The Hazy Beer Thang: Cloudy, with a Chance of Sour

FACT:  Hazy beers have been made for over two decades. They were not even uncommon.

FACT:  Hazy beers are undissolved solids in suspension. It’s science, not magic or elevated craft beer alchemy.

FACT:  Undissolved solids in liqud suspension ALWAYS precipitate out. ALWAYS. Why? See second fact.

FACT:  The NEIPA is a fad. It will undoubtedly have some legs because some – not anywhere near all – beers made in that style are absolutely delightful. But it IS a fad and will pass, probably soon. That’s not even a criticism of it. Extreme IPAs were a fad. Ditto for pumpkin ales. And the Riedel beer glass. And the Gose craze is one now. “Fad” is not a pejorative term. It just says that this popularity, which is certainly warranted, has a shelf life. Which it does. 

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Beer sales are down…especially among the millennials

A flight of beer is served at River North Brewery on July 30, 2013.

Thinking of opening a craft brewery or a bar? You might want avoid targeting millennials in your marketing – and definitely cut back on the beer.

Goldman Sachs recently downgraded the stocks of two major brewers – Boston Beer Company (the makers of Sam Adams and Angry Orchard cider) and Constellation Brands (the third-largest beer company in the United States, and one known for importing Corona and Modelo) – due to “sluggish sales,” according to this CNBC report. The culprit? Yeah, it’s the millennials.

Apparently, younger generations aren’t drinking as much beer as they used to. The data shows they now prefer wine and spirits instead. Research firm Nielsen showed a slight decline in beer penetration across the United States compared to 2016, although wine and spirits penetration stayed about the same. But Goldman’s research revealed a shift away from beer to wine and spirits amongst those 35-44.

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An Open Letter to one Mr. Jim Caruso of Flying Dog Brewery, because actions speak louder.

Go to the profile of Kaleigh Leingang

Dear Mr. Jim Caruso of Flying Dog Brewery,

My name is Kaleigh Leingang. I am a 24-year-old journalism school dropout who found her way to the beer industry by accident.

I am small and insignificant in comparison to you, the CEO of a successful brewery. You may very well glance over this letter, roll your eyes, and stop right here. Whatever you decide, I have a duty as a woman who works for the beer industry to speak up when something is not right.

I am terribly afraid to inform you that you have grossly misunderstood the point of the Brewers Association’s updated Marketing and Advertising code if you are calling the new policy a “thinly veiled side door to censorship.”

From what I gather, you’re upset mostly with the following:

“Beer advertising and marketing materials should not: …..

i. contain sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public;

j. contain derogatory or demeaning text or images.”

It’s just a guess that this is the clause you are most concerned with, considering one of your most popular brands is a beer called “Raging Bitch.” I’m sure you’ve recognized that this is clearly a beer name that a reasonable adult consumer (FYI: women fall under this category too) may consider inappropriate. I know, I know, I’ve read all about you defending our first amendment rights (which is great, go ahead and put questionable content on a bottle of beer, just don’t whine when a significant population of consumers or fellow industry mates have opinions about it), that your female employees don’t care about the beer’s name, etc.

 

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Marijuana and the Beer Industry


There have been some reports in recent weeks which suggest that marijuana legalization is creating some drag on beer sales in states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon (and there have also been reports arguing the opposite). Although I don’t purport to know what the long-term effects of marijuana legalization will be, I can say that I see no evidence that legalization has had an effect on beer sales in the short term.

Let’s delve into the (scant) existing evidence and why I differ on this issue from some other analysts.

Dissecting the Data
First, I think there are data issues with some of the analyses. For example, a recent analysis by Cowen and Company used Nielsen data to note that in Denver, “total beer volumes in that market have fallen 6.4 percent year-to-date and craft beer volumes have dipped five percent.” Now, I think Nielsen data is great, and I don’t doubt that in the channels they measure those numbers have some validity, but the problem is that Denver is probably one of the markets where scan/POS misses the most volume given the incredibly strong craft on-premise scene.

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Beer Flights: The Smart Way to Drink

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

5300-plus breweries in the United States and counting. Another 775 in Canada as of 2016 (and counting). A veritable explosion of new and innovative breweries in Europe’s strongholds of brewing tradition: Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.

Judges at the 2016 edition of the Great American Beer Festival evaluated 96 general categories of beer covering 161 beer styles.

