Deschutes donation keeps water flowing

Deschutes Brewery has made a one billion gallon annual water restoration commitment through one of its local non-profit organizations, the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC). This donation marks the DRC water leasing program’s largest private donation to date, and equals 14 times more water than Deschutes Brewery and all of its suppliers use per year.

Through the water leasing program, local farmers are paid for the lease of their irrigation water and then that water is legally protected instream at the brewery’s namesake waterway – the Deschutes River. By doing this, stream flow and water quality is increased in the river, creating opportunities for life to flourish.

“We’ve always been avid supporters of the DRC and its mission,” said Michael LaLonde, chief operating officer for Deschutes Brewery and a board member of the DRC. “By creating this new partnership, we are able to give back to the river in a significant way, preserving the lifeblood of the Central Oregon region.”

In the spring and summer, water flows are greatly decreased in the river due to irrigation withdrawals. By increasing flows in the Deschutes River through the leasing program, fish habitat is revitalized and water quality is improved. Other benefits include overall enhanced ecosystems for plants and animals, while also improving recreation and tourism opportunities.


New Belgium announces Tour de Fat schedule

New Belgium Brewing has announced the Tour de Fat schedule for its 13th season. Most Tour de Fat stops include a costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, entertainment, local food, unusual bike contests and much more. This year the Tour will visit 15 cities.

In 2012, Tour de Fat, which is a free event, will exceed the $2 million mark for money raised for local nonprofits through beer and merchandise purchases. Funds generally go to organizations in the world of bike advocacy.

Each stop now includes a car-for-bike trade. Basically, a person gets up on stage, hands over car keys, and pledges to live one year car-free. Tour de Fat is now seeking volunteers to accept the swapper challenge. Each car-for-bike swapper will choose a local bike shop to help them turn their $2,250 budget into their ultimate car-replacement commuter bike. The cars will be auctioned by Vehicles for Charity, with proceeds to benefit local cycling organizations.

Tour de Fat 2012 will cycle through each of the following cities:

Nashville, TN – June 2 – Centennial Park
Washington, DC – June 16 – Yards Park
Durham, NC – June 23 – Diamond View Park on the American Tobacco Campus
Atlanta, GA – June 30 – Historic 4th Ward Park
Milwaukee, WI – July 14 – Coast Guard Event Area, McKinley Park
Chicago, IL – July 21 – Palmer Square
Minneapolis, MN – July 28 – Loring Park
Boise, ID – August 18 – Ann Morrison Park
Fort Collins, CO – September 1 – Civic Center Park Area
Denver, CO – September 8 – City Park
Los Angeles, CA – September 15 – Los Angeles State Historic Park
San Francisco, CA – September 22 – Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park
San Diego, CA – September 29 – Golden Hill Park
Tempe, AZ – October 6 – Tempe Town Lake
Austin, TX – October 20 – Fiesta Gardens


Craft beer sales surge 13% in 2011

The Brewers Association announced that craft beer sales increased 13% in volume in 2011 and that revenue grew 15%.

In 2011, craft brewers represented 5.68% of volume of the U.S. beer market, compared to 4.97% in 2010. Production increased 1.3 million barrels to 11.5 million barrles. The BA estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2011 was $8.7 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2010.

2012 Craft Beer Sales

“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32% volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five percent total market volume share for the first time,” said BA director Paul Gatza. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”

The association reported that 250 breweries opened, 37 closed and that 1,989 were operating by the end of the year.

“We saw rapid growth in brewery openings last year, particularly with microbrewery start-ups, and these numbers are poised to rise even more in 2012,” Gatza said. “In February 2012, we already topped 2,000 operating breweries—a truly remarkable milestone. We look forward to even more success and the continued expansion of the craft beer market.”


Iowa brewers seek support for tourism program

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

The Iowa Brewer’s Guild is asking for your support in opposing certain provisions in Amendment S-5084 to HF 2337 (the specific language we are opposed to begins on line 20, page 14 and runs through line 1, page 16) that has been proposed by the Iowa Wine Growers Association. The wineries are hoping to transfer funding and control of the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board out of the state’s Tourism/Economic Development Department and place the funding (and program) under control of the Midwest Wine Institute at Iowa State University.

