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Beer Insights Extras

Extra beer business news, thoughts and insights from the publishers of Beer Marketer’s Insights, Insights Express, Craft Brew News, Beverage Business Insights and Alcohol Issues Insights.

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Founder of Beer Marketer's Insights, Jerry Steinman, was honored at Beer Insititute's annual meeting with the Jeff Becker Industry Service Award.  Jerry, age 92, traveled from NY to Portland to accept the award and was joined for this momentous occasion by son Benj (prexy of BMI), grandson David (assistant editor at BMI) along with consultant son Glen, who lives in Hong Kong.

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What an honor for Jerry!  Thanks, BI.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_BeerYoga.jpgWhile some yoga purists aren’t too enthused about beer (or any alcohol) drinking, many breweries are hosting yoga classes that bring more men to the events and offer a welcome social component to the yoga practice.

Yoga/beer combinations range from innovator “Happy Hour Yoga with Joe Sixpack” in Philly since 2008 (“a lively one-hour all-levels yoga workshop led by Mrs. Sixpack, followed by a free tutored beer sampling with Joe Sixpack” www.joesixpack.net), to Brew Asanas in CO (www.brewasanas.com) , Bendy Brewski in Charleston, SC, BeerYoga at Port City Brewing Company (http://www.portcitybrewing.com/events/beer-yoga-at-port-city) and Detox to Retox held monthly in DC (www.eventbrite.com ) in the DC area, Hoppy Yoga in San Diego at various local breweries (www.hoppyyoga.com) and Detox Retox in LA (a 2 mile run followed by a 90 minute strong yoga class and beers, with weekend classes at Golden Road and Angel City breweries (http://tigerfood.net/fun-runs/).    And more.  These classes are popping up at breweries and bars near you.

A recent Washington Post article suggests that pairing beer and yoga removes some of the pretense that can surround yoga.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2015/06/16/local-breweries-embrace-the-combination-of-beer-and-yoga/

I enjoy both yoga and beer.  So cheers…and namaste; bringing a new level of mindfulness to beer tasting.

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Forbidden Root Botanic Beers Come to NY

Forbidden Root Brewing Company from Chicago introduced its botanic beers to NY at Red Farm's Decoy farm-to-table restaurant last night.

Founder and "Rootmaster" Robert Finkel, brewmaster BJ Pichman, Director of Sales Lincoln Anderson and Director or Restaurant Operations Terry Kane, along with newest member of the team Henry, formerly with The Pony Bar, presented 4 of their beers:

WPA Wildflower Pale Ale - the most subtle and delicate beer in their "flavor-forward portfolio" made with sweet osmanthus, marigold and elder flower, paired with 3 hops.

Sublime Ginger - a light, refreshing wheat-based beer.  They tested over 40 different varieties of ginger and 40 different varieties of citrus to come up with the formula.  They ended up with a blend of 2 types of ginger that offered flavor and roundness without spicy heat, and a key lime without the oil for acidity, with lemon myrtle and honeybush to add a bit of fruity, tropical taste.

Forbidden Root Beer - their flagship beer that started it all.  BJ described: "I like to think of it as a magic trick.  It really fools the senses.  It tricks you into thinking it's going to be something really sweet and soda-like, and it turns into something you've never had before.  It finishes very dry and clean; a very interesting experience on the palate; very complex, ... fun."

And finally, Divine Mud "Heavy Petal" - a big imperial stout with dark bitter chocolate, magnolia flower and pecans.

Robert was inspired to take herbs, roots and spices and design beers around them.  Forbidden Root  beers are in Chicago, with a botanic pub and restaurant coming soon, in Peoria, Champaign and Rockford last week, and now in NY.

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No doubt about it – Portland is a fantastic city.  So many breweries (58 in the city proper and 83 in the Portland Metro Area per the Oregon Craft Brewer’s Guild), loads of great restaurants and food trucks, and more and more cider, too.  Not to mention all of the nearby wineries for those who prefer their alcohol from grapes instead of hops. 

