20060630

Bluegrass hopes to expand its reach


East Coast craft beers fans alert. Bluegrass Brewing Co. has designs on your tastebuds.

The company has expanded its market into Virginia, a step in an expansion plan to encompass a number of East Coast markets, according to Scott Roussell, managing director of the Louisville, KY, company.

The brewery is doubling its production capacity to more than 10,000 barrels, in excess of 130,000 cases.

Specialty Beverage of Richmond, Va., is the distributor. The company specializes in craft beers and imports, said its co-owner, Clay Gilbert.

"The craft market is up 10 percent, the fastest-growing adult (beverage) market in the country," Gilbert said in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

BBC makes five regular labels -- Altbier, American Pale Ale, Dark Star Porter, Nut Brown Ale and Jefferson Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout -- and several seasonal varieties.

Industry analysts say that while the BBC brand is not well-known in Virginia, it is established in the Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky markets and is advancing north into Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Cleveland.

"Our plan is by 2010 to be a regional brewery," Roussell said. "That's 15,000 barrels a year."

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20060628

Shot and a beer from Anheuser-Busch


Way back when, if you ordered a shot of whiskey with a beer chaser, it was called a boilermaker.

In a sense, some brewers may be looking at that combination in a different way as the global dropoff in beer sales continues.

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch is testing a new line of fruit-flavored shots to be mixed with beer. The idea came from Long Tail Libations, a subsidiary founded last November to develop and market spirits.

Its first product was Jekyll & Hyde, something I wrote about at the time. It's two bottles of different distilled liquors intended to be mixed into a single drink.

Last summer, A-B began marketing Tilt. It's a raspberry-flavored malt beverage with caffeine and herbal additives, and an alcohol content determined by various state laws. The range is from 4 to 6.6%.

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20060618

Brewery memorabilia convention set


Cumberland, MD, becomes a major city next month for collectors, dealers and admirers of antique brewery advertising and memorabilia.

The 34th annual Eastern Coast Breweriana Association convention will be held July 12-15 in the Western Maryland city, with a public show and sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the final day at the Cumberland Holiday Inn.

The ECBA is the oldest of the breweriana collector clubs in the United States, formed by collectors from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1972. It has members from more than 20 states and several countries. It also publishes a quarterly magazine (seen here).

A local beer distributor, Robert Gornall of Western Maryland Distributing Co., is the convention chairman. He is known in the field for his extensive collection of Maryland beer coasters, and also collects select pieces of advertising from the now-defunct Cumberland Brewing Co. and Queen City Brewing Co.

Full details on the event are available from Gornall at (301) 722-8050 or on the ECBA Web site.

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20060615

Canada's best? Old Yale, one more time


Old Yale Brewing is making a habit of picking up the title of Canada's best brew.

For the third consecutive year, the Chilliwack, B.C., brewery's Old Yale Pale Ale has been named the best by judges in the Canadian Brewing Awards.

What's the secret?

"I can’t tell you,” says Larry Caza, brewmaster for the six-year-old company. "It's a classic Pacific Northwest-style beer, brewed with a copious amount of the distinct Cascade hop.”

In 2005, Old Yale’s Sasquatch Stout won best in Canada, and in 2004 its Sergeant’s India Pale Ale (IPA) won the top national award. This year, Sergeant's won the gold medal in the India Pale Ale (IPA) category.

Old Yale produces all-natural beers made only with barley and wheat malts, hops, yeast and water. It is one of 73 breweries in British Columbia and about 264 in all of Canada.

Get the full list of medal winners in all categories here.


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