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Showing posts from September, 2014

Fan Fiction

This is a tinfoil hat observation, but one that's fun to make. Like all kooky theories, it begins with demonstrable facts and descends into the gap between madness and unlikelihood. 
Craft beer now has 8 percent of the market and think they can make it to 20 over the next decade. Budweiser's parent company, even bolstered by the World Cup, reported losses of more than $1 billion already this year even though revenue increased. Much of that has to do with them purchasing companies that don't run at the famous AbInBev margins, but, to be fair, the revenue boost was because of Brazil.
There won't be a World Cup next year, but there also is no craft beer revolution in South America. Or in Africa. Or Russia. There also is no NFL advertising expense in those countries.
Last week, Budweiser made an uncharacteristically frank indictment of the NFL. It was a barely-veiled threat saying it wasn't happy with the NFL's domestic abuse problem.
These all are facts, now we ca…

Exporting beer and a revolution

Twenty years ago, I would tell you that Belgium was the greatest brewing country in the world. And today I would say it's the United States. -- John McDonald, Founder of Boulevard Brewing Company, in an +NPRstory.

Exporting a revolution
Late last year, Belgian beer company +Duvel Moortgat closed a deal to buy +Boulevard Brewing Co. primarily to secure an American craft beer for export (or, I guess, import, depending upon your perspective). The word from all involved is nothing will change about the beer, and, while there's tons of historical evidence that corporate culture will have an affect on the beer, there's no evidence that Duvel isn't a quality beer company. It's billed as a Belgian craft brewery and is a family owned company.
More recently, Lagunitas sniped at Boston Beer for making a West Coast IPA that was, they say, an attempt to horn in on their market. It's odd, as Samuel Adams has been a supporter of smaller breweries without becoming a monster acqui…

Craft Canning Revolution?

Setting aside the 8 or 10 people who remember when beer from cans had an off flavor, the rise of craft beer in a can is probably the next bump in the craft beer market. Cans are cheaper to buy and cheaper to ship, and they hold flavor better. It is quite possible they hold flavor longer, but it's not an experiment I'm willing to try as it means arbitrarily leaving beer un-drunk. Over the last few years, the beer in a can market has grown significantly.
The Genius of Mobile Canning
I spoke with Augie Carton of Carton Brewing, who had canning as a major part of his original business plan. He said when he called a company to arrange to buy a canner, they directed him to one of their newest customers, a guy with a regional canning truck. Rather than have to invest in a very, very expensive and technical piece of equipment, Carton was able to contract with a company who would come out as needed, pump beer into the truck and roll filled cans out of it and into the brewery's cool…

There's more to campus beer than frat boys

The recently-reported discovery of an on-campus brewery at the +College of William & Mary highlights a point that we've forgotten, a little bit. Yes, it's cute to make jokes about having beer on campus, but where there are people, there is beer. This is a fact of civilization. What was difficult was making good beer. It not only took time, but also resources that most smaller places didn't have. Maltsters were rare in the country, but they could make a living in cities, larger communities and even on plantations, if the plantation owner was rich enough and liked beer that much. Anyone can make a passable cider, but colonists who liked beer had trouble getting good brews.
What's exciting about the discovery is that we might get additional insight into the recipes they were using. A good beer recipe, like a good maltster, was, if not rare-ish, less common than we would like. Brewers wrote to one another about their processes and occasionally some of the ingredient l…

My Accidental Book Deal

I've been working on a book about a local brewery for three years. Like many would-be nonfiction authors I wrote as much as I could when I wasn't at my day job. I was a reporter when I started, then (mostly because I was cheap and the newspaper was bleeding cash) I was an editor and finally a section editor at a bigger paper. Between my day job and my book I was cranking out a phenomenal number of words every week.
When I finally left the newspaper business for the nonprofit sector, my first draft was nearly done and I was cruising toward a second draft. It was time to try selling my book. I've learned since that it is foolish (or at least amateur) to first write and research a nonfiction novel before selling it. My first proposal (I also learned nonfiction authors don't query) was to +The History Press. As I'd never written a book professionally before, I included the first four chapters of the second draft as an example.
Having not heard from them, I started sen…