• SOPA and PIPA are bad news for the internet.

    To take action now: https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/

    If you don’t know what SOPA and PIPA are, it’s time for a quick lesson.  They are two bills that are currently making their way through congress that could SERIOUSLY cripple the internet.  Their core purpose is to combat piracy, but the wording in the bills is so vague that any site (including this one) could be taken offline without warning.  Freedom of speech, that is a thing of the past.  Here are some sites that are participating in today’s blackout:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (currently providing an easy way for you to contact YOUR representative on this matter)

    https://www.google.com/ (Their image is covered up)


    http://www.mozilla.org/ (Makers of the firefox web browser)


    I’d like to thank Reddit for the following FAQ on SOPA/PIPA, the irony being that if SOPA/PIPA passed this site could be taken offline for use of their FAQ.


    What is the intent of SOPA/PROTECT IP?

    The stated intent of the bills is to provide tools for law enforcement and copyright holders to protect their intellectual property rights.

    What’s wrong with protecting copyrights?

    Nothing! The devil, as they say, is in the details. PROTECT IP and SOPA will cause too much collateral damage, have a high potential for abuse, and won’t even be that effective at stopping the crimes they target. Read alienth’s examination of where these bills fail.

    I’m not in the U.S. Why does this affect me?

    Many of the sites that you may use (e.g. Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.) are all affected by this law and will be required to hide offending domains from you.

    If a non-U.S. site is blocked in the U.S., the site could suffer financially or even be bankrupted by the loss of U.S. traffic and revenue.

    What are the differences between PROTECT IP and SOPA?

    At a general level, the bills are very similar. SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” is from the House of Representatives, while the PROTECT IP Act is from the Senate. Either or both bills may pass a vote in their chamber of congress on their way to becoming law. Both must be defeated to end this threat. There have recently been more detailed explanations in an ELI5 thread and alienth’s blog post.

    What about ACTA?

    The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, is a multi-national agreement with similar goals to the U.S.-only PROTECT IP and SOPA bills. It is criticized for many of the same reasons that PROTECT IP and SOPA are, but is also concerning because it has been drafted in secret. ACTA is not the focus of this blackout but please take the time to learn more about ACTA.

    I’m not a U.S. citizen. How can I help?

    You can still call or e-mail the U.S. representatives (sponsors of the bills would be a good choice). However, you may want to turn your attention more towards ACTA or other over-zealous copyright bills in your country.

    When will reddit be back? What should I do when it comes back?

    reddit will return to normal service at 8 PM EST (0100 UTC). While our protest is temporary in nature, PROTECT IP and SOPA are not. Continue to pay attention and join the conversation in /r/SOPA when reddit returns.

    More answers

    Check out the /r/SOPA Community FAQ.

    Learn more

    Get Involved


  • Yuengling now America’s Largest Brewer


    I’m not a big fan of Yuengling beer, but I’ll drink it any day of the week over the swill produced by Anheuser BuschMiller, or Coors.  Yuengling is now the largest American owned brewery in the United States.

    According to new estimates from Beer Marketer’s Insights, Yuengling surged last year with shipments up 16.9% to 2.5 million barrels, placing it eighth in overall U.S. market share, at 1.2%. That was good enough to nose by Boston, which grew by 8% to 2.4 million barrels, dropping to ninth place. Boston owns the Sam Adams brand.

    I’m very happy to see that the top largest American owned breweries are independent.  Further down the list, however, there is some room for improvement:

    Yuengling’s ranking as the top American-owned brewer comes with some caveats. Pabst Brewing Co., which ranks fifth overall, is U.S.-owned, but outsources its brewing. Sixth-place North American Breweries, which sells brands such as Genesee and Magic Hat, is also U.S.-owned, but a chunk of its volume comes from the imported Labatt brand.

    If you haven’t had Yuengling, it’s worth a try, and it’s better for the US economy, too!!!

    Source:  adage.com

  • Anheuser-Busch no longer the #1 and #2 beers in America

    It’s not really news that big beer is slowly losing it’s grip on the American consumer, but it’s still interesting to watch things things at the top change.  It turns out that AB just lost the #2 spot to rival Coors and their Coors Light beer.

    This is the first time in nearly two decades that Anheuser-Busch hasn’t controlled the top two beers in the country. The King of Beers is on its way to becoming court jester.

    I wouldn’t read too much into this, but my take it on it is Budweiser customers are finding other beers to drink, whereas Coors customers are still following the pied piper.

    “Anytime you can dethrone the king, it’s special,” a MillerCoors spokesman told Advertising Age. An Anheuser-Busch spokesman was less celebratory, saying the company was on track with a strategy to stabilize Budweiser.

    The No. 1 brand is Bud Light.

