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Beer It Forward this American Craft Beer Week

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Credit: Brewers Association

Monday, May 15 marks the beginning of American Craft Beer Week 2017. The week celebrates the diversity of the American craft beer scene and strives to educate the uninitiated to the many joys of craft beer. In addition, this year the Brewers Association
— the trade organization dedicated to supporting craft beer brewers — have launched a #BeerItForward campaign.

Simply put, Beer It Forward is a way to do something extra with beer. Its a means to make someone’s day, say thank you for a job well done or just an anonymous gesture that shares the craft beer love with someone else. Beering It Forward could be something as simple as buying a pint for a stranger while at a taproom, bringing a six-pack of special brews to a friend or including extra beer in a trade.  Anything that “pays it forward.”

When someone Beers It Forward to you, document their generosity on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and tag it with #BeerItForward.

Get more information about the concept in the infographic produced by the Brewers Association below.

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Credit: Brewers Association

 
 

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Beer taxation here to stay

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Credit: The Beer Institute

Alcohol, and beer in particular, has always had a target of sorts on its back. Historians note that the first records of taxes levied on beer date back all the way to the days of the Egyptians. German brewers in Hamburg were taxed so harshly in the 1600s that the number of breweries dwindled from over 1500 at the beginning of the century to only 120 by 1698. And, whoa be to the brewer who did not pay his taxes in Aix-la-Chapelle, France where the city council of 1271 mandated chopping off the brewer’s right hand should he fail to pay his taxes.

Yes, the taxman has not been kind to the poor brewer throughout history. And, in a startling case of history repeating itself, governments – local, state and national – have once again taken notice of the bustling beer industry and the tax dollars it can generate.

As it stands now, beer is federally taxed at $18 a barrel equating to about 58 cents per gallon according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association craft beer industry group. Extrapolating that out even further; that 12-ounce bottle of beer you enjoy so very much is taxed about 5 cents by Uncle Sam. But, that rate only applies to the largest of breweries that produce more than 60,000 barrels of beer per year. Smaller breweries that produce less than 60,000 barrels – and the first 60,000 barrels produced by larger brewers – pony up just $7 per barrel or about 2 cents per can or bottle. That may seem like a deal comparatively, but in a competitive market of more than 5,000 breweries, every penny counts. And, that is just the feds. You might be appalled at what brewers have to pay in state excise taxes.

Florida is middle of the road with their tax on beer at 48 cents per gallon, but try to peddle beer in Tennessee and you will have to pony up $1.29 per gallon between state excise taxes and wholesale taxes. That is nearly a whopping $40 per 31-gallon half barrel. Compare that with Wisconsin where beer is taxed at a mere two cents per gallon.

Fortunately, there is a group in Washington that wants to see some of these taxes reduced on the federal side at least. The Beer Institute, an industry lobbying organization, and the Brewers Association rolled out the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). The goal of the act is to reduce the federal excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels a brewery produces in a year from $7 to $3.50 as long as the brewer produces less than two million barrels annually.

In a statement made after the bill was introduced, president and CEO of the Beer Institute Jim McGreevy said, “Today, the beer industry supports more than 1.75 million U.S. jobs and generates nearly $253 billion in economic activity, which is equal to about 1.5% of the U.S. GDP.”

If passed, the legislation would represent a savings to America’s brewers of $131 million as estimated by the Brewers Association using 2015 figures.

While the federal bill will not affect how states levy taxes, it could provide a welcome respite to brewers besieged with taxes. But, in the end, short of a Boston Tea Party style revolt, beer is going to be taxed. Whether the rate equates to an arm (or hand) and a leg will depend on where you buy the beer you enjoy. And, I for one do not plan to stop enjoying a cold one because of a few pennies in taxes.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Beer, Beer Industry

 

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Brewers Association standing up to breweries, beers with offensive names, labels

BA_logoThe Brewers Association, a trade group that serves the craft beer industry, has taken a rather harsh stance on beer names and labels that straddle or cross the line of good taste.

At a press briefing held during the Craft Brewers Conference on Wednesday, the BA it would ban breweries that use offensive or sexist names and labels from using BA intellectual property such as World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Fest awards and medals in advertising.

