Mid Atlantic Brewing News June/July 2010 : Page 1
June/July 2010 The View From Abroad: The View From Abroad: Volume 12/Number 3 By George Hummel ird your loins, beer lovers. Philly Beer Week 2010 happens June 4 -13. The third annual marathon of events is truly the Mother of All Beer Weeks, spawning copycats throughout the country (most recently in Atlanta and Alabama). Events (listed on www.phillybeerweek.org) G Imports Reflect a New WorldImports Reflect a New World OrderOrder A By Greg Kitsock decade ago, Americans could barely slake their thirst for imported suds in fancy green- and clear-glass bottles. Today, asked to pay for a beer’s boat trip across the Atlantic, they answer, “Forget about it!” Import barrelage was down a whopping 9.8% last year, nearly 3 million barrels, according to the Beer Institute. Certainly, part of the downturn is that post-economic meltdown America has less to spend on pricey beers. Unemployment for young men aged 16-34-the demographic that includes the most prodigious beer drinkers-is reported to be 15%, fifty per- cent over the national average. But that doesn’t explain why domestic craft beers, which can also be expensive, shot up 7.2% in volume last year. Bill Earle, president of the National Association of Beverage Importers, might have been able to shed some light on the situation. He was supposed to share a podium with several other movers and shakers of the beer industry at April’s wholesalers/brewers legislative conference in Washington, DC. But the volcanic eruption See View from Abroad p. 8 flow for every taste and pocketbook during the ten-day extravaganza. On one day alone, there are so many Meet The Brewer events that you can go to the website and click on the name of your favorite brewer, from the East Coast to the West Coast, to see where he’ll be appear- ing. Almost everyone will be here! Last year’s Beer Week (PBW) wrapped up on March 16, with St. Patrick’s Day biting at its heels. This proved to be a little daunting for the beer distributors (and their delivery guys- the unsung heroes). The mainstream media also wrote off some acts of drunken stupidity (most likely committed by green beer drinkers) as: “Well what did you expect-it’s Beer Week?” At the suggestion of the distributors, it was decided that PBW should be “distanced from St. Patty’s Day.” June is certainly a reasonable distance and has the added advantage of allow- ing for more outdoor activities. The arrival of the mythical Hammer of Glory at Opening Tap on June 4 heralds the start of Beer Week. It also marks the debut of the PBW collaborative beer. Brewers from See 10 Days p. 4 IN THIS ISSUE IN THIS ISSUE Rubin vs. Coors...........................................................4 BrewDog Shakes Up U.K............................................6 Craft Beer's Celtic Tigers..........................................10 The Litigious Mr. Shelton..........................................11 Family Man Martin Wetten........................................14 Congress Mulls Cutting Beer Tax............................15 Calendar of Events....................................................39 C. Pennsylvania .......................22 Philadelphia..............................24 E.Pennsylvania .........................26 Maryland ...................................28 Baltimore...................................30 Virginia .....................................32 New Jersey ................................34 W.Virginia.................................36 Delaware....................................37 Washington, DC ........................38 Ph ll Philli y Beer Week Returns Beer Week Returns 10 Days in June N W S E
Imports Reflect a New World Order
Adecade ago, Americans could barely slake their thirst for imported suds in fancy green- and clear-glass bottles.
Today, asked to pay for a beer’s boat trip across the Atlantic, they answer, “Forget about it!” Import barrelage was down a whopping 9.8% last year, nearly 3 million barrels, according to the Beer Institute.
Certainly, part of the downturn is that post-economic meltdown America has less to spend on pricey beers. Unemployment for young men aged 16-34-the demographic that includes the most prodigious beer drinkers-is reported to be 15%, fifty percent over the national average.
But that doesn’t explain why domestic craft beers, which can also be expensive, shot up 7.2% in volume last year.
Bill Earle, president of the National Association of Beverage Importers, might have been able to shed some light on the situation. He was supposed to share a podium with several other movers and shakers of the beer industry at April’s wholesalers/brewers legislative conference in Washington, DC. But the volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded his flight, and he spent the conference cooling his heels in Florence, Italy.
It’s been that kind of year for imports. However, Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, did attend the conference, and he offered a powerful analytic tool for assessing the beer industry: a billiard ball. To the naked eye, noted Papazian, the ball appears smooth and round. But blow it up to the size of the earth and the imperfections on that ball’s surface would be higher and deeper than the greatest peaks and valleys on our planet.
In a similar fashion, the imports segment has some notable spikes as well as dips.
The way industry consultant Bump Williams sees it, the two lead dogs, Corona and Heineken, stumbled and brought down the whole pack. These two mass-market golden lagers hold a 78% dollar share of all import sales. Williams cites a litany of factors for their subpar performance, ranging from overpricing to poor leadership to Jimmy Buffet deserting Corona to hawk Anheuser-Busch’s Landshark brand.
But Williams also mentions some notable success stories: Belgian beer is up 7% in case sales for the year ending April 15. Stella Artois accounts for a large chunk of this, but small artisanal Belgians like the Trappist ales are also thriving, as are American knockoffs of Belgian styles. “The word ‘Belgian’ is having a positive halo effect,” insists Williams. “People are getting conditioned to think it has more value.”