The weekend before CBC we were able to explore without all 11,000 CBC attendees competing for taxis.  And it seemed that some BA folks had a similar idea, since we kept running into them (see pics).

Within a 5 minute walk we visited Cascade Brewing Company, Buckman Botanical Brewery, the Rogue shop (while we enjoyed sampling a Voodoo Donut, we didin’t get the chance to sample Rogue’s beer version), recently opened Common Brewery and Hair of the Dog Brewing Company.  Lots of folks eating and drinking there.

We also visited Deschutes, Bridgeport and McMenamins pub. So many breweries and brewpubs, so little time….

 

Interestingly, saw a sign in the window saying “Full Sail Research Brewery Coming Soon” next to etched glass saying “Independent Employee Owned Full Sail Brewing Company at River Place,” despite the fact that they sold to Private Equity firm Encore and other investors, ending their ESOP. 

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Tagged in: CBC Portland
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BMI met up with Rodenbach brewmaster Rudi Ghequire and Latis Imports co-founder David van Wees and others at a special tasting at the Belgian Beer Bar in NY last night.  

The tasting featured top-rated Rodenback Grand Cru, Caractére Rouge, along with a session beer and limited edition Foeder Bier.  The Grand Cru is aged in oak for 2 years, whereas the Caractére Rouge is aged an additional 6 months, adding cherries, raspberries and cranberries during that extra period.  Both of these beers are complex and almost wine-like.

The brewery and brewmaster Rudi Ghequire have long histories with sour beer.  Their West Flanders, Belgium brewery houses the largest storage of sour beer in the world – 294 vats.

Rudi's been drinking mostly sour beer since he was 11!  Their sours have 2 year cycles, and are able to take advantage of "positive selection".  The brewery produces 45K hectoliters, and has capacity for 180K hectoliters. Rodenbach is owned by Palm Brewery since 1998.

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Tagged in: Rodenbach Sour Beer
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On our recent visit to Northern Spain, we found a nascent craft beer scene.  While local Rioja, Albarino and Cava wines and are most ubiquitous in San Sebastian, a gastronomic destination (more Michelin rated restaurants per square meter than any other city except Kyoto; more than Paris and New York!), “artisanal” beers are starting to make their presence known.

At Arzak, a 3 star Michelin restaurant, a pintxo (Basque for tapas) starter called “Black Pudding and Beer” is served on top of a crushed Kellerbier can!  Ni Neu in San Sebastian proudly displays brews from local Gar & Gar & Basqueland Brewing.

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At Nerua in the Guggenheim Bilbao, diners can choose between two Baladin Italian craft brews and Altura de Vuela from Fernandez Pon in Valencia.

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One retail shop, which just last week featured a variety of European craft beers, now features one regional product per week with a full craft beer selection available downstairs.  This week the feature is Valencia oranges, and Mikkeller Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter is included with the display.

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We also sampled some Dougall’s craft brews, Raquera & their IPA.  The brewery’s tag line is “Piensa Global – Bebe Local” or Think Global – Drink Local.  Sound familiar?

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Early stages, but it appears that the craft beer scene in one of Europe’s gastronomic centers is on the rise. 

Tagged in: Craft Beer
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In Basque country, just outside San Sebastian, Spain, you’ll find traditional Cider Houses (Sagardotegias) between January and April.  Here, the price of admission gets you tastes from many different wooden barrels (kupelas) of apple juice, fermented without added sugar or gas.  We heard the cry “txotx” (pronounced chotch), meaning tap or break out the cider throughout our visit.  After each txotx we were called to a different cask, which we were instructed to fill holding the glass low at an angle to collect the stream as the glass is slowly raised, aerating the cider and collecting about two fingers worth from each sampled barrel.

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We visited Gartziategi, possibly the oldest cider house in operation, since it’s mentioned in 16th century documents. It produces 100,000 liters of cider per year. Our visit coincided with Carnival, a period of parades, costumes marching bands and celebrations. Since children have school vacation for the Carnival celebration, our Monday afternoon visit was packed and included many families, both local Basque and out-of-town visitors.