We are asking you to act immediately. Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ask them to remove these provisions from the amendment before taking a vote. Time is of the essence as the amendment is scheduled for a vote this coming Monday, March 19.

We are asking you to express opposition to these provisions because:

1. The Economic Development Authority has been doing a very successful job of promoting BOTH the wine and beer industries and the proposed amendment will transfer the program to the Wine Institute where there is an unproven record of marketing and promotional efforts. The Wine Institute in Iowa is a higher education authority that may not have compatible goals with the beer industry.

2. The brewing industry hasn’t been a participant in discussions and currently doesn’t believe this is in our best interests. Additionally the Iowa Economic Development Authority has expressed opposition and would like to see this halted until all affected parties can come to agreement. Many wineries have also expressed concerns about this legislation.

3. The Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board has spent considerable resources preparing for this year’s programs and promotional efforts. These efforts will be abandoned and wasted if the proposed amendment proceeds. This will be a waste of over $80,000 to the Wine and Beer Promotions Board’s programs.

4. Brewing industry representation on the proposed amendment is assigned by the Wine Institute, not the brewing industry. We feel we are being locked out of support to a legislatively mandated tourism and economic development program that has existed since 1986.

First priority is to contact the senators on the appropriations committee. Here’s the contact information:

Again, ask them to remove these provisions from the amendment.

Second priority is to contact all our state senators. You can look up your local senator here:

Thank you for your support of Iowa Beer!

Dave Coy
President, Iowa Brewer’s Guild

archives archives

New Belgium adds plug-ins to delivery fleet

New Belgium Brewing announced today that it is adding two fully electric plug-in Nissan Leafs to its local delivery fleet and making its on-site electrical charging stations open and free to the public. The two vehicles will be used for local sales support.

“We chose to move into the electric vehicle realm because electric vehicles have the potential to be zero-emissions whereas gasoline and diesel cars do not,” said New Belgium sustainability specialist Katie Wallace said for a company press release. “Even charging a car on a coal grid emits fewer greenhouse gasses than an average gasoline-powered engine.”

On average, plug-in vehicles are 33% more efficient than conventional combustion engines and perform on par with hybrid vehicles for fuel efficiency. Few charging stations currently exist along the Front Range, so New Belgium has worked with Schneider Electric to implement two stations on-site and will allow free charges to the public.

Electric vehicle drivers can fill up for free during New Belgium’s tasting hours (10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday) by checking in at the reception desk.

In addition to the fully electric Leaf vehicles, New Belgium is contracting with Kenworth to replace its entire local delivery truck fleet with hybrid vehicles starting this spring.

“Ultimately we want to set an example for exploring various options when making a vehicle purchase,” said Wallace. “For some people, a hybrid is a better option, but others may opt for an electric car. But, of course, our first preference will always be the bike.”


Minnesota’s Summit plans $6 million expansion

Summit Brewing Co. plans to spend about $6 million to expand capacity at its St. Paul brewery within the next two years. The brewery will add to its current building to create more space for fermentation, storage and packaging. With demand for its beers growing, “we will be in a world of hurt if [the expansion] doesn’t happen,” Summit founder Mark Stutrud told the Star-Tribune.

Summit sells its beers in 15 states, with 90% of sales within Minnesota. The company had an 8 percent increase in production last year to almost 105,000 barrels (a barrel holds 31 gallons).

Summit, which has just over 50 employees, also said that its workforce should expand by about 20 percent by the end of this year.


UK brewer will make Samuel Adams beers

British brewery Shepherd Neame will brew Samuel Adams Boston Lager for the UK market.

Brewers Guardian reports that a draft version of the beer could be available to Britain’s on-trade as early as mid-April. Boston Beer and Shepherd Neame have a long-standing commercial relationship, as Shepherd Neame has acted as Boston Beer’s importer for more than a decade.

Jim Koch, Boston Beer’s founder and chairman, told Brewers’ Guardian, “The volume has grown steadily in the UK and Europe. There was a point where we thought that it would make sense to brew it in Kent.”

The breweries have spent almost a year working on the project. Of course, when Koch started Boston Beer most of its beer in the United State was brewed under contract, unlike now.

