New survey looks at craft beer drinker habits, attitudes

craftNearly one third of all craft beer drinkers are female and more than two thirds drink less than 10 beers in a two-week period are some of the findings in a new survey released by GutCheck, a Denver, Colo.-based agile market research firm.

Criteria for the survey included both make and female beer drinkers over 21 years of age. Respondents had to have more than $30,000 a year in earnings and must drink both craft and domestic beers. Finally, the respondent must be the primary purchaser of beer in the family or share that responsibility and must have purchased beer within the two weeks prior to taking the survey.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that craft beer drinkers prized variety in their beers with about half of all respondents revealing that they had consumed craft, domestic and imported beers during the review period. But, no single brand ran away with the votes. And, since variety is so valued, no single style of beer significantly dominated the standings. Of the styles surveyed, lager was consumed by 51% of survey-takers with pale ale coming in with 41%, wheat beer came in third with 37%.

Purchasing decisions were most often driven by taste for respondents with grocery stores listed as the top place to buy beer 63% of the time. Word of mouth was also a high scoring category when drinkers were asked how they chose a new beer to try. Liquor stores came in a close second with 62% saying that is where they purchased their beer. Bars and restaurants came in third with 55%.

An overwhelming 80% of craft beer drinkers think of themselves as supporters of local businesses, one third of them believe craft brands acquired by corporate brands are sell-outs. Of those who think brewers that sell to big beer are sell-outs, 26% say they would avoid buying these brands.

Craft brands with the highest awareness among consumers are Sam Adams, Yuengling and Sierra Nevada. Notably, the brand with the highest recognition is not a true craft beer. Blue Moon garnered an 81% for recognition even though it is not technically a craft brand.

Males were the highest number of survey-takers with 35 to 39 grabbing the highest-responding age group. The southern United States responded most often to the survey with the Midwest coming in close second.  Beer consumption within the two weeks prior to taking the survey was required of all counted respondents, but the survey revealed that spirits were consumed by 71% and wine sipped by 60%. Only 37% of respondents drank hard cider.


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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Beer, Beer News


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Harp Lager to tap golfer as spokesperson

harplagerlogoBeer and golf go together like baseball and hot dogs. That is why pro golfer Graeme McDowell is lending his name and celebrity to one of Ireland’s favorite lagers, Harp. Over the years McDowell, who grew up just a few miles from the Harp brewery, has developed a real love affair with beer and when he was approached by Diageo Beer Company to be their spokesperson for Harp he jumped at it.

Read all about the partnership in the offical press release below:

DUBLIN, Ire. (Nov. 17, 2016) – Boiled down to their most basic terms, golf and beer seem like pretty simple concepts. One is all about hops, yeast, barley and water, while the other can be thought of as simply grass, a club, a ball, and a hole. What isn’t so obvious is the huge amount of hard work, dedication and precision that goes into each craft. A shared passion for these principles, as well as for quality beer-making, are what help draw together a beer like Harp Lager and an athlete like Graeme McDowell. Officially announced by the Irish beer today, the golfer and beer aficionado – who spent his early years just a short distance from the brewery – will tap into his love for the craft of brewing in an effort to put one of his long-time favorite beers back in the spotlight in the U.S.

McDowell knows a thing or two about golf. He’s won 13 tournaments in various parts of the world, including a big win at the 2010 U.S. Open, and has played on four European Ryder Cup teams. But he also knows a great deal about beer, especially Harp, and what it takes to produce quality – day after day, pint after pint. While many golfers are involved in winemaking when they’re not on the course, McDowell is now poised to blaze a trail alongside Harp within the beer category, while encouraging responsible drinking at the proverbial “19th hole.”

“Golf has taken me all around the world, which has also grown my beer knowledge, but it all started for me in Ireland, where I first got to know Harp,” said Graeme McDowell in acknowledgement of the new partnership. “I’ve always been a fan of great beer, and Harp and I have more in common than just being products of Ireland. We’re both trying to achieve a level of excellence that some might say isn’t even possible. I’m really excited to join up with them to do some exciting things in the near future.”

To begin the partnership, McDowell will appear in digital videos and social content for Harp, be featured on point of sale materials in both on and off-premise locations and also participate in press events in support of the beer.

Harp Lager was first brewed in 1960 by Guinness under the guidance of German master brewer, Dr. Herman Muender. The golden, clear lager has a dry and malty front with a crisp and hoppy finish, with an ABV of 4.5% and 21 IBUs.

“Graeme is so passionate about beer that he really understands why we go through such lengths in our brewing process, why we’re so particular about the ingredients we use and why we sometimes seem obsessed about how we present the Harp legacy to our fans,” said Dan Buttling, SVP Marketing, Diageo Beer Company. “He grew up down the road from the Harp Brewery and has brewed beer himself, so he’s as all in on the brand as we are.”

It’s par for the course to drink responsibly; please remember to do so when enjoying a Harp in the clubhouse or at home.


