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Beer culture


R.I.P. All About Beer Magazine (1979-2018)

Jeff Alworth brings us the sad news that All About Beer has apparently ceased publishing.

But losing All About Beer hurts. As an institution spanning the entirety of the American craft beer era, it functioned as a reflection of the American beer industry. the late Michael Jackson and Fred Eckhardt, writers who helped launch beer journalism, were stalwarts in its pages. All About Beer covered every business story, new style development, personality clash, and all the trends and development in craft beer since its beginning. From mustaches to goatees to lumberjack beards—as well as the increasingly common faces of women who subvert the facial-hair stereotype—AAB captured brewers in all their phases.

It’s truly a sad way for the magazine to end. Folks like Julie Johnson and Daniel Bradford have put decades into the business, and writers and editors sweated out tough stories and late nights making deadlines. Jon Page, the managing editor during its late, greatest phase, added this. “During my time at the magazine, it wasn’t uncommon to meet brewers who were inspired to start their breweries after reading All About Beer Magazine, or to meet readers who had collected years worth of issues. Going back nearly four decades, the magazine’s archives are truly a treasure trove of brewing history and culture.”

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A Legal Beer Made With Marijuana? Well, sort of….

Even though marijuana is legal in many states and countries, it’s still illegal to use as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages since the production of alcohol is controlled by the federal very anti-marijuana government. It’s a conundrum for breweries that want to experiment with the flavors and, ahem, effects of marijuana, a cousin of the hop plant.

The Washington Beer Blog brings us news that a few breweries got together in Washington and have found at least one way around the federal restrictions:

Wingman Brewers of Tacoma, Trap Door Brewing of Vancouver and Boundary Bay Brewery of Bellingham joined forces with Green Rose Gardens of Omak to create a beer that includes cannabis terpenes as an ingredient. Because the terpenes were extracted from the plant, and because the resulting compounds contain no TCH or CBD, this marijuana beer is entirely legal. That is, none of the psychoactive properties, but plenty of the aromatic, flavor properties.

Mighty HighPA is described as, “A smooth light bodied beer featuring Denali and Meridian hops along with Blue Dream terpenes.” The beer has already been released, but the official release party is scheduled for Friday, October 19th at Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver. The band Mighty High will perform at the event. The beer is available in 16-ounce cans at select retailers and on draft in limited supply.


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What’s the big deal with “Big Beer” vs. Independent Craft

A chuckle rippled through the craft beer industry a couple of weeks ago when one of three people to accept a Great American Beer Festival medal on behalf of Seattle’s Cloudburst Brewing used his 10 seconds of fame to unbutton his flannel shirt and display a salty sentiment to the crowd, both in the auditorium and those live streaming the event at home.

In red letters, below a mischievous grin and a Seattle Mariners cap, his white T-shirt read: “F**K AB-INBEV”

Josh Noel has a great interview up with Cloudburst Brewing’s founder and former Elysian Brewing employee Steve Luke on the now infamous shirt he flashed during the GABF awards. But the interview covers a whole lot more. For those wondering what people have against “big beer” and their tactics, the interview is a great introduction to the independent brewers mindset.


Busch Heir Calls Cannabis The Future

Adolphus Busch V — great-great-grandson of Adolphus Busch, otherwise known as the original Busch in Anheuser-Busch — is launching ABV Cannabis, a Colorado-based startup that sells marijuana vaping pens. “I saw that cannabis is the future,” Busch told The New York Post. He’s the latest heir to an American business empire to turn to weed. In June, Ben Kovler, a descendant in line for the Jim Beam whiskey fortune, took his Chicago-based cannabis cultivator, Green Thumb Industries, public in Canada. “It’s not a coincidence,” John Kaden, chief investment officer of weed-focused hedge fund Navy Capital, told The Post. “Alcohol is the most immediately affected” as marijuana gets legalized by states. T! he U.S. cannabis industry is expected to grow to $75 billion by 2030, according to research from Cowen. By comparison, U.S. alcohol sales totaled about $180 billion in 2017.


Brewers In Their Own Words – Brewers Survey Results

Beer writer Jeff Alworth recently surveyed brewers to learn more about how they are compensated, and how they feel about that compensation. He concluded his three-part report (the link is to the third, but read them all) with a balanced overview, letting the participants do the talking. One example: “As long as I am here I know I will never get a single paid day off, livable wage, sick day, 401k or any kind of health benefit and that is insane to me but I enjoy working in the industry and I am learning fast. I just want to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can, so I can move on to a place that actually takes its employees lives seriously.”
But there are also great places to work: “You have a job, full-time, until you decide to leave. Time off and sick leave aren’t tracked too heavily unless it seems someone is taking advantage of them. In slow seasons management finds hours for all employees so there is no seasonal drift in employment. Promotion from within is the norm, management will work to progress you on whatever career path you want within the brewery.” Read all the responses.


