• Sierra Nevada Finds Rich Water Source

    As I have discussed here before, water is a very important part of beer production.  Any well established brewing company will go to great lengths to secure and protect its water supply.  It turns out that Sierra Nevada brewing is sitting on a water gold mine.

    Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has learned it can supply most of the water the brewery will need from a well on its property in Mills River.

    In January, the California-based company announced it was building an East Coast expansion facility in Western North Carolina, and initial plans called for the company to purchase water from Asheville, whose water lines serve the site.

    After the announcement, Sierra Nevada decided to drill for water at Ferncliff Industrial Park, where the company has purchased 100 of the park’s available 262 acres for development. On the second attempt, officials tapped into a dream water source.

    According to Stan Cooper, who will co-manage the Mills River plant, the well will generate about 160 gallons of water per minute, which is roughly 50 gallons a minute more than Sierra Nevada needs for the brewing process.

    The water source is a good, pure one, and Sierra is going the extra step to protect the well.

    Sierra Nevada has lined the well, which is only about 500 feet from where the main building of the facility will be, with stainless steel — an expensive process but one that ensures higher quality water over time.

    “We have probably one of the only stainless steel-cased wells in Western North Carolina, or North Carolina,” brewery co-manager Brian Grossman said. “It’s encased down to 75 feet.”

    It’s good to see that they are doing this with an eye towards conservation, as well.

     While the brewery appears to have plenty of what it needs with regard to water supply, it will place great emphasis on conservation.

    “It’s going to take a lot of water to make beer,” Grossman said, “but this brewery will be very, very efficient.”

    He said Sierra Nevada estimates it will churn out about 1 gallon of beer for every 2½ to 3 gallons of water it brings in during brewing, compared to the 10- or 12-to-1 ratio of some other breweries.

    According to this website –dumposaurus.com/7-tips-for-removing-clutter-in-your-home, Sierra Nevada also plans to have an anaerobic wastewater digestion system on site, recovering bio-gas — a natural byproduct of the process — as an energy source for the brewery. It also has tentative plans for a unique rainwater utilization program.

    “We definitely want to be good stewards” of the land, Grossman said.

    Source: http://www.blueridgenow.com/

  • Beer Laws in Pennsylvania in Need of Being Overhauled

    Anyone who has lives in or has visited Pennsylvania knows about the odd beer sales laws in the state.  When going to a beer store you can only buy cases of beer.  If you want less than that, a six pack for example, you need to go to a bar, not the beer store, to purchase such a small quantity.

    The booze business in Pennsylvania is peculiar. Beer isn’t available at state liquor stores. Under current law, distributors can sell only by the case or keg; other take-out outlets are restricted to 192 ounces.


    All that could change, however, as the legislature considers reinventing the system. One bill, on hold for the moment, would permit distributors to sell beer in any quantity, along with wine and liquor.

    This may sound like a good idea for the consumer, but it doesn’t bode well for the business owners who have come to depend on the sales of small beer products to help offset their other business sales.

    That would endanger the six-pack and quarts markets traditionally left to the taprooms, bar-restaurants, and small take-out shops that have proliferated in the last decade.


    In the last two years, 900 such businesses have gone under, said Amy Christie, executive director of the Pennsylvania Tavern Owners Association, a lobbying group. If the state allows distributors to sell six-packs, she said, 1,000 more of the 11,738 licensees might go out of business.


    Martin and others in the take-out trade say they would have to compete for sales with the very distributors from whom they must, under state law, buy their beer.


    That, they contend, would put them at a distinct disadvantage. They say they have no choice but to charge more than distributors because their pricing is governed by what distributors charge them and by the local taxes levied on take-out beer – 17 percent in Philadelphia.


    With their businesses already staggered by economic conditions, fundamental changes in drinking habits, and the arrival of new purveyors of carry-out beer such as Wegmans and Whole Foods, they say there is hardly a worse time to undercut their sales.


