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Splendor in the Glass put on by Arc of Volusia for second year

XNSP81927.INDDDaytona Beach conjures thoughts of fun and sun on one of the world’s most famous beaches. But, on Saturday, June 19 it may well become known for another event; the Second Annual Splendor in the Glass charity tasting event. The event, to be held for the second year at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church’s Riverfront Center at 129 North Halifax Avenue, will feature craft beer and wine tastings, great food, a silent auction and beautiful river views.

The brain child of Gail Irvine, Splendor in the Glass benefits The Arc of Volusia County, an organization that strives to provide opportunities for adults with intellectual or development disabilities.  Last year’s event drew several hundred attendees and helped raise much-needed funds for The Arc’s important programs.

Beer for the event will once again be provided by S.R. Perrott distributers as well as several local Daytona pubs and establishments. Beer samples that guests will be able to enjoy include offerings from Boulder, Stone, Samuel Adams, Cigar City Brewing, HiStilts Brewing, Orange Blossom, Daytona Beach Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada, and Terrapin. Food will be provided by BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Bahama Breeze, Blue Grotto, Cabot Creamery, First Turn Steakhouse, Fletcher’s Fusion 43, Gene’s Steakhouse, Grind Gastropub, Hull’s Seafood, Jersey Mike’s, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, Mr. Dunderbak’s and Peach Valley Café.

In addition, guests will be treated to break-our beer talks, a beer-brewing demonstration and music from Captain Nick.

The event runs from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. , tickets are $35 and may be purchased online here. You can get more information at the organization’s website: www.arcvolusia.org.

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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Beer Festival

 

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Inaugural Riverside Craft Beer Festival releases beer lists

riversidebeerfestLast week I brought to you news of a new beer festival happening this Saturday, February 22 at the Riverside Arts Market. This week, the event coordinators released the beer lists for both General Admission and VIP guests. The list is heavy on local Jacksonville and Florida beers like Intuition, Cigar City, Bold City and Swamp Head Brewery. But, there are also beers from a number of regional and national craft brands like Samuel Adams, Breckenridge, Boulder, and Founders.

General admission to the event is free, but those who wish to sample beers must be over 21 and have a valid, government-issued ID. Attendees then may purchase as many tickets as they like to sample the more than 60 craft beers available at the festival. Tickets cost $2 each and are good for one seven ounce pour of beer.  There are also a limited number of VIP tickets available that grant access to a a tented VIP Only area, all-you-can-eat lunch catered by Mojo’s 4, special beers that are not available to other attendees, a special keepsake mug and four beer tasting tickets. VIP tickets are $100 each until midnight Friday, February 21, after that the price increases to $125. VIP tickets can be purchased at EventBright.com (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/riverside-craft-beer-fest-tickets-9880540964).

The beers available to VIP guest only include:

Intuition Ale Works

  • Underdark Imperial Stout

Evil Twin Brewing

  • Ryan & The Beaster Bunny

Stillwater Artisanal Ales

  • Existent Belgian Ale

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery

  • Natasha Rocks America

Cigar City Brewing Company

  • Torcedores Series Matt’s Django Friday Saison

Green Flash Brewing Company

  • Palate Wrecker

Samuel Adams Brewing Company

  • Juniper
  • Golden Yuzi
  • Ruby Mild
  • Backwoods Porter
  • Third Voyage
  • Merry Makers

The beers available to the general public include:

