2 Beer Guys Blog

Welcome to the 2 Beer Guys Blog! Here, you will be able to read our stories and adventures as we travel through the world of craft beer.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Interesting mix of 2007 Stats

Happy belated New Year to all of our friends and fellow beer lovers. Ian and I expect 2008 to be a great year for us. We currently have plans to host a Belgian Beer Education night (on January 24th) and we are setting our schedules for the upcoming year.

2007 was kind to us. We accomplished our goal of creating a quality website with solid beer data. With the flurry of blogs, we have learned more about the beer industry. [we hope that you have enjoyed them -yeah... the ones that you have read] We have reached over 8000 website hits, reviewed microbrews from over 101 different breweries, and we are amazingly close to reaching out 500th beer review mark. It's been a fun time and we are glad to have experienced it with many of you who are reading this now.

For the Belgian Beer tasting, there will be a separate blog with all of the details. It will cost around $25 and a bunch of different Belgian Beers will be had. If you are interested in attending [there is a limit of ~21 participants], please send us an email.

We are also thinking about the 500th beer review. We have been holding on to a mother load of Barley Wines and hope to have a blind style tasting. Our official 2 year anniversary occurs at the End of January and we hope to have the tasting around that time. If you are interested in participating, again - please send us an email or drop a comment on the feedback form.

Good Morning, Good Evening, and Good Night.


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It.

p.s. I have collected some beer statistics from 2007 and posted them below.

Interesting mix of 2007 Stats

• 1.4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from beer making.
• Southern folks prefer a smoother, lighter beer that's slightly sweeter, while West Coast residents like their beer with more of a hop flavor.
• You can get a smoother, less-bitter-tasting beer if you add your hops near the end of the brewing process.

The nation's 1,390 beer makers, big and small, produce more than 210 million barrels amounting to $94 billion in annual sales. A look at the industry:
- Regional craft breweries: 48
- Microbreweries: 375
- Brewpubs: 967
Total craft breweries: 1,390
- Large breweries: 20
- Regional breweries: 25
- Other non-craft breweries: 7
Total U.S. breweries: 1,442

• Southeast: Up 33.9 percent
• Northeast: Up 18.9 percent
• Plains: Up 16.3 percent
• West: Up 8.1 percent
*Annual growth from July 2006 to July 2007

• 1 barrel = 31 U.S. gallons
• 2 half-barrel kegs = 13.78 cases (of 24, 12-ounce bottles)
• 50 barrels = 1 batch or 500 to 600 cases of beer

Friday, December 21, 2007

What time is the party?

Just stumbled upon the following story and wanted to share.


When you're Bill Gates, you've gotta party just as hard as you work. And you've got to invest just was hard as you party. Maybe that's why Bill Gates just invested $392 million in Mexico's second largest brewer, Femsa. You know them as the company that makes Tecate, Sol, Superior and Kaiser.

Bill Gates buys stake in Mexican brewer Femsa

By Chris Aspin and Cyntia Barrera Diaz

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Billionaire Bill Gates has taken a stake worth $392 million in Mexican brewer Femsa, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday.

Gates' Cascade Investment LLC fund owns 10.81 million of Femsa's (FMSAUBD.MX: Quote, Profile, Research) (FMX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) New York-traded American Depositary Shares, about 3 percent of Femsa, the world's second largest Coke bottler and Mexico's second-largest brewer. Cascade is an asset management firm owned by Bill Gates.

Gates, who is chairman of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research), reported the stake in a passive filing with the SEC, which does not require the investor to report when the securities were acquired or the purpose behind the transactions.

Femsa's shares jumped 7.5 percent on Wall Street on Thursday and its local stock climbed 7.43 percent to 39.45 pesos.

Femsa, also known as Fomento Economico Mexicano, is based in the northern city of Monterrey and has a history going back to 1890, when its brewery helped spark Mexico's industrialization.

The company declined to comment on Thursday.

According to the Thursday filing, each ADS represents 10 BD units, each consisting of one Series B share, two Series D-B shares and two Series D-L shares.

The filing showed that Gates owns a 1.2 percent stake in Femsa's Series B shares, a 5 percent stake in Series D-B shares, and a 5 percent stake in Series D-L shares.

Link to Article

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Gift of Beer

Looking for that perfect gift for the person who has everything? How about a quality beer?!
Plenty of great Christmas and cold-weather beers are available in the specialty stores, including some made by the local brewers. They make a great gift or a special treat to enjoy on Christmas, either on their own or with that big holiday meal.
To read the rest of this article, please click here

Starr Hill to expand across U.S. with help of Anheuser-Busch

By Tasha Kates / tkates@dailyprogress.com | 978-7267
December 19, 2007

Adults across America may soon pop the cap off an ice-cold bottle of beer from Starr Hill Brewery.

The Crozet-based brewery took a big step Tuesday toward fulfilling its mission of “bringing the gift of great beer to the world” by announcing a distribution deal with Anheuser-Busch Inc. The deal will eventually allow Starr Hill to peddle its brews from coast to coast in independent and chain stores.

Brewmaster Mark Thompson said the distribution deal is a dream come true.

“We’re honored and humbled and thankful to be chosen,” Thompson said.

The brewery, which was founded in 1999 on Charlottesville’s Main Street, has been working on the deal for more than a year. Details of the deal were not disclosed. Dave Peacock, vice president of marketing for Anheuser-Busch, said the company seeks out specialty brews to sell alongside its flagship products.

“Starr Hill has already developed a loyal following among craft beer consumers in Virginia, and together with our wholesaler network, we’re looking forward to enhancing the distribution and sales support for these award-winning beers,” Peacock said in a statement.

Starr Hill will continue to market and produce its brews at its Three Notch’d Road location. Thompson said the first year of distribution would focus on Virginia.

“We will start immediately in Roanoke and Lynchburg,” Thompson said. “After those two, we will do Blacksburg and Danville. By mid-2008, we will do [Virginia Beach] and the last remaining areas.”

The company’s three-year plan is to have its beers available from New York to Atlanta. Thompson hopes the brews go nationwide in five to 10 years.

The company has designed four core beers - Starr Hill Amber Ale, Starr Hill Jomo Lager, Starr Hill Pale Ale and Starr Hill Starr Stout - for which it has won 12 awards. The brewery also produces several holiday beers.

Starr Hill had been looking for a way to expand its business before the Anheuser-Busch deal, but Thompson said it would have involved significant time and energy.

The St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch holds a 48.4 percent share of U.S. beer sales and is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans. The company also owns a 50 percent share in the Mexico brewer Grupo Modelo and a 27 percent share in China-based brewer Tsingtao.