 

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Along with the cider tastings, family-style large platters of food are presented, without individual plates.  First crusty fresh bread, then a cod omelet, next cod fish with pepper, onions and garlic, a huge grilled salted T-bone steak served rare, and finally walnuts and quince jelly served with local sheep milk cheese.

Txotx!

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Tagged in: Cider
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Jerry Steinman, Founder of Beer Marketer's Insights, celebrates his 91st birthday.  He says that he has "almost no regrets" about his life.  May we all be as fortunate!

Tagged in: Jerry Steinman
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Caught up in pulling together today’s government affairs-focused issue of Craft Brew News, a series of comments late in President Obama’s State of the Union resonated. Speaking of “partisanship and gridlock” in Washington, and those who “benefit” from it, the President invoked an American public fed up with the politicians who serve them. “This isn’t what you signed up for,” he paraphrased the sentiment of some legislators in the audience. So, “imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.”

 

Breaking the patterns. Approaching politics differently. My mind immediately went to Florida, where small brewers have used grassroots efforts to garner the support of vocal beer drinkers (and constituents) to achieve their political goals. “Grassroots” is in no way “new,” though it does run counter to status quo. For the past two legislative sessions, even grassroots hasn’t succeeded and questions remain about how impactful the public will be on beer policy in Florida. But some seem to believe things will go differently this year. Small brewers in Florida have started expressing some of the same idealism that President Obama offered Tuesday night.

 

While not spoken, the president of the Florida Brewers Guild and Due South Brewing owner Mike Halker gave his own sort of SOTU: an in-depth explanation of where small brewers in Florida stand, what they want and what they’re up against. Mike posted the missive to Due South’s blog, specifically noting that he wrote it “not as the president of the FBG, but just as a guy in the middle of it all.” In it, Mike lays out the “complicated” picture of beer politics in his state, giving voice to observers that  ask “‘When will this be over?’ The short answer is, probably never,” he answers before launching into his view of the business of politics in Florida and how it’s affected small brewers there.

 

He notes that the FBG’s “prior weakness has little to do with the reason we don’t have 64 oz growlers.” Instead, “it’s the strength of our opponent.” Mixing a perhaps idealistic hope for the success of brewers’ rabble rousing with a little rabble rousing itself, he adds that “the reason it’s going to pass this year is not because we’re so much stronger, it’s that we’ve successfully painted them as the bastards they are. Not by ourselves mind you, but by engaging the craft beer supporters in Florida.” He concludes the thought by asking readers to “believe me, after last session, there are legislators walking around the capital right now thinking, ‘Just don’t piss off the craft brewers.’” At same time big brewers and wholesalers alike still have plenty of clout in Tallahassee (and elsewhere), clout that will not be easily eroded. They probably won’t like being called “bastards” either. In any case, smashmouth seems to be becoming more common, even if the tactic’s success rate is unclear at best.

 

But don’t assume for a minute that small brewers in Florida depend solely on the support of the public. Just as they’ve used traditional press and new technology to bring public scrutiny to the kinds of conversations often reserved for back rooms at the capital, pulling the game out into the open, the brewers “have better relationships with legislators,” are “more organized and connected.” The same could be said of many other small brewer associations across the country, including the nationally focused Brewers Association. Even politically, the craft segment is growing both ways: digging out smaller niches and going more mainstream. As it spreads wider, putting feet on the ground to gain support in more areas, it attempts to bring politics back to a future where constituents have more pull than campaign donations. At the same time, it’s becoming more sophisticated and savvy at playing by the current rules.


2015 could be a year when these dual strategies will be tested: if not nationally, then perhaps in Florida.

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While in San Francisco for the California Beer & Beverage Distributors meeting, Beer Marketer’s Insights visited Mikkeller Bar.  Danish owner and gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergso opened the self-proclaimed “greatest beer hall ever” about a year ago in the Tenderloin. (His twin brother Jeppe owns “Evil Twin” in Brooklyn.)

