Hold That Wine

Cork that bottle of blush zinfandel and
down-size the restaurant wine list;
according to a new survey,
restaurant diners far prefer beer and
mixed drinks to wine.

A recent survey by Technomic Inc., a
Chicago-based food consulting firm,
found that consumers were twice as
likely to order beer or mixed drinks
than wine when drinking away from
home. Only 18 percent of occasions
when consumers dine and drink away
from home included the consumption
of wine, while 46 percent included the
downing of beer.

But wine stewards can rest easy; wine
still remains the beverage of choice
for business meals and romantic
dinners, Technomic said; it's those
other dining-out occasions when ales,
stouts, and mixed drinks rule.

Dark Beer Benefits

An American professor, John Folts,
cardiologist at the University of
Wisconsin, says that dark beer is
better than lager-type beer in
counteracting the formation of blood
clots. He reached this conclusion after
analyzing medical information from
over 2,500 individuals.

Professor Folts concluded that the
dark beer was apparently twice as
effective as light beer in preventing
coagulation of blood platelets and clot
formation. due to the greater
presence of flavonoids in dark beer.

Flavoniods are substances of
vegetable origin which are well know
to  prevent the oxidation of
cholesterol, which is also implicated in
the prevention of atherosclerosis
(narrowing of the arteries).
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Feature News  from  beernexus.com
Bad News For Beer

Beer connoisseurs could be in for a surprise this year,
and they may not be alone.  Small brewers from
Australia to Oregon face the daunting prospect of
tweaking their recipes or experimenting less with new
brews thanks to a worldwide shortage of one key beer
ingredient and rising prices for others.

Even worse, beer prices are likely to climb. How high is
anybody's guess. Craft brewers don't have the means
to hedge against rising prices, like their industrial
rivals.  "I'm guessing, at a minimum, at least a 10
percent jump in beer prices for the average consumer
before the end of the year," said Brian Lynch, brew
master for the  Paul's Pubs chain.

Sales have been relatively flat in recent years among
the country's big three brewers -- Anheuser-Busch
Cos., Molson Coors Brewing Co. and SABMiller PLC.
unit Miller Brewing Co. -- while small, independent
brewers have experienced tremendous growth. The
craft brewing industry experienced a 12 percent
increase by volume in 2006, with 6.7 million barrels of
beer. Sales among microbreweries, which produce
fewer than 15,000 barrels per year, grew 16 percent in

That good news for the brewing industry is tempered
by realization that they are facing mounting costs on
nearly every front. Fuel, aluminum and glass prices
have been going up quickly over a period of several
years. Barley and wheat prices have skyrocketed as
more farmers plant corn to meet increasing demand
for ethanol, while others plant feed crops to replace
acres lost to corn.

A decade-long oversupply of hops that had forced
farmers to abandon the crop is finally gone and
harvests were down this year. In the United States,
where one-fourth of the world's hops are grown,
acreage fell 30 percent between 1995 and 2006.

Australia endured its worst drought on record. Hail
storms across Europe damaged crops. Extreme heat in
the western United States hurt both yields and quality.

Big brewers can hedge against rising prices for raw
ingredients and can negotiate better, longer-term
contracts for ingredients, while smaller brewers
generally are left with whatever is left.