Samuel Adams Brewing Company

  • Rebel IPA
  • Samuel Adams Lager

Terrapin Beer Company

  • Hopsecutioner
  • Rye Pale Ale

Moosehead Lager & Hop City Brewing Company

  • Barking Squirrel
  • Mr. Huff

New Belgium Brewing Company

  • Fat Tire
  • Ranger
  • Snapshot
  • Belgian Blonde

Aardwolf Brewing Company

  • Belgian IPA
  • Nonchalant IPA

Pinglehead Brewing Company

  • Pinglehead Imperial Red

Intuition Ale Works

  • People’s Pale Ale
  • I-10 IPA
  • King Street Stout
  • Jon Boat Coastal Ale

Southbound Brewing Company

  • Scattered Sun Wit
  • Hoplin IPA

Big Storm Brewing Company

  • Arcus IPA
  • Wavemaker Amber

Lagunitas Brewing Company

  • Lagunitas IPA

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Ruthless Rye IPA

Engine 15 Brewing Company

  • Nut Sack Brown Ale
  • Rye of the Tiger

Mile Marker Brewing Company

  • Mile Marker Zero Blonde Ale
  • Mile Marker 1565 Ancient City Red Ale

Swamp Head Brewery

  • Big Nose IPA
  • Wild Night Cream Ale

The Brew Bus

  • Double Decker Porter
  • Are Wheat There Yet

Cigar City Brewing Company

  • Invasion Pale Ale
  • Hotter Than Helles

Three Palms Brewing Company

  • Single Hop Citra Amber

Saint Somewhere Brewing Company

  • Caitlin

Coronado Brewing Company

  • Hoppy Daze IPA

Erie Brewing Company

  • Derailed Black Cherry Ale
  • Railbender Ale

Founders Brewing Company

  • Red’s Rye IPA

Left Hand Brewing Company

  • Fade to Black Volume V
  • Warrior IPA

Lazy Magnolia Brewery

  • Southern Pecan
  • Timber Beast

Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado

  • Avalanche Amber
  • Regal Pils

Boulder Beer Company

  • Sweaty Betty

Brewery Ommegang

  • Adoration

Bold City Brewing Company

  • Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale
  • Killer Whale Cream Ale
  • Mad Manatee IPA

Green Room Brewing Company

  • Head High IPA
  • Pablo Beach Pale Ale
  • Count Shakula Stout

SweetWater Brewing Company

  • 420 Pale Ale
  • Festive
  • Happy Ending

Green Flash Brewing Company

  • 30th Street Pale Ale
  • Le Freak

Southern Tier Brewing Company

  • Unearthly IPA
  • 2XIPA

Aviator Brewing Company

  • Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel
  • Hog Wild IPA

The event is being put on by the Riverside Rotary Club to raise money for a walking/running track at Stockton Elementary school. The goal is to provide an opportunity for physical activity for students of the school and the neighborhood in an effort to fight obesity. 

Riverside Arts Market is located under the Fuller Warren Bridge on Riverside Boulevard. Parking for the event is free in the LPS surface parking lot. For more information go to the event’s website or FaceBook page linked below.

https://www.facebook.com/riversidecraftbeerfest

https://www.riversidecraftbeerfest.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Beer Festival

 

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Craft Breweries take a can-do approach to packaging

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Photo by Marc Wisdom

The following article is brought to you by a new contributor to The Jax Beer Guy Blog, Lisa Jarman. Lisa brings a fresh and feminine outlook to the craft beer scene that should appeal to readers of both genders.

Join me in welcoming Lisa to the blog, we look forward to more interesting and engaging articles down the road.

Craft Breweries Take a Can-Do Approach to Packaging

By Lisa Jarman

The concept of craft beer in a can is heavily contested in the industry. Breweries such as Oskar Blues have been doing it successfully for years, while others have stuck to bottles for their packaging needs. But all that could be about to change. Gone is the stigma attached to the beer cans of old, as the beer can makes its comeback with fresh appeal. The aluminium can industry has been working with breweries to develop a can that doesn’t just protect the flavor of the beer it contains, but actually adds a few advantages of its own. The times certainly are a changing, and as the founder of the Boston Beer Co, Jim Koch, puts it, “It’s not your father’s beer can anymore.”

So what are the advantages of the humble can, and can beer really taste as good – or even better – than it does from a bottle?

