Begging For Beer Bottles

The 138-year-old, family-owned Straub
Brewery (100 miles northeast of
Pittsburgh)is begging customers —
mostly in Pennsylvania, but also some in
Ohio, New York and Virginia — to return
thousands of empty bottles. If enough
customers do, Straub will keep selling
cases of 12- and 16-ounce returnable
bottles past year’s end.

“It’s not that we’re totally into ‘green,’
but we think it’s the right thing to do,”
said Dan Straub, great-grandson of
company founder Peter Straub.

One other brewer — the nation’s oldest,
D.G. Yuengling & Son of Pottsville, Pa.
— still sells and gathers returnables. But   
it expects to phase them out by summer's
end, leaving Straub as the last holdout.

Returnable bottles need to be cleaned,
requiring extra energy. They are heavier
so they won’t break and must be shipped
both ways, meaning fuel use and costs
are significant for all but the smallest
regional breweries. The larger breweries
— Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors —
gave up on returnables years ago because
their costs became prohibitive.

Straub customers pay a $1.50 deposit for
each 24-bottle case and can get it back
upon returning the bottles.
Lobbying Congress

The Beer Institute spent $250,000 in the second quarter of the year to lobby the federal
government on food labeling, taxes and other issues. That's more than double the $110,000
that the group spent in the first quarter of 2010, and up from the $200,000 it spent in the year-
ago period.The trade group — whose members include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken
USA Inc. and MillerCoors — also lobbied on state beverage laws and regulations, advertising
and other issues. Besides Congress, the Beer Institute lobbied the Federal Trade
Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism, Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies.

Also group spending big bucks was the National Beer Wholesalers Association.  They backed
a bill introduced in the House aimed at limiting direct sales of beer, wine and other alcohol,
which the trade group (but not consumers) views as a mortal threat to its industry.

Over two weeks after the bill's introduction the group contributed more than $45,000 to the
campaign accounts of Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the committee
considering the bill and the guest of honor at a fundraiser during the association's annual
Washington meeting this spring. The group hired as an outside consultant Conyers' former
chief of staff, who met with members of the chairman's staff.

In addition, the group has donated nearly $300,000 this year to more than one hundred House
members who agreed to co-sponsor the legislation, often within days of securing these
lawmakers' formal support, according to Federal Election Commission records.  
Feature News  from
How To Pour A Beer Contest

Did you know that there's an official nine-step "pouring
ritual" to get the perfect Stella Artois out of a keg?

Although this news inspires some of us to pop the top on a
can of Dale's Pale (so much simpler!), some of you may rise
to the challenge and hope to perfect the technique.

Since 1997, Stella has been holding a "World Draught
Master" contest complete with expert judges and cheering
fans. Winners of eight regional beer-pouring contests will
compete in Boston on September 17 for the U.S. finals; from
there, contestants will head to London for the world
championship on October 28.  

Last week, regional contests were held in Tampa and
Orlando. If you missed them, you can still win one of the 16
USA slots by playing an online beer-pouring game at and winning the wild card.


Bud Boycott Over Immigration Law

A Hispanic group opposed to Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070
immigration measure has launched a boycott of Budweiser
beer and the Phoenix-based Anheuser-Busch distributorship
headed by Cindy Hensley McCain.  Public opinion polls show
roughly two-thirds of Arizonans support 1070, while
opposition mainly comes from Hispanic groups and liberal
areas around the country. Budweiser response said it deeply
disappointed with those who believe attacking a company
known for its commitment to the community This call
"is an obvious cheap political stunt motivated solely by self
promotion and is counter productive to what is in the
best interest of our state and citizens."
Edited by Jim Attacap