Montana’s brewers ask for public’s help

Support Your Local BreweryThe Montana Brewers Association has requested that beer enthusiasts take action to support legislation shifting tap room hours at breweries.

The association provided the following information:

The hearing for SB202 to shift the Tap Room Hours is scheduled for Thursday (Feb. 17) in the Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs Committee

We need your help. Please contact committee members now and ask them to support SB 202.
 The committee members are:

Chair: Joe Balyeat (R-Bozeman) 

Vice Chair: Verdell Jackson (R-Kalispell)

Carmine Mowbray (R-Polson)
Tom Facey (D-Missoula)

Eric Moore (R-Miles City)

Donald Steinbeisser (R-Sidney)

Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D-Crow Agency)

Mitch Tropila (D-Great Falls)

Bruce Tutvedt (R-Kalispell)

Gene Vuckovich (D-Anaconda)

Jonathan Windy Boy (D-Box Elder) 

Important points about the bill: 

• It does not increase tap room hours. It shifts them from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. to noon-10 p.m.

• It meets the expectations of Montanans and better accommodates the visiting public and tourists’ schedules.
• Brewers will still be limited to serving 48 ounces per person per day and are not asking to increase this limit. 

• It aligns with neighboring and regional state laws, which have no hours restrictions.
• It aligns with Montana wineries laws, which have no serving hours restrictions.


SAVOR, now June 3-4, adds second session

The Brewers Association has announced SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience has added a second session. It will be held June 3-4 in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Attendees may sample beers from 72 craft brewers, who team up with a duo of expert chefs to pair each beer with special dishes. Educational salons and private tasting salons will provide additional opportunities for attendees to interact with chefs and brewers.

Details from the press release:

In 2010, the event sold out in less than one day, which is why SAVOR has expanded to two nights for 2011.

SAVOR tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, March 3, at General Admission tickets for Friday, June 3 or Saturday, June 4 are $110 and SAVOR Salons are $30 per Salon.

NEW FOR 2011
Two Expert Chefs Orchestrate Pairings
This year’s menu items and pairings will be carefully designed by expert beer and food pairing chefs from both coasts: Adam Dulye of Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco and Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s in Washington, D.C.

Educational Salons and Private Tasting Salons
Nine ticketed Educational Salons, seating 90 people in an auditorium, will feature the culinary and brewing artistry of chefs and craft brewers along with in-depth discussions of flavor and pairings.

Full-Size Stemmed Glassware
For the first time, SAVOR attendees will receive full-size commemorative glassware for sampling at the event and later for personal use.


Samuel Adams Hoppy Valentine’s Day basket

Samuel Adams Hoppy Valentine's Day basket

We’ve started a beer countdown to Valentine’s Day on our Twitter feed, but some things just don’t fit into 140 characters.

Turns out that Boston Beer has partnered with to create a Samuel Adams Hoppy Valentine’s Day basket.

The package includes dark chocolate, artisanal salami, gourmet smoked gouda cheese, an assortment of mixed nuts, a bottle-opener key chain, two Boston Lager Pint Glasses and flowers . . . in this case a jar of hops.

No beer. But, not surprisingly, Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch has a solution. “Couple the basket with a six-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and you have the perfect gift,” he said a press release. The release includes results from a survey that found 70% of women says it’s hard to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

“Men are typically overlooked on Valentine’s Day, so we wanted to come up with a way for them to receive something they actually want and will enjoy,” Koch said for the press release.

The hops, of course, are the flower addition to the package. The are the same noble hops that Koch rather famously travels to Bavaria each year to choose from each year’s crop.

The package costs $54.99 and is available through Monday. Customers who enter the promotional code “SAM” will receive 20% off on their order.


Wake to honor Don Younger set for Sunday

The Horse Brass Pub announced today that it would be closed for regular business on Sunday (Feb. 13) for a wake to honor its owner Don Younger, who died last week.

Younger was one of America’s pioneering publicans, and is credited with helping turn Portland and the state of Oregon into “Beervana.” He operated the Horse Brass from 1976 until his death.