On a Saturday afternoon, Mikkeller Bar filled up with a coed group celebrating a birthday, singles, couples and multi-generational families. 

42 brews are organized on the menu by the temperature at which they’re served (45, 40, or 55°). They tout their “flux capacitor” gas blending system.  We happily sampled:

Mikkeller Winbic  |  Sour Lambic & Saison Blend   |  6% 

Mikkeller Spontancassis  |  Sour Lambic w/ Cassis  |   7.7% 

Amager/Three Floyds Arctic SunStone  |  American Pale Ale  |  6%, and

Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper  |  Imperial Stout  | 10%

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Craft Brew News was only able to visit a fraction of the Asheville breweries when we were there for the Sierra Nevada Sales Conference.  The city has great beer (and food!).  It's designation as a Top Beer Town in America is well deserved.  Home to 14 breweries within city limits, not including New Belgium's east cost locale currently under construction. 

We visited Green Man Brewery, owned by former beer wholesaler Dennis Thies, who is planning an expansion into the 2 adjacent lots.  The expanded facility will include a new rooftop beer garden, bigger fermenters, and a new packaging facility. Dennis will also be partner brewing at Brew Hub in FL next year.

Wedge Brewing in the River Arts District, is around the corner from the New Belgium site.  The site's interesting metal sculptures fit their slogan, "Beer is Art."  A band was warming up outside during our visit.

Both Green Man & Wedge rely on rotating food trucks to complement their brews.

Wicked Weed downtown brewed 2800 bbls last year and is on track to brew 5000 this year.  They have a Sour House, a Barrel House and just opened a Funk House called the Funkatorium a few blocks away.   Wicked Weed self-distributes in Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte & Asheville.

In addition to brewery visits, local brews are available in LOTS of bars and restaurants.  We particularly enjoyed the signage outside The Thirsty Monk

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Pics from Green Man Brewery visit:

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from Wicked Weed Brewery visit:

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from Wedge Brewing visit:

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Tagged in: Asheville Breweries
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Sierra Nevada showed off its new brewery on 216 acres in Mills Falls, near Asheville, NC during its 1st national sales meeting this week.  The brewery's attention to quality, detail and sustainability is impressive.  

The brewery site boasts French Broad River frontage, and will eventually include a kyack dock, amphitheater and cabins along with hiking and biking trails.  Sierra Nevada sent trees cleared for construction to local mills, and used that wood to construct the brewery's hand rails, floor boards, casings, etc.  Solar panels and an electric car charging station also demonstrate Sierra's green focus.

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Sierra Nevada is adding an "outside the glass," consumer-facing focus to their "inside the glass" quality focus, per Joe Whitney.

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 The new brewery will add about 250K barrels this year; the goal is 350K.  Its eventual capacity is 800K barrels.

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Posted by on in Craft Brew News

Part of my job as a business reporter covering the craft beer industry for the last 4 years has been to read almost everything I can get my hands on that has anything, even marginally to do with craft beer, small brewers and larger competitors.  I’ve read more “New Brewery On Tap for Downtown X-ville” articles than I could possibly count.  More “Craft Beer Bubbling Up in Blah-dee-town” and “Locals Hopping for Small Brewery’s Wares” pieces than probably most other folks out there obsessing over this industry.  I’ve often been stunned as seemingly every local paper or state business journal or alt weekly available online has at least dipped their toes in addressing how the growth of small brewers in the US has touched or will touch their readership.


It’s been gratifying to watch since I joined this industry in 2010 on a whim, on a chance.  My father’s worked for Beer Marketer’s Insights since before I was born.  I knew the people at BMI but nothing of what they did or the industry they covered.  Not while stuffing orange newsletters in envelopes as a teenager.  Not while teaching and tutoring standardized tests in NYC after graduating college, trying to make it as a director/choreographer in the big city.  I’ve often heard people refer to having “ah hah” moments upon tasting some beer for the first time, a “beer that changed everything,” and wondered what that’s like.  Revelation didn’t come in the form of flavor for me.  Instead, researching this industry, reading about the companies that built it and writing a “dummy issue” of Craft Brew News (and trust me, it was pretty dummy, save parts of the Facebook article that Benj decided to print in the second official issue) changed the course of my life.


