Brews in the News 6.30.2017

Brewers Association Launches New Seal to Designate Independent Beers

In a shot across the bow of Big Beer, the Brewers Association has launched a new seal for beer labels that will tell you at a glance if the brewery is truly independent craft beer. With the label's design the BA pays tribute to the spirit of craft breweries that have "upended beer."

Bob Pease, president & CEO, Brewers Association said. “As Big Beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent. Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity—now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent.”

The seal is available for free to any brewer that are craft according to the BA's definition, have a valid TTB Brewer's notice, and sign a license agreement.

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Top Ten Facts About July 4, America's Founders, and Beer

If you want to amaze your friends with some beer-based facts about the United States and beer, read up on the Beer Institute's annual top 10 list of historical fun facts, such as " Our first president George Washington not only drank beer himself and served it to his guests, but it was also one of the items provided for voters when he was a candidate for political office. It must have helped because when Washington was president he habitually 'had a silver pint cup or mug of beer placed by his plate, which he drank while dining.'"

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Michigan Senate Passes Bill to Deter Illegal Beer Shipping

The Michigan Senate has passed House Bill 4557 that increases the penalty for illegally shipping beer and wine into the state. The new law would make it punishable by a fine from $500-$5000 and four years in jail. 

According to the Michigan Beer & Wine Association, $64 million in wine alone is purchased annually from outside the state and shipped illegally, thus working around the state's sales tax revenue.

Supposedly the law will not affect beer traders, but it's not like more-local laws ever stopped Jeff Sessions, either. However, this will likely suspend service for your wine and beer delivery clubs.

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Austin's Mort Subite Awarded first U.S. La Trappe Governership

The Netherlands' La Trappe has awarded Austin's Belgian-centric bar Mort Subite the first U.S. Governorship. The Governorship was established in 2016 to recognize the bars and restaurants throughout Europe and the U.S. that have,  “made extraordinary efforts to sell, support, and promote La Trappe products and other Trappist beers.”

To receive the honor, La Trappe reps visit bars and hold them to a high standard that involves beer appearance and atmosphere, storage and serving conditions. The bar must also list Trappist beers on a separate menu and they must serve a minimum of 12 Trappist bars.

"Being invited into the Governorship program is an exciting evolution for Mort Subite,” said Mort Subite co-owner James Jackson Leach. “We are a Belgian beer bar dedicated to authenticity, and that means honoring Trappist beer. There's a story when you walk in here. There's a community of people that know and love this culture. Being invited into the program shows us that people notice and appreciate how dedicated we are here, locally and overseas."

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Quick Hits

Brews in the News 6.23.2017

Your next happy hour buzz, brought to you by bees

For the last 600 years, brewers have been confined to using only two yeast strains: ale yeast and lager yeast. But, bees and wasps might be the key to unlocking a new type of beer, thanks to the University of North Carolina's discovery of Bumblebeer, a name for two new wild Lachancea yeast strains riding on the bodies of these insects. 

While there are many yeast strains in the wild, not all of them are capable of making beer: they have to be able to ferment and they have to be able to process maltose, the sugar from barley.

The two Bumblebeer strains have proven quite versatile, as they can make not only lager styles, but they can also be tweaked to taste like honey or light and tangy.

But, where the 2 strains might become particularly valuable is in sour production. Whereas traditional wild yeasts can take months or years to produce a viable sour, the Bumblebeer strains are producing sours in a couple of weeks, thanks to their ability to produce 10 times more acid than other strains.

Researchers predict the beer will land somewhere between a sour and an ale. These new yeast strains have been patented and are slated for mass commercialization; North Carolina's Deep River has already made one beer with it earlier this year.

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Pliny the Elder knocked from top of American beer heap in new rankings

California's Pliny the Elder IPA has taken a tumble to No. 2, as the American Homebrewers Association has declared Bell's Two-Hearted IPA the best beer in the United States; Pliny had reigned supreme for the previous 8 years. Surprisingly Ballast Point made the list at number 8, considering they're not exactly craft beer anymore.

