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Helping brewers for almost 20 years, Florida Brewers Guild holds first conference

For updates and information from the Florida Brewers Conference, keep an eye on the Folio Weekly Pint-Sized Facebook page.

brewers_Guild_conferenceThe art of brewing beer is more than just combining a few ingredients, boiling them at the proper temperature for the appropriate amount of time and allowing the resulting liquid to ferment. Brewing requires knowledge of what is legally allowed to be brewed, of who can supply ingredients and packaging and how beer can be distributed. In addition, brewers must be savvy small businessmen with a handle on how to keep books, how to manage employees and who to turn to for legal assistance.

That is where the Florida Brewers Guild comes in.

“The Guild,” explained Florida Brewers Guild Executive Director, Sean Nordquist. “First and foremost, exists to help support Florida brewery’s rights and interests.”

Formed more than 20 years ago by Tampa area brewers, the Florida Brewers Guild is the trade organization for the state’s breweries. They exist to help brewers by promoting and sponsoring events, educating consumers and insuring the Florida legislature hears craft brewery’s voices over the thunderous din of macro-brewers, distributors and other special interest groups.

In a time when some experts and industry insiders are opining that the breakneck speed of craft beer’s growth is beginning to slow, Nordquist remains optimistic.

Statistics compiled by the Brewers Association, the national trade organizations that represents craft brewers, show that Florida is 10th in the nation for number of breweries, but only 43rd in breweries per 100,000 persons. That gap, Nordquist believes, leaves a lot of room for more breweries to open and thrive in the Sunshine State.

“We are going to continue to see new breweries popping up seemingly every week,” Nordquist enthused. “Some will make it, some will not. It’s going to come down to those that have a combination of a great product, good business practices and local consumer support.”

He also sees a trend for hyper-local nano-breweries like the recently opened Hyperion Brewing Company and the soon-to-open Main & Six Brewing Company, both in the Springfield National Historic District.

“If you are not packaging, your tasting room is your bread and butter,” Nordquist said of the nano trend. “You have to have a great product. And that extends to making community an extension of the brand. It brings in more local consumers who may not ordinarily go to a brewery by making it a local gathering place.”

This year, for the first time, the Guild is hosting a conference August 7-9 to bring the state’s brewers together in Orlando for three days. Activities include panel discussions on topics ranging from brewing with Florida ingredients to trademark law, guest speakers like Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing Company and Jim Koch of Samuel Adams Brewing Company and mingling with industry leaders in an expo hall filled with more than 30 vendors.

“Breweries in the state have grown exponentially,” said Nordquist of the conference. “Just a few years ago Florida only had something like 40 breweries. Now we have over 200. We want brewers to learn from each other, to learn about services that are out there and to have an opportunity to meet with their peers.”

Nordquist expects the Conference to draw as many as 300 attendees drawing brewers and others like distributer representatives, suppliers, legal and other allied brewing services.

“I think you’re going to see more companies wanting to do business with Florida brewing,” he says of what he expects to see after the conference. “I also hope we will see breweries taking the things they learn at the conference and adopt them to make better beer.”

That is a sentiment we can all get behind.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Beer, Beer Industry

 

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Sam Adams announces mentoring experience winner

Image credit: Beerstreetjournal.com

Image credit: Beerstreetjournal.com

Jim Koch of Samuel Adams has long been a proponent of passing along his business knowledge to up-and-coming businesses both within the brewing industry and outside of it. Yesterday his company announced the winner of the 2015 “Brewing and Business Experinceship,” award.

Read the full press release below for more details:

BOSTON, Oct. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Samuel Adams today announced that San Diego County-based craft brewery ChuckAlek Independent Brewers has been selected as the winner of the 2015 “Brewing and Business Experienceship,” a unique mentoring opportunity awarded to one craft brewer annually as part of the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program.

