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Craft Beer Continues To Sell

The Brewers Association, the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, reports America’s small and independent craft brewers are still growing (see Craft Brewing Statistics) despite many challenges and are continuing to provide jobs to the U.S. economy. Dollar growth from craft brewers during the first half of 2009 increased 9%, down from 11% growth during the same period in 2008. Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew 5% for the first six months in 2009, compared to 6.5% growth in the first half of 2008. Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first half of the year is an estimated 4.2 million, compared to 4 million barrels sold in the first half of 2008.

“At a time when many of the giant beer brands are declining, small and independent craft brewers are organically growing their share and slowly gaining shelf and restaurant menu space one glass of craft beer at a time,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association.

100 Year High

The U.S. now boasts 1,525 breweries, the highest number in 100 years when consolidation and the run up to Prohibition reduced the number of breweries to 1,498 in 1910. “The U.S. has more breweries than any other nation and produces a greater diversity of beer styles than anywhere else, thanks to craft brewer innovation,” Gatza added.


Top 50 Breweries in America

The Brewers Association has also just announced the top 50 breweries in the U.S. based on sales, by volume, for 2008. This includes all breweries, regardless of size or other parameters. Here is the 2008 list:

  1. Anheuser-Busch InBev; St Louis MO
  2. MillerCoors; Chicago IL
  3. Pabst Brewing; Woodridge IL
  4. Boston Beer Co.; Boston MA
  5. D. G. Yuengling and Son; Pottsville PA
  6. Sierra Nevada Brewing; Chico CA
  7. Craft Brewers Alliance (Widmer/Redhook); Portland OR
  8. New Belgium Brewing; Fort Collins CO
  9. High Falls Brewing; Rochester NY
  10. Spoetzl Brewery (Gambrinus); Spoetzl TX
  11. Pyramid Breweries; Seattle WA
  12. Deschutes Brewery; Bend OR
  13. Iron City Brewing (fka Pittsburgh Brewing); Pittsburgh PA
  14. Minhas Craft Brewery; Monroe WI
  15. Matt Brewing; Utica NY
  16. Boulevard Brewing; Kansas City MO
  17. Full Sail Brewing; Hood River OR
  18. Magic Hat Brewing Company; South Burlington VT
  19. Alaskan Brewing; Juneau AK
  20. Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA
  21. Bell’s Brewery; Galesburg MI
  22. Goose Island Beer; Chicago IL
  23. Kona Brewing; Kailua-Kona HI
  24. Anchor Brewing; San Francisco CA
  25. August Schell Brewing; New Ulm MN
  26. Shipyard Brewing; Portland ME
  27. Summit Brewing; Saint Paul MN
  28. Stone Brewing; Escondido CA
  29. Mendocino Brewing; Ukiah CA
  30. Abita Brewing; New Orleans LA
  31. Brooklyn Brewery; Brooklyn NY
  32. New Glarus Brewing; New Glarus WI
  33. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Lewes DE
  34. Long Trail Brewing; Bridgewater Corners VT
  35. Gordon Biersch Brewing; San Jose CA
  36. Rogue Ales/Oregon Brewing; Newport OR
  37. Great Lakes Brewing; Cleveland OH
  38. Lagunitas Brewing; Petaluma CA
  39. Firestone Walker Brewing; Paso Robles CA
  40. SweetWater Brewing; Atlanta GA
  41. Flying Dog Brewery; Denver CO
  42. BJs Restaurant & Brewery; Huntington Beach CA
  43. Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants; Louisville CO
  44. Bridgeport Brewing; Portland OR
  45. Odell Brewing; Fort Collins CO
  46. Victory Brewing; Downington PA
  47. Straub Brewery; Saint Mary’s PA
  48. Cold Spring Brewery; Cold Spring MN
  49. Mac and Jack’s Brewery; Redmond WA
  50. Big Sky Brewing; Missoula MT

Lock, Stock & Barrel-Aged Beer

On April 20, 2009, Odell Brewing will release the second barrel aged beer in its Woodcut series.

Woodcut No. 2, an oak aged golden ale, was brewed over six months ago on the brewery’s pilot brewing system. The golden ale has been aging in virgin oak barrels and will bottle condition in cork finish, 750 ml bottles.

Odell Woodcut

Crafted with fine specialty malts and hops, Woodcut No. 2 is a golden copper color. The rich toffee-like malt character is balanced by soft tannins. Freshly cut wood and vanilla bean aromas compliment the beer’s smooth finish.

Odell Brewing’s inaugural Woodcut offering was named one of the best beers of 2008 by Draft Magazine and Modern Brewery Age magazine. “Odell Brewing is pushing into new waters with grace and success with the Woodcut Series,” Draft Magazine.