Greener beer

Extracting aluminium from its ore is an energy intensive operation, and it’s easy to assume that a good old-fashioned glass bottle is going to do less damage to the environment than an aluminium can. However, according to Pablo Paster at Tree Hugger, it takes just 15g of aluminium to hold the same volume of beer as 170g of glass could. This not only cancels out the higher amount of energy required to obtain the aluminium, but also means that the impact of transporting the beer is lower in cans than it is in bottles, as the load is lighter and therefore requires less fuel per centimeter cubed of beer.

Once the can has been emptied and the beer enjoyed, it is apparently more likely that a can will be recycled than a bottle, as the recycling rates for glass are considerably lower than the recycling rates of aluminium. Recycling aluminium also has a greater impact than recycling glass, as the energy required to recycle glass is not far off the amount of energy required to produce it in the first place.

Savoring the taste

Despite the common opinion that beer tastes worse from a can than it does from a bottle, the can does provide benefits to the taste as well as the environment. Paster writes that, according to the founder of the Maui Brewing Company, “beer has three enemies; oxidation, light and heat”, and so breweries are finally coming to recognize that cans can protect the beer from at least two out of the three.

Brian O’Reilly, brewmaster at Sly Fox, praises the can: “Really, the one thing that’s really beautiful about beer in a can is the seal. The double seam on top, the way the end or the lid gets sealed to the can, protects the beer from oxygen much, much better than a crown.”

The can may not be able to protect the beer from the heat, but it can protect it from the light as well as from oxygen, which is not something that can be said of the bottle. This means that beer in a can travels better and can enjoy a longer shelf life than beer in a bottle, and that drinkers can enjoy a better taste. New developments in can production have also led to different lips and lids that come of completely, so making it easier to drink from than an ordinary ring-pull can.

The practicality of a can

The lighter weight of canned beer has already been considered as an environmental advantage, but it’s more practical for consumers, too. A camping trip, barbecue on the beach or even just a walk home from the store is going be a lot easier with a six pack of cans than a six pack of bottles. Given that cans tend to contain a greater volume of beer than bottles, consumers can enjoy more beer for their efforts. Once again, after the beer has been enjoyed, the cans can be crushed down to take up as little space as possible on the journey home, rather than having to carry a cumbersome and clanking bag of bottles back to the car.

Branding, marketing and twenty-first century technology

From the breweries’ perspective, the cans bring far greater advertising possibilities than bottles, in that the entire can can be covered in branding. New technology can also add a little novelty to the can, which can make it more appealing to consumers. This may not be as relevant to smaller craft breweries, but the larger lager companies have certainly been taking advantage of it. Coors, for example, sold its Coors Light in ‘cold-activated cans’, which showed an image of mountains on the can that turned from white to blue as the can cooled to the right temperature. More recently, Budweiser launched its ‘bowtie can‘, created by Annheuser-Busch. Craft beers these are not, but they have certainly attracted some market attention.

The possibilities for decorating cans are far greater than the possibilities for decorating bottles, which presents huge opportunities to breweries either to use the can to attract the attention of consumers, or to increase their revenue through advertising for other companies. There is also the novelty aspect of can decoration – as demonstrated by Budweiser and Coors – which could see companies offering uniquely-decorated cans of beer to their clients, to complement other branded freebies such as cooling can jackets and personalized beer glasses. Other partnerships could spring up in the beer industry, taking their lead from publicity partnerships such as Coca-Cola and John Paul Gaultier. In 2012, the designer teamed up with Coca-Cola to create limited edition cans of Diet Coke. It’s only really the beginning for canned beer, but it wouldn’t be completely surprising if this sort of advertising and branding continued to pop up throughout the industry.

Ultimately, when it comes down to it, if the beer doesn’t taste good then customers won’t keep coming back. It’s all very well offering a gimmick or mildly interesting variation on packaging, but as Koch says: “If it doesn’t make the beer taste better, then don’t do it just to get noticed. The customer will reward you with more of their business if you give them a better tasting product than their alternatives.”