“We want our members to be responsible corporate citizens,” said Bob Pease, Brewers Association president and CEO. “We want to err on the side of tolerance.”

The policy comes at a time when the United States is at a heightened sense of political correctness. Gender-shaming, racist remarks and innuendo are no longer acceptable in this country.

Pease does allow that there is a vast “grey area” that the move will have to navigate.

“It’s not going to be black and white,” he explained. “There’s a subjective element to that. And the Association… we’re going to find ways to be inclusive. But at the same time, we do think this step is the right thing to do and shows the leadership that is needed. But it’s gonna be sticky. It’s going to be hard.”

Breweries with names or labels that could be found lewd, offensive or demeaning will undergo a review conducted by an independent panel. The alleged name or label will be examined and a decision will be issued in a report that will be published to the BA website.

If a name or label falls outside of the BA’s acceptable policy, the brewer will be banned from using BA intellectual property in advertising of any sort. In addition, should the brewery win a medal at a BA sanctioned event such as the World Beer Cup or Great American Beer Festival, the name of the beer or brewery will not be announced publicly.

 

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Smithsonian chooses American Brewing History Initiative historian

A few months ago the beer circles were all atwitter about the Smithsonian Institute’s announcement that it was creating a position to research and document the history of beer brewing in the United States. Underwritten by a grant from the Brewers Association, the position was to pay $63,000 per year and last for three years.

Beer-lovers everywhere waxed poetic on the announcement and many with starry eyes applied. Yesterday, the Smithsonian and the Brewers Association announced the name of the applicant that won the much-coveted position.

Read all the details in the press release below:

The  Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has appointed Theresa McCulla as historian to oversee its American Brewing History Initiative. McCulla, a social and cultural historian of food in the U.S. from the early 1800s to today, has focused on the role of food and drink in generating ideas about history, culture and identity in America, and her experience and expertise in research, writing and collecting oral histories is extensive. She will work out of the museum in Washington, D.C., conducting research and new collecting, with special emphasis on homebrewing and the craft brewing industry.

The three-year brewing initiative is part of the Smithsonian Food History program and was created in 2016 to collect, document and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers and the beer industry and explore how brewing connects to larger themes in American history. The museum’s current collections reflect the early history of breweries established in cities in the late 1800s.

“Brewing history connects us to stories of tradition and innovation, agriculture and industry, and other broad strands of the American experience,” said Paula Johnson, food history curator at the museum. “Theresa will focus on brewing in the 20th and 21st centuries, including the history of consolidation and the tremendous rise in home and craft brewing since the 1970s.”

McCulla will receive a doctorate from Harvard University in American Studies in May 2017 and holds a culinary arts diploma from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts’ Professional Chefs Program. Between 2007 and 2010, McCulla directed the Food Literacy Project for Harvard University Dining Services and managed Harvard’s two local farmers markets.

As brewing historian, McCulla will design a research plan, using material and archival sources, conduct oral histories and publish for both scholarly and popular audiences. She will document technological, agriculture and business innovations in brewing, advertising history and the role of beer in consumer culture and community life, building on the existing collections and collaborating on public programming within the museum and outside partners.

The American Brewing History initiative is made possible through a donation from the Brewers Association of Boulder, Colo., the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.

The project will feature two annual public programs, one at the museum during the Smithsonian Food History Weekend, which runs Oct. 26–28 this year, and the other in various brewing communities around the country. The museum will also participate in the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America presented by the Brewers Assiciation held in Washington, D.C., April 10–13.

For updates on the project and upcoming programs, visit http://s.si.edu/BrewHistory. For information about all of the Food History projects and to sign up for the newsletter, visit http://s.si.edu/FoodHistory

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Beer

 

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Brewing history subject of new Smithsonian project

 

As American craft beer grows in popularity, it is also becoming a subject of historical research by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. On May 4, 2016, at the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America in Philadelphia, the museum announced that it would begin a project to collect, document and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers and the beer industry. The project is part of the larger “Smithsonian Food History” project. The initiative is made possible through a donation from the Brewers Association of Boulder, Colo., the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.

“Brewing has a long and deep connection to our country’s history, and the museum’s collections explore the history of beer from the late 19th to early 20th centuries,” said John Gray, the director of the museum. “The support of the Brewers Association allows our staff to collect the more recent history, including the impact of small and independent craft brewers who continue to advance the U.S. beer culture and inspire brewers worldwide.”

