to have worked in some equally inspiring brewing environments, most recently at the new microbrewery in Burton. The industry is undoubtedly facing testing times, but while we continue to produce iconic beers such as Worthington’s White Shield, young aspiring brewers are guaranteed a fulfilling, rewarding career.”

Wellington was named “Brewer of the Year’ by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group in 2007 and Guild of British Beer Writers’ Brewer of the Year in 2004.


Tennessee woos Sierra Nevada

The Blount Daily Times and other new sources in Tennessee are reporting extensively about the possibility that Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will build a brewery in the city of Alcoa.

Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson said Tuesday the brewing company is also looking at two other eastern U.S. sites in other states.

“Not just Alcoa, they’re looking at the entire region. Once they landed here, literally, they liked the community,” he said.

To enhance the city’s chances of landing the brewery, the state Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday voted 10-0 to advance a bill establishing state guidelines for high-alcohol beer to a full floor vote. The measure would ease laws restricting the production of beer stronger than 5% by weight (6.25% by volume).

Sierra Nevada currently produces about 800,000 barrels a year and may reach capacity at its Chico, California, site within three years. Sierra Nevada Communications Coordinator Bill Manley said the company began considering a second brewery several years ago because of the environmental impact of shipping across the entire country.

“We started with a couple of hundred sites, and have narrowed it down to a handful,” Manley said.

The second brewery would brew many of the beers currently also made in California, but not necessarily all specialty beers. It would also be a hub for east coast distribution.

Representatives of Sierra Nevada recently toured potential sites in Alcoa. Manley said they were impressed by the closeness to the mountains, just like the California brewery, and an attention to environmental concerns as exemplified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirement for the Pellissippi Place business development park.

Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson said the company wants its eastern facility to be a tourist destination, and the proximity of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a natural fit. Other pluses include an abundant water supply and logistical issues such as interstate connections and McGhee Tyson Airport.

“Quality of life, conservation issues, being green. They’re a very environmentally conscious company,” Johnson said.


Boston Beer releases 2011 Utopias

Boston Beer has released the 2011 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias in time for American Craft Beer Week.

Hand-bottled in numbered, ceramic brew kettle shaped decanters the beer carries a suggested retail price of $150, but at 27% alcohol by volume often sells for more. The company’s press release notes Utopias is “meant to be savored like vintage fortified wine or fine cognac, this strong, rich, uncarbonated dark beer is best served as a two-ounce pour at room temperature in a snifter glass.”

2011 Samuel Adams UtopiasIt is brewed in small batches, blended, and aged in the Barrel Room at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery. After it was first released in 2002, it earned the title of world’s “strongest beer commercially available” in the Guinness Book of World Records. At the time it was 24% abv. Other brewers, using distillation in the production process, have released stronger beers since, while Utopias (which is released only in odd-numbered years) climbed to 27% with the 2009 release.

After tasting that vintage both young and with some age on it, Stephen Beaumont wrote, “In conclusion, I’d have to say this experiment clearly illustrates that Utopias is a very different sort of beer, one which resides well outside the constrains of ordinary ales and lagers.”

“Each time we begin the process of crafting our next evolution of Samuel Adams Utopias, we strive to make the new vintage more unique than the last, and the 2011 brew is no exception,” Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch said. “The brewers and I spent years perfecting it, experimenting with different barrels and aging techniques until we felt it lived up to the long-standing heritage of Samuel Adams Utopias — a quest to push the boundaries of beer.”

The 2011 Utopias is a blend of components aged in a variety of wood casks for up to 18 years. The limited edition beer comes from just 53 barrels, all brewed, blended and aged at the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston.


Tour de Fat 2011 schedule announced

New Belgium Brewing has announced the schedule for the 12th season of Tour de Fat. As the press release says, “Tour de Fat is more than an event; it’s a rite of passage that includes a costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, eye-popping entertainment, local food, bizarre bike contests and much more.”

A highlight of Tour de Fat is the annual car-for-bike swap. At each Tour de Fat stop, one person will hand over his or her car keys and commit to one year of living car-free. Tour de Fat is now seeking volunteers to accept the swapper challenge. Each car-for-bike swapper will receive a hand-built Black Sheep commuter bike in return for their car.

Volunteers may submit an application to for the swap at the New Belgium Tour de Fat Facebook.

“The car-for-bike swap epitomizes Tour de Fat, wherein one brave soul makes the commitment to live car-free while inspiring others to think about driving alternatives,” said Bryan Simpson, spokesman for New Belgium. “We’re building a network of folks who originally said they’d leave their car behind for a year, but are still living car-free today.”

Tour de Fat kicks off in Durham, N.C., on June 25 and wraps up in Austin on Oct. 22.

It is free to attend, but beer and merchandise proceeds go to local cycling non-profits. During its lifespan, Tour de Fat events have raised more than $1.75 million for philanthropy. Last year Tour de Fat raised $331,428.

Tour de Fat 2011 will cycle through each of the following cities:

June 25 – Durham, N.C., Diamond View Park
July 9 – Nashville, Tenn., Centennial Park
July 16 – Chicago, Palmer Square
July 23 – Minneapolis, Loring Park
July 30 – Milwaukee, Humboldt Park
August 20 – Boise, Idaho, Ann Morrison Park
September 3 – Ft. Collins, Colo., Civic Center Park
September 10 – Denver, City Park
September 24 – San Francisco, Golden Gate Park
October 1 – San Diego, Balboa Park
October 8 – Los Angeles, L.A. Historic Park
October 15 – Tempe, Tempe Town Lake
October 22 – Austin, Fiesta Garden


Super Cru celebrates New Belgium’s 20th anniversary

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, New Belgium Brewing is releasing a strong version of its flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale, calling it Super Cru. It is part of the brewery’s Lips of Faith Series, rolling out along with Abbey Grand Cru.

Super Cru doubles the malt bill and hop profile of Fat Tire. To accentuate the fresh apple aroma and flavor in Fat Tire, the brewers added Asian pear juice and fermented the beer with saison yeast. According to a press release, “Super Cru opens with a big bready nose, rolls from floral hop to earthy malt and finishes with a touch of clove.” The beer is 10% abv.

Abbey Grand Cru is a stronger (9.5% abv) version of New Belgium Abbey, brewed after every 1,000 batches.