Regular readers of Craft Brew News may recognize a few common themes that have popped up again and again in our text.  One of our favorites has been the “mainstreaming” of craft: TV shows, celebrity endorsements, fast-casual restaurant and convenience store sales, session brands and an endless list of other phenomena wherein “craft beer” has acted a bit more or felt a bit more like just plain “beer.”  Regular readers may have also noticed that simultaneous to this movement towards the center, craft has continued expanding out along the edges, pushing further the boundaries of what “beer” could possibly be understood to be.  Just as craft beer has become more accessible, more affordable, more drinkable, it’s also become harder to find, buy and guzzle with abandon.  


I’ve long posited that this movement in
both directions contributes to craft’s continued health and growth.


Put another way:
without this movement in both directions, craft probably isn’t as healthy, doesn’t grow as quickly.


Right along with those locally-focused overviews of craft -- printed by ever-smaller papers as ever-smaller brewers started affecting ever-smaller communities -- I’ve also had to read the growing number of “think pieces” offered to the universe that dissect “the big picture.”  Doing that without mis-stepping or mis-stating is no easy task.


In a brief email interaction with a rep from a small brewery recently, “grinding” was the response to “how are things?” -- “you too?” I replied.  Par for the course, as far as I can tell: everyone’s running to keep up.  That’s been the basic story from the largest small brewer, that giant among pygmies (scratch that, reverse it), Boston Beer, so far this year on its quarterly earnings calls: “chasing the growth” to the point that it’s affecting efficiency, operations and yes, earnings.  I imagine newsrooms across the country are no different: running to keep up with an ever-faster news cycle, publishing content without deep research, confirmations or counter-arguments ever heard.  Just get it out the door!  So no surprise, really, news story or think piece, we end up with a broad range: total gem to lump of coal.


It doesn’t take a genius to extend the metaphor: we end up with a broad range of beers these days too.  Everyone running to keep up and all, follow their passions, grab a piece of the pie.  I could spin off any number of the thoughts above into separate posts (and in an ideal world, I will, but let’s not make any promises; running to keep up and all).  To try to bring it all together, let’s take a moment to re-imagine the “pieces of the pie” that brewers of all sizes are working to grab.


Market share is most easily represented graphically as a pie chart, right?  And just like those pies you eat, companies or segments or brands or groups of those things are typically represented by differently-sized slices for comparison’s sake.  It works because anyone who’s taken a bit of geometry (and likely many who haven’t) can look at a pair of slices and tell you which one is larger than the other. 


But what if we think about the craft segment not as a slice of the beer-pie, but as the crust, say: a ring around the outside of this circle (which is probably more like a sphere, but let’s not get too complex too quickly). 


If we assume the outer-edges of beer are bordered by non-beer beverages -- wine, spirits, soda -- and probably food too, you can start to imagine how the overlap between beer and wine, for example, is already being explored (not hard to name a few brands that belong in the center piece of that Venn Diagram).  As more and more circles of related products are added into the mix (again, spheres may be more accurate) it’s also pretty clear that craft doesn’t occupy the
entire outer ring of the “beer” circle.  Flavored malt beverages take a chunk there -- not exactly what everyone thinks of when they hear the word “beer,” but part of the segment regardless.  Cider, depending on who you ask, has a small chunk of a couple different circles (spheres?). 


The resulting image is more akin to an amorphous blob with blurring borders than our once easy-reading pie.  But it’s this view that helps me explain what I see happening in craft beer as it relates to the total beer category.  Craft expands in all directions, getting closer and closer to the heart of “beer” in the popular imagination while simultaneously crossing boundaries into other categories and yes, even into the white space where nothing yet exists.  It seems to me that this is part of the reason why craft's been so difficult to define (nail down) and why that may only get harder.  