Similar to an extended internship, the Experienceship provides hands-on educational and enrichment experiences tailored to the winning brewery’s needs. As part of the program, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers will receive a trip to the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery for coaching and mentoring from a variety of Samuel Adams experts and brewers, including those involved in ingredients sourcing, sales and distribution, package design and more. Additionally, winners have the opportunity to brew a collaboration beer with Samuel Adams, and receive funding to attend industry events such as The Great American Beer Festival.

Founder and head brewer Grant Fraley, and co-founder and CEO Marta Jankowska were selected from craft brewer applicants that are part of Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a micro-lending and coaching program for small business owners working in food, beverage, craft brewing and hospitality. The brewery was chosen by a panel of professionals from Samuel Adams and the program’s non-profit microlending partner Accion, based on their passion for brewing quality craft beer, current success, and strong growth potential.

“Our Brewing and Business Experienceship provides fellow craft brewers with important ongoing support and advice – something that I wish I had when starting Samuel Adams 30 years ago,” said Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch. “We understand how difficult it is to manage the many moving pieces of an up-and-coming brewery, and look forward to working and collaborating with Grant and Marta as they continue to provide innovative craft beers to the San Diego region.”

In 2013, Grant Fraley and Marta Jankowska opened ChuckAlek Independent Brewers in Ramona, CA of easternSan Diego County to turn their passion for reviving old, hard-to-find beer styles into a business. Last fall, Fraley and Jankowska looked to expand but faced difficulty securing traditional financing. They then turned to Brewing the American Dream, and were able to secure a $10,000 loan through Accion to help them develop draft beer sales in San Diego. What resulted was their ability to grow distribution to 30 accounts, and become one of the most widely distributed nano breweries in San Diego County.

“We’re very excited to be selected for the Samuel Adams Brewing and Business Experienceship Program,” said Fraley. “Our revivals of old-school beers are a unique contribution to the San Diego beer scene, and this invaluable opportunity will give us the support we need to help grow the brewery and get our uniquely hopped sessionable lagers and original-era porters in front of a wider audience. We look forward to working with the brewers and employees at Samuel Adams and can’t wait to visit the Boston Brewery.”

Samuel Adams Continues to Support the Craft Beer Movement
ChuckAlek Independent Brewers is the fourth craft brewery to receive the Brewing and Business Experienceship. Past winners include San Francisco, CA-based MateVeza, Rochester, NY-based Roc Brewing Co. and Denver, CO-based Brewery Rickoli. Each brewery released a limited-edition collaboration beer with Samuel Adams, and has received a loan through the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program.  To date, the program has provided loans to more than a dozen craft brewers across the country in an effort to continue to support fellow craft brewers.

Created by Samuel Adams brewer and founder Jim Koch in partnership with Accion, the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program provides two important components that Jim didn’t have access to when starting Samuel Adams 30 years ago: access to financing and nuts-and-bolts business advice. Since its creation in 2008, the program has provided more than $3 million in microloans to nearly 375 businesses nationwide, coached 4,000+ small business owners, and helped create or retain more than 2,000 jobs. To learn more, visithttp://btad.samueladams.com/.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery

 

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Craft Breweries take a can-do approach to packaging

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Photo by Marc Wisdom

The following article is brought to you by a new contributor to The Jax Beer Guy Blog, Lisa Jarman. Lisa brings a fresh and feminine outlook to the craft beer scene that should appeal to readers of both genders.

Join me in welcoming Lisa to the blog, we look forward to more interesting and engaging articles down the road.

Craft Breweries Take a Can-Do Approach to Packaging

By Lisa Jarman

The concept of craft beer in a can is heavily contested in the industry. Breweries such as Oskar Blues have been doing it successfully for years, while others have stuck to bottles for their packaging needs. But all that could be about to change. Gone is the stigma attached to the beer cans of old, as the beer can makes its comeback with fresh appeal. The aluminium can industry has been working with breweries to develop a can that doesn’t just protect the flavor of the beer it contains, but actually adds a few advantages of its own. The times certainly are a changing, and as the founder of the Boston Beer Co, Jim Koch, puts it, “It’s not your father’s beer can anymore.”

So what are the advantages of the humble can, and can beer really taste as good – or even better – than it does from a bottle?

