|Bud Light Lime hurts Corona
|No Bailout Needed
|Just two beers—Heineken and Corona—make up nearly half
of all imports to the United States. Both brands have taken hits
as the import business shrinks.
The trend toward domestic craft beers continues to chisel into
the imports' market shares. The Wall Street Journal points out
that the recent drop in imports (a swoon-inducing 19 percent
in the first two months of the year) is partly due to distributors
shrinking their inventories to improve cash flow.
Some industry analysts say that one of the reasons for
Corona's being eclipsed is a successful new product from
Anheuser-Busch InBev: Bud Light Lime. Bud Light Lime
debuted only in May and yet managed to outsell Corona Light
for the entirety of 2008. Stella Artois (also from Anheuser-
Busch InBev) gained more than 13 percent. And Corona rival
Dos Equis, gained 27.6 percent, the most among imports.
Bell's vs. Bud
Bell's Brewing is suing one of its distributors in a Michigan
state court to try to block it from selling the rights to market his
products to an Anheuser-Busch InBev distributor. The move
comes about three years after Bell made headlines by yanking
his beers out of Chicago rather than see the rights to market
them there sold to a big Miller distributor.
Bell, famous for outstanding “craft” beers us concerned is that
distributors that primarily make a living hawking mass-market
brews aren’t well-suited to peddle his specialty brands
|Nationally, the beer industry directly
and indirectly contributes more than
$198 billion annually to the U.S.
economy and provides nearly 1.9
million jobs -- nearly $62 billion in
wages and benefits. The industry also
paid $41 billion in business, personal
and consumption taxes in 2008.
Consumption taxes included $3.8
billion in federal excise taxes, $1.7
billion in state excise taxes and $5.7
billion in state and local sales taxes. So
have another beer and help the
government avoid debt.
Becks Goes Batty
Beck's has just released "Hello Kitty
Beer" in an effort to snare more
female drinkers. Really.
(click to enlarge picture)
|The Pilsner Urquell Story
The Pilsner Urquell factory of today is a marvel of modern brewing,
operating 24 hours a day and churning out 120,000 bottles of beer
per hour. But it has its origins in a brewing tradition that stretches back
to the late 1200s, when King Wenceslaus II granted brewing licenses
to more than 250 city residents. But the quality of Plzen’s beer was
poor, according to the brewery, and in 1839 protesters dumped 36
barrels of the local brew outside the town hall to show their discontent.
That prompted the citizen brewers of Plzen to combine forces and
build a modern beer-making facility, which opened in 1842, the same
one that operates to this day. A young brewmaster and reputed
ruffian, Josef Groll, took the helm and began making the beer that
became known as Pilsner lager, fermenting barley malt, hops and
water at a low temperature, and adding yeast that collected at the
bottom of the mixture.
The water used in today’s Pilsner Urquell, the company says, is from
the same underground source used to make the original in 1842. And
the strain of yeast used to convert sugar into alcohol during the
fermentation process reputedly is traceable to that used in the original
recipe. And just in case you were wondering, Urquell, means “the
original source” in German
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