World Class Beverages Indiana

June 22, 2010

Down Economy Helping Craft Beer?

It’s counter-intuitive to say the least. People usually spend less money in slow economic times and craft beer is typically more expensive than the national brand alternatives. So we’d expect people to switch to lower priced brands, right? But spending less doesn’t always mean buying less expensive beer.

We’re well into thesecond year of a sluggish economy and craft beer sales are looking great while the rest of the beer industry struggles. In fact, 2009 saw an increase of 7.2% in the sales of craft beer while the overall beer industry struggled with a 2.2% decline according to the Craft Brewers Association.

Clearly, the economy has not yet hurt the craft beer category, but is the down economy actually helping the sales of craft beer?

The US economy continued to decline from 2008 to 2009 in a variety of measurements including the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP), one of the key measurements of economic productivity. Craft beer sales, already healthy coming into 2008, grew even faster in 2009. From 2005 to 2009 the US GDP declined in growth rate each year while craft beer sales continued to rise.

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June 18, 2010

1st Annual Beer Bloggers Conference Coming November 2010

We’re excited to say that World Class Beverages will be a sponsor of the first ever Beer Bloggers Conference coming up this November 5-7  in Boulder, Colorado. What better place to write about and drink beer?

Who should attend? This event is a no-brainer if you write about beer or are involved in the blossoming world of social media surrounding beer. But perhaps more importantly, this event will have some tremendous content for those of us (like me!) who just love great beer and are genuinely interested in helping to promote it. I cannot imagine that there is a better way to prepare yourself to be an “influencer” in the world of beer than by attending this event.

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June 16, 2010

Craft and Specialty Beer Update: June 16, 2010

Filed under: New Product Releases and Placements — Bob Mack @ 4:43 pm
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Each week we try to give you the low down on what’s happening with our craft and specialty brands in the state of Indiana. We highlight new products, expected shipments and arrival dates for each brewery and importer in our portfolio.

US Craft Brands -

Abita (Louisiana): Satsuma Wit is in stock now. Also, a special pilsner called S.O.S (Save Our Shoreline) will be bottled and shipped to Indiana in August.  75 cents of each bottle of S.O.S. will benefit recovery efforts of the Louisiana coastline. From Abita: “This unfiltered Weizen Pils is made with Pilsner and Wheat malts.  It is hopped and dry hopped with Sterling and German Perle hops.  It has a brilliant gold color, sweet malts flavor, and a pleasant bitterness and aroma.   It is 7% ABV and has 35 IBU.”

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June 15, 2010

Too Big to Be a “Craft” Brewer?

Filed under: Beer Business — Bob Mack @ 2:18 pm
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It’s only fair to say that Samuel Adams beers helped to lead the craft beer revolution in this country. They were making craft beer in the eighties when most of us didn’t know what craft beer was. But a recent New York Times article about the Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beers, focused on a brewing controversy surrounding the brewer these days. Are they simply too big to be considered a craft brewer?

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June 14, 2010

Beer Review: Barley Island Barfly

Filed under: Beer Reviews — Bob Mack @ 4:41 pm
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I’m an IPA guy. In other words, a hophead. So I like to think I know a little bit about this sort of beer. I’ve certainly had plenty of them. I love trying new ones and old favorites from all parts of the country. But they say that “there’s no place like home” and Barley Island’s Barfly IPA, brewed right here in central Indiana, has become a home, of sorts, for me.

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June 2, 2010

Show Me Your ABV’s

Breweries are reaching entirely new levels of sophistication. How can I tell? Because instead of advertising their products with women tearing their clothes off arguing over whether a beer is “less filling” or “tastes great” they’re competing to see who can brew the beer with the highest alcohol content. Sort of a “mine is bigger than yours” competition. Much more of mature, sophisticated approach to the business, wouldn’t you say?

Me neither.

Whose is bigger? Just a couple of days ago I learned from our friends at BeerNews.org that Schorschbrau Brewing of Germany had beat out Scotland’s Brewdog Brewing for the current high alcohol by volume (abv) title with their 43% abv “Schorschbock”. It beat out Brewdog’s “Sink the Bismarck” which had previously held the abv title for a scant few months at 41%. Though surely, Brewdog is preparing a counter strike as I write this.

Brewdog seems to have touched off this battle with their 2009 release of Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Penguin weighs in at 32% abv. Schorschbrau responded with a 32% version of Schorschbock to regain the abv title. 32% was pretty strong for 2009 but not so much in 2010 where 43% is the new standard.

Aside from some gratuitous publicity, what’s the point of this battle for abv supremacy?

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May 28, 2010

Local Race, Local Beer

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and I’m guessing that more than one of us will be consuming some beer this weekend whether at home, at a neighbors cookout or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As always, let’s make these beers count!

For those of you attending the Indy 500 on Sunday – remember that you are welcome to bring your own beer to the track! In my mind, that’s a great feature of the race as we’re not stuck with the selection of beers that the Speedway may, or may not, have available for us to purchase at $10 per. Just remember these points:

  1. No bottles allowed. Cans, cans cans. You can bring the cans in any size including the very popular Bell’s Oberon 5 liter mini-keg. If you can’t drink it all yourself it’s a great way to make some friends! Boulevard Wheat, Wittekerke Witbier and Sun King cans would also be great choices.
  2. Your cooler can be no larger than14″ x 14″ x 14″. So make sure your beer all fits in that space if you want it to stay cool.
  3. There’s no ice to buy at the track. Bring your own.