    “It’s not a game-ender,” said Martin, who estimated take-out constitutes 10 percent to 15 percent of his revenue. But “it’s another nail in the coffin.”

    But this change in law goes beyond just the simple sale of beer.  A license to sell beer under the current law will become devalued with the new law in affect.

    The take-out people are also crying foul because they say they bought their licenses – at costs up to $250,000 – under a given set of rules. Changing them now could seriously dilute the licenses’ resale value.


    Licenses are sold on the open market and aren’t state regulated.


    “I got into the business based on what I knew then, and now they’re talking about total upheaval,” Martin said.

    So what are your thoughts on the old and new laws?  Are things fine the way they are, or is it time for change?

    Source: http://www.philly.com/

  • IKEA Beer: No Assembly Required

    IKEA, the land of assemble it yourself furniture, has officially launched a dark lager beer called Öl Mörk Lager.  No assembly is required for this beer, and for now is only available for purchase in the IKEA stores in the UK.  The bottles will be selling for about £1.75 or about $3 each.  Maybe soon in the US while your shopping for that must have NÄSUM basket or set of HÅBOL boxes you can do so while enjoying the cool, refreshing in-house IKEA brand beer.

    Style: Dark Lager
    Availability: 12 oz bottles, IKEA Stores, UK only.
    4.7% ABV


    Source: http://www.ikea.com/
    Via: http://beerstreetjournal.com/

  • Craft breweries represent more than 95% of the breweries in America, but make only 6% of the beer


    A map of the states with the most breweries per capita.
    Source: Brewers Association
    Credit: Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

    In non-beer markets there are issues where the vast majority of the companies making a product are only producing a fraction of the actual product in the market place when compared to one or two major stake holders.  This issue, however, is most pronounced with beer.   It seems that while making up 95% of the market place, craft breweries only produce 6% of the beer.

    Three multinational corporations own most of the 20 gigantic, highly industrialized breweries that produce the vast majority of American beer. It’s been a great Wall Street bonanza, but the results are sobering. The largest brewer in the US, Anheuser-Busch, belongs to Brazilian multinational InBev, the largest brewer in the world. American number two, Miller, is part of SABMiller, headquartered in London, the second largest brewer in the world. Coors was acquired by Canadian brewer Molson, now the Molson Coors Brewing Company, fifth largest in the world. As if that weren’t enough deal-making, SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company formed the joint venture MillerCoors. However, Pabst Brewing Company is still independent.


    But craft beer brewers operate in their own micro climate. In 2011, production jumped 13% to 11,468,152 barrels, for a 5.7% share of the US beer market in volume, according to the Brewers Association. With craft beers being more expensive, retail sales jumped 14.5% to a record $8.7 billion—for a 9.1% share of the $95.5 billion US beer market.

    Even with this relativity small market share, big beer is not happy.  They continue to exert their force in the market place pushing their nationally distributed craft beer brands into every corner of the market, forcing out locally brewed beers.

    Big beer knows that nationally produced and distributed beer representing the largest market share can easily be replaced by brewing your own beer or going down to your local brew pub for a beer that was brewed locally.  It is for this reason that they market their product so aggressively.

    That being said, you can make a difference.   Producing your own beer or buying local beer helps keeps money and jobs in a local economy.  So next time you’re out buying your beer remember, think globally, but act locally.

    Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/

  • Samuel Adams and Boston Beer Get a Downgrade

    It seems not even craft beer is immune to a bad economy.  Yesterday the Boston Beer Company’s shares were downgraded from sell to neutral.

    Boston Beer has shown solid growth with new products such as Twisted Tea and seasonal drinks. But UBS analyst Kaumil Gajrawala downgraded his rating on the company’s shares to “sell” from “neutral” on Monday, saying the company’s growth may slow as its innovations age.

    Amidst the news the stock price fell 4.5%.