Keeping up production at Starr Hill will require a few extra people. Thompson said the company would need to purchase more fermenters and hire another brewer in the next year. The brewery has the capacity to produce up to 60,000 barrels a year.

“We have a long future here in Crozet,” Thompson said. “We will continue to make all of the beer right here.”

Starr Hill’s distribution deal is beneficial for the community too, said Michael E. Harvey, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development.

“The further their reach gets, the more attention they get about their product, the more people visit the area,” Harvey said. “If they so choose to have a storefront like [brewer Redhook], there is a benefit to the area in terms of those direct jobs and indirect jobs and bringing people to the area.”

While Starr Hill is rolling out its distribution plan slowly, Thompson has an idea of what he would like to see Starr Hill become - a nationally sold craft beer.

“We want to be the next Sierra Nevada,” Thompson said.

Link to Article.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to Lisa and Ignace

It's Birthday time again for some of the 2Beerguy family: Lisa and Ignace.

Shake your pants and do the Birthday dance!! Today is a great day to enjoy a tasty beer.

Happy Birthday!


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Redhook, Widmer merge, brew new business

Redhook, Widmer merge, brew new business
By Melissa Allison
Seattle Times business reporter

Redhook Ale Brewery of Woodinville plans to merge with Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland to form a new company called Craft Brewers Alliance. It will be headquartered in Portland with management offices in both cities, officials said.

Existing breweries will remain, including Widmer's breweries in Portland and Redhook's in Woodinville and Portsmouth, N.H. The companies expect to continue making their existing beers, including Redhook's ESB and Widmer's Hefeweizen.

With combined production of 550,000 to 600,000 barrels a year, the new company will be one of the country's largest craft brewers, just behind Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico, Calif.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter, pending approval from regulators, Redhook's shareholders and Anheuser-Busch, which owns roughly a third of each company and will continue to own that much of the new corporation.

Ownership of the rest of the company will be split roughly evenly between the current shareholders of Redhook and privately held Widmer.

Craft Brewers Alliance will trade under Redhook's ticker symbol, HOOK. Redhook plans to issue about 8 million new shares, worth about $50 million, to give to Widmer's roughly 30 shareholders.

That will double Redhook's number of shares outstanding, diluting the stock of its shareholders but giving them ownership of Widmer as well.

Redhook Chief Executive Paul Shipman, 54, will be chairman emeritus of the new company, effectively retiring when the deal closes. He will get a severance package; the details are not yet public.

Shipman co-founded Redhook with Starbucks co-founder Gordon Bowker in 1981 after working for three years at Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville.

"I don't plan to stop working but I don't plan to work in the beer business," Shipman said. "I haven't figured out what I'm going to do but I have a penchant for alcoholic beverages."

He has guided Redhook through turbulent times, including many years without a profit. The company hit the rocks when it built two new breweries in the mid-1990s, shortly before a slew of craft brewers flooded the market.

Last year, Redhook saw its first annual profit in a decade.

On Tuesday, Redhook released third-quarter financial results, including a loss of $288,568, or 3 cents a share, on net sales of $11.1 million.

For the first nine months, it posted a loss of $80,044 or 1 cent a share.

The earnings and merger announcements came after the stock market closed. Redhook dropped 2 cents to $6.10 in regular trading. No after-hours trading was reported.

The stock has traded between $4.36 and $8.21 during the past year.

Although rising hops and barley prices promise to create problems in the coming year, Shipman said he's optimistic.

"Everybody's going to raise prices," he said of the industry. "It's not going to be pain-free ... but this is the new golden age of craft beer. The people who drink our kind of beer love the products, which take such a tiny percentage of people's incomes in the U.S. that they barely notice it."

Kurt Widmer, who co-founded the Portland brewery with his brother Rob in 1984, will become the new company's chairman. He turned away a merger offer from Redhook in the late 1990s, largely because he was concerned about uniting the corporate cultures.

Since then, the companies have gotten to know each other through a sales and marketing joint venture called Craft Brands Alliance. Redhook also brews Widmer beers on the East Coast.

"We've had a long, long look at each other," Widmer said. "There aren't a lot of unknowns left."

He considers Redhook a fellow pioneer in the craft-brewing industry and said both companies are committed to excellent beer and state-of-the-art breweries. Widmer is in the midst of an 18-month expansion of its main brewery in Portland.

The Widmer brothers will be involved in the brewing side of the business, while the administrative work will fall largely to two chief executives: Dave Mickelson, currently Redhook's president and chief operating officer; and Terry Michaelson, president of Portland-based Craft Brands Alliance, a partnership that will dissolve after the merger.

Only about six accounting jobs will be lost at Redhook's headquarters, Shipman said.

He expects the new company's size will allow it to expand faster in certain areas.

Redhook's New Hampshire brewery, for example, could make beer for Kona Brewing of Hawaii, in which Widmer has a minority stake. Widmer also owns a minority interest in Goose Island Beer of Chicago.

Exports are another possibility, Shipman said. Currently, Redhook exports beer to Japan in such small amounts that "you and I could drink that much," he said.

A new brewery also might be on the horizon, Widmer said.

"Having a brewery somewhere in the geographic center of the U.S. may make sense and is something we're considering in the next five years," he said.

General Information:
Redhook Ale Brewery

Founded: 1981 by former Ste. Michelle Winery executive Paul Shipman and Starbucks co-founder Gordon Bowker.
Headquarters: Woodinville
Beer sampler: ESB, Long Hammer IPA, Blonde Ale, Blackhook Porter
Employees: About 200
2006 sales: $40 million

Widmer Brothers Brewing

Founded: 1984 by brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer
Headquarters: Portland
Beer sampler: Widmer Hefeweizen, Drop Top Amber Ale, Snowplow Milk Stout
Employees: About 130, plus about 70 people who work for its sales and marketing joint venture with Redhook
2006 sales: $73 million, including the joint venture

Link to article.

Other related Articles:

Redhook, Widmer Brothers will merge, but keep brands

here are a few excerpts:

"Redhook Ale Brewery Inc. of Woodinville and Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. of Portland said Tuesday that they will combine to form Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. The new company will maintain both brands."

"The new company will continue to trade on the Nasdaq stock market under Redhook's existing symbol, HOOK. The combined company will have headquarters in Portland but will have management offices in Woodinville. The deal could be complete by the first quarter of 2008, pending regulatory and shareholder approval. Redhook will swap about $50 million of its shares for those in privately held Widmer."

Oskar Blues

Sorry for the delay in posting this article. Ian and I are HUGH fans of the Oskar Blue movement. Craft beer in cans you say. How can this be so? Well, we have tried Dales Pale Ale, Gordon, and Old Chub from Oskar Blues offering and we are hooked!! Check out our reviews!! They have a great video about their operations: Movie link


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Oskar Blues Celebrates Five Years of Canned Beer Apocalypse

Lyons, Colorado (November 2007) -- This month Oskar Blues Brewery is wrapping up the fifth year of its pioneering microcanning effort. The scrappy little brewery sold its first can of Dale’s Pale Ale in November of 2002.

