Beer Ban Flops

The 98th running of the world
famous Bay to Breakers road race in
San Francisco banned all beer in this
annual celebration of sport and fun.

Police confiscated many kegs of beer
and succeeded in turning down the
event's overall wattage, but came
nowhere near to shutting off the tap.  
Tens of thousands of revelers openly
swilled beer anyway.  Party goers
used all kinds of rolling stock, including
shopping carts, to haul beer along the
7.46-mile route. Nor did the new rules
seem to discourage the usual
streakers who join in the race for
short segments to the delight of
thousands of onlookers.

The fact that the city banned beer
didn't stop some groups from
bringing in kegs; they just had to be
more surreptitious about it. One
group of runners put their keg in a
cart with a curtain around it, as if it
were a surgical center. Others carried
a table with them and set it up in the
street occasionally as a makeshift bar.
Hail Hits Hops

An unprecedented heavy hail storm has destroyed hop fields in Hallertau,
Tettnang/Bodensee and Saaz in Czech Republic.   Hallertau, the worlds' largest hop growing
region (10,000 acres) has been the focus of the storm with over 25% of its hop fields
completely destroyed.  In addition, 3,750 acres were severely hit while another 3,750 acres
received some damaged. In Tettnang/Bodensee over 30% of hop fields have been damaged
or destroyed with the Saaz area losing over 500 acres.

The Hallertau as a whole produces about one-third of all the world's hops. The affected areas
represent about 6% to 7% of the world's hop-growing acreage and 15% of the total German
hop harvest. The projected losses represent about 4.5% of the global hop harvest.
(Click to enlarge pictures)
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Bud Hit with Anti-Trust Probe

Belgian Economics Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne
has asked the Belgian antitrust authority to begin an
investigation, of AB InBev which is based in Belgium
and whose brands include Budweiser, Stella Artois,
and dozens of others.The investigation will focus
initially on AB InBev’s relationship with its malt suppliers.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that AB
InBev is pressuring its suppliers with new purchasing
practices, including a  policy of taking as many as 120
days to pay suppliers after receiving goods.

The brewer has also cut back its purchases of malt due
to the economic downturn, prompting some European
malt suppliers to complain that the company is
breaking its contracts with them.

Although most antitrust probes focus on the prices a
company charges its customers, competition law also
covers a company's relationship with its suppliers.  The
probe was begun due to official complaints filed by
over a dozen InBev suppliers.

AB InBev is planning to cut $2.25 billion in annual costs
to help pay for last year's $52 billion purchase of
Anheuser-Busch. Savings from suppliers are expected
to account for some of those costs, the brewer says.
Removing the hail
Nearly knee deep in hail
Plows needed for the huge amount of hail.