The “Celebration of Don’s Life” will be held from 2-6 p.m. at the Horse Brass. The back parking lot will be tented to allow for more people to attend.


Beerdrinker of the Year finalists chosen

The finalist have been chosen to compete for Wynkoop Brewing Company’s 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year award.

The finals are Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at Wynkoop Brewing in Denver. The event is open to the public and admission is free. The competitors are:

* James Clark, a Springfield, Va., homebrewer, beer traveler and beer ambassador. In 2010 he visited 17 breweries, attended over a dozen beer festivals and held beer events at his home that welcomed as many as 160 people. His philosophy of beer drinking: “Live life to the brim! I was a late arrival to beer drinking but I caught up quickly. I didn’t have my first beer until I was 31, but it was a German Pilsener in Germany. In the last 16 years I’ve been going full throttle; drinking, brewing, studying and visiting my way to the top of the beer expert’s pyramid.”

* Mike Dixon, a Wake Forest, North Carolina beer lover, certified national beer judge and beer event organizer. Dixon has tasted beers from 44 states and 39 countries and visited over 600 beer establishments. He is a four-time semifinalist, but this will be his first time in the Beerdrinker finals. His beer philosophy: “A well crafted beer is the perfect accompaniment to any meal or event. Life is too short to be wasted on beer without flavor and every glass of beer should be a new adventure. Every day I am working to improve my beer knowledge and beer experience.”

* Phil Farrell, a Cumming, Georgia commercial pilot, homebrewer, grand master beer judge and four-time Beerdrinker finalist. He has tasted beer in every country in Europe, all 50 states, every US territory, as well as 1000s of the world’s pubs, breweries and brewpubs. His philosophy about beer: “Fear no beer. All of my ‘beeroes’ (beer heroes) were fearless. In my short beer lifetime, a wasteland has been turned into a paradise…and I live in the best beer country in the history of the planet. Beer helps connect people. Beer is the greatest gift ever given to the human race and is meant to be shared with others.

The winner receives free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, $250 worth of beer at their local brewpub or beer bar, and clothing proclaiming them the 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year.


Molson Coors acquires Sharp’s, Doom Bar

Molson Coors in the United Kingdom today announced the acquisition of the award-winning Sharp’s Brewery, including Doom Bar — which is describes as “the UK’s most exciting cask beer brand.”

Molson Coors chief executive for the UK and Ireland, Mark Hunter, said: “The Doom Bar brand is modern and progressive. It has a loyal following and excellent reputation amongst consumers and customers alike and has the potential to become a truly extraordinary brand. We have a wealth of experience with this type of venture and an excellent track record of building brands across all markets. We respect and want to preserve the unique culture of Sharp’s Brewery and the special appeal of their brands to beer drinkers.”

Stuart Howe, head Brewer at Sharp’s Brewery, said: “We are delighted to be joining the Molson Coors team, all of whom are passionate about Sharp’s Brewery and committed to the Doom Bar brand. We are incredibly proud to be voted the best regional cask beer by our customers, with the support of Molson Coors we’re looking forward to being recognised as the best cask beer in the country.”

Founded in 1994, Sharp’s Brewery is in Cornwall and has grown rapidly to become the largest brewer of cask beer in the South West. Doom Bar is the No. 1 selling cask brand in the South West and Wales and the fastest growing cask brand in Greater London.


Portland publican Don Younger dies

Don Younger

Don Younger, the pioneering Portland publican who opened the legendary Horse Brass Pub in 1976, has died.

Younger died early this morning, a day after John Foyston sent shockwaves through the American beer community by reporting Younger was gravely ill death due to “multiple health problems triggered by slipping and breaking a shoulder last week. He’s unconcious and on a respirator in the cardiac intensive care unit at a local hospital.”

Although Younger was best known for his role in turning Portland and Oregon into “Beervana,” his death inspired a particularly moving tribute from British author Pete Brown, which concluded:

I only met Don the one time and I’ll leave the proper obituaries to the people who were lucky enough to know him well.

But on the basis of one meeting, he was one of my favourite people in the beer world. Even if you didn’t know who he was till now, take a while to read about him, and raise a glass of your favourite US craft beer to him tonight. After all, there’s a good chance it may not have existed without his influence.