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Beer Cans, Beer Industry

 

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Samuel Adams Brewing to offer “bride ale,” marriages at Boston brewery

brewleywedJune is traditionally the month for marriage. The folks over at Samuel Adams Brewing Company in Boston, Mass. recognize this and have brewed up a very special, one-of-a-kind beer to commemorate this traditional month of matrimony. And, if the mood strikes you, they will even let loving couples exchange their vows in the brewery.

But, in order to get your hands on the brew, dubbed Brewleywed Ale, you will have to appear in person at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston on Wednesday, June 26. So, if you are not currently in Boston, you may have a hard time getting your hands on the limited release brew.

According to the brewery’s blog, “Just 300 cases of this Belgian stylebride ale” have been brewed for the big day, so whether you’re engaged, married or celebrating an anniversary – or looking for a unique gift – line up for your opportunity to purchase a bottle or case. Brewlywed Ale will be available in 750mL, cork-finished bottles.”

Last year Sam Adams started this new tradition of celebrating the union of two people by brewing its first batch of the Belgian-style “bride ale.” Beer has been a traditional part of weddings for millennia. In fact the word honeymoon describes the ancient practice of supplying a newly-wed couple with mead – or honey beer – for the first moon, or month of their marriage in hopes of a swift conception. In addition, the medieval word “ale” comes from the word “bridal.” No wonder beer is such an integral part of weddings!

If you are lucky enough to be in the immediate vicinity of the brewery for the release of Brewleywed Ale, and happen to have a valid Massachusetts marriage license, the folks at the brewery would be pleased to help you tie the knot. a Justice of the Peace available to perform ceremonies on the spot while string quartet Maestro Musicians serenades couples in the background. Need a Best Man (or Maid of Honor)? Jim Koch, founder and owner of Samuel Adams, will be on hand to witness your special day.

If you are just there for the beer, you can pick up the 750 mL bottles for $14.99 at the brewery, June 26 only.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Belgian

 

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Healthy beer? You bet!

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Generally speaking, beer and health aren’t necessarily equated with one another in most people’s minds; even though there’s lots of recent scientific and medical research that show beer drinking (responsibly) is good for you. Most beer lovers don’t pause to read the nutrition label before cracking the top on a fresh brew. However, there are some beers out there that are better for you than others. Which brews make the top of the list in terms of “healthiness” and why should you care? Let’s take a closer look at your options.

What Makes a Healthy Beer?

Before we delve into which beers are not bad for you and which ones are actually good for your body, it would be a good idea to go over just what makes one beer “healthier” than another. It basically boils down to two things really – calories and alcohol content. Choosing a beer with lower calories is a no brainer for those watching their waistlines of course, but choosing a lower alcohol brew flies in the face of some emerging craft brew trends, specifically the trend of stronger and stronger “novelty” beers.

Then there is the question of special ingredients included in the brew. A wide range of different ingredients can be added to the basic four that make up the average brew, many of which can offer some distinct health advantages. Let’s cover a few of those before we move on:

Wheat: Wheat beers have been shown to provide significant benefits, particularly for runners and other endurance athletes. The benefit here is that wheat seems to offer relief from inflammation in muscle tissues and joints, and can also help to combat problems with the respiratory system. Of course, for those with gluten intolerance problems, wheat beers are off the table.

Fruit: Fruit has been used to flavor beer since time immemorial. Today, a wide range of fruit types can be found in beer, from oranges to strawberries, lemons to raspberries and even more exotic options. However, craft beer brewed with fresh fruit (or high-quality fruit extract) can offer some health benefits, particularly when that fruit is high in vitamin C. For instance, raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system.

Another important fruit here is pomegranate. Called a “superfood,” pomegranate offers some very impressive health benefits, from boosting your immune system to helping with blood pressure problems and more.

Green Tea: Fusing beer with other types of beverages has become more popular recently in the craft brew world. Some brewers are going the route of combining their brews with tea (particularly green tea). This offers a world of health benefits due to the high antioxidant content in green tea. Antioxidants can help fight a wide range of issues, from cancer to the aging process.

