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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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Craft Beer Cellar store to open in Brandon, Fla.

Craft-Beer-CellarFor years there have been shops dedicated to the sale of fine wines from small producers throughout the world. But, the same does not hold true for craft beer. The reason for this disparity is partly because craft beer is just reaching its day in the sun, but also because craft beer is an intensely regional product. What is available in California is not always available in Florida. Sure you can get beer from breweries like Ballast Point, Anchor and Stone in a wide range of markets, but smaller breweries just do not have the reach sometimes even within their own markets to make it to a beer store. Small, locally owned shops like Beer:30 in the Jacksonville, Florida’s King Street Beer District fill the gap, but there are very few chain or franchise stores that specialize solely in craft beer.

All that is changing with an ambitious new franchised outfit called Craft Beer Cellars.

An enterprising couple, Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow of Belmont, Mass., founded the company in 2010 with the goal of educating consumers on the pleasures of craft beer in much the same way fine wine stores educate their customers. Baker and Schalow, a couple in life as well as business, fell in love with craft beer in the 90’s and, according to their website, .”… began a quest (which they’re still on) for amazing beer, the people behind it, and all that it entails! Their focus is on awesome beer with flavor, not those beers whose ingredients are intended to lighten color or lessen quality.”

The company now has six stores across a two-state region consisting of Massachusetts and Vermont with plans for expansion to several more including a store in Brandon, Fla. outside of Tampa. The Florida store is slated to open in January 2014.

“We are interested in amazing beer from small breweries, and all that entails,” the company’s website states. “Much of what we do, every single day, is work hard to make sure we can keep the beer lines to our stores full, but also researching the latest and greatest brews, how to get them in your hands, what’s available in different markets throughout the US distribution network, who owns what, when certain beers are available, and what’s extremely limited or highly sought after.”

The Brewer’s Association defines craft breweries as small, independent businesses that produce less than six million barrels of beer per year and are less than 25% owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not a craft beer brewer. This means that brewers such as AB-InBev and Miller/Coors and their satellite companies like Shock Top and Blue Moon are not craft beer breweries. Currently the term craft beer refers mostly to beer brewed in the United States, but European breweries are joining the movement and that may necessitate an expansion of the term’s definition down the road.

Employees of Craft Beer Cellars wear hoodies with adorned with the words “Beer Geek” on them and sport titles like Head Beer Geek, Ambassador of Fine Ales and Lagers, and Hoptologist.

“We sell beer for a living and try to keep a fun and laid back spirit,” the company’s website explains of the hoodies and titles. “In other words, we don’t take ourselves too darned serious — it just doesn’t make much sense.”

The stores host beer tastings at random times throughout the week to keep patron’s palates educated and to spark interest in new beers. To Baker and Schalow, education is as the beer on the shelves of its stores and the outstanding customer service provided in them. And by education they mean for both the customer and the employees. All employees of the stores are Cicerone Certified Beer Servers and are required to stay abreast of what is happening in the craft world. In addition, Baker and Schalow have personally researched and studied every beer sold in their stores. The two are acutely aware that in order to grow the craft beer movement, they must constantly bring in beers that aficionados want while as well as educate the craft beer novice and turning them on to new flavor profiles.

The quest is not without risk, though. Even with the stellar rise of the craft beer industry, it is still just a small portion of the overall beer world. The Brewers Association states that, while craft beer consumption continues to rise, it is still accounts for just 10 percent of all beer sales. To add to the difficulty of specializing in just craft beer are the razor thin margins in the segment.

To combat the negatives, Baker and Schalow stock more than 1,000 beers from over 350 breweries in their stores. Carefully selected variety and scrupulous attention to customer service – including listening to what customers want – are the guideposts, the pair believes, to success.

In their year-end blog post, the company sums up their hopes for the future, “We believe that the success of other great brewpubs, bottle shops, and bars is critical to our own growth and the growth of craft beer culture. We are proud of our relationships with breweries and beer industry folk throughout the United States and across the globe.”

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Beer, Beer News

 

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The New Yorker magazine publishes interactive craft beer growth map

newyorkerEveryone who reads this blog is aware of the extraordinary growth of the craft beer industry over the past 10 years. To illustrate the explosive character of this growth, The New Yorker magazine has published an interactive online map that brings this phenomenon into focus.

The map uses data gathered by the Brewers Association in 2012 and was released recently. The map shows that Florida ranks around the middle of the pack for total number of breweries, but in the upper range for total output. It also shows that in 2013 Florida saw 10 new breweries open, adding to the output and variety available to residents of our state.

Another exciting tidbit the map points out is that Cigar City Brewing Company in Tampa is considered one of the fastest growing breweries in the country with 77% growth in production in 2012 over 2011. Cigar City is ranked 17th of the 50 fastest growing breweries in the nation. Another notable regional brewery ranked in the top 50 is Highland Brewing Company. The Asheville, NC brewery ranks 33rd on the map with 53% growth in 2012 over 2011.

You can view the entire map and glean your own data by following the link below.

Mapping the Rise of Craft Beer

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Beer News

 

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