There are various stories about how Younger acquired the Horse Brass in 1976 — he had more than one version himself — but he pointed to a trip to Great Britain in 1977 as the reason the Horse Brass became what it was. “That’s when I knew,” he said. What, he wasn’t yet sure, “but I was going to do the pub thing.”

Reflecting on the first twenty years of business in 1996, he said: “We didn’t know we were making history, nobody does at the time, or we would have written these things down.” He talked about unopened bottles from New Albion Brewery in the pub’s basement. He remembered anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first beer from Portland’s Cartwright Brewing in 1980. “We had it one day,” he said, but it was too flawed to serve. “I’ve still got Cartwright T-shirts and coasters,” he said.

The first microbrewery beer he put on tap was Grant’s from Yakima, Wash., in 1982. “People (in Portland) were ready, the pipeline was here. All he had to do was make it,” he said. Soon he was serving Anchor and Sierra Nevada from California, then BridgePort Brewing opened in Portland in 1984. . . . The new breweries kept coming and Younger kept finding ways to showcase the most promising.

Meanwhile, publicans from across the country were always showing up at the Horse Brass, and Younger freely offered advice. In fact, he became part of a group of bar owners who called themselves the Publican National Committee. Both they and their establishments — Tom Peters (Monk’s Cafe-Philadelphia), Dave Keene (The Toronado-San Francisco), Chris Black (The Falling Rock-Denver) and Matt Bonney and Matt VandenBerghe (Brouwer’s-Seattle, Washington — are well known, yet they only hint at the extent of his influence.

For instance, when Deven Black opened the North Star Pub in Manhattan — now long gone, but an early beachhead for better beer in New York City — he consulted Younger. The list goes on and on. In the coming days those who Younger will tell endearing stories and reflect on how desperately they will miss him. In the coming years many more will hoist a glass of better beer and perhaps somebody will remind them Don Younger is one of the reasons they can.

More reading:

Celebrator Beers News interview (video).
Imbibe maganize profile.


Foothills acquires Carolina Beer brands

The Triad area Business Journal reports Winston-Salem based Foothills Brewing has acquired the beer division of Carolina Beer & Beverage of Mooresville.

The acquisition includes the company’s equipment, trademarks and brands (the very popular Carolina Blonde and a variety of Cottonwood Ales).

Foothills Brewing will quadruple its brewing capacity and add 10 sales and production employees over the next year.

“We consider this strategic decision as very positive for the future of both our companies,” said Jamie Bartholomaus, president and brewmaster of Foothills Brewing, in a statement. “Carolina Beer wanted production of its beloved brands to be in North Carolina, and we are glad to accommodate.”


Win a trip to ‘Brew Your Cask Off’ festival

All About Beer Magazine is giving away a trip for two to the Brew Your Cask Off festival March 5 in Atlanta.

Sweetwater Brewing and the magazine have rounded up 80 guest brewers, each creating a one-of-a-kind cask ale and competing to win either the “Best Cask Ale” or the “Biggest Loser.”

AABM asks contest entrants to write about what type of cask they would brew in 300 words or less. The winner receives a free trip for two (two nights of lodging included) to the Brew Your Cask Off festival. In addition, the winner and guest will be celebrity judges for the competition.

Entries will be judged on entertainment value, imagination, artistic abilities, historical accuracies, whatever criteria “strikes us at the office when we all sit down to decide the lucky winner.”

All entries must be received by Feb. 14, and the winner will be announced Feb. 18.

The magazine has posted an entry form at its website.


Local ale returns to Jefferson’s Monticello

The Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center in Monticello is teaming with a Virginia brewery to produce Monticello Reserve Ale.

Nearby Starr Hill Brewery will brew the beer. The partners say the recipe, which will include wheat and corn, is based on what was consumed regularly at Jefferson’s Monticello home. Brewing beer was among the plantation’s important activities, and the beer was one of the “table liquors” served with meals.

The ale will make its public debut at the center’s museum shop on Feb. 21.