Ginger: Ginger has been used as a cure-all for thousands of years. The Chinese, Romans, Greeks and numerous other ancient cultures extolled the virtues of this root. You’ll find ginger included in quite a few new beers on the market. While the FDA might be silent on the health benefits of ginger, it’s hard to argue with a tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Hemp: No, you won’t find beer laced with THC on the market (at least not openly, at any rate). Hemp seeds are used to add flavor to different brews. You’ll also find that they offer some important heart health benefits, too. Studies have shown that hemp seeds can also help to lower high blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension.

Spruce: Spruce is a species of evergreen tree and most people don’t really equate spruce needles with food or drink. However, spruce needles can impart some interesting flavors, but they also offer help for those with joint pain, poor blood circulation in the body and can even help lower stress (or that might just be the alcohol).

Oysters: Eating oysters while drinking a cold beer is nothing new. However, you’ll now find the oysters added directly to the brew. While that might sound like a rather odd combination, it does have its benefits. Most importantly, at least as far as health is concerned, oysters are high in protein and a variety of essential minerals.

Now, that’s a pretty long list of healthy additives, even though some of them might sound a little farfetched. The truth of the matter is that you’ll find craft beers available from breweries around the world that include these healthy ingredients and many others too.

The Healthiest Beers on Offer

So, what are the healthiest beers that you’ll find on offer? Interestingly, Sam Adams Light comes in pretty high on the list (at the top of the list, according to some). The beer doesn’t have any special ingredients, but it is very low in calories, has a modest alcohol content and doesn’t stint on flavor, body or mouth feel.

Surprisingly, Guinness is also among the healthiest beers out there. Again, there is no special ingredient that helps push it ahead of other beers. However, it is very low in calories, and the alcohol content is well below the 5.0 ABV average cited by authorities (the CDC, for example) as the typical alcohol content for beer.

If you’d like to break out of the box and go for some healthier beers that you won’t find sitting on the shelves of most grocery stores (appealing to the hunter in you), then you might consider some of these brews:

  • He’Brew Rejewvenator ’10 (Schmaltz Brewing Co.)
  • Gumballhead (Three Floyds)
  • Good Juju (Left Hand)
  • Black Hemp Black Ale (O’Fallon)
  • Major Tom’s Pomegranate Wheat (Fort Collins Brewery)

Of course, there are numerous other options out there and chances are good that you’ll find a craft brewery or two in your local area serving up healthful, refreshing brews with unique ingredients. Keep an eye out for fresh fruit and all-natural ingredients, but also bear in mind the calorie count and ABV rating for any beer you choose if you’re concerned about the health benefits (or adverse effects).

Poto Cervesia, Dustin Canestorp

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Beer, Beer Education

 

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New Albion Ale to hit store shelves next month after 30 year hibernation

new-albion-aleThirty-five years ago there was little choice in the beer aisle of your local liquor store other than brews from the major national brands. But, if you were fortunate enough to live in Northern California in the late 1970s, you may have heard of a tiny brewery known as New Albion Brewing Company. Started by Jack McAuliffe in 1976, New Albion was doing something only home brewers were doing – making great-tasting ales instead of watered-down, mass-produced lagers.

The story begins long before the opening of New Albion Brewing Company, though. McAuliffe was born in Caracas, Venezuela to an FBI agent stationed at the American embassy during World War II. As is common in families such as his, he moved to new cities regularly. But, after a stint in the United States Navy, McAuliffe got an engineering degree and, while helping a friend build his home, settled in Sonoma, Calif.

It was during his career in the Navy that McAuliffe discovered his love for well-crafted beer. After training at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, he was transferred to the U.S.S. Simon Lake. As part of its duty cycle, the ship went to Scotland in the late 1960s to service the submarines in Squadron 14. There McAuliffe became fascinated by the diversity of beer available and the processes by which it was produced.