The move made Oskar Blues the first US craft brewer to brew and can its own beer. It has also fueled some of the heftiest growth in the US craft beer trade. Oskar Blues’ beer production has grown by 2000% over the past five years.

Prior to filling its first can of Dale’s Pale Ale on a table-top, two-cans-at-once filler, the brewery produced 700 barrels of beer. This year Oskar Blues will craft 14,000 barrels of beer. (Up from 8,100 barrels in 2006.)

“It’s been an incredible run for us,” says founder Dale Katechis. “We launched our Canned Beer Apocalypse as something of a joke, and a way to draw attention to our brewpub. Some of our peers thought we were nuts at the time. But we heard from many retailers and consumers back then who loved the irreverence and practicality of the idea.”

“It’s still a gut buster for us,” Katechis adds, “but it’s turned into a much bigger adventure than we imagined five years ago. We've changed the reputation of the aluminum can, and enabled serious beer lovers to buy canned beer without shame. And we’ve had a load of fun and success along the way.”

To celebrate its fifth year of microcanning, Oskar Blues has now put the first cans of its winter seasonal beer, Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, on shelves of select stores in Colorado.

Fourpacks of the viscous, ultra-rich and roasted beer retail for $12.99. A small amount of canned Ten FIDY will reach other states in the Oskar Blues roster next month.

On December 1, from noon - 4 PM, the brewery will have a party to celebrate its first five years of microcanning. The affair will feature a Cajun buffet and crawfish boil, live music, and specials on all Oskar Blues beers.

The event will also serve as the official roll out of a limited-release batch of 5-liter/1.3 gallon mini kegs of Dale’s Pale Ale. The keg cans (with built-in taps) will reach select stores along the Front Range starting December 3. They will retail for around $24.

Visitors to the Oskar Blues pub in Lyons can buy these cans filled with Dale’s Pale Ale, as well as Old Chub Scottish Style Ale, Gordon, Ten FIDY and the brewpub’s other-in-house beers. These cans have replaced the traditional glass growler at Oskar Blues.

This summer Oskar Blues announced details on its building of a second, 35,000-square-feet brewery in Longmont, Colorado. The new brewery will produce all of the company’s canned beers and have an initial annual capacity of 30,000 barrels. The new brewery is expected to serve its first beers in March.

Oskar Blues Brewery’s beers are now in Colorado and 16 other states (AZ, NM, ID, WA, WI, VA, GA, NC, FL, NJ, NY, PA, MA, MD, CT and RI). Oskar Blues Brewery is located in Lyons, Colorado (pop.1500), a small mountain town 18 miles northwest of Boulder, Colorado. The brewpub and music venue was opened in 1997 by Katechis and his wife, Christi Katechis. Oskar Blues Brewery’s beers are canned five cans at a time on equipment from Cask Brewing Systems in Alberta, Canada. Get details at www.cask.com.

For more information visit www.oskarblues.com.

Link to article.

State laws prevent consumers from enjoying extreme beers

State alcohol laws antiquated
By Butch Bailey

Have you ever had a Trappist ale? What about a barleywine or an imperial IPA?

If you live in Mississippi, the odds are the answer is no. Mississippi is one of only three states left with an antiquated prohibition-era law that restricts the amount of alcohol in beer. The greatest unfairness of this law is the way it targets one particular product: beer, while making no restrictions on other adult beverages like wine or spirits.

This means that a Mississippian can walk into a liquor store today and buy any variety of wine or even 190 proof (95 percent) grain-alcohol, but for some asinine reason beer is capped at 6 percent alcohol by volume.

The result of this arbitrary law is that at least one-third of all the beer styles brewed in the world are unavailable to Mississippi consumers, including 80 percent of the top-rated beers in the world. These beers are produced in small batches by artisan brewers who take great pride in their craft. Like fine wine, they are rich and complex in flavor and character and are enjoyed in the same way. They are certainly not the kind of thing one guzzles or drinks to intoxication.

This neo-prohibitionist law serves no useful purpose. Statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving show that states without a restrictive cap on beer have lower rates of drunk driving citations. This is unsurprising when you consider the type of product this law targets.

The beer styles that are outlawed typically have very strong and robust flavors that do not appeal to youth or binge drinkers. In addition, the cost for these craft beers is usually significantly higher than mass-produced beers, enough higher to make them too expensive for a "quick buzz."

In fact the cost per ounce of alcohol can be as much as 10 times higher in craft beer than in products already available.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who enjoy an occasional beer, it is important to know that the removal of the 6 percent cap will not change your beer in any way. Changing this law will simply allow new beers that are currently illegal here to be available, thereby increasing consumer choice.

Another common concern is that changing this law would bring alcohol into communities that didn't want it. This is untrue. The removal of the cap would not influence a local community's ability to choose to be "wet" or "dry" for itself. It would simply allow greater consumer choice for those already living in wet counties.

Many states have recently been successful in changing this law, including Georgia, South and North Carolina and strong efforts are under way in Alabama and West Virginia. Luckily there is a growing grassroots movement to repeal this ill-conceived restriction on consumer freedom in Mississippi. If you would like to find out more about our efforts, please visit www.meba.ms or e-mail me directly. Don't let us be the last state to repeal this unfair law. Mississippians deserve better beer.

Butch Bailey is a forester who lives in Hattiesburg. He is a founding member of Mississippians for Economic & Beverage Advancement. Contact him at timberbeast@gmail.com.

Link to article.

U.S. Craft Breweries Shine on World Stage

U.S. Craft Breweries Shine on World Stage
© Business Wire 2007 - 2007-12-08 00:40:32 -

Participants in the Brewers Association's (BA) Export Development Program (EDP) recently won a combined 30 medals from the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival and the European Beer Star Competition. EDP is an initiative created to increase the international recognition of

U.S. craft breweries and promote the image of U.S. craft beer as a world-class brand.

Eighteen U.S. craft breweries participated in the BA-sponsored generic U.S. craft beer booth at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival; this was the fourth time the BA has sponsored the booth at this event. EDP funds were used to ship beer samples from the U.S. to Sweden for the booth and to enter the U.S. craft beer brands into the competition. Out of the 18 companies who submitted beer, eight breweries won medals.