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For God’s Sake, Stop Opening Breweries – The Normals Are Noticing

This isn’t for all of you. Some of you should be opening breweries. But it’s for most of you (and me, for that matter). For God’s sake, stop opening breweries. You might be OK to ignore this if you live somewhere where there isn’t a decent brewery within, say, 25 miles. And you’ve worked in an industrial setting (do you even weld, bro?). And you have extensive brewing experience. And you have a working knowledge of chemistry and biology. And you have some experience in marketing and sales. And/or you’re rich or have access to a lot of slack credit. If you don’t check these boxes and you’re contemplating a brewery business plan right now, I’m talking to you.

Because lately I keep reading about and/or visiting breweries that fail on these basic, obvious things, and it’s starting to piss me off because I’m now having to hear my macro-drinking neighbors tell me that they picked up some local brewery’s beers, but didn’t like them…and they’re 100% right. This isn’t, “oh, they usually drink Coors Lite and can’t handle real beer.” It’s “oh, that beer legitimately doesn’t taste good for a variety of reasons.” You’re always going to have differences in taste, but this is actually just poorly-made beer, and believe it or not (my palate-trained friends) while it might be hard to pick out the great from the good in terms of beer, picking out the terrible is pretty easy, and lots of people can do it.

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Lager Method

I’m a lover of all things lager- Márzen, Schwarzbier, Helles, and Pilsner are some of favorite styles. As a homebrewer, I initially avoided making lager beer due to my inability to precisely control fermentation temperature. Once I finally got my chamber setup and made a couple lagers using more traditional fermentation schedules, I found myself avoiding them due to how long they took to finish. I also began wondering how I might be able to hasten the process. I had learned that with precise control of my temperature, I could turn most ales around in 2 weeks and wondered why I couldn’t use this control to do the same with lager beers. I made a couple batches that came out surprisingly well, played with the method for a few months, and was gradually convincing myself the days of 2 month lagers were behind me. After numerous successful batches, I happen to catch an episode of The Session on The Brewing Network where Mike “Tasty” McDole mentioned how he takes lager grain-to-glass in 2 weeks using precise control of fermentation temperature. This was validating, particularly since I was aiming for a much less anxiety provoking 3-4 week turnaround.I’m a lover of all things lager- Márzen, Schwarzbier, Helles, and Pilsner are some of favorite styles. As a homebrewer, I initially avoided making lager beer due to my inability to precisely control fermentation temperature. Once I finally got my chamber setup and made a couple lagers using more traditional fermentation schedules, I found myself avoiding them due to how long they took to finish. I also began wondering how I might be able to hasten the process. I had learned that with precise control of my temperature, I could turn most ales around in 2 weeks and wondered why I couldn’t use this control to do the same with lager beers. I made a couple batches that came out surprisingly well, played with the method for a few months, and was gradually convincing myself the days of 2 month lagers were behind me. After numerous successful batches, I happen to catch an episode of The Session on The Brewing Network where Mike “Tasty” McDole mentioned how he takes lager grain-to-glass in 2 weeks using precise control of fermentation temperature. This was validating, particularly since I was aiming for a much less anxiety provoking 3-4 week turnaround.

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Forget Craft, Let’s Try Transparency

 

I drink Budweiser. I drink Miller High Life. I drink Goose Island IPA and a few other flavors. I’m not a particular fan of Bud Light or Miller Lite, but in a pinch they’ll do.

I drink what I want, when I want. If the situation calls for a 3-ounce pour of something expensive or rare, fine. If it calls for a can of something fizzy and light in a patriotic koozie, all the better.

We live in a post-craft world, one where consumers are often told that the only thing that matters is flavor, not ownership. If the beer’s good, then why worry about anything else? On the surface, that’s an appealing argument. But it only takes a little tire kicking to realize it’s a pretty flimsy advance.

I don’t know whether authenticity matters or what it even is. I’m told that’s what Millennials want, but frankly I’ve yet to meet any who spend much time talking about it. They’re usually into trying everything. So am I, a lot of the time.

 

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Modern Times Becomes an Employee-Owned Brewery

modern times employee owned brewery

 

In a move that Modern Times Beer founder Jacob McKean calls “the coolest thing I’ve ever announced,” Modern Times is now an employee-owned brewery.

The brewery explains in a news release it repurchased shares from outside investors. Now, 30 percent of the company is being held in an employee stock ownership program.

 

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