Upon his return to the states, McAuliffe began to learn the skills needed to brew beer by producing small batches of home brew in his garage in Sonoma. After he completed the building of his friend’s home, he turned to designing a small commercial brewer. He began rummaging through scrap yards seeking anything he might use to build brewing equipment. Old dairy equipment was particularly useful, but most of his equipment McAuliffe built by hand. During this time, he lived in a warehouse loft above the brewery he was assembling.

In October on 1976, McAuliffe incorporated the New Albion Brewing Company and began producing English-style ale, porter, and stout. The name is a nod to the English explorer Sir Francis Drake who claimed the San Francisco Bay area for England in the 1500s and named it Nova Albion. But, as McAuliffe discovered, his was not the first brewery named New Albion in the area. In the 1800s, an Englishman started a brewery in Hunter’s Point area of San Francisco at the site of a spring. That brewery faded into the annals of history, but McAuliffe wanted to honor it and pushed forward with the name.

But, ultimately New Albion proved to be too much ahead of its time to survive. In 1982 the brewery was forced to close due to a lack of financing and expansion space. After only a little more than five years, one of the pioneers of the craft brewing industry closed up shop.

An impression had been made by the small brewery and its tenacious leader. During its short-lived existence, New Albion drew visitors such as Ken Grossman who later went on to found Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Another visitor was Michael Lewis, professor of brewing at the University of California Davis. At that time, Lewis educated students for careers at the large brewers of the day. But, as the craft movement gained momentum, UC –Davis has turned into a training ground for today’s craft beer gurus.

In fact, it was the discovery of the strain of yeast formerly used by New Albion in the UC-Davis storage facilities that inspired Boston Brewing Company founder and owner Jim Koch to resurrect one of New Albion’s landmark brews – New Albion Ale. Introduced at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo. by Koch, the beer sports a representation of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, the Golden Hinde, just as McAuliffe’s original bottle did. But, other than GABF, the brew was not available to the public. Next month that exclusivity comes to an end when Samuel Adams New Albion Ale is released for distribution to the nation.

At the brunch where Koch introduced the new batch of New Albion Ale, he praised McAuliffe as a pioneer and inspiration. In his typical fashion, the aging McAuliffe remained soft-spoken and humble. He does not consider himself a major figure in the history of the now booming craft beer market, nor does he dwell on the fall of his brewery. During his talk at the brunch he thanked Koch and his company for the recognition and urged everyone to continue in his footsteps to continually innovate and keep the craft beer movement’s forward momentum going.

According to Boston Beer’s Jim Koch, in a press release, New Albion Ale is brewed from the original pale ale recipe, with Koch and McAuliffe both taking part in the brewing:

“New Albion Ale is a deep, golden beer brewed with American Cascade hops and a 2-row malt blend.  The Cascade hops, sourced from the Pacific Northwest, create a moderate hop bitterness and lingering citrus and floral notes, balanced by the upfront cereal character and sweet finish from the malt.”

Look for New Albion Ale from Samuel Adams on your beer monger and grocery store shelves next month, January 2013.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Beer News

 

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Big beer vs. craft beer, a David and Goliath story

BA_logoThe Brewers Association, a non-profit organization that acts as an advocate for small brewers and brewing enthusiasts, fired shots across the bow of the mega beer producers of the nation yesterday, December 12. Charlie Papazian, president of the organization along with Bob Pease, the groups COO, and Dan Kopman who serves as a member of the Brewers Association Government Affairs Committee and is CEO of Schlafly Beer in St. Louis, authored an opinion piece that ran in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While on the same day, the Brewers Association website published a similar piece.

The articles call out the likes of SABMiller, A-B InBev, and Heineken for jumping on board the craft beer band wagon and producing brews like Shock Top and Blue Moon. The op-ed says, “…they don’t label these faux-craft beers as products of A-B InBev and MillerCoors

In the article on the Brewer Association’s website, it is said, “The large, multinational brewers appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers.”

