20090330

A celebri-quote: Irina Voronina

Russian model and spokesperson Irina Voronina has been a Playboy Playmate, worked in ad campaigns for Skyy Vodka, Miller Lite, and Michelob Ultra. She most recently was on a year-long public relations tour across the U.S. as the 2008 St. Pauli Girl. She also has had small roles in the films "Reno 911: Miami," "Balls of Fury" and "Epic Movie." This is excerpted from an interview by Jaeki Cho for Complex.com.

Q: What's your favorite comfort food or hangover remedy?

A: I used to drink, but not anymore. But this is what Russian people do. Since there’s no Vitamin Water in Russia we drink a lot of pickle marinade to put electrolytes back in the body. But a cure for hangover in the morning is to just have a shot of vodka or a beer.

A lot of people do beer, but if you need to get well to compose yourself, you just need to have a shot of vodka and you’ll be fine.

It’s kind of like when you poison your body, it’s not going to recover unless it’s just a little bit more. Like seriously, I tell that to a lot of people here in America, and they don’t listen to me most of the time. Like you’re not going to get out your house today, unless you do what I’m telling you to do. If you’re going to stay around the house, just have a beer, or a couple beers. That’ll give you a tranquil feeling. If you need to get going, just have a shot of vodka, and you’ll be fine.

Q: What's the most effective aphrodisiac for you?

A: It can be food. It can be visual. It can be alcohol [laughs]. As far as food though, I think sushi maybe? Anything nicely served. Any clean food. Or even just strawberries and champagne.

[Go here for more celebri-quotes.]

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WV beer-strength bill getting legs

West Virginia limits the alcohol content of beer to 6%. That effectively precludes the relatively small number of brewers in the state from competing on an equal footing with out-of-staters who make beers with higher alcohol.

A bill now going through the legislative process in Charleston would raise the limit to 12%. A similar bill failed last year. This year's version already has passed the House of Delegates and now is before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill is House Bill 2719.

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20090324

Major cask ale fests in Northeast

The 4th annual Manhattan Cask Ale Festival is scheduled for Friday-Sunday at the Chelsea Brewing Co., on Pier 59 of the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.

The event will run from noon to midnight each day. There is no admission fee. But visitors, who must show proof of legal age, can get paid samples selected from a range of about 48 cask ales available in 8- and 16-ounce servings.

The host company, which will have six of its ales available, gives this definition of cask ale:

"Unfiltered, unpasteurized beer brewed only from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide. Cask Ale is also known as 'Cask-Conditioned Beer', and 'Real Ale.' "

The organizers note that "Beers will be available while stocks last, first come first served. Note that all casks will be tapped and available from the start, except for any that are deemed to need additional settling and conditioning time."

Meanwhile, the 13th annual New England Real Ale Exhibition (NERAX) is scheduled to open in Somerville, MA, tomorrow, May 25, and run through Saturday.

Ales from the United Kingdom and New England will be on tap at the George Dilboy VFW Post in Davis Square. Half the beers are UK-brewed,, most of the remainder brewed in New England, with a few from elsewhere.

Full details on the event are available online.

The event will be open from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $10 on Wednesday, $15 on Thursday and Friday, and $5 on Saturday.

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Texas microbrewers seek six-pack sales OK

Texas is the latest battleground for the matter of expanding sales of alcoholic beverages.

A group of eight microbreweries is pushing for a change in law to allow them to sell six-packs to go. They contend such approval might inspire follow-up sales at supermarkets and liquor stores.

According to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, a proposal sponsored by Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, would permit sales of beer at the brewery. A compromise bill by Rep. Jessica Ferrar, D-Houston, would allow visitors to receive up to 48 12-ounce bottles to go, but only with the purchase of a tour package.

Burnam, says the newspaper, said his bill would allow "small family-owned businesses ... to compete with the large out-of-state companies that currently dominate the Texas beer market. It’s about fairness and about putting what’s best for Texas beer drinkers ahead of what’s best for out-of-state interests."

Both proposals are in committee, but only Ferrar’s Texas Microbrewery Free Trade Bill has gotten a hearing.

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20090321

Beer maven scores again

If you want to read about beer, Bob Skilnik is your man.

The Chicago-area writer, author of such books as "The Low-Carb Bartender," "The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet" and "Beer & Food: An American History," has come up with a small tome that's a good guide for anyone watching their nutrition while keeping beer as part of their diet.

"Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?" (Gambrinus Media, Plainfield, IL, 100+ pages, $10) is subtitled "Nutritional values of 2,000 worldwide beers." That's the key to remember. Skilnick has worked with brewers around the world to provide nutritional information rarely available to consumers.

"For decades the federal government's attitude toward alcoholic beverages was a hangover from the National Prohibition -- demonic, but a convenient taxation vehicle. Any implication of alcoholic beverages as having nutritive or medicinal qualities was prohibited.

"But, a few years ago, the TTB (Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau), the federal agency that controls labeling requirements for alcoholic beverages, opened up a comment campaign on the labeling issue that drew over 18,000 comments concerning the proposed addition of a nutrition facts label on all alcoholic beverages, similar to what's found on most packaged foodstuffs. About 96% of the comments demonstrated a strong wanting for nutritional labeling," Skilnik says.

In the usual push-and-pull of changing any regulations, Skilnik notes the various pressures put on the government by industry and consumer groups as well as international bodies, actions that have prevented general labeling beyond certain beverage niches.

His book, he says, "cuts through the red tape and gives beer drinkers the kind of sudsy nutritional information that the TTB currently can't."

This is a paperback guide for both the connoisseur and the average Joe or Jane, given that the usual popular beers are included along with such global exotica as Hövels (Germany), Burleigh (Australia), Sinebrychoff (Russia) and Käki (Finland).

Skilnik is a certified brewer and 1991 graduate of Chicago's Siebel Institute of Technology, the oldest brewing school in the U.S., with a degree in brewing technology. He is a former associate editor of the American Breweriana Journal, and a contributor to various publications.

Go here for my review of his book "Beer & Food: An American History."

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20090313

Changes begin at High Falls brewery

The changes begin at the top for the new era at the High Falls Brewery.

President Norm Snyder has stepped down as chief executive of the Rochester, NY, company that recently was purchased by KPS Capital Partners, a private equity firm, from Anheuser-Busch/InBev for an undisclosed price.

High Falls is being merged with Labatt USA, and Labatt's products for the U.S. market will be made in Rochester.

[Go here for my earlier story on the sale, and for a bit of High Falls' history.]

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20090312

Colorado beer laws to stay as-is

From the Associated Press:

DENVER, CO — Convenience stores and supermarkets in Colorado won't be allowed to sell full-strength beer following protests by liquor store owners, who said a proposed law change could drive many of them out of business.

The House Business Affairs & Labor Committee voted 7-4 against the proposal late Wednesday after listening to more than seven hours of testimony.

Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton, said the state's current liquor laws don't make sense, but he said the state should take a comprehensive look at all of them instead of trying to change them piecemeal.

Right now, convenience stores and supermarkets are largely limited to selling 3.2% percent beer, but they say sales have tanked since liquor stores started staying open on Sundays under a law passed last year.

[Go here for the rest of the story.]

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WV craft beer bill advances

From the Charleston (WV) Gazette:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After going flat in previous attempts, the House of Delegates Wednesday finally passed a bill to allow the sale of high-quality craft beers in West Virginia.

The legislation (HB2719) would raise the permissible maximum alcohol level for beer sold in the state from the current 6% by volume to 12%. It passed the House on a 79-17 vote and goes to the Senate.

House Judiciary Chairwoman Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, said the current restrictions put the state at a competitive disadvantage, noting that the sale of craft beer and microbrews is a $5.8 billion a year industry nationally.

"West Virginia is one of only two states that continue to restrict distribution of beer to an alcohol content at or under 6%," she said, adding, "This bill is aimed at creating a market for these beers in West Virginia."

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20090309

Colorado battling over beer strength

From the Denver Daily News:

DENVER, CO -- Several lawmakers and others converged on the state Capitol yesterday to demand the defeat of a bill allowing the sale of full-strength beer in grocery stores and convenience stores.

The bill, HB 1192, sponsored by Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, and Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, seeks to allow grocers and convenience stores to be able to sell “full-strength beer,” which is beer with more than 3.2% alcohol. Currently only liquor stores in Colorado can sell full-strength beer, and since the legislature passed a law last year allowing the sale of liquor on Sundays, grocers and convenience stores have reported a 68% drop in sales of 3.2 beer.

But those who spoke yesterday against the bill, which included several lawmakers, representatives from area cities and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said in a press release that the bill will hurt in the fight against underage drinking.

One contention they have is that the bill would allow grocery store workers and convenience store workers who are under the age of 21 to be able to sell full-strength beer. Clerks at liquor stores must be at least 21, they point out.

[Go here for the rest of the story.]


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