Wine Bad, Beer Good
Craft Soars
In a just release report craft brewers produced
22.2 million barrels, and saw an 18 % rise in
volume and a 22 % increase in retail dollar value
last year. Retail dollar value was estimated at
$19.6 billion representing 19.3 % market share.

With the total beer market up only 0.5% in
2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the
overall industry innovative and growing.

Additionally, the number of operating breweries
in the U.S. in 2014 grew 19 %, totaling 3,464
breweries, with 3,418 considered craft broken
down as follows: 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412
brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries.
Throughout the year, there were 615 new
brewery openings and only 46 closings.
Combined with already existing and
established breweries and brew pubs, craft
brewers provided 115,469 jobs, an increase of
almost 5,000 from the previous year.
A class action lawsuit filed in California recently that
claims some popular wines have arsenic levels three to
five times greater than the concentration allowed in
drinking water.  The lawsuit involves more than two
dozen California wine companies, including the popular
brands Franzia, Sutter Home, Glen Ellen, and Beringer.

The Denver-based laboratory BeverageGrades first
discovered the high arsenic levels. Tests of approximately
1,300 bottles of wine revealed that more than one-quarter
of them had arsenic levels higher than the upper limit
allowed in drinking water by the Environmental
Protection Agency.  The EPA sets the maximum limit for
arsenic in drinking water at 10 parts per billion. The
highest level of arsenic found in the BeverageGrades
tests was 50 parts per billion. The U.S. does not regulate
arsenic levels in wine or other beverages besides drinking
water.  At 50 parts per billion, the lifetime risk of dying
of cancer due to arsenic in drinking water, assuming
people drink two liters daily, is one in 100
Exports-    craft beer export volume increased by 35.7 %  in the last 12 months
representing  383,422 barrels and an estimated $99.7 million.  The fastest growing
markets were Brazil , South Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The
strongest growth was in Brazil, up 63.9 %; Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan),
up 38.1 %; Europe, up 36.6 &; Canada, up 32.3 %; and Japan, up 31.7 %.

Bring Home Beer-  Bottles weigh as much as 3.5 pounds for a heavy, corked-
and-caged 750mL to as little as 2 pounds for your standard 12-ouncer.  If you’ve
packed shrewdly, you’ll have afforded yourself room for about seven to 10 bottles
per standard suitcase.  And yes, it's legal to fly with beer in your checked bag.

It's Back- Firestone Walker Brewing launched Easy Jack last year, a  session IPA,
using a rare selection of newer hop varieties from around the world. But the
brewery ran out of the hops by mid-summer, spelling an early end to the beer.
Now they are re-launching it  as a year-round release, and adding cans to the mix.

You've Got Style- Confused by all the styles produced in the beer world
today?   The Brewers Association (BA) has issued a new interactive style guide to
help.  Check it out:

Read The Label

Diageo, the company that owns Guinness as well as Johnnie Walker,
Ketel One, Baileys and a host of other beers, wines and spirits will put
nutrition labels on its beverages, including calorie content.  And for the
record there are only 124 calories in a Guinness.  Diageo touts the
voluntary move as "a first done by any alcohol company."

The reason for the change, Diageo's CEO Ivan Menezes says, is to "help
reduce the misuse of alcohol -- a goal shared by regulators, consumer
organizations, health professionals and alcohol companies alike."

Diageo has already received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax
and Trade Bureau in the U.S., which means the labels will likely start
appearing in the next few months.  Europe might take a bit longer for
approval. Diageo says it wants to label its drinks with per-serving
information, but European Union regulations require distributors to
label per 100mL. That, according to Diageo, is misleading.

There's also the fact the E.U. covers 28 member states, so it
could take some time to establish a standard throughout all of them.

This wouldn't be the first push for nutritional information on booze in the
E.U. Last October, the London-based Royal Society for Public Health
called for just that.The European Commission ruled on new food regulations
within the E.U. in December of last year but did not require mandatory
nutritional information on alcoholic beverages.

In the USA, only labels of distilled spirits must state percent alcohol.
They may list calories (but usually don't). Wine label rules depend on
percent alcohol.Wines from 7 to 14 percent must list alcohol and
list calories (but don't).  

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Edited by Jim Attacap