This week was one of those weeks where there didn’t seem to be a singular big story in the craft beer world. No Scots we bottling beer in animal carcasses. None of the United States’ biggest brewers were merging or being purchased by foreign companies. Here in the Northeast, there wasn’t a massive beer fest to attend for some schmoozing. Despite this, there are still plenty of other stories worth rounding up. Among them; big news for craft brewers Dogfish Head, Oskar Blues and Magic Hat, a couple surprising polls and studies, and one more shot fired in the super-strong beer competition.
Oskar Blues playing catch-up to thirst for its beers
File this one under “there are worse problems to have.” Colorado brewers (and forward guards in the canned craft beer movement) Oskar Blues are still experiencing exponential growth, and the train doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Blues produces 29,500 barrels of beer in 2009, and 12,500 in 2007 – with new tanks installed last week, they’ll potentially brew 60,000 barrels next year. Still, this isn’t enough to cover demand, and Oskar Blues has had to pull out of eight of the 26 states to which it distributes.
As I said, there are worse problems to have than too much demand – but I feel wicked bad for the residents of those 8 states.
Craft beer sales, volume grows
Craft beer sales are up for the first half of 2010, with significant increases in both sales (12%) and volume (9%). Each is up about 3% more than last year, when sales and volume grew at 9 and 5 percent. Craft beer also looks to be the high point in the beer world, as beer volume sales as a whole are down nearly 3%.
Let’s chalk this up as another score for the good guys. Looks like in flavor and finances, craft brewers continue to be at the forefront of the industry.
Sorry To Say, The 120 Is Not On The Way…
Bad news for fellow Dogfish Head nuts – you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see Dogfish’s 120-minute IPA on your shelves. The beer was almost ready to be bottled and shipped this week, but ran into enough issues at the brewery’s quality control checkpoints to be scrapped. According to Dogfish founder Sam Calagione, “we are more interested in preserving our long-term reputation for quality than we are pacifying short term frustrations with not getting this batch out on a certain timeline.” He does, happily, expect a batch of the 120 to make it to stores before the end of the year.
It’s always a bummer to see beer disappear like this, but good on Dogfish for holding their stuff to high standards when other brewers might have pushed it out the door.
Drinking edges up in US, with beer still favorite
67 percent of American adults say they have an alcoholic beverage on occasion, the highest level in 15 years. And what are Americans drinking? Beer is the most popular, making up about 2/5ths of the alcoholic drinks gulped. Wine and liquor follow closely, preferred by 32% and 21% of the folks looking to have a libation.
Click on through to the article for a bunch of interesting stats about how alcohol consumption splits along gender lines, education, income level and religion.
5 arrested for beer run ring
Pro tip; don’t steal beer and trade it for meth. For oh so many reasons.
Vermont’s Largest Brewery to be sold
Since last weekend, a “beer industry publication” has been reporting that Magic Hat in South Burlington, Vermont will be sold to North American of Rochester, N.Y. Comments from brewery employees are few and far between, but when it comes to a potential sale “no comment” often means a lot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as other breweries purchased by (or with distribution deals with) big brewers like Widmer, Red Hook and Kona have continued to produce beer. The author of the article sites another great Vermont example in Ben & Jerrys, which has hardly switched to mass-produced swill ice cream since being purchased by Unilever 10 years ago.
Let’s hope things don’t change too much. I’m not Magic Hat’s biggest fan, but their beers certainly sound better than the stuff from North American’s other brand Genesee.
Ultra Strength Beer Race Revived With 120-Proof Dutch Concoction
Take that, super-strong beer! The Dutch have brewed a super-stronger beer! This week saw the release of a 60% ABV monster from Brouwerij het Koelschip, an Almere-based Dutch brewery. The brew, called “Start the Future” (an obvious shot at BrewDog‘s “The End of History”), now holds the title of strongest beer in the world.
The beer’s brewer, Jan Nijboer, seems to have the right idea about this quest for beer that seems based more on ABV than something silly like taste. “It has become a little competition,” Mr Nijboer said. “You should see it as a joke.”
Leave a Reply