The Samuel Adams recipe will be recreated exactly at Shepherd Neame, the oldest operating brewery in England. The yeast strain is Boston Beer’s own; the hop varieties Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang Tettnanger will continue to be purchased from Bavarian growers and pelletized by Boston Beer’s proprietary process before being shipped to England.

Shepherd Neame has made some minor modifications to allow it to follow the Samuel Adams brewing process. “There are some unusual steps in it, like a decoction mash, like kraüsening, like dry hopping,” Koch told Brewers’ Guardian. “We have to bring those things along with the beer or else it’s not Boston Lager.”


Iowa man 2012 Beerdrinker of the Year

J. Wilson won the title at the Beerdrinker of the Year finals, held Saturday at Wynkoop Brewing Co.

“All three of the finalists were worthy of the 2012 title,” said Jack McDougall, Wynkoop’s first Beerdrinker of the Year and another finals judge. “But in the past year J. showed a total dedication to beer that won us over.”

Wilson outlasted Warren Monteiro (a New York City freelance writer, beer traveler, homebrewer and beer journalist) and Greg Nowatzki, (a Las Vegas, Nevada accountant, home brewer and beer judge) to win the crown.

In 2011 Wilson fasted for 46 days on just water and a dopplebock he brewed with a Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant in West Des Moines. His experience became a book, Diary of a Part-Time Monk, and landed him national attention.

“With the fast and the book and my other efforts it’s been a very big beer year,” Wilson said after being crowned. “To have it all lead to my winning the Beerdrinker of the Year title, it’s very satisfying. It’s a validation of everything that has happened this past year.”

Wilson wins free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, $250 worth of beer at his local beer bar (El Bait Shop in Des Moines, Iowa) and clothing proclaiming him the 2012 Beerdrinker of the Year.


Two Falconer brewing scholarships available

The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation and Seibel Institute of Technology are offering two full-tuition brewing education scholarships in 2012.

One scholarship is to the World Brewing Academy Web-based Concise Course in Brewing Technology from August to November 2012. The Concise Course is a two-week intensive program that covers every topic critical to successful brewery operations. The program is designed for brewers pursuing a wider knowledge of professional brewing standards and techniques in order to advance their brewing careers as well as individuals planning to enter the brewing industry.

The second scholarship allows candidates to apply for one of three two-week Web-based modules from the International Diploma in Brewing Technology Program. This specialty brewing scholarship is intended for those brewers who seek an in-depth understanding of a specific brewing discipline. Candidates must designate which module they wish to attend.

The Concise Course scholarship is open to individuals planning on entering the brewing industry and to professional brewers with no more than three years of brewery work experience. The specialty brewing scholarship is open only to professional brewers. Applicants must be from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii and California’s northern geographic region (San Francisco Bay/Monterey Bay areas and north). The full application must be received no later than March 23. Complete details and scholarship applications are available at

The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for professional and aspiring craft brewers from the Pacific Northwest to further their knowledge and expertise. For more information on the Foundation please visit


Alaskan Brewing beers headed to Texas in spring

Alaskan Brewing and Ben E. Keith Beverage Distributors have announced Alaskan beers will be available in Texas beginning this spring.

“Alaskan’s line up of award-winning beers has been requested by retailers and consumers in Texas for some time,” said Ben E. Keith specialty beverage manager, Kevin Nettleton. “We are thrilled to be able to distribute this unique portfolio of beers across the state.”

Founded by Geoff and Marcy Larson in 1986, Alaskan has been brewing and bottling award-winning beers that reflect their home in Juneau, Alaska for more than 25 years. The brewery researched the move into Texas for several years, wanting to first ensure they had an established supply chain to support the long trip from Alaska before expanding their distribution to such a large state. Texas will be the 14th state to serve Alaskan Brewing products.

“Alaskans and Texans seem to have a lot in common, especially in their appreciation of wide open spaces and of quality craft beer. We have been getting letters, calls and emails from thirsty Texans for years,” said Alaskan Brewing Co-founder, Marcy Larson. “We are truly excited to finally be answering the call with our partners at Ben E. Keith.”


Cicerone program celebrates with discounts

To celebrate issuing Certified Beer Server certificate number 10,000 the Cicerone Certification Program is offering special 10K promotions.