    Source: MSN.com

  • Maryland Beer & Wine News

    This is an email I received.  I would have linked directly to the content, but I couldn’t find this information on their site.

    The esteemed Robert Parker’s unassailable reputation came under fire recently when an online blogger, Jim’s Loire, alleged that one of Parker’s wine writers was asking for money in exchange for promoting certain Spanish wines (or not writing about them if no money was forthcoming).  The Baltimore Sun picked up on this situation in “Paid to Sip? Wine Scandal Swirls Around Baltimore Critic.”  Parker’s wine writer resigned which only deepened the suspicion even though his associates disputed the allegations (“Wine Critic’s Representative Defends Deals“).  Parker responded that his critic was only charging for his time and pledged to launch a full investigation.  Stay tuned.


    Just in the nick of time, Delegate Sonny Minnick and his brother managed to sell their Dundalk tavern (“State Delegate & Family Leave The Tavern Business”) before his brother goes on trial for paying out on video slot machines, something illegal in Maryland; the bartender alleges that both Minnick’s were aware of the payouts.  While owning Minnick’s Tavern, an establishment with a liquor license, Del. Minnick has served on the House of Delegates’ Alcohol Sub-Committee which regulates liquor licenses.  Some have argued that he is an incredibly informed legislator for holding a license regulated by the very committee on which he serves.  Del. Minnick’s brother has served on the board of the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, or MSLBA, the main tavern and packaged goods lobby in Annapolis, for some years.  The MSLBA regularly takes positions on bills like direct wine shipping that come before the General Assembly.  Interestingly, General Assembly ethics rules require the member to self-identify any potential conflict of interest, something rarely done according to the General Assembly’s ethics officer.


    Less scandalous, WBAL Radio recently covered the growing number of wineries with the direct shippers permit in Maryland and elsewhere (“Wineries See Boost in Business From Direct Shipping”).  As the holiday season is upon us, many of these wineries are looking to fulfill gift givers’ wishes.  The story can be heard here and was picked up by WJZ and even The Republic of Columbus, IN!


    Three recent articles highlighted the resurgence in craft beer in Maryland.  The recent Sun article about the soon-to-open Union Craft Brewing (“Union Craft Brewing Outlines Plan for Woodberry Brewery“) seems to capture the spirit perfectly as it is one of five new breweries expected to open by next spring in Maryland.  The BBJ ran a piece last week (“Beermeisters Have Sights On New Brewery In Baltimore”) on the formation of Charm City Brewing, “a type of co-op that would help some of the city’s smaller beer companies increase their distribution.”  The following week, they chronicled Duclaw Brewing’s massive move into Harford County (“Duclaw Brewing Plots Massive Expansion In Harford County”).  On a side note, National Bohemian is returning to the Mid-Atlantic for the first time in years (“National Premium Starts Brewing in Delaware“).


    There’s a lot brewing out there.  Let me know if you hear anything else through the grapevine.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  Happy holidays!


    Tastefully yours,


    Adam Borden
    Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws
    4315 Underwood Road
    Baltimore, MD 21218
    Tel: (443) 570-8102
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MBBWL
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/mbbwl
    Donate: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=2184279

  • Adele doesn’t know good beer

    I saw this post on MSNBC And couldn’t resist the opportunity to make fun of celebrity ignorance.  Since when are beers made by InBev/Anheuser Busch the “best quality European lager beer”?


    But, for as charitable as Adele may be, there’s one area where she’s not to be messed with: beer. For after the show, the singer requests 12 bottles of “best quality European lager beer. ie Becks, Stella Artois, Peroni etc. North American beer is NOT acceptable.” What did North American beer ever do to Adele?


    Source: http://scoop.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/06/9251333-adele-doesnt-want-your-north-american-beer-thank-you-very-much

  • Help Change Maryland Beer Laws

    I just received an email from Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws that I thought would be good to share.


    Beer in Maryland
    Beer seems to be returning to the fore as a creative medium with a number of small craft breweries opening or expanding recently in Maryland.  Alas, the laws dealing with them have not kept apace.  For example, craft brewers cannot lawfully sell their beer at farmers markets or self-distribute their products as wineries currently can.  A number of you have been voicing concern over this situation, with one member recently writing in the Baltimore Sun: “[A]llowing micro-breweries to self-distribute … would encourage more to get into the business.  Modifying Maryland’s distribution laws would ultimately benefit consumers by providing greater choice of products made in Maryland. We consumers have been deprived far too long.”


    We are looking to put together a Beer Council to address some of these issues and welcome your participation.  Please email me if you are passionate about beer and want to see more and better choices in the Maryland marketplace.

  • Ice Cream and Beer, what could be better?

    I’ve heard of a root beer float, but never just a beer float; however, an article I read this morning has me itching to try one.

