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 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 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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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…)

April 21, 2010

Take Beer out of the Ball Game?

Victory Field, IndianapolisI just spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Victory Field with my lovely wife and daughter enjoying a sunny day of baseball and a few good beers. Sitting on the outfield grass I couldn’t help but feel blessed that the beer gods had smiled enough on me that local brewers like Oaken Barrel, Sun King and Upland would be represented at the ballpark in addition to great brews from Bell’s, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. Truly, I was blessed to have such choices.

But why can’t every ballpark, stadium or concert venue have such choices? It’s a question I am often asked about and a situation I sometimes despair over.

Why can’t there be great craft beers at venues like Verizon Wireless, Conseco Fieldhouse or Lucas Oil Stadium?

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April 1, 2010

Final Four: The Hoosier Beer Geek Guide to Indianapolis Beers

Ever vigilant and timely, our friends at Hoosier Beer Geek have put together a terrific guide to beers available to all of our visitors to Indianapolis for this weekend’s Final Four basketball championship.

Check it out here: http://hoosierbeergeek.blogspot.com/2010/03/your-final-four-beer-guide-to.html

Whether you’re from Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina or even Indiana, welcome to Indianapolis! We thrilled to have you here and we look forward to sharing a beer(s) with you!

Cheers!

World Class Beverages

February 17, 2010

Hop Dam! Coming Soon to Indiana

Filed under: New Product Releases and Placements — Bob Mack @ 9:26 am
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Fred Karm, Owner and Brewer

Hoppin Frog Brewing of Akron, Ohio isn’t the biggest brewery in the northeast part of Ohio, but it’s earned a reputation for being the best. Just this month, they were ranked by RateBeer.com as the 24th best brewery in the world! (See the story at Hopping Frog’s website at: http://www.hoppinfrog.com/news/hoppin-frog-on-list-of-worlds-top-brewers/.)

”I’m just blown away,” Hoppin’ Frog owner and brewer Fred Karm said. ”I just think of myself as making beer for my friends and family. It’s unfathomable.”

Hoppin Frog’s reputation and status is built on big beers like BORIS the Crusher, an astounding Russian Imperial Stout that also comes in a very scarce barrel aged version. But Hoppin Frog has also been quite liberal in their use of hops and coming soon to Indiana is their “triple IPA” called Hop Dam. We’re grateful to Fred for getting us 30 cases of this amazing beer!

From the Hoppin Frog website:

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