    The problem, it seems, is that 70% of Boston Beers recent revenue growth has come from Twisted Tea and seasonal products.  It’s hard to maintain that type of growth, and Gajrawala believes they are hitting the top of the market in performance.

    I think what we’re really seeing here is similar to what happens to any company when they get too big and fail to innovate in the market.  This is strikingly similar to the path that the big beer companies have taken.  I’m still a fan of Boston Beer Company’s beers for now, but hopefully they don’t take the path of getting bigger and buying smaller craft breweries to meet share holders expectations in the market.


    Source: http://money.msn.com/

  • Of the Top 100 Beer Brands, Anheiser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors Control the Majority.

    You know that here at Indy Beers we love to promote the little guy.  Well, we also like to let you know the monopoly the big guys have in the market.

    Last week’s announcement that Anheuser-Busch InBev had agreed to buy Corona maker Grupo Modelo is the latest move in a long trend of consolidation in the beer market, leaving it increasingly about two giant players — AB InBev and Chicago-based MillerCoors.

    The folks over at www.chicagotribune.com put together a great graphic showing who owns what, so check it out below and see who owns what beers.



    Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/

  • To Make Beer, MillerCoors Helps Farmers Save Water

    I’ve written articles before about the importance of water in making beer.  It seems that even the big beer companies struggle with water issues.  When a brewery needs a local water source to brew its beer, it is in the best interest of the brewery to protect that water source.

    “It is not going to be one organization or one company or one government that is going to solve this problem. It is going to take all of us collectively,” said Kim Marotta, MillerCoors director of sustainability.


    MillerCoors acted after an internal assessment showed that three of its eight U.S. breweries, including one in Fort Worth, Texas, faced potential water shortages. The company is working on water conservation at its breweries, but also is identifying large agricultural water users near its breweries and asking to partner with them on conservation.


    “We’re just starting that work,” Marotta said. “You have to start farm-by-farm.”

    I’m glad to see a company like MillerCoors taking an interest in the environment, even if it is self serving.  The initiative is a good start in the right direction and may lead to better brewing processes with less of an environmental impact.  Clean, pure water is a resource that is increasingly difficult to come by in many parts of the world and large corporations are taking notice.

     “You have to do more with less,” said Ken Klaveness, executive director of Trinity Waters, a non-profit conservation group focused on the 512-mile-long Trinity River, which supports water needs for over 40 percent of Texans.


    “If you want your business to be here 15 to 20 years from now, you need to be proactive,” Klaveness said.


    Projects with farmers can range from planting of grasses with deeper root systems that hold water and reduce erosion to installing high-tech monitoring stations in pastures.


    Farmers are being asked to change irrigation techniques and equipment and plant a mix of different crops. Ranchers are asked to alter the ways they rotate their cattle grazing.


    MillerCoors is also working with 800 barley farmers in Idaho to alter their irrigation practices in ways that use less water. MillerCoors will not disclose how much it is spending, but Marotta said the effort was a high priority.

    When water is the largest ingredient in your product, I can absolutely see a need to make saving and protecting that resource a high priority.  Hopefully it will be done in a manner that doesn’t horde that resource and keep others from getting their rightful share.

    Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/

  • Miller Time: Beer so Bad it’s Free

    When all other marketing attempts fail, why not just give your product away for free?  That is the idea at Miller Brewing.  What’s the catch?  Legal-drinking-age consumers with the first, middle or last name Miller will receive a gift card equivalent to the cost of a case of Miller Lite.

    Consumers located in, or willing to travel to, any of nine cities hosting special “It’s Miller Time On Us” events across the country can show their legal state ID with their first, middle or last name of Miller to pick up their $25 It’s Miller Time gift card. “It’s Miller Time On Us” kicks off this week in Philadelphia and then continues in Charlotte, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Phoenix throughout June and July. Gift cards are limited to one per person and must be collected within the designated hours for the event.