Bell's was also named the best brewery this year, followed by Founders and Russian River.

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Celis Brewery, Austin’s First Craft Brewery is Set to Reopen

Austin's oldest craft brewery, Celis, closed its doors in 2001 after a sale to Miller, but thanks to the original owner's daughter it's seeing new life and reopening its doors on Friday, June 23rd, with a grand opening on July 11th; the grand opening date will mark exactly 25 years to the day of the original brewery's grand opening in 1992.

Christine Celis, an original owner in the first brewery and daughter of her Belgian partner Pierre, decided to rebuild and reopen, while also reintroducing original recipes like the Celis White, a Belgian-style witbier. She will be joined by her daughter Daytona Camps. Craig Mycoskie from Rahr & Sons will be taking over as head brewer.

Celis is credited as sparking Austin's craft beer craze and they won several GABF awards in their time.

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How to Drink Beer All Summer Long Without Getting a Beer Gut (According to Science)

Surprise, surprise, the secret to enjoying beer without getting a beer truck front-loaded on your abs: exercise, watch your food intake, exercise, realize that each beer has the equivalent of a potato's carbs and calories, exercise, and realize that the body focuses on processing alcohol first with any excess calories going to fat storage. Also exercise.

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Brews in the News 6.16.2017

Mexican Beer Label Mocks Trump as a Swastika-Belted Mariachi

In a cross-border collaboration, Epic Brewing, Cru Cru and Error de Diciembre have teamed up to release "Amigous," a beer that makes fun of U.S. president Donald Trump by misspelling the Spanish word "amigo" as well as depicting him wearing a mariachi uniform with a swastika-emblazoned belt. The back of the can also says that Trump belongs, "in a mad house, not the White House."

The collaboration came together before the election when Trump made the statement that Mexico was sending rapists and drug runners across the border.

"Amigous" is a New England IPA made with mango.

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Can You Drink Beer If It was Near an Atom Bomb Explosion?

Finally an answer has been found for the age old question: "Can I safely drink a beer if it's been near an atomic bomb explosion?"

NPR has uncovered a 1957 U.S. government study called "The Effect of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages." The study sought to answer the question: if a beer is near an atomic bomb explosion, can I still drink it?

The fancy science men conducting the study exploded two bombs of different strength, placing beer bottles and cans at varying distances from ground zero, starting at 1,056 feet and moving further away.

The result? The study concluded, "These beverages could be used as potable water sources for immediate emergency purposes as soon as the storage area is safe to enter after a nuclear explosion." They also found that the nearer to ground zero, the more the taste was altered but they were not undrinkable.

So when a real life version of The Day After happens, go ahead and crack a cold one  

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South Australian Hotels Forcing a $20 Deposit for Beer Steins

Hotel proprietors in the German settlement of Hahndorf in South Australia have started charging customers a $20 AU deposit for beer glasses so that they don't steal the glasses. Apparently customers were routinely stealing the imported German steins, "accidentally" taking them with them. "You would see a group of 30 come in and when they left 30 steins would be missing, a former employee said.

A glass of lager will cost you $29.90 AU plus a $20 deposit.

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Goose Island Announces 2017 Bourbon County Variants

Goose Island is releasing seven variants for 2017's run of BCBS: the standard issue, coffee, barleywine, Proprietor's, Reserve Brand Barleywine, and Reserve Stout.

For the Reserve Brand Barleywine, Goose is re-using the 35 year old Heaven's Hill barrels that they used in 2015 and aged the beer for 20 months. Proprietor's is always Chicago only and will be based on a Bananas Foster recipe. The Reserve Stout celebrates 1000+ batches of beer for Goose Island Clybourn and is aged for 11 months in Knob Creek barrels.

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Brews in the News 6.10.2017

AB InBev takes a stake in RateBeer

RateBeer has just taken a major credibility hit by taking an investment by AB InBev via their investment firm ZX Ventures. Apparently the deal actually took place in October 2016, but wasn't disclosed until this week. The terms were not disclosed.