New Belgium adds more East Coast markets

New Belgium Brewing, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale, has announced plans to expand the brewery’s market territory along the eastern seaboard. The Colorado brewer will open Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. in September of 2011. The added territory will bring the nation’s third-largest craft brewer to 29 states.

“We had significant expansion in 2009 when we added five states,” Joe Menetre, New Belgium sales director, said for a press release. “We wanted to make sure we had the capacity to keep up with that demand, so we expanded our fermentation cellar to address future growth as well.”

New Belgium currently distributes its beers in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


UK beer sales tumble; pubs hit hardest

Taxes are being blamed as beer sales in the United Kingdom, particularly in bars and pubs, continue to fall.

Total sales were off 3.9% in 2010, while pub sales tumbled 7.5%. Trade in supermarkets and stores rose .6%.

The totals indicate 333 million fewer pints were sold in pubs in 2010. On-trade beer sales have now fallen 20.2%.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of British Beer & Pub Association, said the figures revealed the government was “cooking the golden goose” because lower sales meant the government collected £257m less in tax revenue.

She called for plans to further boost taxes to be abandoned. “Huge tax rises are having a big impact on beer sales,” she said. “The government should abandon plans for above inflation hikes in beer tax in the budget, as further rises are simply unsustainable.”


Importer acquires Ontario’s King Brewery

Beer Barons, an importer of premium beers to Canada, has acquired King Brewery, a craft brewery based in Nobleton, Ontario, according to DBR.

The brewery has been in operation since 2002, and is known of its pilsner. King Brewery founder Phil DiFonzo will remain in his role as brewmaster.

DiFonzo said in order for the brewery to realize its full potential in Canada, it wanted to bring even more expertise to the table, and the management at Beer Barons will provide it with the necessary support to exponentially grow the business.

King Brewery’s lineup includes King Pilsner, King Dark lager, King Vienna and seasonally produces King Pilsbock.


‘Small’ brewer just got a lot bigger

The board of directors of the Brewers Association has voted to change the BA’s designation of “small” in its definition of a “craft brewer,” boosting the limit from two million barrels annually to six million.

According to a press release:

In the BA’s craft brewer definition, the term “small” now refers to any independent brewery that produces up to 6 million barrels of traditional beer. The previous definition capped production at 2 million barrels. The changed definition is currently in effect and can be reviewed on the BA website, The change to the bylaws went into effect December 20, 2010.

In the Brewers Association’s bylaws, two classes of membership (Professional Packaging Brewers and Associate membership) have been redefined with a qualifying barrelage of 6 million barrels versus 2 million barrels.

The association cited several reasons for the change, including the recognition that “small” is a descriptive term relative to the overall size of the industry.

“Thirty-four years have passed since the original small brewers tax differential defined small brewers as producing less than 2 million barrels,” said Nick Matt, chair of the Brewers Association board of directors and chairman and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing Company. “A lot has changed since 1976. The largest brewer in the U.S. has grown from 45 million barrels to 300 million barrels of global beer production.”

Matt added, “The craft brewer definition and bylaws now more accurately reflect and align with our government affairs efforts.” On the legislative front in 2010, the Brewers Association supported H.R. 4278/S. 3339, which sought to update the cap on an excise tax differential for small brewers to 6 million barrels per year in production for their first 2 million barrels.

The industry’s largest craft brewer, The Boston Beer Company, is poised to become the first craft brewer to surpass 2 million barrels of traditional beer within the next few years. Loss of The Boston Beer Company’s production in craft brewing industry statistics would inaccurately reflect on the craft brewing industry’s market share.

In addition to Boston Beer, the current growth trajectory of other sizable BA member breweries places them on a course approaching the 2 million barrel threshold in the coming years.

Boston Beer accounted for 20.2% of “craft beer” sales in 2009.

“With this change to the craft brewer definition and BA bylaws, statistics will continue to accurately reflect the 30-year growth of market share for craft brewed beer,” Matt said for the press release. “Brewers Association statistics on craft brewers will continue to keep pace with the growth of the industry.

“Rather than removing members due to their success, the craft brewing industry should be celebrating our growth.”