Tradition vs. Innovation
Their output isn’t nearly big enough to offset the losses of Corona and Heineken, but micorbreweries across the globe are outpacing the big guys in growth, just like with domestics. BrewDog, now the largest independent brewery in Scotland, has generated publicity far out of proportion to its size by releasing Sink the Bismarck, a record-setting 42%-abv India pale ale concentrated through freeze distillation. The controversial brew (is it a beer or a spirit?) Should arrive in the United States this summer, selling at about $60 per 375-mililiter bottle.
The Griffin Group, the Novato, Calif. Investment firm that holds a minority ownership in BrewDog, wants to brew their beers under license in the states. There has been speculation that the Griffin Group might produce them at San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co., which it recently acquired. However, Griffin Group CEO Keith Greggor cautioned, “We’re going to do it, but we’re not sure where and when.”
Scandinavia used to be noted for its Carlsberg brand and little else, but now microbreweries are popping up all over. Bryggeriet Djaevlebryg (literally, “devil’s brew brewery”) in Denmark has just started exporting Djaevlebryg Gudelos (‘Godless”) through Shelton Brothers. This imperial stout is a kind of anti-Trappist ale. The brewers donate one Danish crown from the sale of each bottle to the Danish Atheist Society.
But new-wave microbreweries taking their cue from the Stones and Dogfish Heads of the world are not the only source of interest. Family-owned regional breweries, some of whom predate our oldest brewery Yuengling, are also finding a new market in America. Dominique Friart, owner of the St. Feuillien Brewery in St. Roeulx, Belgium, visited the Mid-Atlantic region in April, appearing at a four-course dinner at Brasserie Beck in Washington, DC that began with a Flemish oyster stew and concluded with warm goat cheese.
The brewery is named after a seventhcentury Irish monk who was beheaded while conducting missionary work in Belgium. His followers built a chapel on the site of his martyrdom which became an abbey in 1125, supporting itself through the centuries by brewing beer. The present commercial operation dates from 1873. St. Feuillien exports 20% of its output, according to Friart, and the United States is its third biggest foreign market after Denmark and France.
The beers, available through Artisanal Imports in Austin, Texas, include a soft, palate- caressing saison and a hefty (at 6.2% abv) witbier named La Blanche. “The problem with a lot of witbiers is that they are too watery,” complains Friart. She’s also worked on a collaboration with Green Flash Brewing Co. In Vista, Calif.: a strong blonde ale named Friendship Brew, hopped with American and European varieties. Look for it mid-June, she adds.
Meanwhile, Merchant du Vin in Tukwila, Wash. Has just brought in a dark lager from the Zatec brewery in the Czech Republic. Brewing dates back a millennium, to 1004 AD, in this city west of Prague, notes Craig Hartinger, marketing manager for Merchant du Vin. Production began at the current brewery in 1801, Thomas Jefferson’s first year as president of the United States.
“Business is good,” insists Hartinger. Imports that combine tradition and innovation will continue to thrive.
Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Imports+Reflect+a+New+World+Order/412584/39978/article.html.
Phill y Beer Week ReturnsBeer Returns
year by author Randy Mosher at the newly opened Headhouse Restaurant. The week culminates at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology for the Zythos America festival on the 13th.
Be on the lookout for Lord Chesterfield (okay, a dude in a costume), who will be touring Philadelphia. It’s expected that the noble lord, normally gracing the label of his eponymous ale (brewed by D.G. Yuengling & Son), will visit McGlinchy’s Pub, which has the longest continuously running tap of Yuengling (pouring for over 30 years). New for 2010, drinkers are invited to venture across the river and join the folks in Jersey on June 5 with a pub crawl through Haddon Township. For the fairer sex, the Ladies Beer Tea repeats at The Belgian Café.
Bear/Ninja/Cowboy on June 7 will feature brewers from Yards, Flying Fish and Tröegs playing a twist on rock/paper/scissors at Standard Tap. The 9th brings Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head to Jose Pistolas for the return of the Extreme Homebrew Challenge. On June 10 London Grill hosts Dunk Tank! “Drink Yards and take a turn trying to dunk a Philly Beer Celebrity.” Or go to the Percy Street Barbecue and ride the mechanical bull. The City Taphouse will feature The Best of The Best, featuring the Beer Advocate 25 top breweries of all time.
This year’s Beer Week will also coincide with an anniversary of historic proportions. “The biggest party we’ve had in 150 years,” promises Chris Mullins of McGillin’s Olde Ale House as he prepares to host the Creative Black Tie Beef & Beer on June 6. Prizes will be offered to the most creative black-tie dressers.
For those who enjoy their beers with fine bier de cuisine there will be plenty to choose from. On June 7, Victory Brewing Co. Will be welcomed to Fork. The next night there’s a trio of tempters: the Stoudt’s Beer Dinner at Chifa; an All Lambic Dinner at Monk’s Café; and a Boston Beer Co. Beer Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel. Decisions, decisions.
PBW also includes educational events, such as the industry-only The Science of Tasting Beer and Pairing It with Food on June 7 at London Grill, not open to the general public. The invited chefs, distributors and bar managers will learn from sensory scientist Marcia Pelchat from Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center and Jodi Stoudt of Stoudt’s Brewing Co. “how the five basic tastes interact and combine with the sense of smell to shape your enjoyment of beer and food,” explains PBW promotions wiz Jennie Hatton.
All these places have events too numerous to mention. Check the website for details.
So bring your hollow legs, grab a SEPTA pass, and prepare for some serious beer research yourselves.