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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Beer, Beer News


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Budweiser extending “Give a Damn” Lyft offer

csr-give-a-damn-300x160Driving drunk is never OK. Even driving after just a couple of drinks can be dicey (see my series on my experience with a DUI). So, why risk it? With so many options to get you home safely after a night out on the town, it is foolish to even consider driving after drinking.

Not long ago, Budweiser launched a program called, “Give a Damn.” The program is geared toward raising awareness of the options available to avoid drunk driving. In the program, Bud provides free rides with on-demand car service Lyft.

The program was so successful that the brand is extending the offer just in time for the Halloween weekend and the holidays, a peak time when drunk driving is at its highest; Budweiser and Lyft are stepping up their efforts to reduce drunk driving by delivering more rides to help more people get home safely.

Starting on Thursday, October 27, the first 6,000 adults 21+ (an increase of 1,000 rides weekly) who obtain a ride code from Budweiser’s Facebook page (at 2:00pm every Thursday) can now redeem it for a Lyft ride home on Thursday as well as Friday or Saturday during peak party hours now through the end of the year (10 p.m. – 2 a.m.).

Additionally, to account for the high instances of drunk driving on Halloween, Budweiser is extending that weekend’s 6,000 rides to be redeemable by an extra day from Thursday, Oct. 27 through Monday, Oct. 31.

Last month, the companies announced a partnership to provide safe rides home in New York, Colorado, Illinois and Florida. Now, the partnership has officially expanded to Washington, DC. The partnership, the largest ever of its kind between a beverage company and a ridesharing company aimed at reducing drunk driving, pledges up to 90,000 safe rides home.

To complement its partnership with Lyft, Budweiser is also unveiling a cheeky ad featuring Helen Mirren, in which she calls out drunk drivers with her signature charm and tone of voice.  The spot, titled “Give A Damn,” is on the Budweiser YouTube page and offers a slightly new take on last year’s popular Super Bowl ad starring the British actress, but the message is the same: Budweiser wants drinkers to #GiveADamn and take personal responsibility for not driving drunk.

Watch the new video here:


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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Beer, Brewers, Holidays


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Hard sodas making a splash in adult beverage market

wild_gingerOver the past few years there has been an increase in malt beverages marketed as hard sodas. Perhaps the best known of these is the incredible rise of Not Your Father’s Root Beer with nearly $7.5 million in sales through the first half of 2015. While many of these hard sodas are produced by the large beer companies, craft breweries are getting in on the act as well.

Hard sodas can trace its roots back to other flavored malt beverages that debuted in the 1990s under names like Hooper’s Hooch and Zima. These fizzy, fruity alcoholic drinks enjoyed brief popularity. Zima, a citrus-flavored drink, was particular popular for its light lemon-lime flavor and modest alcoholic kick. But, the beverages fell from grace when concerns were raised that the manufacturers may be courting underage drinkers with the sweet drinks. A claim that was later nullified when the Federal Trade Commission conducted investigations in both 2001 and 2003. The commission concluded that they “…found no evidence of intent to target minors with the FMB products, packaging, or advertising.”

Hard sodas derive their alcohol in much the same way as beer; through he fermentation of malt. But, unlike beer, the drinks do not exhibit traditional beer flavors. Instead, they are flavored with extracts and added flavorings. The exceptions to this are some root beer and ginger ale flavored hard sodas that use botanicals for fermentation and flavoring. These are called gruits.

The new generation of hard sodas include flavors that are designed to elicit feelings of nostalgia. The Henry’s brand of hard sodas includes flavors such as orange, ginger ale and cherry cola. Marketed as “hard-ish,” the flavors invoke memories of more care-free days while providing a slight alcoholic buzz. Other companies like Nashville, Tennessee-based Wild Ginger Brewing Company, have added drinks designed to resemble Dr. Pepper and lemon-lime sodas. The brewery’s Wild Docta’ is a rich mixture of vanilla, cherry and cola flavors while Wild Sit Russ is based on a citrus soda developed more than 75 years ago.

So, if you are looking to take a break from the indian summer heat with something other than a beer, try one of the many hard sodas currently on the market. You may be surprised at how refreshing they can be!

Here are a few hard sodas you can find in local stores:

Wild Ginger Brewing Company Wild Docta’

Tapping a nostalgic vein with a grown up nod to Rock & Rye soda, this refresher is perfect right out of the can or embellished with a shot over ice.

Henry’s Hard Orange Soda

Bright Valencia orange flavor is the highlight of this sweet refreshing soda. And, at only 4.2% alcohol, you can a few and not forget that there are burgers on the grill.

Coney Island Hard Root Beer

Rich and full of vanilla, licorice, and birch flavors, this 5.8% ABV is definitely not a kiddie drink.



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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in Beer


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Hurricane Matthew survival beers

hurricaneAs Hurricane Matthew draws a bead on the east coast of Florida, I thought it would be fun to look at several storm-themed beers and breweries.

Aardwolf Brewing Company

Storm-ageddon Black IPA is dark and roasty with a hoppy punch, this black IPA is a 2014 gold medal winner at the Best Florida Beer Championship.