2007 Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival Winners:

Category: Well Hopped Lager max 5.9% ABV
Silver - Boston Lager, Boston Beer Co

Category: Ale 4.8% to 5.9%
Gold - Harpoon IPA, Harpoon Brewery
Silver - Red Seal Ale, North Coast Brewing Company Inc.
Bronze - 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Odell Brewing Co

Category: Porter/Stout to 5.9% ABV
Gold - Porter, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co
Silver - St Bridgets Porter, Great Divide Brewing Co

Category: Strong Beer 6.0% ABV and above
Gold - Shakespeare Stout, Rogue Ales

Category: Strong Beer 8.0% ABV and above
Gold - 90 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

In addition to the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival, there were 22 U.S. craft brewery medal winners in the European Beer Star Competition. The European Beer Star Awards are one of the industry's most coveted awards, recognizing original and innovative beers. There were 575 entries from breweries in 58 countries. The awards were presented in November at the Brau Beviale trade show in Germany.

2007 European Beer Star Competition Winners:

Gold Medal Winners:
Brewery Ommegang: Hennepin Farmhouse Saison
Boston Beer Co: Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, and Samuel Adams Brown Ale
Deschutes Brewery: Obsidian Stout, Bachelor ESB, and Abyss
Harpoon Brewery: Harpoon Octoberfest and Harpoon IPA

Silver Medal Winners:
Boston Beer Co: Samuel Adams Black Lager, Samuel Adams Pale Ale, and Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig
Deschutes Brewery: Black Butte Porter
Great Divide Brewing Co: Titan IPA, and Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Left Hand Brewing Co: Milk Stout
Victory Brewing Co: Victory Prima Pils

Bronze Medal Winners:
Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Co: Alaskan Smoked Porter
Boston Beer Co: Samuel Adams Boston Ale, and Samuel Adams Honey Porter
Rogue Ales: Shakespeare Stout
Victory Brewing Co: Victory Storm King Stout

More information about the EDP can be found at www.beertown.org/craftbrewing/edp.html. Based in Boulder, Colo., U.S.A., the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association for American craft brewers and the community of beer enthusiasts. Visit the website: www.beertown.org to learn more.

The association's activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup; Great American Beer Festival; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; American Craft Beer Week (May); Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 15,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.

Link to article.

Specialty brewers challenge distributors

This article discusses the struggles that smaller micro-breweries face when trying to deliver their fresh, unique beer to the demanding customer. Unfortunately, Prohibition (which lasted 14 years and ended in 1933), is still handi-capping brewers today. With most of the blue laws gone, I often wonder why things haven't changed. The obvious answer is money. The larger breweries aren't effected, because they either own the distributors or they have a firm grasp of their attention. It's the mid to small breweries that are left in the dust.

If you are interested, read this story below and you will understand.


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Small Brews Show they're Not Weak Beer
As Popularity Rises, specialty brewers challenge distributors
December 10, 2007;

Last fall, Larry Bell yanked the beers made by his small Michigan brewery out of Chicago, where they enjoyed a loyal following, rather than see the rights to market them there sold to another distributor. He worried that his specialty beers would get lost among the distributor's mass-market brands.

"I didn't feel that they were the right fit for us," says Mr. Bell, who founded his brewery, now based in Comstock, Mich., in 1985. Last week, Mr. Bell quietly re-entered the Illinois market with a new brand, even though he expects to be sued by his former distributor, National Wine & Spirits Inc. Mr. Bell found two distributors, Central Beverage Co. and Schamberger Brothers Inc., in the Chicago area willing to take on his new Kalamazoo Royal Amber Ale despite the possibility they'll be sued, too.

The maneuver is perhaps the most audacious in a string of recent efforts by small-batch "craft" brewers in the U.S. to try to assert more control over how their beer is sold as they gain in popularity -- and clout. The craft brewers are using this new influence to stir up changes with beer distributors. Other brawls have erupted in New York and Texas.

The fights stem from the nation's complex regulations for selling alcohol. Under laws that date to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, beer generally must be sold through distributors. Producers like Bell's Brewery sell the brew to a distributor, which marks up the price and trucks it to a bar, restaurant or store, which then sells it to a consumer. The system was designed to keep alcohol producers from running bars and restricting consumer choice.

States were given authority to regulate alcohol sales within their borders. Many, including Illinois, have enacted so-called franchise laws, designed to protect beer distributors from being dropped arbitrarily by a brewer after they have spent considerable resources building a brand. The laws prevent a brewer from terminating a distributor except under certain circumstances, such as fraudulent business dealings. Distributors, on the other hand, generally have the power to sell distribution rights whether the brewer likes it or not.

Historically, craft brewers have made relatively little fuss over distributors, in part because they have been happy to have companies willing to hawk their brands. But now, at a time when craft beer has become the industry's fastest-growing segment, some small brewers are taking greater control over their destinies. They are attempting to dump their distributors or fighting moves to sell distribution rights -- often over allegedly poor service.

Craft brewers seem "to be feeling their oats a bit," says Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer's Insights, an industry publication.

Last year, Mr. Bell was dismayed when National Wine & Spirits, an Indianapolis company, insisted on selling distribution rights to Chicago Beverage Systems, a unit of Reyes Holdings LLC, one of the nation's largest beer distributors. He worried the company, which sells mass-market brands, including Miller Lite, would devote little attention to his beers.

In an emailed statement, James Doney, president of Chicago Beverage Systems, said "we were looking forward to adding Bell's to our portfolio of fantastic craft beers" and "were puzzled by Larry Bell's choice to leave the market."

Though Illinois accounted for 11% of his sales, Mr. Bell left the state and entered new markets such as Virginia and Florida. But he decided to return to the Chicago market after his email inbox was flooded with Illinois residents thirsting for Bell's, says Mr. Bell, 49 years old, a native of the Chicago area who maintains a home in the city.

"I was really bummed," says 29-year-old Chicagoan Sean Ludera, a devotee of such brands as Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Bell's Oberon Ale.

Mr. Bell has taken a measured approach for legal reasons, creating the new brand, which partly pays homage to the brewery's first home in Kalamazoo, Mich. The beer's recipe is also different than the brewer's traditional brands. After consulting with a lawyer about Illinois law governing breweries, Mr. Bell believes he can return to the market using new distributors as long as he offers new brands with new recipes. "I fully believe the law is on our side," he says.

About two months ago, he says, Greg Mauloff, an executive vice president with National Wine & Spirits, warned him he would face a long legal fight if he tried to come back to Illinois. Mr. Mauloff declined to comment.

Mr. Bell's new brew is available in about a dozen bars in the Chicago area. Edward C. Bronson, a software architect in Chicago who has known Mr. Bell for 15 years, was drinking Kalamazoo last week at the Clark Street Ale House, also on the city's North Side. "I wanted to get some tonight because I'm not sure we're going to be able to taste it again."

