Hacker-Pschorr giving away Oktoberfest party

German brewing giant Hacker-Pschorr is giving away a trip for six to the 2012 Oktoberfest in Munich. Consumers qualify for the contest hosting a Hacker-Pschorr themed Oktoberfest party and uploading five photos to the Hacker-Pschorr contest Facebook page.

Voting for best party photos begins when the contest entry period ends, October 1, and the 10 entries that receive the most votes will qualify for the second round.

A panel of judges will pick the winner from those 10. According to a press release, “Authenticity and enthusiasm will be rewarded!”

The winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Munich’s 2012 Oktoberfest. It includes airfare, hotel accommodations in Munich, a Hacker-Pschorr brewery tour and six seats at the Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Tent.


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Seventeen 17 brewer-cyclists from Avery Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Ska Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing depart Monday from Avery Brewing Company in Boulder to kick off the Third Annual Tour of BoulDurango: a five-day, 470-mile bicycle odyssey over six mountain passes from Boulder to Durango.

Each evening, after the day’s riding is finished, the brewers are teaming up with other craft breweries along the course to hold fundraising parties, with profits from pint sales, raffles and auctions going to local charities. Participating breweries along the route include: Tommyknocker Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, Eddyline Brewpub, The Brick Oven Restaurant, Ouray Brewing, Colorado Boy Brewery.

* Importer Merchant du Vin has announced that Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo will be available in many markets Aug. 1, “Yorkshire Day” in England. In November 2010, DRAFT Magazine awarded Stingo, which is barrel-aged and 8% abv, a 100-point score: “Perfection in a glass.” Beer writer Tom Bedell provides a complete review here.

Deschutes Black Butter Porter* Deschutes Brewery has released new packaging and label designs for four of its year-round brands. The new designs use original label artwork to highlight the landmarks around the region and places brew names in a banner for heightened readability. This new packaging design was tested last year on the brewery’s seasonals Twilight Summer Ale and Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale.

“This project is really an evolution of our existing labels,” said Mark Hegedus, director of sales and marketing for the brewery. “It retains brand recognition, while also positioning our products better at the retail level. We were pleased with the response to our test labeling and packaging last year, which is why we have extended the redesign to our year-round brands.”

New labeling and packaging is currently rolling off of the bottling line for Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Inversion IPA and Obsidian Stout. The new design template will soon carry forward to Green Lakes Organic Ale and future brands.

* Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado announced production was up 39% in the first half of 2011 over the same period last year. “We’ve invested more than ever in sales, production, and marketing in the last 18 months, and we’re seeing real results,” said brewery director Todd Usry. “We expanded in the northeast this year, but we’re growing our existing markets as well.” For instance, sales in Denver are up 35% over last year.

* Summit Brewing Company’s newest beer is a tribute to many things, but among them – brewer Sam Doniach’s upcoming nuptials. Created by Doniach, Honeymoon Saison features real Minnesota honey and is the seventh beer to be released in Summit’s limited-time-only Unchained Series.

Doniach’s ale also honors the Saison ales that were originally brewed in French and Belgian farmhouses to refresh workers during long hours in hot fields throughout harvest season. Honeymoon Saison became available on draught this week and will be sold in bottles beginning July 25.


GABF Rare Beer Tasting almost sold out

More than 90 percent of the tickets for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting III on Sept. 30 in Denver have already been sold, even as organizers work to finalize what beer will be served.