Odell Woodcut

Only 175 cases of the Woodcut No. 1 were released, and the beer sold out in one week. The second release will be limited to 350 cases, all hand signed and numbered.

Eager beer enthusiasts can celebrate the release of Woodcut No. 2 at the brewery’s Tap Room on April 20, 2009 from 4-6 p.m. Bottles will be available for purchase for $24.99. To learn more, visit


Beer: An American Revolution

In 1920, the National Prohibition Act destroyed the beer industry in the United States, putting some 1,500 breweries out of business. When the “noble experiment” was repealed in 1933, beer lovers rejoiced, and the beer industry staggered back to its feet. The industry had lost much of its diversity, however, and the emergence of national brands in the 1950s and 1960s led to industry consolidation and fewer choices for American beer drinkers. By 1980, there were less than 50 breweries in the U.S.

By the 1980s, American beer had an international reputation as weak and watery as a case of Hamm’s. Most breweries only produced American-style lagers, a light and inexpensive style of beer typically made with rice or corn adjuncts in addition to barley, hops, yeast and water. In 1982, Monty Python’s Eric Idle famously quipped, “We find your American beer is a little like making love in a canoe. It’s fucking close to water.”

What American beer lovers didn’t know at the time was that a revolution was imminent. In 1979, a clerical error in the 21st Amendment was corrected, and for the first time in nearly 50 years it became legal to brew small batches of beer at home. Home brewers who had little interest in cutting costs or making beer with mass appeal began brewing big, flavorful beers in a wide range of styles. Many of these home brewers decided to turn their passion into small businesses, and microbreweries began popping up all over the country.

Today, although mainstream beers still dominate the market, more than 14,00 breweries in the U.S. produce more styles of beer than anywhere else in the world, and American beers routinely dominates international beer competitions.

So the next time you’re at your favorite brewpub, hold your glass up high and celebrate the American beer revolution.

Now playing, on Reason TV:

“Beer: An American Revolution” was written and produced by Paul Feine. Alex Manning was the director of photography and Nick Gillespie is the narrator. Approximately seven minutes.


Rogue’s Dead Guy Gets in the Whiskey Spirit

Rogue’s Dead Guy family has a whole new spirit—Dead Guy Whiskey, created on the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay in a multi-step process.

Northwest Harrington, Maier Munich, Klages, and Carastan malts are combined with Free Range Coastal Water in a 100 BBL 3,000 gallon brew system. Distiller’s yeast is then added to the wort, fermented, and then hauled across the parking lot to the Rogue House of Spirits (est. 2006) where its double-distilled by Master distiller John Couchot in a 150 gallon Vendome copper pot still and then aged in charred American white oak barrels. Each 3,000 gallon batch yields 100 gallons of Dead Guy Whiskey.

Dead Guy Whiskey is created with the same 4 grains used to make Dead Guy Ale, which was created in the early 1990s to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day).

Rogue Whisky

Dead Guy Whiskey has already received critical acclaim – placing 3rd in the World Beverage Competition in Geneva, Switzerland, competing against spirits from 25 different countries. It is now available in limited quantities in limited markets in a 750 ml serigraphed bottle.

Rogue Spirits has been distilling award-winning White, Dark, and Hazelnut Spiced Rums since 2003, producing Dead Guy Whiskey, Vintage Vodka, Spruce Gin, and Pink Gin. Distiller Mel Heim operates a 50 gallon copper pot still in the historic Pearl district in Portland, Oregon.

In October Rogue will sponsor the 5th Annual Great American Distillers Festival – a gathering of small distilleries from across the country who come to Oregon, the Mecca of craft distilling, to share their products, their passion, and their expertise in hand-crafting spirits.

Celebrating five years of distilling, Rogue Spirits creates award winning, multi-ingredient, small batch varietal spirits, artisan distilled in traditional hand-crafted copper pot stills. Rogue Spirits have won 44 awards for taste and quality and are available in 13 states and 5 countries. No chemicals, additives or preservatives are used. Visit our website at WWW.ROGUE.COM for more information.


First “No Carb” Beer?

A Queensland boutique brewer has today made brewing history with the launch of BIGHEAD — Australia’s first no-carb beer. BIGHEAD is the brainchild of Burleigh Brewing Company, an independent craft brewery based in Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Burleigh Brewing’s CEO, Peta Fielding, said BIGHEAD’s arrival would be welcome news for men and women across Australia who are conscious of their carbohydrate intake, but love their beer.