Mr. Bronson, a beer judge for regional competitions who used to run a microbrewery, said he was annoyed when he learned that Bell's wouldn't be sold in Illinois anymore. So much so that he said he went to his local liquor store last year and bought four cases of Bell's Two Hearted Ale "so I would have a store."

Comparing Kalamazoo with other Bell's labels, Mr. Bronson said it was unlike anything else he has tasted from the company. "This is definitely different beer -- it has a surprising, nice malt character that I really enjoy."

Several recent spats between small brewers and distributors have wound up in court. In February, New York's Brooklyn Brewery Inc., a fast-growing producer of beers such as Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn Brown Ale, notified one of its distributors, Gasko & Meyer Inc., that it would terminate their agreement. Brooklyn Brewery was disappointed with its sales in the five counties in upstate New York in which Gasko & Meyer sold its beer, and complained that the distributor made late deliveries and sometimes delivered stale beer.

Gasko & Meyer responded by suing the brewer in New York state court, claiming, among other things, that Brooklyn Brewery failed to properly notify it of any failures to adhere to their distribution deal, which began in 2001. A judge in September rejected Gasko & Meyer's request for a preliminary injunction to keep Brooklyn Brewery from changing wholesalers. Its new wholesaler, Lobo Distributing Co., has rapidly increased sales, says Steve Hindy, the brewer's president. Gasko & Meyer's lawsuit is still pending; officials at the distributor declined to comment.

Trying to switch distributors "is a big gamble for a small company like ours, because these lawyers are not cheap and you want good representation," says Mr. Hindy.

Mr. Hindy says heightened consumer demand for craft beers is giving small brewers confidence to "assert our rights more forcefully." Also emboldening them: Many distributors that once ignored craft beers are now clamoring to add them to their lineup to increase profits. It "is a whole different world for us than has existed in the last 20 years," Mr. Hindy says.

Back in Michigan, Mr. Bell is bracing for a lawsuit and didn't do much celebrating of his beer's return to the Windy City. He has been taking it easy because he had surgery last month to remove his prostate after being diagnosed with cancer. "It's major surgery, so I'm watching my energy level," he says. "There's plenty of life left for drinking beer."

--Douglas Belkin contributed to this article.
Click here for a link to the article.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Growing craft brewers get business-savvy

The following information came from a Newsweek article about the growing craft beer market. I only shared a portion of this article, but if you are interested in reading more about the business side of craft brewing, please use the link below.


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Growing craft brewers get business-savvy

"The beer category is having this huge surge of interest in full-flavored beers," said Julia Herz, spokesman for the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers. "The American craft brewer is responsible for full-flavored beer."

According to data from market research company Information Resources Inc., craft beer volume -- or the number of cases sold either directly or indirectly to consumers -- has grown 13 percent in the 52 weeks ended Nov. 4. In terms of dollar sales, the craft beer segment has grown about 17 percent during the past year.

In comparison, volume of domestic premium brands, which include Budweiser and Coors Light, fell 0.4 percent in the past 52 weeks while dollar sales rose just 1.2 percent.

Click here to read the full article.

Colorado's Flying Dog Brrewery moving to Maryland

This is some big news in the Craft Beer market. Flying Dog is one of the major players in the Colorado Craft Beer Market and will be moving all of their operations to Frederick, MD. This is an interesting move and we hope that this works out for them. This just give us another reason to go visit Brace (like we even needed one).


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Flying Dog relocating craft brewery to Md.
By Roger Fillion, Rocky Mountain News (Contact)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Colorado's No. 2 craft brewer plans to stop brewing beer in Denver next month and will relocate all of its beer-making operations to a larger, state-of-the-art brewery it recently acquired in Maryland.

Flying Dog Brewery will maintain its corporate headquarters in Denver, keeping administrative, sales and marketing staff here. The company's beer also will continue to be distributed in Colorado.

Flying Dog CEO Eric Warner said increased costs for raw materials such as hops, malt and glass prompted the relocation of all of the company's brewing operations to Frederick, Md., about 45 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The company sells more than 60 percent of its beer east of the Mississippi River.

Warner also cited the loss of contract business under which Flying Dog brewed beer for smaller craft-beer makers.

"By concentrating the brewing operations in Maryland, we will become a more efficient business, which is very important given the extremely competitive conditions in the craft beer industry," Warner said in a statement.

In an interview, Warner said the brewer is "just trying to be smart about our business," given the increased cost pressures facing all brewers - pressures that will prompt Flying Dog to boost its price of a six-pack by $1 next year.

Other craft brewers are expected to do the same.

Flying Dog is on track to produce about 45,000 barrels this year, with about 15,000 of those barrels brewed in Denver. The rest is brewed in Maryland, where Flying Dog began brewing beer in 2006.

The 16-year-old Flying Dog employs about 35 people in Denver and 40 in Maryland. Warner said the Denver brewing staff will be offered the opportunity to relocate and will be given a relocation package.

"A lot of them are interested in making the move back to Maryland," Warner said.

Flying Dog's brewing operations in the East, dubbed Wild Goose Brewery, already are paying dividends.

Ryan Fox, the brewery's manager, recently said it used to cost Denver-based Flying Dog about $2,500 to ship a truckload of cases to certain East Coast markets.

With the new brewery, those costs are down to $1,000.

The No. 1 craft brewer in the state is New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins.

Click here for the link to the article.

Flying Dog beer shifts brewing to Frederick

Flying Dog Brewery of Denver, which purchased Frederick Brewing Co. for $1.7 million last year, will move all of its brewing operations to Maryland next month.
The Frederick brewery can brew a wider range of recipes than the one in Denver and has more oxygen uptake, which improves flavor and shelf life, according to Flying Dog information.

‘‘By concentrating the brewing operations in Maryland, we will become a more efficient business, which is very important given the extremely competitive conditions in the craft beer industry,” Eric Warner, CEO of Flying Dog, said in a statement.

Increasing costs of raw materials, including hops and malt, and the loss of contracts from smaller craft brewers also factored into the decision, according to Warner.

Flying Dog Brewery recently raised $3 million to fund continued development of its brands, including 13 draft beers.

Link to article.

Miller to test market low-cal craft beers under Lite brand

Miller to test market low-cal craft beers under Lite brand

Miller Brewing Co. announced Friday that it plans to test market the Miller Lite Brewers Collection, a trio of craft style beers that are lower in calories and carbohydrates than other craft beers, beginning in February 2008.

Milwaukee-based Miller will test the products in four markets: Minneapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; San Diego, Calif.; and Baltimore.

The Miller Lite Brewers Collection will feature Blonde Ale, Amber and Wheat, each with significantly fewer calories and carbs than a typical beer for that style, according to Miller.