Beer and brewing have been an important part of the American experience since before the nation’s founding and into the present day, and beer production for the past 30 years has been connected to significant social, cultural, economic and environmental movements across the country. Museum staff will explore the unique connections between brewing and broader themes, including advertising, agriculture, industry, innovation, business and community life.

“The craft brewing revolution in America has had a profound social, cultural and economic impact on this country,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association. “America is a beer destination. We are honored to support this effort and work with the National Museum of American History to chronicle and showcase the significant achievements small and independent brewers have made throughout this nation’s history.”

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Craft beer showing no signs of slowing down in popularity

Graph by the Brewers Association.

Graph by the Brewers Association.

The Brewers Association, a trade organization dedicated to supporting and supplying information about the craft beer industry, has released its mid-year report on the health of the industry. In the first half of 2015, American craft beer production volume increased 16 percent according to the group’s press release.

From January through the end of June 2015, approximately 12.2 million barrels of beer were sold by craft brewers, up from 10.6 million barrels during the first half of 2014.

“Industry growth is occurring in all regions and stemming from a mix of sources including various retail settings and a variety of unique brewery business models,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “The continued growth of small and independent brewers illustrates that additional market opportunities and demand are prevalent, although competition in the sector is certainly growing and the need for brewers to differentiate and produce world class high quality beer is more important than ever.”

In addition to the phenomenal increase in production, new brewery openings are occurring at a break-neck pace. As of June 30, 2015, 3,739 breweries were operating in the U.S, an increase of 699 breweries over the same time period of the previous year. Additionally, there were 1,755 breweries in planning. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 115,469 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.

“More and more Americans are discovering the joys of enjoying fresh beer produced by their neighborhood brewery. By supporting local, small and independent craft breweries, beer lovers are gradually returning the United States to the system of localized beer production that existed for much of our nation’s history,” added Watson.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Beer

 

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Great American Beer Festival tickets to go on sale next week

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Photo credit: greatamericanbeerfestival.com

It is the time of year when all beer-lovers begin thinking about heading for the mountains. No, not the mountains referred to in the slogan for the famous macro-lager, the mountains of Denver, Colo. for the annual Great American Beer Festival. Now in its 34th year, the festival is considered by many to be the greatest in the world and with nearly 3,500 beers to taste from over 800 breweries, it is not hard to see why it has this distinction.

Tickets for the festival have sold out in minutes for each of the last six year, so organizers suggest you make your ticket-purchasing plans early. Tickets are priced at $80 for the general public and $75 for Brewers Association or Homebrewers Association members. Tickets for the members only session on Saturday, September 26 are $65. Member ticket sales begin Tuesday, July 28 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Public ticket sale begins Wednesday, July 29 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Those seeking to attend this year’s festivities are instructed to go directly to Ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets and expedite the sales process. It is also suggested that ticket-seekers log in to Ticketmaster early as tickets will undoubtedly go fast.

The festival is to be held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver on:

Thursday, September 24: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday, September 25: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 26*: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

*Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members-only session

Saturday, September 26: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

This year the event is expanding by an additional 90,000 square feet to allow for greater attendance and an enhanced experience. New this year is a Meet the Brewers area with breweries that have commited to have brewery staff manning their booths for the entire festival. In addition, with more space, more breweries and more chefs in 2015, GABF’s Farm to Table Pavilion is getting a new name: paired. paired will feature 21 chefs from nine states, including five James Beard Award nominees and two Food and Wine Best New Chefs, each personally plating their dishes for guests and talking about their dynamic pairings. In addition, the exclusive craft beers served in paired are available only in this pavilion and not in the festival hall.  As in previous years, a separate ticket ($145) is required for entrance. paired tickets are available exclusively to members of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association and as such, can only be purchased during the members only sale on July 28.

General admission tickets entitle guests to:

  • Commemorative tasting cup
  • One-ounce samples of your choice of more than 3,500 beers
  • Festival guide and free app to help attendees navigate the festival hall
  • Access to attend dozens of educational seminars across all four sessions, focused on beer appreciation

For more information visit: www.GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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