“There are a lot of low-carb beers on the Australian market, but only one no-carb – and that’s BIGHEAD Beer,” said Fielding. “For the past year, our customers have been asking us when we were going to create a low-carb beer and today, we’ve not only delivered, we’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations with a beer that is truly unique. We don’t know why this hasn’t been done before now, but we’re thrilled that the idea and ability has been developed by an independent Queensland company.”

BIGHEAD is a full-flavoured, full-strength lager that is 100% natural, free of additives and preservatives, and has a smooth, clean taste – with zero carbs and only 88 calories per bottle.


BIGHEAD is named after its place of origin – Burleigh Heads – which was originally dubbed ‘burly head’ (meaning ‘big or brawny head’) by surveyor James Warner in 1840. The name also celebrates the fact that this is a big idea, and a big beer, for an independent brewery.

So how has this little company from the coast managed to create something that no-one else in Australia has? Understandably, they’re not wanting to share too much of their secret, but surprisingly, its based more on tradition than modern technology.

“We use a very authentic brewing process to ensure all our premium beers are fresh and pure. And adding the no-carb element to our brewing involved even more attention to times and temperatures – and required plenty of patience,” said Fielding.

The Burleigh Brewing team, led by Masterbrewer and co-founder, Brennan Fielding, has spent the past year researching, developing, testing and refining the no-carb recipe, which has also been tested by an independent lab in accordance with Australia and New Zealand Food Standards to substantiate its no-carb claim.

But for Brennan and Peta Fielding, this process has been largely a labour of love. “As a craft brewery, we’re passionate about making great beers that taste great and make our customers happy,” Peta Fielding said.

“One thing we wouldn’t compromise on when we were creating this no-carb beer is the quality. BIGHEAD is full of flavour, fresh, pure and balanced, with the added bonus of no carbs. Low-carb beers may have been the ‘it’ drink of 2008, but looking towards the new year, we see the launch of BIGHEAD opening up an entirely new beer category. We hope Australia enjoys drinking BIGHEAD as much as we enjoyed creating it.”


Bell’s To Brew At De Proef

SBS Imports of Seattle, Washington has announced that Bell’s Brewery has agreed to be the 2009 partner for the latest brew in the De Proef Brewmaster’s Collaboration Series. The yet to be designed beer will be brewed in March at De Proef in Lochristi, Belgium and released to the USA market in September 2009.

The initial beer in the series was Signature Ale – originally brewed in 2007 with Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. Jason Perkins of Allagash collaborated in 2008 on Les Deux Brasseurs. Both beers have been exceptionally well-received by beer enthusiasts.

De Proef

“Each year it is my pleasure to invite a noted American brewer to participate in this series,” noted SBS Founder Alan Shapiro. “I am thrilled that John Mallet & Bell’s have agreed to be the 2009 partner.”

“I am really looking forward to this project,” added Bell’s Production Manager, John Mallet. “I have several family ties to the area which makes this invite to brew with Dirk Naudts at De Proef even more special.”


Sapporo To Label Carbon Footprint

Everywhere you look, companies are going green, and breweries are naturally leading the way. Japan’s Saporro Breweries will put a carbon label on cans of its Black Label draft beer. The new label will list how much carbon dioxide is emitted per can during the entire production and disposal process of creating the beer.

Carbon Footprint

Using standards being developed by the Carbon Trust in Great Britain, Sapporo will wait until the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry decides how best to adapt the standards to create rules for calculating CO2 emissions for labeling purposes before adding the information. The Japanese government is expected to make their ruling as early as February or March of next year.


Beer O’clock arrives earliest in Denmark

“Beer O’clock” arrives at Denmark 4:41 p.m., but not until 6:14 in the UK. That’s the time they’ll have their first drink at the bar, on average.

An average Frenchman is done at the bar by 8:33, while Germans don’t quit until 10:59 p.m.

Only one British in ten enjoys a pint with lunch anymore, while nearly a quarter of Danes have a lunchtime drink.

Those are some of the facts from a new report examining European drinking habits from SABMiller. The survey of beer drinkers in fifteen countries shows that with volumes of consumption rising in many nations, beer plays a central role in our social lives, as well as facts that may or may not surprise. For instance:

– Italians more than any nationality drink beer in a restaurant.
– Beer accounts for 64% of alcohol consumption in the Czech Republic, and the Czechs are most loyal to their own beer.
– The Polish are least likely to drink on their own.

The full report.


InBev ready to announce higher beer prices

Brewing giant InBev says it will increase prices because of the rise cost of ingredients, including malt, hops and aluminum.

InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said the beer industry was now facing a different environment “that pressures everybody” as inflation bites and basic costs continue to go up.

