Tag Archives: Charlie Papazian

Nominations open soon for Beer City USA; Let’s get Jacksonville on the ballot

beercityJacksonville is a beer city. You know this and I know this. But, alas, the world does not know this. Last year for the Beer City USA competition we managed to get our city by the sea on the ballot for the illustrious title. We will have to come together and work to get our budding beer-topia on the ballot again this year.

Every year, for the past four years, the competition for Beer City USA opens up. The competition is less of a scientific poll and more of a popularity contest. Never-the-less, it is a fiercely fought contest that cities across the country covet. Charlie Papazian, the founder of the American Homebrewers Association and the Association of Brewers which later became the Brewers Association, thought up the contest to bring attention to the many communities that host craft breweries.

For the past four years Asheville, NC has reigned as either the sole or co-Beer City USA. And the craft brewing community seems to have taken notice. The mountain community, with its funky, off-beat vibe has become a sort of Eastern United States epicenter of beer. So much so that the big boys of the craft brewing industry have made in-roads to the area by opening or announcing to open several new, East Coast breweries. Oskar Blues, the innovative brewery from Colorado, has already opened a brewery in the area and will soon be joined by Sierra Nevada and New Belgium.

Jacksonville has the potential to be another beer hub for the eastern portion of the country. We already have an astoundingly good collection of breweries. In all the Jacksonville – St. Augustine – Gainesville area hosts 13 breweries and there are several more in the planning stages. That number rivals the number in Asheville and many of the other cities that are perennials on the Beer City USA ballot. Surely, a city with so many breweries and by default beer-lovers should be on the ballot. And, once on the ballot, we have to make a good showing.

In order to get on the ballot for Beer City USA, Jacksonville beer-lovers will have to suggest our city when nominations open April 22-26. As the time gets closer, I will post information on where to make your nomination and, once we get Jacksonville on the ballot, where to vote. Be sure to follow this blog, friend me on Facebook (sprbrewcrew) like the Jax Beer Guy on Facebook and follow both JaxBeerGuy and Sprbrewcrew on Twitter. You can also keep up to date on developments via The Brews News email newsletter that you can subscribe to at


Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Beer, 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


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


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Just Brew It to host National Learn to Homebrew Day

Logo of the American Homebrewers Association f...

Logo of the American Homebrewers Association featured in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If beer is known as a social drink, then brewing beer should be known as a social activity as well. Interest in learning to homebrew beer has exploded along with the craft beer industry. Luckily for those who want to learn to brew, this Saturday, Nov. 3, has been designated National Learn to Homebrew Day by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), a division of the Brewers Association (BA). The event, which was established in 1999, will be observed in Jacksonville by Just Brew It at 2670 Rosselle Street.

Members of the Cowford Ale Sharing Klub (C.A.S.K.) – a local Jacksonville homebrewing club – will be setting up their rigs and putting on brewing demonstrations in the parking lot of Just Brew It for anyone interested in the craft. In addition, if you want to try your hand at brewing your own beer, you can purchase equipment and ingredients at Just Brew It and receive expert advice from the store staff and from the brewers outside. You can even set up and brew a batch with the rest of the brewers if you desire.

The AHA was founded in 1978 by Charlie Papazian in Boulder, Colo. Since its humble beginnings, the association has grown to more than 30,000 members and employs a full-time staff dedicated to assisting homebrewers through education and representation. The association produces its own magazine called Zymurgy that is devoted to informing advancing the skills of the homebrewer.

Homebrewing has a long and storied tradition in the United States. In colonial times, homebrewing was common and many of our founding fathers including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were all homebrewers. Back in those times, water was not always safe to drink because it contained bacteria and microbes that could make people sick. Beer was brewed not only for flavor and enjoyment, but also to provide a safe alternative to hydration.

Today homebrewing is a fun activity that yields a final product the brewer can be proud of. Many who begin brewing enjoy it so much that it becomes a regular activity. Clubs, such as C.A.S.K. have sprung up around the hobby and sponsor frequent interclub competitions.

Walter Rasko of Just Brew It says that National Learn to Homebrew Day is, “Basically some guys doing both all-grain and partial-mash batches. It’s a watch and learn type day.” Rasko, a long-time brewer himself, went on to say that attendees can, “Expect 10 to 15 guys from C.A.S.K. to be brewing. We will probably brew a kit, as well to show how easy it can be.”

Those interested in learning more about homebrewing can visit the AHA’s website at:

For information about meeting and how to join C.A.S.K. visit their website at:

Brewing at Just Brew It begins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.

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

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Beer, Beer Education


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Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant commercial raises ire of some homebrewers

A new commercial from wing and beer juggernaut Buffalo Wild Wings has home beer brewers a bit upset. The commercial, which began airing in August, depicts three friends watching football at home on a sofa surrounded by bubbling carboys (glass, 5-gallon bottles used by homebrewers for fermentation). One of the friends announces that he has made bratwurst beer for one friend and a “secret” beer for the other. The scene is less than flattering to the homebrewer.

The American Homebrewers Association, founded in 1978 by Charlie Papazian in Boulder, Colo., boasts more than 30,000 members who may be more than a little offended by the new commercial. According to the association’s website, there are an estimated 1 million homebrewers in the United States and over 1,000 homebrewing clubs. Last year 1,900 homebrewers attended the 2011 AHA National Homebrewers Conference in San Diego, Calif. That is a lot of potential customers to alienate.

Buffalo Wild Wings was founded in 1981 by James Disbrow who lived in Buffalo, N.Y., but had traveled to Kent, Ohio to judge a figure skating competition at Kent State. While in Kent, Disbrow went looking for a restaurant that served Baffalo-style wings, but was unable to find one. He teamed up with his friend, Scott Lowery and together they decided to open up their own restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The first restaurant was called Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck, which was commonly shortened to BW3. Since those humble beginnings the company has changed its name to Buffalo Wild Wings and has expanded to more than 652 locations in 48 states and Canada.

One Jacksonville, Fla. Brewery’s owner and head brewer commented on the commercial on Facebook, “Hey Buffalo Wild Wings! Making fun of homebrewers and craft beer is not a smart marketing ploy. Wonder if the “Big Three” had any part in this.”
Another Facebook poster said, in response to the original post, “Definitely the wrong side of the craft beer movement to be on.”

And the comments were even more brutal on You Tube. Commenters on the video site did not hold back on expressing their ire with the company for running an ad that seems to belittle homebrewers. One commenter said, “You should learn to make good wings before you pick on the people that have taken the time to make good beer.”

“Don’t forget that many pro craft brewers began life as a homebrewer,” another You Tube commenter pointed out. “Ostracizing part of your demographic isn’t a good idea.”

Neither the American Homebrewers Association nor Buffalo Wild Wings’ home office responded to requests for comments.


Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Beer, Restaurant


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