Here is a partial list of confirmed participants and beers: Alaskan Brewing 2009 Baltic Porter with Cherries and Vanilla Beans; Avery Brewing Dihos Dactylion Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel-Aged Sour Ale; Big Sky Brewing 2006 Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Belgian Triple; Brooklyn Brewery Cuvee de la Crochet Rouge; The Bruery The Wanderer Dark Sour Ale; Cascade Brewing Borbonic Plague; Cigar City Brewing Neilsbohrium Imperial Raisin Sweet Stout Rum Barrel-Aged; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Olde School Vintage 2004; The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery The End of Reason; Foothills Brewing TBD; Highland Brewery PSA Pilsner; Laughing Dog Brewing St. Benny’s Labby Ale Bourbon Barrel-Aged; Left Hand Brewery Fade to Black Vol. 1 (2009); Lost Abbey/Port Brewery Deliverance; New Belgium Brewing Leopold Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sour Beer; New Holland Brewing Rum Barrel-Aged Pilgrim’s Dole Wheatwine; Rogue Ales Charlie 1981; Samuel Adams Utopias; Sierra Nevada Brewing 30th Anniversary Rum Barrel-Aged Fritz and Ken’s Stout; Stone Brewing 2010 Stone Imperial Russian Stout Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Barrel-Aged; Wynkoop Brewery Metacool Maltuwanna Imperial Amber Ale.

“The breweries represent a slice of America’s finest craft beer makers and each will bring a rare, limited release brew to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting,” said Rick Lyke, founder of the Pints for Prostates campaign. “The brewers understand the reputation the first two Denver Rare Beer Tastings created and they will pour incredible, exotic brews. This is a special day for true beer fanatics.”

Tickets for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting are $80 and include unlimited samples of 28 hard to find brews, hors d’oeuvres, a commemorative tasting glass, event program and the chance to meet the men and women who created the special beers. The tasting place at Wynkoop Brewing on 18th Street in Denver on Sept. 30 from 1-4 p.m. Only 500 tickets will be sold for the event.


New Belgium boosts canning capacity

New Belgium Brewing will add a 16,000 square foot canning facility to its bottling hall in Fort Collins, Colo. The addition will increase New Belgium’s canning volume capacity six fold.

“Cans have been a great addition to the packaging portfolio for us,” said New Belgium spokesperson Bryan Simpson. “We first introduced Fat Tire cans in 2008 and we’ve since added Sunshine Wheat and Ranger IPA. Sales have been ahead of projection and we’re fortunate to be able to accommodate demand.”

The new 40-head filler will be capable of filling 360 cans per minute and can package 12-ounce and 16-ounce cans. New Belgium expects it will begin running early in 2012.


Alaskan Brewing denies acquisition rumors

Alaskan Brewing issued a press release Wednesday to make it clear the Juneau company will remain independent.

“Despite claims in a July 6 special edition of the Craft Brew News (CBN) that an acquisition deal was being discussed between North American Breweries (NAB) and Alaskan, the brewery unequivocally assures its many loyal customers that Alaskan is not in negotiations, nor do they plan to enter into negotiations with NAB or any other entity,” the press release began. Craft Brew News is an e-letter published by Beer Marketer’s Insights.

“We have no earthly clue where this rumor came from,” Alaskan co-founder Marcy Larson said for the release. “At first we thought it was a joke, that maybe someone had hacked into the CBN.”

The report pointed out that Alaskan sales recently have grown at a slower rate than many other craft breweries. Alaskan leadership explained that was a result of conscious decisions.

“We have not engaged in the price wars or rapid expansion of other craft brewers and we have remained profitable,” co-founder Geoff Larson said. “Over the last ten years, the price of oil, a cup of coffee and nearly everything else has gone up. Even the price of mass-produced beer has gone up, yet craft beer pricing remains at levels lower than those of a decade ago. In 2010, we chose a sustainable pricing strategy over the volume chase and are happy with where we ended up. We are proud to say that our growth has allowed us to issue profit sharing to our employees and investors for the last 15 years running and we are investing in state of the art brewing technology to help us remain a sustainable, profitable and independent brewery in Alaska for years to come.”

The company also announced that as part of its celebratioin of 25 years of operation the brewery will release a limited-edition Russian Imperial Stout brewed with alder-smoked malt, birch syrup and fireweed honey from Alaska. Named for the local mining history and the unique challenges of brewing award-winning craft beer from a remote Alaska town, Alaskan Perseverance Ale will be available in September.