It also seems to me that the passion ignited in beer drinkers by the boundary-pushing experimental beers (visible in long-lines, ticket-sell-outs, avid trading and more) allows brewers to exert that force against whatever historical standard or circumstance drew the borders.  Said another way: the money beer lovers are willing to pay, the effort they’re willing to take to taste these beers on the bleeding edge allows brewers to invest in the expense of making them in the first place.


I recently confronted a think piece -- one of those "big picture" dissections -- that seemed to suggest that as craft moves closer to the center (as I put it above), asking beer drinkers to pay for more-expensive limited offerings with hard-earned money or time seems somehow like a foolish endeavor, especially now that drinkers have so many high-quality, cheaper, easier to find options.  


I get it, but this doesn't jibe with my view.  Instead, I see room for
both/and.  For beer marketers to put beer in every corner store the world over and to hide it in a haystack that can only be found by buying a treasure map and breaking its code.  To satisfy a drinker’s flavor expectations of “beer” and to explode those expectations.  To make a beer that somehow does both and then hide it behind the milk in every corner store the world over.  To dig deeper to the core and to expand out around the edges.  This is how craft has grown and, I suspect, how it will continue to grow.  Both ways.


There was a time, soon after I first started writing for Craft Brew News, when I pored over those articles about new breweries in local papers and when shorter versions of them or round-ups of multiple stories found their way into CBN.  Put another way: when we believed our readers would find great value in those stories.  I read more of them now on a weekly basis than I have in 4 years.  Paradoxically, I write about them less, perhaps incorrectly assessing the diminished value we now believe our readers would attach to them.  The fairly consistent acceleration of their printing tracks pretty closely to the acceleration of craft’s overall growth, it seems to me.  These local stories help broaden the meaning of “beer” in new pockets and corners of the country, pushing the boundaries of craft’s sphere of influence you could say.  Other publications that initiated craft-coverage years ago simultaneously identify ways that craft moves closer to the center, develops a closer relationship with their readership.  Those that find value in the former story might see less value in the latter and vice versa, but both can serve to change minds and further widen the borders of the segment.  Borders stretch and become more porous.  And craft grows.

Tagged in: Analysis Craft Beer
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Well known beer industry consultant Mike Mazzoni and his wife Nancy sold their Tapit filly for $1.15 million at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale last night.  

Congratulations, Mike & Nancy!

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more details at http://www.drf.com/news/fasig-tipton-saratoga-tapit-filly-tops-opening-session

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Despite outcome of yesterday's World Cup match between US and Belgium, CNN reports “how America (already) won the World Cup,” because of US’s rapidly growing “interest” in the world-wide phenomenon. For example, US vs Portugal match was “the most-watched soccer game in American history according to Nielsen figures,” at 25 mil viewers. That’s 10 mil more than the average # of viewers of Major League Baseball World Series this past yr; only college and pro Football (American) have higher avg viewers. Then too, US attendance at World Cup, social media presence and revenue for companies involved in the World Cup are at all-time highs, noted CNN.

What does this mean for beer? For starters, ABI has “hit the jackpot in Brazil,” according to CNN, with all of its sponsorships (and likely its beer sales). Secondly, with more viewers than ever before (see above), gotta think that could be a win for beer, particularly on premise. A larger percentage of young people (ages 19-29) are “closely following” the World Cup compared to all other age groups, found Pew Research. Same survey found that more U.S Hispanics across all age-ranges followed the World Cup at least “fairly closely” or “very closely” than any other race demographic. Tho gotta note, it'll be interesting to see how much US viewers pay attention now that both U.S and Mexico teams eliminated.