"Miller is seeking to again establish a whole new category for the beer industry - craft-style-light," said Miller chief marketing officer Randy Ransom. "The brewer who can provide a more refreshing and drinkable craft style can stake out a whole new niche in the market. That's what we intend to do."

Miller Lite Brewers Collection is targeted to mainstream drinkers and capitalizes on three trends that are driving much of the growth in the U.S. beer industry, including the shift toward light beer, a desire for more variety and "premiumization," according to Miller.

Sales of craft beers are growing at a faster pace than sales of all other categories of alcoholic beverages, the Brewers Association reported earlier this year. In 2006, craft beer sales increased 17.8 percent.

Miller Lite Brewers Collection Wheat will feature a subtle citrus character. The Amber is made with roasted malts and has a mild hop character. Blonde Ale will offer a "crispness and slight maltiness balanced by a recognizable hop aroma."

Miller Lite Brewers Collection will initially be available in six-pack bottles and priced between mainstream light beer and the typical craft beer.

With the new product introduction, Miller is continuing with a strategy of shifting more of its business to higher-end products by "delivering innovative products to market like Miller Chill, Leinenkugel's and Sparks," Ransom said.

Miller introduced the Miller Lite Brewers Collection at a distributors convention in Chicago Thursday night.

Link to article

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ipswich Takes Medals at the Great International Beer Festival

Hot off the press!!

I recommend getting your hands on the Ipswich Oatmeal Stout. It is very tasty and will not let you down.

Congrats Mercury!!


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Ipswich Variety Pack

Ipswich Ales won two awards at the 11th Annual Great International Beer Competition that was held on Friday, November 9, 2007, in Providence, Rhode Island. Over two hundred ten beers from 47 breweries entered the competition that was organized by Yankee Brew News editor Gregg Glaser. Judges included forty-five professional brewers and beer industry journalists, who knew only the style and subcategory of each beer.

Ipswich Oatmeal Stout won a Silver Medal in the stout category. Deep, rich, and malty with hints of chocolate and coffee, it's what espresso would be if it had the gumption to be beer. We use Carapils hops, specially selected crystal malts, roasted barley, and oatmeal to give it a soft and silky mouth feel. Makes a great dessert. Or meal. 7% ABV, 60 IBUs, Availability: Year-round

Highly regarded among hop-lovers, our Harvest Ale is a balanced and flavorful autumnal offering, and took a Bronze medal in the American Amber category. We use a darker Caramunich malt and just a touch of chocolate malt along with a blend of Warrior, Ahtanum, and Columbus hops. 5.9% ABV, IBU's 40, Availability: Fall

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On the alert for Craft Beer imposters!!

This article reminds me why the 2Beerguys and Family is a very important asset to our beer drinking friends. Selecting a beer can be really confusing and over whelming when going to a sports event, concert, or a local store. So many choices and different beers to purchase, the tension can lead to a bad pairing (between the drinker and the brew). Remember, the Beerguys are here to help. Take the plunge and try something that you haven't seen or heard about. Maybe you will like it.

(OK, I am probably the LAST person that you ever thought would say those words together. )

You selection might lead you to an amazing craft beer treasure, like Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, or a faux-kraft, such as A-B's Winter Bourbon Cask Ale. Unless you have a friend to help you out, how would you know that Anheuser-Busch produces the Bourbon Cask Ale. We challenge you to find YOUR "treasure".

On another note, it's rather humorous to see A-B / Michelob and craft beer in the same sentence. I guess craft beer lovers, such as ourselves, should be thankful for the "Big Guys" with their craft beer expansion. Although it causes customer confusion, it does convince smaller stores to carry "craft" beer. This creates shelf space in your local gas station and watering hole for a craft offering. You win some and you lose some. With knowledge and support, we can help win this battle!!

Well, that's enough for my rant today.

Take the plunge, enjoy a delicious beer (while you watch Beauty and the Geek!!).



Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Category Wars: A-B, Miller And Coors Craft Image Of Being The Little Guy

Once the domain of small players, segment now gets some big competition.
December 03, 2007
By Mike Beirne

The craft segment has gotten even more crowded, which has the independent brewers that once dominated the category feeling muscled.

Last month, Anheuser-Busch's Michelob decided that, after 111 years, it is now a craft beer. And the affront from what independents deem "faux-kraft" beers keeps coming.

Brands like Coors' Blue Moon, A-B's Wild Hop and even Miller's Leinenkugel's are carefully positioned as craft brands while their big brewer affiliations are purposely kept conspicuous.

The reason the big brewers are joining the party? Case sales of craft beers are up 17.1% at food, drug, liquor and c-stores for the year ended Nov. 3 compared with a 0.08% increase for the overall category, per Nielsen.

Craft brewers, which have limited budgets and less leverage with distributors than larger competitors, are concerned. "On a supermarket shelf, that's where the lines start to blur. That could hurt if the person shopping has a peripheral understanding of what is craft," said Joe Whitney, director of sales and marketing at Sierra Nevada, Chico, Calif.

"The noncraft brewers have different economies of scale and better access to ingredients and distribution," said Julia Herz, craft beer marketing director at the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo. "They get preferential treatment."

Michelob will spend $30 million next year recasting itself as a member of the craft segment. Michelob's entire portfolio sold 450 million cases, per IRI, for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 24. Comparatively, craft category leader Boston Beer last year shipped 49 million cases, per Beer Marketer's Insights.

Michelob's "Crafting a better beer" ads will even mimic Boston Beer's Sam Adams ads. TV spots, via Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, will feature A-B employees talking about Michelob ingredients.

Considering beer fads come and go (like low-carb, ice, red and dry beers), the move could be a risky one for Michelob, said Simon Sinek, president of Sinek Partners, a consultancy in New York. "They're betting the whole farm on a trend."

But Gary Fish, founder and president of Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore., sees the exposure as favorable for the whole category. "If they can convert a Bud drinker into a Widmer drinker, then that person might be amenable to trying Deschutes."

The craft brewers are battling back, albeit on a smaller level. New Belgium launched a national print campaign, "Follow your folly," in April. Cultivator Advertising & Design, Denver, handles.

Sierra Nevada also is about a year away from beefing up it marketing presence.

The A-B owned Redhook, meanwhile, introduced its first ad campaign, "The Hoppily Drinkable IPA"—via TM Advertising, Irving, Texas—for Long Hammer IPA. Redhook is among the brewers now excluded from the Brewers Association's new definition that a craft beer must be at least 75% independently owned. "It's not about beer versus beer; it's about being forthright about who is behind these brands," said Herz.

New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo., annually conducts surveys and focus groups asking participants whether they knew that Coors made Blue Moon. "It's always a split," said Greg Owsley, New Belgium's chief branding officer. "The drinkers that crave authenticity as much as flavor are disappointed, but others are not concerned because it's a good beer.