Check out the official Indianapolis 500 Digital Guest Guide here, or read the Hoosier Beer Geeks great rundown on which canned beers to take to the track here.

There are also some interesting beer connections to the Indianapolis 500 that are worth noting.

Watch for Conquest Racing’s Bertrand Baquette this weekend. He’s starting at the 24 spot (car #36) and hails from one of our favorite beer countries, Belgium. More importantly, the Brugge Brasserie logo will adorn the nose of his car (you can just barely see it in this picture). As a Belgian native, Bertrand has got to be very excited to find such great, Belgian style beer in Indiana and it is great to see a local brewer getting some advertising and promotion in the biggest single day spectator event in the world!

I hear from Ted Miller that Bertrand was very impressed with the beers from Brugge, Indiana. But I’m sure he’d rather be drinking milk come Sunday.

Tomas Scheckter will be driving the number 23 car from row 7 and also carrying a beer related logo, the Laverstoke Park Farms logo drawn by Tomas’ 7 year old brother (near the upper right corner of this picture). Laverstoke Park Farms is an organic farm in the UK owned by Tomas’ father, Jody Scheckter. Jody is better known for being the 1979 Formula One World Champion, so he knows more than a little bit about racing. Laverstoke Park Farm produces organic grain and hops that are brewed into Laverstoke Organic Ale and Organic Lager at Fullers in London. The beers have just this week arrived in Indiana.

Of course, the Indianapolis 500 has a long history and tradition of being associated with beer. Back in the 1930’s, Falls City (Louisville, KY – sort of local) was an official sponsor of the race and Miller Brewing has been a major sponsor in more recent years.

May 10, 2010

Cans or Glass? Which is Greener?

My dad drank beer from a can just about every day, but most craft beer drinkers laugh at the lowly can, considering it a container for cheap beer only. Today, cans in the craft beer industry are gaining acceptance rapidly. As more brewers start putting better beer in cans the demand for canned craft beers seems to be increasing. The beer can is making a comeback and stands tall as a champion of environmental concerns.

This isn’t your father’s beer can we’re talking about. My father drank cheap beer, anyway.

The arguments in favor of cans are several:

  • Beer is better protected in cans away from damaging light that glass may not stop,
  • Cans are easier to ship and carry as they are not nearly so heavy as bottles,
  • Cans can be taken to the beach, golf course or into venues that don’t allow bottles, and
  • Cans are more environmentally friendly than bottles.

But are cans really better for the environment than bottles? Opinion is split and the facts confusing.

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May 3, 2010

Let Us Help With Better Beer!

Filed under: Beer Business — Bob Mack @ 12:40 pm
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Some of you may have seen this thread in the “Beer Talk and Questions” forum at http://www.beeradvocate.com. If not, here’s an excerpt. The entire thread is located at BeerAdvocate.com.

Is your beer store beer rep on top of his/her game?
Nothing annoys me more than going into a beer store and finding no one with any beer sense. Thats why it’s such a pleasure to talk shop with [Retailer Name Omitted]. I stopped in there last Friday and Kane talked my ear off about sours, brown ales (my fav) and a number of other styles. Where do u shop for craft brews and do u find the head beer guy to be a world of knowledge or just an empty suit?”

What’s my point? A craft and specialty beer wholesaler like World Class Beverages wants to help retailers understand beer. It’s imperative that there be some significant level of beer knowledge in a store, bar or restaurant that wants to place some emphasis on craft and specialty beers.

The level of beer knowledge in the general population keeps getting better and better. Bars, restaurants and beer retailers need to keep pace in order to be successful.

Don’t get me wrong, a distributor representative can’t be in the store all day selling beer. There’s just no substitute for having good people working in your store. But a good distributor should be able to offer training and educational resources to make a craft and specialty oriented store successful.

If you are a bar, restaurant or retailer looking for help in this area, ask your distributor for it. If you are a consumer looking to direct your favorite bar, restaurant or store to better beer, ask them for it.

April 28, 2010

Anchor Brewing Begins and Ends an Era

Filed under: Beer Business — Bob Mack @ 3:18 pm
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On Monday, April 26, 2010 it was announced that owner Fritz Maytag of the historic Anchor Brewing Company would be selling his interest in the brewery to an investment company.

Anchor Brewing and Fritz Maytag ARE historic in the craft beer world. Fritz bought the brewery in 1965 when there weren’t really any “craft” beers available in the US. Anchor Brewing later pioneered the creation of craft beers as Fritz fought to make the brewery profitable and his efforts contributed greatly to the growing craft beer culture that we enjoy today.

It’s hard to say that Fritz will be missed as he will still carry the title of “Chairman Emeritus” at Anchor. But there’s little doubt that the change of ownership signals the end of an era for the craft beer world. Fritz started making great beer when very few people knew what great beer was. A lot of people must have thought Fritz a little crazy, especially with the craze for “Lite” beer just getting under way back then. But Fritz persisted.

An icon is moving on to other ventures and his daily guidance at Anchor Brewing will be missed. (more…)

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