Super Shoppers: Why Beer Buyers Are the Brewing Industry’s New Celebrity Gatekeepers

Back in 1985, Carl Singmaster opened a record store called Manifest Discs & Tapes in downtown Columbia, S.C. It was a shoestring operation, launched during an era when people were snapping up cassette copies of Purple Rain and Born in the U.S.A.

“I had $15,000, a MasterCard, and three employees—me, myself and I,” Singmaster says.

He stocked his downtown space with bins from another record shop in town, which had recently upgraded its furnishings.

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Breweries Increasingly Commit to Sourcing Local Malts

As part of a broader effort to use regional ingredients in their recipes, breweries across the US are working with nearby maltsters to source more local grain.

In Charlotte, N.C., Wooden Robot Brewery buys a majority of its malt from Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham. The brewery, which will produce about 3,000 barrels this year, plans to exclusively use local malt by the end of 2017.

The move is part of a larger vision, says head brewer Dan Wade. “We want to support our local economy and shorten our supply chain as a way to work toward social, economic, and environmental sustainability.” Wooden Robot already uses about 90 percent local malts. “That will reach 100 percent as we continue to work with Epiphany to source oats and develop a caramel malt that closely matches what we have been using in some of our core beers.”


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Heineken drinker claims he found 2 geckos in his beer, files lawsuit

Maybe he and his girlfriend grew depressed over selling GEICO? (PGA)

A California man claims he got "violently ill" from a Heineken spiked with geckos.

We’ve heard of skunky beer, but never gecko-y beer. The latter seems to be much worse than the former, based on a lawsuit filed in California against Heineken and the Kroger grocery chain.

Consumerist reports on the complaint, which came about after Orange County’s George Toubbeh said he bought 24-ounce cans of Heineken in August 2015 from a Kroger-owned Ralph’s in Fountain Valley, and had a decidedly unpleasant experience after drinking from one.

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Ancient Ales: Breweries Find New Fans with Old Recipes


Talk to Travis Rupp at Avery Brewing Company or Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head Brewery about brewing ancient beers, and they’ll share many insights, including this bit of news: mouthfeel can take on a whole new meaning. For example, the traditional method for making chicha, an ancient Peruvian fermented beverage, can involve a fair amount of chewing and spitting maize in a process known as known as salivation. Even small batches require hours of munching. Many brewers in modern day Central and South America, lacking mash tuns, still employ the method to convert complex starches into fermentable sugars.


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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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Deschutes Black Butte XXIX: Black Beauty, The Sequel

Deschutes Brewery’s first beer was Black Butte Porter.

Most breweries come out the chute with something a bit less menacing, more crowd-pleasin’. But Deschutes, from Day One, held their company’s slogan, “Bravely Done”, in a octopus-like grip and have operated off that ideal ever since. They arguably have the country’s greatest American-style Imperial Stout – the immortal “The Abyss” – and they tinker with it constantly, gleefully, like a bunch of tweener kids who just found an erector set in the attic. They experiment annually on two of their primary IPAs, “Hop Trip” and “Fresh Squeezed”. They found a barrel of their absolute iconic Winter ale, “Jubelale”, half buried in a snowdrift, after some would-be thieves broke into the brewery and drastically under-estimated the weight of a full 15.1 gallon steel cask, and turned that little disaster into a series of Jubel ice-ale releases, with a crazily high octane version of Jubelale that tastes like Jubelale, only waaaaaay Moreso.

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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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Beer Profile: Caldera’s Hopportinity Knocks

Courtesy West Coast Beer Geek

Profiled by Ken Carman

82 out of 100 BA, 3.6 out 0f 5 Untappd

I suppose it’s just right for those not expecting more. Strong bitter, really no flavor. Hopportunity has that kind of grapefruit hop nose one expects, but not what one finds when a brewer also plans on fruiting your tongue (or spicing, or floral-ing, or…) as well as bittering. Too many late additions? A tad astringent, which would be fine if there was something else there.

The mouth screams for at least a little malt sense. I understand hops are the star, and I can take super IBU bombs, but I expect at least some complexity.

I have found Caldera a mixed bag brewer. Nothing I’ve had outstanding, nothing really bad.

Mouthfeel? BITTER. The malt comes across as an ever so slight slickness. carbonation is low side medium.

Visually yellow, clarity: tad hazy. Light yellow. Many small bubble head that holds OK.

Again: just a tad more complexity please? Some hop flavor and just a hint more malt might do the trick. As it is it’s a bitter bev that hints there may be some malt way in the background. MAYBE. (Of course there is, but point made.)


Readers: for now we are using only BA since InBev owns Rate Beer. We may get UnTappd but their site security is done with something that resembles a bad version of Candy Crush!


Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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