20080730

Be'er No. 1! Be'er No. 1!

According to a new Gallup poll, beer's lead over wine and spirits has returned to double-digits for the first time since 2002, particularly among adults between the ages of 30 and 49 who tried wine for a few years then shifted back to beer, according to a new Gallup Poll.

The firm's annual "Consumption Habits" poll shows that in combined data from its 2004 and 2005 surveys, drinkers aged 30 to 49 were about as likely to prefer wine as beer. Now, drinkers in this age bracket have shifted back to beer, with an average of 47% in the combined 2007-2008 data saying they most often drink beer.

Drinking preferences among adults ages 21-29 have remained stable in recent years, with the majority showing a wide preference for beer.

Beer continues to represent the largest segment in the alcohol beverage category in volume and dollar sales, accounting for 56% of all alcohol beverage servings.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080728

'Feminine' vs. 'masculine' beer

Bob Skilnick, the Chicago beer writer/historian, frequently comes up with interesting points of view about companies and products in the industry. His latest is titled "Betting The House On A Beer Made For Women — Recipe For Disaster?"

Writes Bob:

"One of the beer’s owners describes it as 'feminine tasting' while noting that men who would be caught with one of these dear things in their hand are " … getting in touch with their feminine side.' Thinking of the old Schlitz marketing disaster, known as the 'Drink Schlitz or I’ll Kill You' campaign, I’m thinking 'Drink Honey Amber Rose or I’ll Kiss You' would make a darling tagline."

You can read Bob's entire commentary here.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080727

Aussie brew seeks more U.S. acceptance

Always assuming there can't be too many brands on the market, another Australian brewer is putting new effort to push its beers in the U.S. where just 85,000 cases of them are sold annually.

The current target: New York City.

Coopers Brewery's export manager Terry Minkin has moved to the Big Apple to begin pushing his line. Why there?

"In the five boroughs of New York there are 63,000 liquor licences," he said.

Coopers is, of course, not totally new to the U.S. It has been sold here for 25 years and is available in every state, with New York, California, Texas and Illinois its top sellers. But, in a ridiculously competitive field, "We're about a mile wide, but an inch deep," says Glenn Cooper, company chairman and marketing director. "Not enough people know that we are there."

So, if you begin seeing more mentions of Coopers, you'll know the push has come to your town.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

GQ anoints America's 20 'best' cocktails

While I admire its aspiration to be the lead dog in the pack of magazines telling men how to dress, eat, drink and behave, I have difficulty with GQ because it insists we all should be untucked, unshaven, uncombed and generally unimpressive looking in a world in which women are expected to be sleek, stylish and perfectly coiffed.

GQ's idea of what a man should look like is precisely what we all laughed at when we were in our 20s.

That aside, any magazine that goes to the trouble of coming up with an illustrated guide to the 20 "best" cocktails currently being served in America has to be given its props.

Lest you think all such drinks are pricey, one that particularly caught my eye was The Margaveza (seen here) from a Brooklyn, NY, spot called Daddy’s. It's described as "a rock ’n’ roll bar tucked into an obscure block of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that’s staffed and patronized by obscure Brooklyn musicians."

The Margaveza was invented by Eric Copeland, of the band Black Dice when he was a bartender there. Says GQ's Will Welch, "It’s wildly simple: a 12-ounce bottle of Sol poured into a pint glass, topped with four ounces of frozen margarita, and garnished with a lime. All for five bucks. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?"

You can go to GQ's Men's Style.com site for the full particulars on the list, and some good pix to go with them.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080715

Coney Island beers a charitable effort

Let me say up front that I have never sampled any product from the Shmaltz Brewing Co.

Let me also say that I am fascinated by the naming protocols the Brooklyn, NY, brewer uses.

Its signature beer is called "HE'BREW -- The Chosen Beer." Clever stuff. And now it has nationally launched a line of five sideshow-inspired Coney Island Craft Lagers.

Three of them will be produced year-round: Coney Island Lager (5.8% alc), Albino Python white lager (6%) and Sword Swallower steel hop lager (6.8%) Two will be what the company calls "seasonal curiosities": Human Blockhead Tough-As-Nails Strong Lager (8.8%). this summer and only on draft in New York City, and Freaktoberfest blood red lager (6.66%) for Halloween in October.