RateBeer CEO Joe Tucker said, about ZX, “Their comfort with technology, existing tech resources, beer loving culture, enthusiasm and respect for the community, an understanding of varied beer cultures globally, the stability of their company and dedication to preserving our independence made ZX the very best fit”, he wrote. “I know this is surprising to many out there, but I’m confident I made the best possible decision.”

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Dogfish Head Asks to be Removed from RateBeer

In the wake of AB InBev investing in RateBeer, Dogfish founder Sam Calagione has asked for all Dogfish beers and mentions to be removed from the site. Sam said in statement, " It just doesn’t seem right for a brewer of any kind to be in a position to potentially manipulate what consumers are hearing and saying about beers, how they are rated and which ones are receiving extra publicity on what might appear to be a legitimate, 100 percent user-generated platform. It is our opinion that this initiative and others are ethically dubious and that the lack of transparency is troubling."

Apparently Cantillon has made the same request.

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Three Floyds launching WarPigs beer in Chicago with Danish brewer Mikkeller

Mikkeller founder Mikkel Borb Bjergso and Three Floyds are launched their Copenhagen-based brewpub WarPigs as a full fledged brewery in Chicago this week. They're launching with 3 beers: Lazurite IPA, Salmon Pants Lager, and Fggy Geezer Hazy IPA.

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Brewers Association to Reserve GABF Sponsorships for Small Brewers

The Brewers Association announced this week that they will no longer allow non-craft brewers and groups to purchase featured sponsorships at the Great American Beer Festival. With the new rules, brands like Goose Island and Lagunitas will be barred from buying expanded booth space, prominent floor spots, branded signage, and other pricey perks. 

The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as being 6 million barrels or less, retains 75% ownership, and uses traditional brewing ingredients and processes.

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Quick Hits

- Brooklyn has a new beer ATM
- Beer sales slide as global alcohol consumption falls
- Don't drink beer if you have gout
- Founders launches their first imperial malt liquor

Brews in the News 6.2.2017

The organizers of the world's biggest metal festival are constructing a pipeline underneath Wacken, Germany to pump beer quickly and keep trucks from tearing up the land, leaving it to be farmed throughout the year.

The 4.34 mile pipeline can pump 1 beer per second and will push 845,350 pints of beer to the metalheads.

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From CIA analyst to beer historian: the heady resume of Theresa McCulla

Former CIA analyst Theresa McCulla has started her job as the brewing historian for the Smithsonian Museum. McCulla grew up with Wiconsin beer culture, as her family was always fermenting beer in the family's shower and everyone in the family was conscripted into bottling. 

After working for the CIA, she wanted to change careers into food and received a doctorate from Harvard, specializing in New Orleans culinary traditions. About her job, she says beer, "allows (us) to ask questions about immigration, labor, consumer taste, advertising... You can look at any era of history and use beer as an engaging lens to look into it."

McCulla is currently touring the United States and drinking beer as part of her job.

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US beer giant Budweiser launches investigation after footage is revealed of a fake beer factory in China

Budweiser is launching an investigation into a supposed fake beer factory in China where workers are using their bare hands to scoop beer into fake Budweiser cans, and they're then sealed and boxed up for sale. Bud has warned their Chinese drinkers to authenticate their beer before drinking.

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Quick Hits

- Mississippi's Yalobusha Brewing is converting from a brewery to a brewpub
- Czech pubs are going smoke-free
- Wisconsin's Point Brewery is celebrating 160 years with an anniversary ale
- Austin's Uncle Billy's Brewing is expanding production to become a full brewery
- Mosquitoes are more attracted to beer drinkers

Brews in the News 5.26.17

Ukraine's Pravda Brewery is making a political splash with an awkwardly named beer: "Trump. President of the Divided States of America." The beer is a 7.2% ABV Imperial Mexican Lager with lime. The label features a wall, Trump, Putin wearing a MAGA hat, and a man holding a sign that says "Free Melania."