    If you’re really interested in going here are the “It’s Miller Time on Us” events that are scheduled (all times local):

    • Las Vegas – June 29, 1-5 p.m., poolside at The Palms
    • Charlotte – July 11, 5-8 p.m., EpiCentre
    • Milwaukee – July 13, 3-6 p.m., Miller Visitor Center
    • Cincinnati – July 17, 5-8 p.m., Holy Grail Tavern & Grille
    • Chicago – July 20, 4-7 p.m., location TBD (watch Facebook.com/MillerLite for updates)
    • Philadelphia – July 24, 4-7 p.m., XFINITY Live! Philadelphia
    • Pittsburgh – July 24, 4-7 p.m., Station Square
    • Phoenix – July 27, 3-6 p.m., Coach & Willie’s
    • Indianapolis – July 28, 1-4 p.m., Georgia Street (Pennsylvania Street to Capitol Avenue)

    I’ll pass, but if you go, take some pictures and share them with us.  I’d love to see the marketing behind this event because we all know it’s marketing that sells this beer, not flavor.

    Source: http://www.marketwatch.com/

  • Hotels are Branding and Serving Their Own Beer.


    Hotels, looking to make some extra money, have started either promoting craft beer, or are re-branding locally brewed beer as their own.  I’ve seen this done several times before at local restaurants.  T-Bonz Grille & Pub’s 33rd street beer is a re-branded beer.  The same applies to all the beers available from Bare Bones Grill & Brewery.  It seems that this venture is not just limited to bars and restaurants now.

    •The Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia this month released Cherry Verbena Saison, its third collaboration with Dock Street Brewing. The beer was brewed with lemon verbena harvested from the hotel’s rooftop garden.


    •Four Fairmont hotels have partnered with breweries to create their own house microbrews using honey from on-site beehives. The Fairmont San Francisco Honey Saison, for instance, was crafted in partnership with Almanac Beer.


    •The Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport recently appointed a new director of brewer relations, created a beer advisory board and has customized in-room beer fridges.


    •And at Kimpton’s Hotel Solamar in San Diego, Christian Graves, executive chef of the Jsix restaurant, will host “craft beer hours,” during which he’ll provide tips on home brewing.

    This to me is great news.  I love a good craft beer, and I’m happy to see businesses teaming together to make a quality product.  It’s all about the bottom line, and if that money can be kept in the local economy, it’s better for your neighborhood brewer.

    Hoyt Harper, global brand leader for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, credits the social hour for higher food and beverage sales: “It energized our lobbies and brought more guests morning, noon and night.”

    Of course, I would like to see the brewer mentioned, if at all possible.  While it’s good that the local beer is being sold, a cross-promotional marketing campaign would be a great way to further enlighten the traveling beer drinker.  Why not tell the hotel guest who makes the beer and offer discount tours of the brewery or six packs to take home and share with your friends.  That probably won’t happen, but here’s to hoping that when I travel, a good craft beer is never to far from reach.

    Source: http://www.usatoday.com

  • InBev to buy Modelo

    InBev is at it again.  This time they are looking to buy Modelo.  The deal, which would include Corona, would be worth an estimated 15 billion dollars.  InBev already owns a 50.4% stake in Modelo.

    Mexico is the world’s sixth biggest beer market and the fourth most profitable and is a virtual duopoly between Modelo and Heineken. Analysts say it would be a good strategic deal for AB InBev.


    Modelo has a 50-percent-plus market share of the Mexican beer market, but a relatively low profit margin of around 26 percent which AB InBev would look to push towards the margin of 60-65 percent it earns in Brazil.


    The move would increase AB InBev’s focus on North and Latin America which already accounts for over 90 percent of profits with its half share of the U.S. market and 70 percent of Brazil.


    So it looks like InBev wants to just buy portfolios instead of developing new beers.  Yet another sign of a failing corporate business process.  Why be innovative in the market place when you can just buy an existing customer base.

    Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/25/modelo-abinbev-idINL6E8HP3ND20120625