According to Schmaltz proprietor Jeremy Cowan, proceeds from the beer sales will help Coney Island USA, a 501(c)(3) Arts Non-Profit in its efforts to preserve various forms of culture and popular arts in Brooklyn's historic Coney Island neighborhood.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

After A-B, what's next for voracious InBev?

From Business Week.com:

InBev's $52 billion acquisition of Anheuser-Busch seems like the merger to end all beer mergers, the climax of several decades of industry consolidation. What could possibly top it?

Well, how's this: A few years from now, after it has digested Anheuser-Busch, InBev joins up with other brewers such as Heineken and Carlsberg and makes a joint bid for giant SABMiller. The companies carve up SABMiller's portfolio, with InBev taking over SAB brands in regions such as Africa, where it is weak.

The scenario may sound far-fetched, but analyst Gerard Rijk at ING Wholesale Banking in Amsterdam points out that SABMiller, which markets Miller beer in the U.S., is the one big brewer still vulnerable to takeover. Heineken's family owners are unlikely to sell, and Carlsberg is controlled by a foundation. The London- and Johannesburg-listed shares of SABMiller, which will lose its status as the world's biggest brewer after the InBev-Anheuser deal, are widely held.

"The big one that's left that can be taken over is SABMiller," Rijk says.

(Go here for the rest of the story.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080713

What $15 million will get you

This Guinness commercial reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $15 million. That's quite a pricey neighborhood.

See if you think it was worth the money.



To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080711

North American Brewers' contest winners

The North American Brewers Association's annual competition is an object lesson that a brew is not just a brew.

With 27 categories, which have as many as five subcategories each, the judges have their work cut out for them.

Judging is performed in a blind format competition with beers poured in a separate room and provided to the judges in flights according to style. Judging in teams of four, minimum, the judges rank order the top three beers and in some instances award honorable mentions.

• Here's the gold medal list for each subcategory from the recent competition. For the complete medal list, go here.

GERMAN MALTED WHEAT ALES

Bavarian Style Hefeweizen: Whistler Brewing Co., Whistler Weissbier.
Dunkel Weizen & C: Kristall Weizen & D: Weizen Bock: Boston Beer, Samuel Adams Longshot Weizenbock.

OTHER GERMAN ALES

Kölsch: Ram Restaurant & Brewery-Boise, Clearwater Kolsch.
Alt: Trail Creek Brewing Co., Alchemy Amber.

CONTINENTAL LAGER BEERS

Munich Helles: Capital Brewing Co., Capital Bavarian Lager.
Bohemian Pilsner: Hoppers Grill & Brewing Co., This is the Pilsner.
German Pilsner: Capital Brewing Co., Capital Special Pilsner.
Dortmunder/Export & E: Vienna: Kona Brewing, Longboard Island Lager.
Märzen-Oktoberfest: Schooners Grille & Brewery, Oh! Fest!
Munich Dark: Grupo Modelo, Negra Modelo.
• Schwarzbier (Black Beer): Uinta Brewing Co., Kings Peak.

BOCK BEERS

Traditional Bock: Boundary Bay Brewing, Dunkles Bock.
Helles Bock/Maibock: Full Sail Brewing Co., Full Sail LTD 2.
Doppel Bock & D: Eisbock: Maui Brewing Co., Red Cock Doppel Bock.

ENGLISH BITTER

Ordinary Bitter: Desert Edge Brewery, Anniversary Amber.
(Special) Best Bitter: Boundary Bay Brewing, ESB.
(Extra Special) Strong Bitter ESB: Silver City Brewing Co., Big Daddy's ESB.

PALE ALES

English Summer Ale: Pike Brewing Co., Pike Naughty Nellie.
English Pale Ale: Odell Brewing Co., 5 Barrel Pale Ale.
American Pale Ale: Barley Brown's Brew Pub, Tumble Off Pale Ale.
American Strong Pale Ale: Rock Bottom-Bellevue, Hop Bomb IPA.
English-Style India Pale Ale: Kettle House Brewing Co., Double Haul IPA.
American-Style India Pale Ale: Pelican Pub & Brewery, India Pelican Ale.
Double/Imperial India Pale Ale: Pizza Port-Carlsbad, Poor Man's IPA.