Lyft-branded beer comes with ride discount

Rideshare company Lyft is collaborating with a Chicago brewer to produce a beer that comes with a discount for future rides. Five Star Lager, made by Baderbräu Brewery, will be available only in select Chicago bars.

“This is the first partnership of its kind for Lyft and we believe the combination of Baderbräu’s beer and the offer for safe rides home will be very popular with our Chicago riders,” David Katcher, a Midwest general manager for Lyft said in a statement. Baderbräu will not brew a new recipe for Lyft, instead rebranding its own South Side Pride. It will come with a discount code worth up to 60% off a standard Lyft ride.

Lyft has long had what it calls a “safe ride” program, including one with Anheuser-Busch, which for two years has offered up to 150,000 round-trip Lyft rides during weekends and holidays. Lyft chose to partner with a smaller brewery this time because a smaller brewery because it wants “a brand that has more impact with locals.”


First stout-specific glass unveiled

Spiegelau stout glassGlassware maker Spiegelau had collaborated with two breweries known for making excellent stouts to lanuch the first stout-specified beerglass. The Spiegelau x Left Hand Brewing Company x Rogue Ales Stout Glass was developed over a yearlong series of design workshops and tasting panels led by Riedel crystal glassware owner Georg Riedel and Spiegelau vice president Matthew Rutkowski. Eric Wallace of Left Hand Brewing Company, Brett Joyce of Rogue Ales and experts from each brewery tested a selection of stouts ranging from Rogue Ales’ Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout to Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout.

Speaking about the project for a press release, Rutkowski said, “Witnessing Stout beers explode onto the American craft beer scene was a light bulb moment for me… I realized we could do for stout what we did for IPAs. Left Hand and Rogue are known leaders and innovators in the field of stout brewing, so they were obvious partners, and I was thrilled when they wanted to get on board.”

“John Maier, our brew master, was intimately involved with the tasting and selection process of the stout glass,” Joyce said for the press release. “The final glass that Spiegelau designed and we selected highlights the flavors and nuances of stouts best.”

Wallace added, “At Left Hand, we are committed to constantly improving beer quality and the beer drinker’s experience”

The glass is available for purchase through and retailers nationwide. Branded versions with brewery logos are available through and, respectively.


Oregon Brewers Festival impact = $31 million

The economic impact of the 2013 Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) was $31.2 million, according to a study conducted by an Eastern Oregon University class.

Jeff Dense, professor of political science at Eastern Oregon University, and his POLS 316 Politics and Beer class, administered 748 on-site interviews at the event in downtown Portland between July 24 and 27.

Respondents were queried on demographic factors, along with estimates of OBF related expenditures in tourism-related categories, including transportation, lodging, meals, gasoline purchases, non-beer related recreation, beer purchased to take home, and expenditures at OBF.

Findings of the study include:

  • A majority (52.5%) of OBF patrons were out-of-town visitors.
  • Visitors from Washington, California and Canada comprised 27.1% of total OBF patrons.
  • 40% of respondents were attending OBF for the first time
  • 36% of attendees were female, a 10% increase from 2012.
  • 25% of OBF patrons were 50 years or older.
  • The average out-of-town visitor spent $587.
  • Lodging ($11.1 Million) accounted for the largest share of OBF expenditures.
  • State and local government received $1.5 Million in indirect business taxes.
  • Nearly half (45.9%) of OBF patrons utilized mass transit to attend the festival.
  • This was the third year of the study.


    Great American Beer Bars honored — the Brewers Association website for beer lovers — has announced the winners in voting for “Great American Beer Bar.” Readers selected their favorite bars in each of five U.S. geographical regions as well as picking overall winners.

    Great American Beer Bars

    Overall Winners
    First Place: Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
    Second Place: HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
    Third Place: Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ

    Regional Winners
    First Place: Mekong Restaurant, Richmond, VA
    Second Place: The Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC
    Third Place: Oak St. Drafthouse, Denton, TX

    Mountain West
    First Place: Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO
    Second Place: Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids, Longmont, CO
    Third Place: Tap & Bottle, Tucson, AZ

    First Place: The Bier Stein, Eugene, OR
    Second Place: Toronado, San Francisco, CA
    Third Place: Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse, Denali National Park, AK

    North Central
    First Place: HopCat, Grand Rapids, MI
    Second Place: The Bavarian Lodge, Lisle, IL
    Third Place: Ashley’s, Ann Arbor, MI

    First Place: Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell, NJ
    Second Place: ChurchKey, Washington, DC
    Third Place: The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT

    This is how the winners were chosen: asked readers to nominate their favorite craft beer bars in the country, and received over 5,000 nominations. Site visitors than coast their votes (more than 37,000) for the 10 most nominated bars in each of the five regions.


