Even in Seattle Beer is Down
When many people think of great beer cities
they think of Seattle however a recent Gallup
poll showed that beer — once the most popular
alcoholic beverage by a wide margin — is
rapidly losing ground to wine and spirits.
Changing demographics are to blame. Older
folks still favor beer. Younger drinkers, though,
are exploring their options. In Seattle, beer’s
dominance among younger drinkers appears to
be waning, just as it is nationally.
Thirty-four percent of drinkers under age 35
there say that beer is the alcohol they drink
most often — an eight point drop in just five
years, As beer is trending down, spirits are
trending up. It’s not all bad news for beer
though. Even as fewer young people are
drinking Budweiser and Coors, an increasing
number of enjoying craft beers.
Mead Meets Garden State
Honey wine, called mead, is one of the world’s oldest fermented beverages—maybe the
oldest. It dates back thousands of years according to some archaeological findings. The
Middle Ages were prime time for mead. In the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, the
fearsome giant, Grendel, attacks the Danish king where he’s vulnerable, in his mead hall.
In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the miller tells his lusty tale drunk on mead.
Modern times have not exactly been boom times for mead. But that is changing. In the
last three years, the number of meaderies in the United States grew from 60 to almost
200, in fact the American Mead Makers Association claims its members are having
a hard time keeping up with demand.
Though honey is 84 to 86 percent sugar by volume (compared to 14 to 18 percent for grapes),
not all mead is dessert wine. Depending on how much water is mixed with the honey before
yeast is added, triggering fermentation, mead can be sweet, semi-sweet or dry. (The more water,
the drier the mead.) It can vary in color from pale gold to dark ruby, in alcohol from 8 to 18 percent
by volume, and in flavor from delicate to robust. It can be aged in the bottle indefinitely, but
unlike grape wine is ready to drink after three to four months in the fermentation tank.
Interestingly, The drier meads have the same calorie count as dry white wines, while
the sweeter meads have about as many calories as port wines.
New Jersey is the most recent state to grant their first ever license to make mead commercially.
The new venture is the Melovino Meadery in the town of Union. The name joins
the Latin roots for honey (mel) and wine (vino). He says he will offer six flavors of mead in June.
Just coincidently, BeerNexus writer Dan Hodge lives in Union, a short distance from the meadery.
When asked for his take on it he submitted this to Feature News: "It's very good to know that my
town will now, in addition to the world's largest watersphere, be able to lay claim to the state's first
meadery. How exciting to have a meadery only a mile from home. But wait! Why would I want to do
that? I hate mead! It's only my opinion of course, but I believe that mead is only good for drinking
out of large flagons while seated at huge, rough hewn oak tables while wearing furry pants and
eating beef haunches without benefit of utensils. It helps to be wearing a hat with horns sticking out
of it. Seriously, mead? Can you picture Matt Dillon asking Chester to join him at the Long Branch
for a couple of meads? Jimmy Breslin saying "This a good drinkin' mead" ? "Melovino is the one
mead to have when you're having more than one"? Beer=brewski. Mead = meadski? "99 flagons
of mead on the wall"? "The Mead Barrel Polka"? " In Heaven there is no Mead (so on Earth we
have a need)" Seriously, I wish the Melovino the very best good luck though when dealing with
mead in this town maybe "Godspeed" would be more appropriate.
the crossroads of the beer world
World Cup Beer Tax
Brazil will boost beer taxes before hosting the
World Cup soccer tournament. The government
will increase taxes on beverages including beer,
soda and bottled water June 1 as part of efforts to
increase revenue after suffering its first sovereign
credit downgrade in a decade last month. The
World Cup starts June 12, and the government
forecasts 600,000 foreign tourists will attend
games to be played in 12 Brazilian cities.
Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded Brazil’s
credit rating to BBB-, its lowest investment-grade
rating, with a stable outlook. The move ended a
decade-long stretch of upgrades for the world’s
second-largest emerging market.
Sluggish economic growth and expansionary fiscal
policies are fueling an increase in the country’s
debt levels. In the last year the beverage industry
has raised beer
prices 23 % and soda prices 19 percent,