AMERICAN AMBER OR RED

American Amber Ale: Hales Brewery, Red Menace.
American Amber Lager: F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Saranac Adirondack Lager.

SCOTTISH AND IRISH ALES

Scottish Light & B: Scottish Heavy & C: Scottish Export: Pelican Pub & Brewery, MacPelican's Scottish Style Ale.
Irish Red Ale: Alaskan Brewing Co., Alaskan Amber.
Double/Imperial Irish Red Ale: Marin Brewing Co., White Knuckle Double IPA.

BROWN ALES

English Mild Ale: Flyers Restaurant & Brewery, Barnstormer Brown Ale.
English Brown Ale: Wolf Rock Brewing, Leroy Brown.
American Brown Ale: Grand Teton, Bitch Creek.

PORTER

Brown Porter: Caldera Brewing Co., Caldera Pilot Rock Porter.
Robust Porter: Kettle House Brewing Co., Olde Bongwater Hemp Porter.

STOUT

Dry Stout: Bertrams Salmon Valley Brewery, Sacajawea's Stout.
Sweet Stout & C: Oatmeal Stout: Stone Cellar Brewpub Inc., Stone Cellar Stout.
Foreign Stout: Caldera Brewing Co., Caldera Smokers Stout.
American Stout: Barley Brown's Brew Pub, Chaos.
Imperial Stout: Beer Valley Brewing Co., Black Flag Imperial Stout.

STRONG ALES

Scotch Ale: Anchor Brewing, Old Foghorn.
English Old Ale: Boundary Bay Brewing, Old Bounder.
English Barley Wine: Pelican Pub & Brewery, Stormwatcher's Winterfest.
American Barley Wine: Alaskan Brewing Co., Alaskan Barley Wine 2007.

NORTH AMERICAN LAGERS

American Standard Lager: Miller Brewing Co., Miller High Life.
American Premium Lager: Uinta Brewing Co., Blue Sky Pilsener.
American Malt Liquors & D: American Specialty Lager: Coors, Keystone Ice.
American Light Lagers: Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee's Best Light.
Latin American or Tropical Style Lagers or Ales: Worlds Brews/Industrias La Constancia, Pilsner.

NORTH AMERICAN LIGHT ALES

Cream Ales: Laughing Dog Brewing Co., Laughing Dog Cream Ale.
• Light Ales: Redhook Ale Brewery, Sunrye Summer Ale.
Blonde or Golden Ale: Redhook Ale Brewery, Redhook Blonde Ale.

AMERICAN WHEAT BEERS

American Hefeweizen: Wasatch (Utah Brewers Cooperative), Squatter's Hefeweizen.
American Style Wheat Beer & C: American Dark Wheat & D: American Dark Hefeweizen: Barley Brown's Brew Pub, Coyote Peak Wheat.

CONTINENTAL WHEAT BEERS

Belgian Wit (White): Big Bear Brewing Co., Witness.

FLAVORED BEERS

Herbed/Spiced: Barley Brown's Brew Pub, Hot Blonde.
Fruit Beers: Water Street Brewery, Raspberry Weiss.
Honey Beer: Boston Beer Co., Samual Adams Honey Porter.
Malternatives: Smirnoff, Smirnoff Ice.
Chili Beer: Water Street Brewing, Sexi Mexi Chili Beso.

SMOKE AND WOOD FLAVORED BEERS

Smoke Flavored Beer & B: German Style Smoked Beer: Red Rock Brewing Co., Bamberg Rauch Bier.
Wood Flavored Beer: Harmon Brewing Co., Sasquatch Oak Stout.

BELGIAN AND FRENCH STYLE BEERS

Dubbel: Ram Restaurant & Brewery-Boise, Dubbel Barrel Belgian Ale.
Tripel: Redhook Ale Brewery, Triplett's Belgian Tripel.
Belgian Strong Pale Ale: Pike Brewing Company, Monk's Uncle.
Belgian Dark Strong Ale: Maui Brewing Co., Father Damien Abbey Ale.