    The fall is filled with craft beers brewed with cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar and other traditional flavors of the season. Combine one of these tasty brews with two or three scoops of premium vanilla ice cream – or better yet, one of the quality pumpkin ice creams that you can find in the freezer section of the grocery store this time of year – and you’ve got a beer float reminiscent of a pumpkin pie.

    I think I want to try a pumpkin ale with a scoop of pumpkin ice cream.  There is a homemade ice cream shop about 30 minutes from my house (http://www.hoffmansicecream.com/) that makes a really great pumpkin ice cream this time of year.  That with some Dogfish Head Punkin could be the perfect marriage of flavor.

    What flavors would you try, or better yet, have you already tried this experiment?

    Source: shelbystar.com

  • Miller, it’s Australian for Cheap Beer

    So we all know the SABMiller may soon take over Foster’s, but it doesn’t seem like the shareholders were too happy:

    Foster’s executives were forced to defend the takeover before around 200 shareholders at what is likely to be the brewer’s last annual meeting, saying the deal offered the certainty of cash in a volatile global environment.


    “You are now presenting us with a bright future for Foster’s and you are turning around and getting rid of this company. It is disgraceful of the board,” said one small shareholder, Douglas Fleming, to widespread applause.

    I’m not one for sentimental value of a big company, especially one like Foster’s, but it seems like SABMiller could care less about the beer.  At least the recognize where the problem lies:

    The company has been struggling with declining volumes as demand for traditional beers falls, and its market share has fallen to 50 percent from 55 percent. But it said there has been some improvement in consumer confidence in recent months.


    “We believe that once Australia moves through this period of economic uncertainty, the beer category will return to the long-term trend of moderate growth,” Pollaers said.

    Of course, now Australian’s have to work that much harder to find a good craft beer:

    After SABMiller, the London-based brewer of Peroni, Miller Lite and Grolsch, takes control of Foster’s, about 90 percent of Australian brewing will be in offshore hands. The remaining 10 percent is mainly with small craft breweries.

    Here’s to hoping our mates down under can see to it to join the growing chorus that is the craft beer movement.

    [edited to correct inconsistent information regarding current ownership]

    Source: reuters.com

  • Walmart and Craft Beers a New Marriage

    So it seems Walmart is going to give more beer space to craft beers.  This can only be good for craft beer lovers giving you more choices in more places.

    In another sign that the fast-growing segment is going mainstream, the nation’s largest company and biggest beer seller is planning to add shelf space to accommodate more craft brews, former Walmart CEO Lee Scott told distributors this week at their annual convention in Las Vegas. Mr. Scott, who retired as CEO in 2009 but still serves on the board, said he recently talked to a top Walmart official who is “clearly is in line with the fact we’ve got to make more space, we have to have more representation on assortment.”

    I’m very happy to see this news.  While I don’t often find myself in a Walmart, I know millions of Americans do.  Giving these individuals more choice in the products they see may help bring new craft beer lovers to the table.  Mr. Scott goes on to say:

    Walmart, Mr. Scott added, “built the company on two things: One was price, but the other was assortment, and you can’t take an area like beer where people are moving to craft and ‘under-assort’ yourself because the person who is buying craft beer and wants that assortment will drive to Kroger and pay the 15% more.”

    I’m glad to see that even a super store like Walmart can find value in showcasing the small business products!!

    Source: adage.com

  • Craft Beer Growing – Big Beer Slowing

    Poor ol’ big beer.  This economy is being blamed for the downward turn in sales over the last three years:

    The last three years have been brutal. In the 52 weeks ending in late August, the number of beer cases sold in stores was down 1.5% from the year earlier, according to Nielsen, while spirit volume sales were up 3.2% in the year ending in mid-September. By year’s end, experts are forecasting beer volume to be down some 2%. That would mark the third year in a row of a decline, which hasn’t happened in 50 years

    The funny thing is craft beer seems to be doing just fine:

    On the other hand, smaller craft brands — which tend to appeal to wealthier drinkers — are still on fire. Craft was up 14% in the first half of the year

    That’s great news for craft beer lovers; however, I’m not sure about the editor of Beer Business Daily’s reason for the upswing in craft beer:

    “The brands that are growing are the brands the rich people drink,” Harry Schuhmacher, editor of Beer Business Daily, said in a convention presentation. Crafts also rarely do any expensive advertising, relying instead on social media, events and word-of-mouth buzz.

    Maybe, just maybe, people are sick of watered down, generic beer.  Maybe, just maybe, people want something that not only has great flavor, but is brewed in their own community and not by a corporate conglomerate.  I personally think the increase in craft beers is more about flavor and supporting local business owners, and not about a rich demographic supporting the cause.  What do you think?

    Source: adage.com