|Live Lobster Beer
A Maine brewer is offering a quicker way
to consume two of the state's summertime
staples: beer and lobster. Oxbow Brewing is
serving up beer brewed with live Maine
lobsters and a dash of sea salt.
Brewmaster Tim Adams says the lobsters
were placed in a mesh bag and suspended
in a kettle full of boiling wort during the
brewing process. He says the lobsters
adda subtle brininess and sweetness that
lobster fans will recognize.
The beer is a saison-style beer brewed in
collaboration with a brewery in Parma, Italy. It
is 4.5 percent alcohol by volume and is
available on a limited basis. The beer is
served in the brewery's tasting room.
Adams says the lobsters that were cooked
in the brewing process were later eaten.
How A-B Is Fighting Back
Anheuser-Busch has developed a two-pronged approach to fight off the ever
increasing market share of craft beer.:First, they created their own in-house
national brands like Shock Top, while at the same time expanding its portfolio by
acquiring established regional craft brewers with room to grow. Anheuser-Busch
madeits first craft splash in 2011 with the purchase of Chicago's Goose Island
Brewery for $38 million.
The acquisition of Goose Island—one of the craft industry's pioneers—stunned the
craft brewing world, but the move would prove to be prescient. In the years since,
Anheuser-Busch flagship brands like Budweiser and Bud Light have struggled
and Anheuser-Busch North American sales volume has been on a downward
trend—including a drop of 1.3 percent last year.
The craft segment, meanwhile, has been on a steady upswing, posting an 18 percent
increase in volume in 2014, while reaching double-digit market share for the first time.
n February 2014, Anheuser-Busch announced the purchase of Blue Point Brewing
in Patchogue, New York, for an undisclosed amount (estimated to be about $24 million).
Eight months later, it purchased Bend, Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewing, again not
disclosing the terms, but with some industry insiders pegging the cost at about $50 million.
The company opened its wallet again in January of this year, this time buying
Seattle's Elysian Brewing, for an undisclosed amount.
The purchase of Elysian gave a slight pause to many who thought there may be a regional
craft acquisition strategy at work, with the presumption being Anheuser-Busch was looking
for a craft brewing presence in each region.
the crossroads of the beer world
Fueled by buzz generated by liquored-up root
beers—most notably Small Town Brewery's Not
Your Father's Root Beer—big brewers are
jumping into the category. The latest is
MillerCoors. plans to start selling Henry's Hard
Ginger Ale and Henry's Hard Orange sodas to
retailers across the country by the end of the
year.. Backed with a national ad campaign,
MillerCoors is aiming its products at Gen Xers
who grew up drinking soda and now have more
income to spend on boozy alternatives.
Both beers are sweetened with cane sugar with
4.2 percent alcohol by volume, in line with light
domestic beers. While initially available in two
flavors, more are in the works. A company
spokesperson calls this "the launch of our hard
soda platform.If history is a guide, however, hard
soda's staying power is up against fairly long
odds. Remember Zima? How about Smirnoff Ice?
Both brands' sales rocketed before eventually
cooling, or disappearing altogether.