"The two groups tend to have a demographic split between baby boomers, who don't care, and Gen Y and Gen X consumers, who feel they've been duped."

Link to article.

P.S. Here's a link to an additional article that discusses Michelob's craft beer battle. (click here)

Monday, December 03, 2007

There's Great Beer In Wine Country

If you happen to find yourself in Wine Country, don't worry - find beer :)
(Beer Republic and Russian River are AWESOME!!)


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

By JOE HEIM | Washington Post
November 25, 2007

It turns out that towns in California's Napa Valley, heart of wine country, offer some of the best craft beers in America.

Here are a few examples:

Bear Republic Brewing Co.: Loud and bustling, this family-owned brew pub is almost an antidote to the highbrow community that surrounds it.

Among the notable brews are Racer 5 (a terrific India pale ale) and delicious Black Bear Stout.

345 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-2337, www.bearrepublic.com.

Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery: In a wonderful garden setting, we start with lighter, tasty Calistoga Wheat Ale before moving on to Calistoga Pilsner and Calistoga Red Ale, a hoppy, happy culmination.

1250 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, 707-942-4101, www.calistogainn.com.

Russian River Brewing Co.: Drink carefully. The super-hoppy Pliny the Elder, a Gold Medal winner at the 2006 World Beer Cup, is 8 percent alcohol by volume, and even that is not as strong as Old Gubbillygotch Barleywine.

725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-2337, www.russianriverbrewing.com.

Silverado Brewing Co.: We lunch on garlic fries, onion rings and burgers,while sampling a terrific amber ale and an oatmeal stout that is not as heavy as it sounds.

3020 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, 707-967-9876, www.silveradobrewingcompany.com.

How much would YOU pay for a craft beer?

OK, by the title you are imagining that this is an article based on the hop shortage and the increase in the cost of grains. BUT if you did, you would be incorrect. I posted this article because they mention the Utopias and the Dark Lord.



Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

P.s. This adds one more thing to my "TO DO" list!! Visit Three Floyds on Dark Lord Day.

Buying a case of craft beer for $28 is not bad these days. Most craft beers go for $8 per six-pack, with comparable specialty imports priced a bit higher. But four years ago I paid $28 for a single bottle of De Dolle Brouwers 20th-anniversary ale at a Belgian beer joint named Monk’s Café in Philadelphia. It was a remarkable 750-milliliter bottle that I split with three friends—but it still cost $28.

Think that’s crazy? Then so was the $45 I spent last month on a bottle of a fairly average cabernet-shiraz blend at a local restaurant. We’ve grown as accustomed to paying those prices for wine as we have to paying bottom-dollar prices for beer. But all that is changing as a handful of brewers challenge boundaries of formulation, vision, and marketing—and in the process open up craft beer to new price levels.

Consider the most expensive regularly released beer in the world, Samuel Adams Utopias, with a retail price between $120 and $160. The 2007 release of Utopias is also the world’s strongest beer, at 27 percent alcohol by volume. (Despite cries of “That’s not really beer!” Utopias certainly is beer. It was made from almost all malt, though small amounts of maple syrup were used; it was fermented to its full strength; and there was no distillation, fortification, or concentration used, which would be illegal under the terms of Boston Beer’s brewing license.) But that’s not why it’s so pricey. It’s a blend of rare and expensive aged beers, some dating back 13 years and most aged in a variety of barrels: bourbon, sherry, port, and scotch. There are, as company founder and president Jim Koch puts it, “a ton of ingredients in there, and it takes time measured in months and years.” The process also includes years of research and ideas that didn’t pan out, yeast breeding and training, the patience to hold onto the older beers, and careful blending. The bottle’s pretty nifty too: It’s an individually numbered, copper-toned decanter in the shape of a brew kettle, complete with working doors.

Happily, the beer delivers on its promise. “You’re tasting flavors that have never been created before, tastes people never tasted before,” Koch gushes—and he’s right. The brewery sponsors a promotional tour in which people are encouraged to taste Utopias blind against a Fonseca port from the excellent 1994 vintage and Cognac Frapin XO, which are both highly acclaimed—and significantly more expensive—drinks. Though not a wine or spirit, Utopias is clearly in the same league as these two beverages, with a deep complexity of flavors that reveal themselves on the tongue: malt, mint, a hint of smoke, caramel, and a wash of warm fruit flavors that finishes with a slow, lingering comfort.

The Boston Beer Co. released 12,000 bottles in October, and it doesn’t anticipate having problems selling them. In fact, retailers—which include fine restaurants, fancy liquor stores, and even the occasional corner shop—complain about not getting enough.

Three Floyds, a microbrewery in Munster, Indiana, makes an imperial stout called Dark Lord. The company sells it only at the brewery, on one day a year in April (Dark Lord Day), and it charges $15 for a 22-ounce bottle. That’s not wildly expensive, but the entire run—over 7,000 bottles—is sold on that one day; two years ago, the brewery had to institute a six-bottle-per-person limit.

Link to article.

Xmas 2007?? Do you dare?

How the Grinch Stole Hopzilla

How the Grinch Stole Hopzilla

Every Brewer
Down in Brew-ville
Liked Hopzilla a lot...

But the Grinch,
Who lived North of Brew-ville,
Did NOT!

It seems that all the brewers in Brew-ville will be singing a different tune when they find out that the Hop Grinch stole Hopzilla, as well as some of their other favorite recipes.

It seems that the Grinch's hop yield this year is three sizes too small!

A world wide hop shortage has left the brewers in Brew-ville with less hops than last year and, with some varieties, the cupboards are bare. We are doing our best to deal with the laws of supply and demand but are forced to act like Scrooge and hope that Cindy Loo will soon come to our rescue. In the mean time, the Hop Grinch is holding Hopzilla hostage.

You're a mean one Mr.Grinch!

This jingle brought to you by IncrediBrew. www.incredibrew.com

Tragic Story sees light at the end of the Tunnel...

I read this story today for the first time and at first I wasn't going to post it on the blog. I then realized that this was an inspirational story that should be shared. Life goes on and good beer will survive.

(It's interesting that Mass is noted as one of the states it is distributed.)


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Dixie comes North

Southern beer finds temporary home in Wisconsin
Posted: Nov. 29, 2007

The former Dixie Brewery building is seen in New Orleans last month.

Dixie beer has seen hard times since it was born in the land of cotton. But, thanks to a Wisconsin brewery, it won't be forgotten.

Even though its New Orleans brewery remains out of commission because of Hurricane Katrina, Dixie beer is again being sold in a growing number of states.

That revival is made possible by Minhas Craft Brewery, formerly Huber Brewing, in the southern Wisconsin community of Monroe, which has been hired by Dixie to brew and package its beer.