Separately, NY Times listed beer 2nd to only tennis when describing ongoing competition between US and Belgium over the yrs. Paper points to growing popularity of “Belgian-style white beers, like Blue Moon,” that “have been co-opted and produced by American brewers.” Editor’s note: not to mention all the craft-brewed Belgian style beers, and the 3rd largest craft brewery, named “New Belgium.” But NY Times seemingly gives Belgium the nod, since “Belgian brewing conglomerate InBev bought Anheuser Busch in 2008, putting a Belgian stamp on some of the most iconic American beer brands.” So Belgium may have won the match, and the NY Times Beer Cup, but US has plenty good to take away from this yr's World Cup.

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Tony offered 2014 Beer Insights Spring Conference attendees a tour of their new Chicago brewery on Monday, 6/9. As he put it: "The place is pretty epic and the tour will show what it is that we have been doing there for the last 25 months!" The 300,000 sq ft brewery will include a tasting room, a performance space and room for expansion. Attendees enjoyed a sneak peek and cold Lagunitas brews. Thanks, Tony!

 

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SAVOR in DC - our American Craft Beer & Food Experience

We enjoyed the sold out 17th annual SAVOR event in DC last weekend in the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.  Featuring 76 craft breweries from 29 states, with 4,000 attendees over 2 nights, we had the opportunity to sample lots of good beer & food on Saturday night.

IPAs abounded (we counted 21 IPAs and 10 Imperial IPAs), but Wild/Sour Ales were also prevalent (15 offerings), along with lots of other styles to sample.

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Beer & Wine Hybrids Salon at SAVOR

Eric Biermann & Jon Messier from Lucid Brewing presented their "experiments" in creating a hybrid between beer and wine.  They described themselves as 2 former corporate guys.  Why did they decide to blend beer and wine? "Why not?"  But it's different science.  The blend is challenged by low ph, and by the fact that wine yeast gets more aggressive with age and starts to take over the beer.

Silo Saison (made with traditional French saison yeast) was combined with Frontenac Gris, a Minnesota fruity white wine, to create Halucidation 2013.  The Salon sampling was the 1st time it had ever left Minnesota. 

Their 1st attempt at a beer-wine hybrid, Halucidation 2012, was deemed "a failure" by the Lucid team."  Interesting that they were willing to share that failed experiment with SAVOR Salon attendees!

Lucid is going to keep doing the beer-wine hybrids for 2 reasons -- it's fun, and they engage with a new group, the wine drinking community.  Their recommendations for others: "Make sure the majority of the alcohol is coming from the malt," and "As long as you don't do anything stupid with flavor profiles, you won't mess it up too bad."

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Posted by on in Updates

Ok, here goes round 2 update on the BMI experience through the eyes of the 3rd generation.  We’ve sorta slowed down on the whole blog thing, for starters, but that’s partly why I’m here now writing this.   Since my first entry, I’ve done a good bit of traveling for the co.  In early Feb I went to Aruba for Mich & Ill’s annual distrib mtg (somebody’s gotta do the tuff work around here, ya know).  There I got to speak with plenty of wholesalers, and also covered speeches from Independent Beverage Group’s Joe Thompson, Lagunitas’ Tony Magee, and Tenth & Blake prexy Tom Cardella, among others.  A week later my dad and I were off to Chicago, where we managed to squeeze in visits to Reyes HQ, Lagunitas brewery-to-be, Windy City, Two Bros pub brewery & warehouse, and Half Acre.  We met up with as many people as we physically could fit in to our 24 hr schedule that Molly Reilly meticulously planned out for us.   So a week after hearing Joe talk more about “distrib systems of the future,” I got to see it first-hand at Reyes HQ.  And after visiting Tony at his Chicago facility, I can safely say I now know what 300K sq-ft of warehouse space looks like – friggin’ huge!   