Greener beer

Extracting aluminium from its ore is an energy intensive operation, and it’s easy to assume that a good old-fashioned glass bottle is going to do less damage to the environment than an aluminium can. However, according to Pablo Paster at Tree Hugger, it takes just 15g of aluminium to hold the same volume of beer as 170g of glass could. This not only cancels out the higher amount of energy required to obtain the aluminium, but also means that the impact of transporting the beer is lower in cans than it is in bottles, as the load is lighter and therefore requires less fuel per centimeter cubed of beer.

Once the can has been emptied and the beer enjoyed, it is apparently more likely that a can will be recycled than a bottle, as the recycling rates for glass are considerably lower than the recycling rates of aluminium. Recycling aluminium also has a greater impact than recycling glass, as the energy required to recycle glass is not far off the amount of energy required to produce it in the first place.

Savoring the taste

Despite the common opinion that beer tastes worse from a can than it does from a bottle, the can does provide benefits to the taste as well as the environment. Paster writes that, according to the founder of the Maui Brewing Company, “beer has three enemies; oxidation, light and heat”, and so breweries are finally coming to recognize that cans can protect the beer from at least two out of the three.

Brian O’Reilly, brewmaster at Sly Fox, praises the can: “Really, the one thing that’s really beautiful about beer in a can is the seal. The double seam on top, the way the end or the lid gets sealed to the can, protects the beer from oxygen much, much better than a crown.”

The can may not be able to protect the beer from the heat, but it can protect it from the light as well as from oxygen, which is not something that can be said of the bottle. This means that beer in a can travels better and can enjoy a longer shelf life than beer in a bottle, and that drinkers can enjoy a better taste. New developments in can production have also led to different lips and lids that come of completely, so making it easier to drink from than an ordinary ring-pull can.

The practicality of a can

The lighter weight of canned beer has already been considered as an environmental advantage, but it’s more practical for consumers, too. A camping trip, barbecue on the beach or even just a walk home from the store is going be a lot easier with a six pack of cans than a six pack of bottles. Given that cans tend to contain a greater volume of beer than bottles, consumers can enjoy more beer for their efforts. Once again, after the beer has been enjoyed, the cans can be crushed down to take up as little space as possible on the journey home, rather than having to carry a cumbersome and clanking bag of bottles back to the car.

Branding, marketing and twenty-first century technology

From the breweries’ perspective, the cans bring far greater advertising possibilities than bottles, in that the entire can can be covered in branding. New technology can also add a little novelty to the can, which can make it more appealing to consumers. This may not be as relevant to smaller craft breweries, but the larger lager companies have certainly been taking advantage of it. Coors, for example, sold its Coors Light in ‘cold-activated cans’, which showed an image of mountains on the can that turned from white to blue as the can cooled to the right temperature. More recently, Budweiser launched its ‘bowtie can‘, created by Annheuser-Busch. Craft beers these are not, but they have certainly attracted some market attention.

The possibilities for decorating cans are far greater than the possibilities for decorating bottles, which presents huge opportunities to breweries either to use the can to attract the attention of consumers, or to increase their revenue through advertising for other companies. There is also the novelty aspect of can decoration – as demonstrated by Budweiser and Coors – which could see companies offering uniquely-decorated cans of beer to their clients, to complement other branded freebies such as cooling can jackets and personalized beer glasses. Other partnerships could spring up in the beer industry, taking their lead from publicity partnerships such as Coca-Cola and John Paul Gaultier. In 2012, the designer teamed up with Coca-Cola to create limited edition cans of Diet Coke. It’s only really the beginning for canned beer, but it wouldn’t be completely surprising if this sort of advertising and branding continued to pop up throughout the industry.

Ultimately, when it comes down to it, if the beer doesn’t taste good then customers won’t keep coming back. It’s all very well offering a gimmick or mildly interesting variation on packaging, but as Koch says: “If it doesn’t make the beer taste better, then don’t do it just to get noticed. The customer will reward you with more of their business if you give them a better tasting product than their alternatives.”