The move into 5-figures of beer servers comes just four years and 42 days after this first-level exam was first offered to the public in the early days of January 2008.

The special offers:

Certified Beer Server Exam: 1000 cents ($10) for 10 hours (normally $69.) A unique low-cost opportunity for anyone who ever wondered about their ability to pass but who did not want to smack down the dough to find out. This exam must be purchased and taken today (Feb. 15). Use this link.

Certified Beer Server Tutorial and Exam (with recorded lectures, study aids and self-assessment exams): $100 for 100 hours (Feb 15 through Feb 18. Regular price $149.) Buy during the promotional period and you will have 60 days to complete the program. Use this link.

Cicerone Brewing Process App: 99 cents for 101 hours (Feb 15 through Feb 18) This is good for both iPhone/iPad and Android systems. Normally priced at $5.99. For the iOS and Android apps, visit the app stores for those products and search for “Cicerone Brewing Process.”


AHA membership surprasses 30,000

American Homebrewers Association membership

The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) reached a milestone this month with more than 30,000 members. Current estimates indicate that approximately one million Americans are making their own beer and wine at home.

The official organization for hobbyists was established in 1978, shortly after President Jimmy Carter signed the bill that legalized homebrewing. Prior to that, the hobby was illegal thanks to a vestige of prohibition-era law. Buoyed by their newfound freedom, Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen founded the AHA that December with the first publication of Zymurgy magazine.

Now, over three decades later, Papazian-currently president of the BA-looks back on the AHA’s inception with pride. “I don’t think we realized how dramatically the American Homebrewers Association would affect the beer world,” he said.

AHA membership actually decreased during the 1990s, but has more than tripled since 2000. Looking ahead, AHA director Gary Glass says, “We do everything we can to provide compelling benefits to our members and hopefully that keeps them excited to brew beer and support our organization. Beyond that, I think that homebrewing fulfills a need in an era when we can lose our connection to what we eat and drink.”


Beer sales rise 2% in 2011

The Beer Institute has released new data that show retail beer sales rose more than 2% in 2011, with total retail sales reaching more than $98 billion.

According to market research company Nielsen, the increase in sales revenue can be attributed to the high-end beer business. The sale of imports, crafts and above-premium beers sold off-premises was up nearly 3 percent.

“Beer continues to be the preferred alcohol beverage of Americans,” said Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute. “With sales exceeding $98 billion, the beer industry continues to enjoy the largest share of revenue and volume within the alcohol beverage sector when compared to wine and spirits. While many of our core consumers are still impacted by a slow economic recovery, we are pleased to see a bump in last year’s retail sales, driven by high-end premium domestic and imported beers.”

The total on-premise retail dollar sales increased more than 3% to exceed $55 billion in 2011. Off-premise retail sales also saw an uptick last year, growing slightly less than 1 percent to more than $43 billion.

“We are pleased to see retail sales grew last year. This positive trend is not only good news for brewers and importers, but also for the 900,000 men and women in this country whose jobs at supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, stadiums, and other outlets are supported by beer sales. We look forward to another year of growth, crafting a product so many Americans love and having a positive economic impact in communities across America,” said McClain.


New Belgium ‘Glass that Gives’ raises $9,000

New Belgium Brewing’s recently completed the “Glass that Gives” program raised $8,921 for four nonprofit organizations. During the campaign, New Belgium Brewing, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale, sold nucleated glassware in a winterized two-pack gift box for $8.99, with $1 from each purchase going to charity.

Between November 1 and January 31, New Belgium sold 5,921 glass sets. In addition, 3,000 people uploaded photos of themselves with the glassware, which raised an additional $750 per nonprofit ($1 per picture, equally divided among the groups).

The nonprofits that benefited were: Water Keeper Alliance – $2,735, Organic Farming Research Foundation – $2,158, People for Bikes – $2,039, and Save the Colorado – $1,989.

“This program toasts the efforts of nonprofits that focus on themes everyone at New Belgium is passionate about – water conservation, bike commuting and sustainable farming,” said brewery spokesman Bryan Simpson. “We want to thank everyone who made a purchase or sent us a picture – we appreciate the support and so do our nonprofit friends.”