"For me, every bottle presents an opportunity to send a small message," Pravda co-owner Yuriy Zastavniy said. "Our sarcastic view of the global march of populism is reflected in the name and the label design."

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Texas House Bill 3287 has passed the Texas Senate 19-10 and now moves to Governor Abbot's desk to be signed.

In short, if you make 225,000+ barrels of beer, either directly or via a combination of your production and those of other breweries you're affiliated with through investors, you cannot have a taproom unless you pay the distributors even though they're not lifting a finger. The bill also restricts self-distributing breweries to 40,000 barrels per year.

It's worth noting that Governor Abbot gets a lot of money from distributors.

Texas Brewers Fear Layoffs, Closures Following Senate Vote to Curtail Taproom Sales

Per the article above, Texas brewers such as Deep Ellum's Jeff Reardon fear that they'll have to either pass the increase cost onto consumers or lay people off: "I’m not an economist, but one would have to assume that increased costs and a cap on growth would absolutely lead to increased prices and layoffs, possibly even closures. The middle tier gets pure profit with no need to hire additional people or invest in their business.” 

Thanks to reader and listener Nikki B. for this one.

Half-Naked Man Crashes Car Into Store to Get Beer


45-year old Robert Mason went Blues Brothers and crashed his Dodge Challenger into an Ohio convenience store to get beer. The crash caused the store clerk to be trapped under debris, but luckily no one died. 

Thanks to Nikki B. for this story.

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Castanea Partners Purchases Majority Stake in The Bruery

In an effort to compete and expand, The Bruery has sold a majority stake to Boston's Castanea Partners. “We chose to make Castanea a part of Famille Rue because of their talents and their appreciation and understanding of our vision, and because they want to contribute to our continuous improvement,” company CEO Patrick Rue said.

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Quick Hits

- Michigan's beer industry is now worth $10.5 billion, up from $6.64 billion in 2015
- West Ireland's White Hag Brewing is starting an international beer festival
- The maker of Bud Light is investing $2 billion to make its beer ‘more sophisticated’

Brews in the News 5.19.17

"Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life. - George Bernard Shaw"

Why You Should Beer it Forward in Honor of American Craft Beer Week

Julia Herz writes on why you should buy someone a craft beer this week:

"Every time you do, you recognize that craft beer is grassroots, it’s people-powered, it’s hard-working small business owners that have a passion for what they do and continually push the limit in beer. So let’s grab a beer. Person to person, one friend to another, neighbor to neighbor, or even stranger to stranger."

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While visiting Oakland to defend her plans to open a satellite location in North Oakland, the host of Beerland and owner of Los Angeles' Golden Road Brewing said her AB acquisition was "fake news":  "In fact, she suggested more than once that Golden Road wasn’t really even associated with Anheuser-Busch, even telling a group of residents on Wednesday that “non-factual opinion columns” are trying to paint Golden Road as part of Anheuser-Busch, and that such reports are — her words — 'fake news.'"

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New Belgium Brewmaster Heading to the Farm System

Peter Bouckaert, the 21-year veteran brewmaster at New Belgium, is leaving for greener pastures, literally: he's headed to Purpose Brewing and Cellars (also out of Fort Collins, CO), which is described as "an aspiring farm brewery" that will produce coffee and beer.

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The Philippines' First Female-Led Brewery Opens

After living in San Diego and loving the craft beer scene, Philippines native Ayah Javier decided to move home to open the first female-led brewery in Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Palaweño Brewery. They strive to feature local ingredients such as chilis from their backyards, coconutes, mangoes and honey.

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Quick Hits

Facebook Live with Goose Island!

Big news for us here at Brew Bloods: as part of Goose Island's Migration Week 2017, we're hosting a Facebook Live event and we want you to take part!

We'll be talking with Goose Island brewer Paul Darnby and National Brand Manager Jesse Valenciana. 

If you'd like to submit a question, leave it here in the comments, email us at or use our contact form

The live stream will start somewhere around 11:30 AM Central Time, originating from Goose Island's Facebook page, so keep your eyes out.