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Beer Cans, Beer Industry

 

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Samuel Adams Brewing to offer “bride ale,” marriages at Boston brewery

brewleywedJune is traditionally the month for marriage. The folks over at Samuel Adams Brewing Company in Boston, Mass. recognize this and have brewed up a very special, one-of-a-kind beer to commemorate this traditional month of matrimony. And, if the mood strikes you, they will even let loving couples exchange their vows in the brewery.

But, in order to get your hands on the brew, dubbed Brewleywed Ale, you will have to appear in person at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston on Wednesday, June 26. So, if you are not currently in Boston, you may have a hard time getting your hands on the limited release brew.

According to the brewery’s blog, “Just 300 cases of this Belgian stylebride ale” have been brewed for the big day, so whether you’re engaged, married or celebrating an anniversary – or looking for a unique gift – line up for your opportunity to purchase a bottle or case. Brewlywed Ale will be available in 750mL, cork-finished bottles.”

Last year Sam Adams started this new tradition of celebrating the union of two people by brewing its first batch of the Belgian-style “bride ale.” Beer has been a traditional part of weddings for millennia. In fact the word honeymoon describes the ancient practice of supplying a newly-wed couple with mead – or honey beer – for the first moon, or month of their marriage in hopes of a swift conception. In addition, the medieval word “ale” comes from the word “bridal.” No wonder beer is such an integral part of weddings!

If you are lucky enough to be in the immediate vicinity of the brewery for the release of Brewleywed Ale, and happen to have a valid Massachusetts marriage license, the folks at the brewery would be pleased to help you tie the knot. a Justice of the Peace available to perform ceremonies on the spot while string quartet Maestro Musicians serenades couples in the background. Need a Best Man (or Maid of Honor)? Jim Koch, founder and owner of Samuel Adams, will be on hand to witness your special day.

If you are just there for the beer, you can pick up the 750 mL bottles for $14.99 at the brewery, June 26 only.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Belgian

 

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Samuel Adams Utopias, a potent and rare acquisition

utopiasIn the world of beer enthusiasts, there are a few beers that are so desirable, yet so difficult to obtain, that it is considered a major coup to actually acquire one. Last week, that rare beer was Westvleteren 12, the legendary beer brewed by Trappist monks at the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Belgium. The monks, notorious among beer-lovers for their maddeningly low production and frustratingly difficult procedures for obtaining the beer, released a quantity to the United States for the first and probably last time in order to finance badly needed repairs to the monastery. The allotment was snapped up in record time. I was among those dedicated fans who braved the rain in Jacksonville to snag the brew.

This week I again obtained a rare and highly sought after brew, one that is just as valued by beer aficionados as Westies, but this time is domestic. I refer to the bi-annually released Samuel Adams Utopias. Thought the brew has only existed for ten years, it has garnered the same type of reverence and demand as even the elusive Westie.

Samuel Adams founder and chairman, Jim Koch says of the Utopias brews that his original idea was not to copy the European styles of beers like all the other brewers, but to create a style of beer that had never been brewed before. His first foray into brewing a unique style resulted in the creation of the coveted Samuel Adams Triple Bock, a brew that weighed in at an astounding for the time 18% ABV, the strongest beer in the world then. Another first for the brew, Triple Bock was aged in spirits barrels and bottled in distinctive cobalt-blue bottles. The year was 1994 and the brew sold out within just a few months.

Next Koch wanted to make a brew to commemorate the upcoming millennium, so in 1999 he set his sights at creating a brew that would honor the once-in-a-lifetime event and named it Millennium. According to the company’s website, this 40 proof brew was fashioned with, “with overtones of vanilla, butterscotch, pear, and a hint of cinnamon. Noble hops give Samuel Adams Millennium a touch of herbal and orange rind-like bitterness that delivers a balanced finish.” A recent auction on eBay had a single bottle of this brew selling for nearly $1,000.