Big Storm Brewing Company

Located in the Tampa area, Big Storm has been supplying beer-lovers with delicious liquids since 2012. The brewery specializes in brewing beers in a sustainable, local-minded method. With two operating breweries and two tap rooms, there is plenty of beer to go around for Tampa locals. But, they also can their beers, so suds hounds outside of Tampa can enjoy their award-winning brews.  Try their Wavemaker Amber Ale a nicely balanced amber ale that provides plenty of hoppy goodness with a sweeter, caramel malt backbone.

Victory Brewing Company

Storm King Stout is a big beer with big flavors befitting a storm like Matthew. Expect plenty of hops, espresso and chocolate flavors in this whopper.

Highland Brewing Company

Thunderstruck Coffee Porter is a robust porter with a full body and some hints of chocolate from Chocolate Malts and Midnight Wheat. The mild hop aroma showcases the roasted flavors and subtle fruit and spice notes of the artisan fair-trade, organic coffee, roasted in the neighboring town of Black Mountain at Dynamite Roasting Company.


Hurricane Malt Liquor is full-bodied and robust and offers a smooth, slightly fruity and slightly sweet taste, and Hurricane High Gravity offers a very full-bodied flavor with a bold finish.

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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Beer


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A-B to host Oktoberfest at brewery again this year

a-b_oktoberfest-2016Who better to host a truly German Oktoberfest than the company that began in the German neighborhoods of St. Louis and was founded by German immigrants? Once again this year, Anheuser-Busch is sponsoring the Bavarian festival on the grounds of their Jacksonville brewery. As in years past, there will be food, contests, Oompah-pah music and of course plenty of German beer.

Get all the details below in the official press release:

The weather will be nice and the beer will be flowing for Oktoberfest Jacksonville at the Anheuser-Busch Jacksonville Brewery. Tickets are still available for the event, which takes place this Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1, but they are going fast. Guests can choose general admission or act quickly to get the limited number of remaining VIP tickets, which offer special upgrades to the Oktoberfest experience. This event is packed with plenty of fun for the whole family.

“We wanted to really make this event something special for the community and provide something fun for absolutely everyone,” said Mike White, event organizer and CEO of Client Focused Media. “We have the Ultra VIP tickets available on Friday night that offer access to some great perks and a private party. Saturday, there are plenty of carnival games, pumpkin bowling, stein-hoisting, and more.”

The two-day event begins Friday at 4 p.m. with live music from the TJ Ward Band, Dirty Pete Band, DJ EL and Austin Park. General admission tickets for Friday are $10, VIP tickets are $30 in advance, and Ultra VIP tickets are $80 each. There are limited Ultra VIP tickets available.

Saturday starts off early with the HandsOn Jacksonville Human Race Oktoberfest 5K run and 1K fun walk. Festival gates open at 11 a.m. Enjoy time in the family fun zone, register your pet for the Wiener Dog Races sponsored by The Quick Law Group, or participate in the Oktoberfest games throughout the day. You can also take part in the live auction with Senator Aaron Bean.

The Swinging Barvarians, One Step Ahead of the Law, and DJ EL will be performing on Saturday. ASAP Towing & Storage, an event sponsor, is providing one of their flatbed towing trucks to double as a stage for the event. Additional sponsors include Client Focused Media, Spohrer & Dodd, Duckworth Construction, Eagle View Windows, Portofino Pools, Checker Cab of Jax, and zTrip, to name a few.

General admission tickets for Saturday’s event are $20 each. VIP tickets are $50 each and include access to the VIP tents, VIP meal vouchers for a brat, German potato salad and pretzels, a collectible Anheuser-Busch beer stein with discounted beer and food throughout the day, plus a VIP gift bag.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit

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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Beer


Jax beer made a brief return, may be making a more permanent come back

jaxLast week in my Pint-Sized column in Folio Weekly Magazine, I told you about Jacksonville’s first brewery — Jacksonville, later Jax, Brewing Company. What I did not write in that column was how the brewery sold the recipe of its beloved pilsner to the Jackson Brewing Company — who incidentally was also called Jax Brewing — of New Orleans. Later, Jackson sold the name and recipe to Pearl Brewing of Austin, Texas who later became Pabst Brewing. Pabst, after brewing the pilsner for a few years, discontinued the brew and Jax Beer was seemingly lost to the veils of time.
This week, reports on Facebook began to circulate that Jax Beer was available at European Street Cafe in Riverside. I checked with my contacts at Pabst and the claims were confirmed.
Michael Peck, Associate Brand Manager of Pabst’s Local Legends division shared, “We brewed a very small test batch of Jax, just to see what people thought of the beer.”
The goal, Peck continued was to see, “If they remembered Jax,” and to see, “What they liked about it.”
If what Peck says holds true, ‘The Beer of Friendship,’ as the advertisements proclaimed, may be on the cusp of a come back.
“We’re very much in development,” Peck said. “Once we have a solid launch timeline, I’ll definitely reach out.”
So, now it is your turn. Did you have an opportunity to try the limited release of Jax? Did you remember it? How did you remember it? What did you think?
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Beer