Super Bowl Bud

An asteroid is about to hit Earth? Drink
some Bud Light. Your plane crashes on
an island? Drink more Bud Light. Really
love Bud Light? Why not build your
house with cans of it ... and then drink
up? Longtime Super Bowl advertising
leader Anheuser-Busch returns to humor
to sell its drinks after a more, well, sober
outing last year. The brewer's five
minutes of commercials during this
year's game.  Anheuser-Busch is
increasing its Super Bowl presence by
30 seconds. The average 30-second spot
sells for $2.5 million to $2.8 million this
year; from 1990 to 2009,
Anheuser-Busch spent $311.8 million on
the event.

Each year, the company films more
Super Bowl commercials than it can use
and then airs the ones that do best in
consumer testing.  The new Clydesdale
ads shot for this year didn't pass testing.

The brewer hopes laughs reverse a
sluggish 2009, when both Bud Light and
Budweiser lost ground against
competitors as U.S. beer sales fell about
2 percent. Shipments of Bud Light, the
nation's biggest beer brand, fell 2.5
percent, the first decline ever, while
Budweiser shipments fell 9.5 percent.

As the recession forced Americans to
focus on value, they have chosen less
expensive drinks, like Anheuser-Busch's
Busch Light (whose shipments rose an
estimated 5.5 percent), or switched to
pricier craft beers (up 5 percent),  
Beer Cans Turn 75 - Happy Birthday!

The illustrious beer can is now celebrating its 75th anniversary.  New Jersey's Gottfried Krueger
Brewing Company churned out the world's first beer can in 1935, stocking select shelves in
Richmond, Va., as a market test. The experiment took off and American drinkers haven't looked
back since, nowadays choosing cans over bottles for the majority of the 22 gallons of beer they each
drink per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Canned brews may have only hit shelves in 1935, but the drink's history goes back much further —
at least 6,000 years, in fact, to ancient Iraq. The first concrete archaeological evidence of the first
beer comes from Iraq, where ancient Sumerians built the first agriculture-based cities
approximately 6,000 years ago. A stone seal discovered and dated to that era actually details the
beer-making process in a poem dedicated to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of brewing.

Two millennia later, Babylonians living in the same area had perfected at least 20 different brews.
Brewing was a highly regarded profession and almost the exclusive domain of the society's women,
as females were also responsible for turning grain into bread.

Beer was enormously popular and viewed as an important source of nutrition and often rationed as
payment; the laborers that built the Great Pyramids in Cairo, for example, were paid partly in beer.
Egyptians didn't look down upon the drink, however. Pots of beer also accompanied pharaohs into
the afterlife, along with other food, gold and priceless offerings placed in their tombs.

The pilgrims sailing from England to America aboard the Mayflower in 1620 originally intended to
land at Virginia, but arrived badly off course in Cape Cod instead. Realizing their mistake, they
debated continuing on to their original destination, but ruled against it due to a general lack of
rations and especially beer, according to historical documents. The colony of Plymouth, where
pilgrims shared beer produced from barley crops during the first Thanksgiving, was the result.

Ironically, it was the Prohibition that ultimately shaped the American population's taste for beer.
The stronger beer that was the norm before Prohibition gave way to much weaker varieties
afterwards, as people had become accustomed to bootlegged brews, which were always watered
down for maximum profit.

The Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company capitalized on the reintroduction of alcohol in the United
States in short order, introducing their beers in cans rather than bottles in stores in 1935.
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Beer Cave Discovered

In the South Bronx, less than two miles from Yankee
Stadium, a network of old beer caves that had stood silent
for generations has just been uncovered.  The Ebling
Brewing Company chilled its beer in a series of caves built
into a hill behind its headquarters. Ebling bottles and cans
boasted that the beer was “aged in natural rock caves,” a
traditional method of making lager. After Prohibition, the
company limped along until the 1940s, when it finally closed.

The Ebling buildings were eventually razed and replaced with
a crude parking lot. The caves, more than 20 feet wide and
100 feet deep in some places, were covered, forgotten by
nearly everyone. Until recently. The Joy Construction
Corporation, a developer building housing on the site,
uncovered the caves soon after construction began.

“I thought we might find a thousand bottles here and sell
them on eBay,” said Steven Hanges, Joy Construction’s
safety manager. “But we didn’t find anything like that. We
didn’t find anything worth a nickel.”

The rewards could have been substantial. Vintage Ebling
cans have recently sold from $175 up to $5,000 for a pair.

Uncovered Ebling Cave - click to enlarge
edited by Jim Attacap