With another success under his belt, Koch began to formulate his next big beer. This time the plan was to release the brew every other year. The brews were named Utopias, and the first batch was released in 2002. That first batch hit the market at 24% ABV and was marketed as the strongest commercially available beer in the world. Subsequently, Sam Adams has released Utopias with increasing ABVs up to this year’s 10th anniversary release that comes in at 29%.

This year’s release is brewed with, “Samuel Adams two-row pale malt, smoked malt Munich, and Caramel 60 to impart the rich, ruby-red color.” The brew also incorporates three varieties of Noble Hops: Hallertau Mittlefrueh, Spalt Spalter, and Tettnang Tettnanger. But, perhaps one of the most interesting ingredients in the beer is a blend of the other Utopias including the nearly twenty-year-old Triple Bock. To obtain the higher alcohol content, Sam Adams used a strain of champagne yeast that is known to survive in the higher alcohol environment. Finally, the brew was aged in a succession of barrels to enhance its notes of vanilla and maple. Those barrels included bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery, finishing casks of Tawny Port and Vintage Ruby Port from Portugal, and rum barrels from Nicaragua.

The end result of this time-consuming and labor-intensive process is a beer that is reminiscent of the best cordials. The company says that the brew, “invokes the flavor of a vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate.” The brew is said to include flavors of fig, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, and spices.

For the brew’s 10th anniversary, only 15,000 bottles were produced. The individually-numbered bottles themselves are a work of art shaped to look like a brew kettle but colored black with roots painted on it to represent the roots beer’s that are nearly 20-year deep history.

Because of the limited number of bottles, Utopias are extremely difficult to come by and, if you are fortunate to find it, rather expensive at $190 per bottle. But, if you do manage to acquire this remarkable brew, be sure to savor it. Unlike many beers, this brew can be opend and resealed without fear of spoilage. Many take a small amount upon receipt and then pour themselves a small amount yearly on their birthday or New Year’s Eve. However you decide to drink the brew, if you are in possession of a bottle, you can feel privileged to know you are one of the very few to have that opportunity. I do.

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

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Beer, Beer News

 

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New Albion Ale lives again thanks to Sam Adams

Heroes come in many forms; some are of the super variety and fly around in brightly colored tights, while others quietly sit back and humbly accept their place in history. Jack McAuliffe is one of those quiet heroes.

In 1976 McAuliffe founded what is widely acknowledged as the first microbrewery in the modern era of brewing in the United States. His New Albion Brewing Company is now defunct, but his legacy, influence, and beer lives on. That he is remembered is thanks to another great pioneer in the American brewing industry Jim Koch.

On Friday, October 12, in Denver Colo., during the Great American Beer Festival, Koch and his Boston Beer Company immortalized McAuliffe at a brunch and ceremony in his honor. In his opening statements, Koch talked about the pioneering spirit displayed by McAuliffe; how McAuliffe overcame towering odds to take his brewery from the garage to Sonoma where it was christened New Albion after the name Sir Francis Drake first called the San Francisco Bay area.

Even though the New Albion Brewery eventually fell victim to a lack of expansion space and funding and eventually died an untimely death, McAuliffe left a lasting imprint on the microbrewing movement that picked up steam in the early 1980s and continues today. His brewery proved that a microbrewing facility could be built and operated and that the beer made there was of higher quality than the macro-lagers that were flooding the market.

In his typical fashion, the aging McAuliffe remained soft-spoken and humble to the praise lavished on him by Koch. During his talk at the brunch he thanked Koch and his company for the recognition and urged everyone to continue in his footsteps to continually innovate and keep the craft beer movement’s forward momentum going.

The brunch ended with the announcement that Boston Beer Company had reproduced New Albion’s brew from yeast strains kept and cultivated by the University of California at Davis of the McAuliffe’s strain. Attendees were encouraged to raise a glass of the resurrected brew to toast McAuliffe’s achievements and get a taste of the beer that started it all.

McAuliffe’s brew, New Albion Ale, will be available from Samuel Adams beginning in January 2013.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Beer, Beer News, Craft Beer Brewery

 

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