Papazian has long been known as an advocate for small, craft beer producers. In 1978 he founded the American Homebrewers Association as an education and advocacy group for home beer-making enthusiasts. His group later merged with the Brewers Association and he became president. The group is well-known for its very visible festivals such as the Great American Beer Festival and Savour as well as its lobbying activities on behalf of small brewers.

In an article on the beer news website Beer Pulse, Tom Cardella, president and CEO of Tenth and Blake Beer Company, which markets brands like Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s and Crispin Cider, responded:

“Anyone who visits Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin will understand the blood, sweat and tears that went into building that brewery, and they’ve continued brewing amazing beers for 145 years. And anyone who spends time chatting with Blue Moon Brewing Company founder and brew master Keith Villa will understand the passion and creativity that has gone into developing his Artfully Crafted beers for 17 years. To question the quality of these beers due to their size or success is doing a disservice to the entrepreneurs who created them, and to beer drinkers who love them. Most beer drinkers don’t get hung up on industry definitions, which often change. They just enjoy drinking great beer. Whether people call them craft or some other title is fine with us. We’ll just keep brewing great beer.”

Even Fortune magazine has taken notice of the actions of the big brewers. In an article that ran on their website November 15, the magazine says, “What’s noteworthy about these forays into the craft segment is the way these brands are purposely distanced from their Big Beer parents. You won’t find the Coors name on a bottle of Blue Moon. Rather, you see the name Blue Moon Brewing Company. The same goes for a bottle of Anheuser-Busch‘s Shock Top.”

To many, the actions of the large beer producers are signs that they are worried about the future of their brands. Indeed, over the past few years brands seminal brands like Budweiser and Coors have seen significant drops in their sales and market share. Research released by the Brewers Association shows that the overall beer industry was down 1.3 percent by volume and domestic non-craft was down 5 million barrels in 2011.

At the same time as the large American lagers have been seeing declines, the craft industry is experiencing unprecedented growth. Craft beer grew by 13% in 2011 and by an additional 12% in the first half of 2012.

A craft brewer, as defined by the Brewers Association, is a brewery that produces less than 6 million barrels of beer per year and is less than 25% owned by a national or multi-national adult beverage company. Meaning that brands such as Sierra Nevada, which produced approximately 724,000 barrels of brew in 2011, and Samuel Adams maker Boston Beer Company, which produced approximately 1.9 million barrels are considered craft breweries. By comparison, Anheuser-Busch produced a staggering 340 million barrels of beer last year.

The battle of David and Goliath between the big brands and craft breweries was made even more apparent in 2011 when a bill passed in Texas allowing small breweries to sell beer directly to consumers who toured their facilities. An article in the Houston Chronicle tells of A-B executive Mark Bordas appearing before the Texas senate committee that the bill discriminates against his company because it is tailored to breweries producing fewer than 75,000 barrels per year. Because of this, it appears that AB InBev is very concerned about the competition even the smallest of brewers introduces in the market.

Add to this that the major producers have been busily snapping up smaller breweries, and it is very apparent that craft beer is a force that big business wants to control. Just last year, AB InBev purchased popular Midwest producer Goose Island and has been rolling the brand out nationally. Other brands that have been folded into the big boys include Henry Weinhard, as well as large stakes in Red Hook, Kona, and Widmer Brothers.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek Kopman said that all brewers should label their products so consumers aren’t mislead about a beer’s origin. “We definitely need to discuss this as an industry,” he said. “We need to have an agreed-upon standard for transparency where you are a multinational or an independent.”

And that is the true contention between the craft beer industry and the large producers. The mass producers seem to be trying to masquerade as craft brewers while the true craft brewers struggle to scratch out an existence among the heavily marketed and financed big boys. The Brewers Association ended their article by simply asking that beer-drinkers educate themselves on the beer they are drinking.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Beer, Beer News

 

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