“You see the possibilities to pass some of the cost to prices,” he told reporters after an annual shareholders’ meeting. “If your brands are strong enough, you should take that opportunity.”

He said the company had already implemented some price rises but refused to give details on future pricing plans. The company would provide more information on the regions and brands where it believes it can hike prices when it reports first quarter results on May 8.

Brito the company will report lower growth for the first and second quarters of 2008 when compared with strong results for the same period last year.


Adnams launches carbon neutral beer

Adnams has launched what it calls the first carbon neutral beer brewed in the UK.

According to Adnams managing director Andy Wood, East Green is 25% less carbon intensive to produce than other beers. It has 1p-worth of carbon emissions per bottle, which the brewer has pledged to offset.

“If this beer sold in comparative volumes to Broadside it would be the equivalent of taking six cars off the road a year,” he said. “It is a great-tasting light golden beer and it is greener than any other beer on the market.”

Supermarket giant Tesco, which has begun a massive campaign to inform consumers of the carbon footprint of all products it sells, has struck an exclusive six month distribution deal for the beer. He will be available on draft sometimes after that.


Scientist warns global warming will push up beer prices

Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, says climate change likely will cause a decline in the production of malting barley in parts of New Zealand and Australia.

“It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up,” Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention.

His is a longterm prediction, looking 30 years out, although brewers around the world experienced the domino effect of a poor crop in Australia last year. China, which now consumes more beer than any country in the world, relies heavily on barley malt from Australia. When that wasn’t available prices around the world went up.

“It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry,” even forcing breweries to look at new varieties of malt barley as a direct result of climate change, Salinger said.

Similar effects are expected worldwide, and barley prices also will be affected as farmers are find it lucrative to grow crops other than intended for malt.


Marston’s acquires Hobgoblin, Brakspear

UK brewer Marston’s has announced it has acquired Refresh UK, which owns the Wychwood Brewery, brewer of Hobgoblin and Brakspear.

The Publican reports “the acquisition is consistent with Marston’s strategy of developing a portfolio of premium beer brands to complement the Marston’s range, led by Marston’s Pedigree.”

This purchase by Marston’s follows the company’s acquisitions of Jennings in 2005 and Ringwood in 2007.

Marston’s has said it is committed to continuing the operation of the acquired Wychwood Brewery in Witney.


Georgia bar gives customers own personal taps

A sports bar in Atlanta now allows customers to pour their own beer while seated at their own table.

Jeff Libby, 26, invented and patented the system.

Taps boasting two beer spouts are built into tables dotting Atlanta’s swanky STATS sports bar. Each is hooked into a cooler of kegs in the bar’s basement through a network of tubes and pipes.

To fly with state officials, serve-yourself beer had to include some built-in deterrents.

A waitress must first check IDs before turning on the tap. When the digital ticker counting each ounce hits 180 — or about three pitchers — the taps shut off until a server comes by to check on the table. Bigger parties keep servers running back and forth fairly often, while it’s rarer for smaller groups to hit the limit.

Each tap has two spouts offering a selection of the bar’s more than a dozen beers, including Miller Lite, Guiness Stout, Newcastle and a house brew called Numbers Ale. Customers can only pick which taps they get by reserving a private party table.

Call is customer friendly.

“Sometimes you’re with your husband and he drinks twice as fast as you _ and you can only down a quarter beer,” said 31-year-old Jennie Olshaske, nodding toward her husband. Now, she said, she can pour as little beer as she wants.

Libby is looking to expand, and has approval from the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and California.


Heineken rolls out BeerTender in U.S.

Heineken BeerTender

Heineken USA launched of BeerTender for the U.S. market. The devide is designed exclusively for the Heineken and Heineken Premium Light DraughtKegs. The countertop cooler uses a patented carbonator pressure technology to “deliver a perfect pour every time.”

Engineered by Krups, the BeerTender works this way: Insert a Heineken or Heineken Premium Light DraughtKeg into BeerTender, connect the included disposable draft tube, close the lid, and serve.

“BeerTender is an innovation in draft technology and a must-have for any beer aficionado who values a premium-quality draft beer experience and stylish product design,” Ken Kunze, senior vice president, chief marketing officer Heineken USA, said for a press release.

Not surprisingly, he is referring to drinking Heineken products.

Selected models allow the consumer to adjust temperatures to 36°F, 39°F or 42°F to accommodate a personal drinking preferences. And there is a 30-day freshness count-down indicator available on some models.

The BeerTender, designed to sell for between $279 and $299 depending upon the model, is already available in the Netherlands, France, Austria and Switzerland. More information is available at