Dixie Brewing Co. owners Joe and Kendra Bruno picked the Monroe brewery in part because its central location within the United States makes it a good place to ship Dixie beer throughout the country.

The Brunos also said they were impressed with both the Minhas facility and the spirit of the brewery's employees.

"The heartbeat of Huber was the heartbeat we were looking for," said Joe Bruno, referring to the historic name of the brewery, whose Wisconsin roots reach back over 160 years.

The brewery was sold in 2006 to Ravinder and Manjit Minhas, two young Canadian siblings of Indian descent.

The Minhases operate Calgary, Alberta-based Mountain Crest Brewing Corp., which brews its beer in Monroe before exporting most of it to Canada.

Dixie itself has a long history, and in October celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Brunos plan to reopen the New Orleans brewery within two years.

They also plan to build a rooftop beer garden in hopes of drawing some of the millions of visitors attracted to the Big Easy each year.

The iron gates are still closed at the former Dixie Brewing Co. in New Orleans, more than two years after Hurricane Katrina flooded the brewery and looters devastated it. But Dixie beer is again being brewed thanks to Wisconsin's Minhas Craft Brewery, formerly Huber Brewing.

Brewing begins

Minhas Craft Brewery earlier this year began brewing and packaging three Dixie Brewing brands: the flagship Dixie Lager, Jazz Amber Light and Blackened Voodoo Lager. Dixie's brewmaster, Kevin Stuart, has flown to Monroe to oversee the production according to the recipes for the beers.

The latest batch of Dixie was packaged on Nov. 12, said Gary Olson, Minhas Craft Brewery president. The next batch is scheduled for January, he said.

The Dixie brands are now available in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, with Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York being added this month, according to Distinguished Brands International, a Littleton, Colo., firm that is marketing the beers.

A third wave of shipments will be made to the remaining 34 continental states in January and February, according to a Distinguished Brands statement.

Bruno said he's taking things slowly, in part because he doesn't want to expand faster than Dixie can fill orders from its distributors.

Also, the flood wiped out all of Dixie's business records, which has affected the company's recovery, Kendra Bruno said.

In the New Orleans area, where Dixie is a longtime local favorite, drinkers have been snapping up six-packs since its return, said Peter Zuppardo, who operates Zuppardo's Economical Super Market, in Metairie, La.

"They have a very loyal following down here," Zuppardo said.

Dixie's return is a story of survival.

The flooding that occurred after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 left much of the brewery under 7 to 9 feet of water, Bruno said.

After the floodwater receded, the looters struck. They ripped out the brew kettles and other copper fixtures to sell for scrap, he said.

"They took pieces of history," Kendra Bruno said.

Since then, the Brunos have been cleaning up.

Dixie Brewing didn't have flood insurance, so the Brunos are planning to use disaster relief funds, a Small Business Administration loan, and other financing sources to rebuild the brewery and create the beer garden.

Meanwhile, they've been gradually increasing production in Monroe.

At Minhas Craft Brewery, Olson said, it feels good to be playing a role in Dixie's revival.

Olson is not a fan of light beer, but said he enjoys Jazz Amber Light. Blackened Voodoo Lager reminds Olson of Berghoff Dark, which is brewed in Monroe.

Joe Bruno appreciates the work done in Monroe. But he's also eager to bring brewing back to Dixie's New Orleans home.

"There's nothing like having your own brewery," he said.

A gaping hole now resides where a large copper tank once stood at the former Dixie Brewery before looters made off with it.

Link to article.

Snow Blower Stout to be offered by Sumttynose Brewery this winter

Snow Blower Stout to be offered by Sumttynose Brewery this winter at the Mason and Barley Pub. Sounds like a great idea. Lets take a trip!!


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Brew for the people: Smuttynose crafts special stout for local pub

Foster's Daily Democrat
updated 12:00 p.m. ET, Fri., Nov. 30, 2007

Dover, NH - It's a beer they call their own. A smooth, dark stout that finishes with a hint of coffee was just what Barley Pub owner Scott Mason wanted when he approached Smuttynose Brewing Co. with the idea. Mason wanted a "session beer," one that people could enjoy after work, or over a snack with friends.

And with a name like Snow Blower Stout, it's a beer bent on bringing every belly to the bar.

"We were looking for something that fits what we do here better, a local-type beer," Mason said at the beer's unveiling Thursday. "We wanted something not too high on alcohol, easy to drink but not to light or watery; something interesting."

As Mason explains at the debut party, it is a beer that won't overwhelm you with alcohol, but still leaves just enough flavor in your mouth. With glass upon glass of the dark stuff lining the bar, the beer seemed a success.

The impetus behind the new beer was to provide customers with a beer that represented the pub and community. In the past, the pub's identity has been attached to it's special winter promotion of offering Guinness for $2 a pint every time it snows, dubbed "when it snows it flows," Mason said.

Ultimately, Mason wanted a "session beer," where people could have a few after work but not be overwhelmed by its alcohol content. He also wanted a craft brew he could use to replace Guinness as his "snow" beer.

"I'm excited and honored that Smuttynose did this," Mason said. "When I asked, they didn't hesitate, they were more than willing to do it."

A few weeks ago, Mason and Barley Pub staff went down to the Smuttynose Brewery in Portsmouth and helped Smuttynose Brewer J.T. Thompson brew just the right beer. Thompson was at the pub Thursday, uncorking the first keg and pouring the first beer. Thompson said the beer's taste had just the right amount of sweetness and roasted flavor. He was also able to level the beer's alcohol content at 4.0. As a point of reference, Budweiser and Bud Light are about 5.0 and 4.3 percent alcohol respectively.

"You can have a few of these beers and not be knocked on your butt," Thompson said.

As of late, there has been a trend of pubs requesting "extreme beers," beers with high alcohol contents, Thompson said. But he hopes Snow Blower Stout will be a start of a new trend.

"I hope we see more of these session beers brewed and less extreme beers, and get the trend back to center," he added.

Along with a unique taste, the beer was also ushered in with a unique tap handle crafted in the shape of snow blower blades and a shield, designed by local artist Chris Smith.

A large crowd packed into the pub to grab a first taste of the stout and most gave the beer a thumbs up.

"It has a nice finish to it and doesn't fill you up, like a lot of stouts do," said patron David Cass.

Portsmouth resident Josh Smith said he liked the beer's roasted barley taste and was pleased how the pub and brewery teamed up to make the beer.

"It's great that a local pub would contact a local brewery to brew something good and appealing for local people," he said.

The beer will be offered at $4 a pint and will be part of a new winter promotion dubbed "when it snows it blows," where the beer will be sold at $2 a pint. The beer will be served until spring and then pulled for the summer, only to return again next winter.

Link to article