SOUR BEERS

Flanders Brown Ale & B: Lambic: New Belgium Brewing, La Folie.
Biére de Garde: Trail Creek Brewing Co., Biere de Garde.
Saison: Pelican Pub & Brewery, Saison du Pelican.

SPECIALTY AND EXPERIMENTAL BEERS

• Pagosa Brewing Co., CoCoNut PorTeR.

HYBRID BEER STYLES

California Common & B: Rye Beer: Snake River Brewing/Lander, Rock Chuck Rye.

CIDER

Draft Cider and Perry & C: Specialty (Flavored) Ciders: Fish Brewing Co., Spire Mountain Apple Cider.

NON-ALCOHOLIC MALT-BASED BEVERAGES

• Anheuser-Busch, O'Doul's.

CARBONATED SOFT DRINKS

• Anheuser-Busch, 180.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080708

A-B takeover bid heats up

From Forbes.com:

LONDON -- Belgian brewer InBev upped the pressure on its takeover target Anheuser-Busch, but it didn't up its price.

In fact, on Monday it announced it's not only sticking with its all-cash, $46.0 billion buyout bid for Budweiser-brewer Anheuser-Busch, it's going hostile.

The Leuven, Belgium-based brewer said Monday that it would seek to replace Anheuser's board of directors and move ahead with its offer plans, a move seen by market analysts as a way of pushing its counterpart to finally engage in talks.

(Go here for the full story.)

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20080703

Today's AP story is old news

If you've been hearing an Associated Press report on local radio and television that sounds very familiar, you're a reader of this site.

The story is that "A Finger Lakes winery is now venturing into beer territory. The Three Brothers Winery in Geneva has set up an offshoot -- the Barley Yard Brewing Co. -- and they're making beer from grapes."

It's a story Dowd's Brews Notebook readers were offered a month ago. If you missed my original story, you can get all the details here.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

Brewers' merger completed

I reported back in November 2007 that two Pacific Northwest breweries have agreed to merge into something called Craft Brewers Alliance.

That merger now has been completed, with Redhook Ale Brewery Inc. of Woodinville, WA, and Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. of Portland, OR, joining in a combined company publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol HOOK. Management offices will be in both Portland and Woodinville. Its breweries will be in both cities as well as in Portsmouth, N.H.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

Wine AND beer? What a festival!

You like beer, she likes wines. Or vice-versa. What to do during a busy summer festival season that offers one beverage-centric after another and you can’t hit them all?

Short of going your separate ways, you need to maximize your plannings.

On New York's Long Island, that quandary will be taken care of on August 9 when the “North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ and Wine Festival” is held at the picturesque Martha Clara Vineyard near Jamesport.

In addition to a variety of wines from the host vineyard, breweries listed to provide examples of their products include, in alphabetical order:

Blue Moon
Blue Point Brewing Co.
Boston Beer (Sam Adams)
Boulder Beer Co.
Brickhouse Brewery
Brooklyn Brewery
Butternuts Beer & Ale
Cape Ann Brewing
Clare Rose
Crop Circle
Doc’s Hard Cider
Flying Dog
Hacker Pschorr
Harlem Brewing Co.
John Harvard’s Brew House
Kona Brewing Co.
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
Leffe
Legacy
Leinenkugel
Long Trail Brewing Co.
North Coast Brewery
Oskar Blues
Peak Organic Brewing Co.
Redbridge
Rogue Ales
Schwelmer Brewing
Shmaltz Brewing Co. (He’Brew Beer)
Sierra Nevada
Sly Fox
Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Southampton Publick House
Thomas Hooker Ales
Unibroue
Widmer Hefeweizen.

Ticket details: VIP, $75 (advance purchase only). General admission, $50 (online purchase) and $70 (at the gate, if still available). Designated drivers, $10. Each attendee, except designated drivers, will receive a souvenir tasting glass. Each ticket also includes a BBQ sandwich choice and one side item. No one under 21 will be admitted.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.