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


Zwanze Day 2016 to be hosted a Playalinda Brewing Company’s Brix Project

zwanze-day-2016Aficionados of sour brews are sure to recognize the name of Brussels, Belgium brewer Cantillion. The brewer is renowned for creating some of the world’s best lambic brews and its brewery is always on the itinerary when visiting Belgium. Back in 2008, Cantillion brewed and bottled the first of a special series of beers dubbed Zwanze, a word that refers to a sarcastic sense of humor in the Brussels dialect.

That first beer – a special lambic with rhubarb added – led to more in the series created with untraditional ingrediants, thus Zwanze. As the beers became more and more sought-after, Cantillon brewer Jean Van Roy used his Zwanze series to bring lambic enthusiasts together around the world for Zwanze Day.

At first the celebrations were sporadic and unscheduled. They depended on who could get the brews and when they could be procured. But, in 2011, the Zwanze series was released to select bars and taverns simultaneously world-wide. Zwanze Day had been born and has grown every year since.

playalindaThis year the celebration will take place on Saturday, October 1 and include more than 60 establishments, 27 in the United States. The closest venue to Jacksonville this year is Playalinda Brewing Company in Titusville, Fla. The event will be hosted at the brewery’s new Brix Project building.

With this release, Cantillon is looking to their past for the recipe of the Zwanze Day brew. Thirty years ago Cantillon created a framboise, a lambic aged on raspberries. Back in the ’80s they used fresh fruit that lost its color quickly and often made filtration difficult, so cherries were also used to help maintain some rosiness and act as a secondary filter bed beneath the raspberries. Vanilla was also added to round out the brew. But when more modern techniques were perfected to maintain color Cantillon began producing Rosé de Gambrinus with 100% raspberries. With Zwanze 2016, the brewery decided to give a nod to the raspberry/cherry blend, but used blueberries instead of cherries.

Additionally, several other Cantillon lambics will be available at the event including:

  • Gueuze: a blend of one, two and three year old lambics.
  • Kriek: two year old blended lambic with sour cherries.
  • Mamouche: lambic blended with elderflowers.
  • Iris Grand Cru: an unblended three-year-old version of the brewery’s Iris lambic. Only pale malt is used in the mash along with plentiful hops.
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Beer, Beer Releases


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Jax Beer Week 2016: Menu for Beer vs. Wine dinner at Kitchen on San Marco released

kosmKitchen on San Marco, Jacksonville’s premier farm-to-table restaurant has released details on the Beer vs. Wine event with Engine 15 Brewing happening at this Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets to the event are $55, call the restaurant for details.


Check out the menu below:


First Course

Testa/Pickles/Grilled Bread

J’ville Lager

Steele Shooting Star Aligote


Second Course

Pork Sugo/Cornbread/Chicken Cracklins

Soured Society

Kuleto Frog Prince


Third Course

Ham Rib/Cabbage/Cucumber/Datl BBQ


Boneshaker Zinfandel


Fourth Course

Crispy Pork Shank/Squash Duck Confit Hash/Poached Egg

Mad Max

Kuleto India Ink


Fifth Course

Candied Bacon Doughnut/Caramel

Straight 30W

Taylor Fladgate Tawny Porto


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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in Beer, Jacksonville Beer Week


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