|The Brewers Association has proposed
redefining what constitutes a “craft brewer.”
The BA has updated its definition two other
times. They way the proposal was not
“because” of Boston Beer, but is “related”
to Boston Beer.
Boston Beer, which produces Samuel Adams,
Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea, and Truly Spiked
and Sparkling, is one of the BA’s biggest
members, second only to Yuengling. Boston
Beer accounts for nearly 8 % of total craft beer
volume, and contributes significantly to the BA.
But there’s one problem: Samuel Adams sales
are slowing, while the company’s non-beer
beverages, like hard cider and spiked seltzer,
comprise a majority of its growth. This doesn’t
vibe well with the BA’s current craft brewer
definition, which states that a majority of a
brewery’s sales must come from beverages
made with “traditional or innovative brewing
ingredients.” If Boston Beer’s non-beer
products continue to grow and become a
majority of its volume, it would no longer be
considered a craft brewer.
|Plastic kegs are the most significant innovation in draft
beer in 50 years—or since the switch from wooden
barrels to steel cylinders. Brewers, including Anheuser-
Busch InBev NV and Heineken NV, have started to
embrace the concept but it is Carlsberg that has rolled
it out most aggressively, signing up 2,500 pubs in its
domestic market for plastic kegs. Other territories
include Italy, Sweden, Norway, France and some of
China’s largest cities.
They also keep beer fresh for about 30 days, compared
with about a week for their older steel cousins. Metal
kegs expose the contents to external gases as soon as
they’re tapped, while the plastic ones seal the brew
inside a separate internal container that’s compressed
to release beer to the tap.
Carlsberg produces its DraughtMaster kegs in-house,
while the majority of Europe's brewers rely on third-party
manufacturers such as Schaefer Container Systems and
NDL Keg for their steel casks. While Carlsberg estimates
that the industry is shrinking at a rate of about 3 percent
a year, the new kegs are helping the company and the
bars it supplies maintain profitability, Carlsberg Chief
Executive Officer Cees ’t Hart said.
|New Record - The U.S. brewery count has officially surpassed 7,000, reaching
7,082 by Nov. 1. Reaching this milestone also means there are 1,100 more
operating breweries than at this time last year. And that’s not all: According to BA
chief economist Bart Watson, there are 2,000-plus more breweries forthcoming.
Cold Remedy -- Japan’s second-largest brewer, Kirin, is shifting its core
business from beer to health products. The products, which Kirin plans to launch
globally, will “use its proprietary lactic acid bacteria technology, which it believes
can prevent illnesses like the common cold and influenza.
Is It Beer?- A US federal judge officially cleared Anheuser-Busch InBev’s
acquisition of SABMiller with a “Modified Final Judgement.” Along with A-B InBev
giving up MillerCoors in the U.S., the Department of Justice’s Final Judgement will
limit ABI in certain areas, namely its involvement in the beer industry’s “middle tier,”
specifically regarding ABI’s relationships with wholesalers and distributors.
Kiwiberry Beer - The University of New Hampshire announced a new
partnership between the NH Agricultural Experiment Station and the university’s
new brewing science program. Their first beer is calledArtuga Sour which used
uses a new type of kiwiberry variety developed by the students.
Big Increase- Top-ranked craft beer companies are bucking category-wide
trends. Founders Brewing, Stone Brewing, Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective,
Firestone Walker, Dogfish Head and New Glarus Brewing were all up double-digits in
sales in the latest report from the Beer Institute.
|The Real Champagne of Beer
The hottest new style of beer that is rapidly spreading across the country is the brut IPA
category. But “brut” is not new to brews. Brewers have been experimenting with the
sparkling-wine-inspired method for at least a decade. Called bière brut, or bière de
Champagne, bottle-conditioned, effervescent beers are are produced in, or inspired
by, the méthode Champenoise (Champagne method).
Its adaptation to beer yields bubbly, fruity, bone-dry brews worthy of any celebration.
Bière brut is currently making a splash around the world yet again, as trendy brewers
like Cloudwater, Side Project Brewing, and Mikkeller release iterations of the
Bière brut is defined more by its production method than by style. Typically, it is very
effervescent, high-gravity (8 percent ABV or more) and light-bodied, like sparkling wine.
But what truly puts the “brut” in brut beer is what happens after it’s bottled.
All brut beers are bottle-conditioned, but not all bottle-conditioned beers are brut.
For a bottle-conditioned beer to become a bière brut, it must undergo secondary
fermentation using Champagne yeast (as opposed to ale yeast), and then be riddled
and disgorged (remuage and dégorgement).
“Riddling” means bottles are aged on their sides, positioned so the bases of the bottles
sit slightly higher than the tops, so sediment can settle in the neck. As the liquid ages
over the course of several months, bottles are routinely twisted so sediment on the
sides of the bottle can loosen. “Disgorging” refers to the next step, when the bottle
necks are placed in a cold bath that flash-freezes the liquid inside, and the bottles are
carefully opened so the frozen block of solid sediment pops out, while the
beer remains intact. What’s left is a clear, sparkling brew akin to a sparkling wine.
Golden Valley Brewery in Portland, Ore., is generally regarded as the first American
brewery to try the style with its IPA VS Brut. They aged their double IPA in used
Chardonnay barrels from the Argyle Winery in nearby Dundee, Ore.
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