    GABF and craft beer growing pains

    The increasing popularity of craft beer hasn’t made life any easier for organizers of the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

    Tickets to the 2013 Great American Beer Festival sold out in 20 minutes Wednesday. The Brewers Association handled the sale in two parts — Tuesday offering tickets only to members of the Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association. That allotment lasted 90 minutes, with tickets for the Saturday afternoon members only session going first. In 2012, public tickets sold out in 45 minutes, while in 2011 tickets were available for a week.

    Hundreds of tickets were available on StubHub within minutes after they went on sale through Ticketmaster, at much higher prices of course.

    Not surprisingly, a post on the GABF Facebook page was followed by scores of comments from disappointed, and angry, beer fans.

    Hi Everyone. We’re reading your comments, and we hear your frustration about scalpers and the secondary market. We share those concerns and wish there was a feasible fix. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect way to successfully avoid a secondary market for hot tickets—whether for popular concerts, sporting events or festivals like the GABF.

    There are measures in place to decrease access for scalpers, including ticket limits we set for GABF ticket purchases (enforced by Ticketmaster), and Ticketmaster’s anti-bot and other security measures. Does this prevent scalper access? No, but it does decrease it. We will continue to evaluate options and solutions going forward.

    Earlier in July hundreds of breweries that tried to sign up to serve their beer at the festival and have it judged in the related competition were frustrated when space disappeared in less than two hours. That led to changes for both this year’s festival and 2014. GABF director Nancy Johnson outlined those changes in a messages to Brewers Association members:

    Here is a snapshot of where we stand for 2013 and an overview of how we plan to handle registration for GABF 2014.

    Actions taken this year to address the issue include:

    2013 Competition: Our 2013 annual plan called for a 7% increase in competition beers being judged. After registration closed and in recognition of the higher-than-ever demand, we moved quickly to find a way to increase the number of beers (and judges) in the 2013 competition by 200. As a result, 4,875 beers will be judged in 2013, which represents 12% more beers being judged in the competition than in 2012, and five percent more than originally planned for in 2013.

    2013 Festival Hall Booth Space: Once capacity for the competition filled, eligible breweries on the wait list were offered a festival booth space. As of July 30, 616 breweries will pour 3,087 beers in the hall. That’s 11% more beers than in 2012, and note that this number does not include guild or special event beers.

    2014 GABF Brewery Registration Process
    The Brewers Association takes very seriously the “race to enter” registration issue that has resulted from a rapidly growing number of breweries along with increasing interest in the competition and festival. Since registration closed this year, we have been working to address this issue by devising a plan for 2014 that aims to eliminate the “race to enter” problem for future GABFs.

    Based on this work, the BA plans to introduce a different entry method next year. This “all comers” style brewery registration process will achieve a few important goals:

    *Eliminate the race to enter before all slots fill up

    *Increase the number of breweries that can enter the competition

    *Increase the number of beer entries

    The 2014 GABF brewery will remain open for set number of days, and all interested breweries may enter the competition. The number of beer entries allowed per brewery will be based on doing the math of the number of breweries that registered during the sign-up period and the pre-determined capacity of beers that we can successfully judge that year.

    Here is an example to illustrate:

    *Total number of beers that can be judged = 5,000

    *The registration period lasts (is open) for two weeks; no clambering to enter during one short time window

    *Total number of eligible breweries that apply = 1,000

    *5,000 beers / 1000 breweries = 5 entries per brewery

    *Thus in this scenario, the competition would accept the first 5 entries from every brewery that entered

    *Let’s say 2,500 breweries entered instead of 1,000: in that case, every brewery could enter 2 beers in the competition. The math would work like that for whatever number of breweries entered (Max. capacity of beers that can be judged – divided by – number of breweries entering the competition)

    *Festival booth space would be handled separately

    As you can imagine, many important details remain to be worked out, but we believe this 2014 GABF brewery registration plan represents a solid start toward an increasingly fair and accommodating competition for the future.

    The festival will accommodate 49,000 attendees during four sessions (the Saturday afternoon one is smaller), which includes volunteers, brewer representatives and the press.