 

Lots happened in Chicago since our visit.  Lagunitas just started shipping IPA outta the new facility and plans to start making Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’ this May.  All while Tony and co scour the country in search of 3d facility (wonder which state will create the 1st “bring Lagunitas to our state” Facebook page, write the 1st song, change a law, build a sandcastle!?).  Half Acre now has a 60K sq-ft 2nd facility in the works within walking distance of current one.  Also, Half Acre managed to switch over to Windy City for Chi metro area distribution while Chicago Beverage Systems holds on to brand downtown (where it does most of its biz).  Two Bros announced JV with Cavalier Distributing in Ariz for a craft-focused distribution operation. Ebel bros “not in a hurry to build a (2nd) brewery” just yet, but expecting 25% growth to 45K bbls in 2014, so quickly using up space at its Chi facility.  And Founders moved to giant AB distrib City Bevs from Louis Glunz Beer throughout Chicagoland, marking yet another hot craft brand making significant distrib change in Chi.

 

A coupla weeks after returning from Chicago, it was down to Orlando for Crown’s mtg, where they rattled off plenty of impressive numbers, and prepped everyone for the “200 mil case opportunity” they see over the next 6-7 yrs.   Throughout the rest of Mar we saw lotsa action, anything and everything from: BA altering definition of craft, Crown and Boston Beer speedy starts to yr (Modelo, Rebel IPA and Angry Orchard especially), distrib consolidation in upstate NY, big brewers pulling outta St. Patrick’s Day parades.  Then too, continued decline of domestic premium & premium light, MC mtg addressing how to “harness this new era of disruption and fragmentation,” Fortune rollout, expansions everywhere and anywhere, turmoil at state legislature level, and much much more (….breathe).  It’s pretty safe to say, there’s no shortage of material to write about these days.  

 

Fast forward to Apr; I got to attend my first Craft Brewers Conference where I was all over the place attending seminars, jotting down notes, attending events left n right, meeting a whole bunch of people, and seeing a whole lotta familiar faces.  The BMI team was in full force; we went straight to press immediately after the General Session, and throughout the rest of the week spread out to attend as many seminars as we could swing.  After I returned to NY, my grandpa, BMI founder, Mr. Jerry Steinman, told me something along the lines of “you probably learned more about business in one week than you ever did in school.”  I’m paraphrasing, and, of course, it was an exaggeration, but if we’re goin’ by a “usefulness” barometer, he’s prolly not too far off.  Not sure if that’s more of a testament to the seminars or a knock on my studies, but let’s just go with the former.   

 

The rest of April, I’d say the major news theme that struck was distrib/small brewer tension, tho of course, there were plenty other news topics across the board as well.  Indeed, “there’s a new f-word,” as Eric pointed out in latest BMI edition.  Steve Hindy’s op-ed in NY Times fired off intensified franchise law discussions, CBC carried message further, then NBWA fired back at its conference.  All while Fla bill slowly, and not so surely swung back n forth until state Senate finally voted 30-10 in favor of newly amended bill allowing growlers, packaged sales on-site up to certain % of production, among other things.  But that died in House last Friday.

 

In these last few mos we also cranked out the 1st edition of a handy little book called Craft Brew Guide.  Lotsa great data and review spanning 10 yrs of incredible growth for overall segment, top cos and top mkts.  I was happy to be able to contribute a good amount to the IRI section of the book, and little snippets elsewhere, and look forward to being able to contribute more in coming yrs too.  Shameless plug, check out the book if you haven’t, place an order while you’re at it.  

 

Ok, that brings us mostly up to date, so I think I’ll stop here.  Anyways, amidst all the above, I’ve been writing more, stat-keeping more, tweeting more, learning more, and just trying to keep up with all of the crazy.   

 

Until next time folks.  

 

 

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Steve Hindy  at NYPL 4/25 - In Defense of the Revolution

Steve Hindy and friends Kim Jordan & Charlie Papazian were interviewed by Paul Holdengräber in the LIVE from the NYPL series, joining past luminaries such as Margaret Atwood, David Byrne, Don DeLillo, Umberto Eco, Jonathan Franzen and Toni Morrison.  

Interview challenged BA members - is it really a craft revolution?  Or perhaps a revelation (of taste)...

Steve Hindy's reveal last night at the NY Public Library:  "We will be announcing an Asia project within the next few weeks."  We recently opened a brewery in Sweden.  We’ll do something similar in Asia.”

 

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