20091130

Boston Beer pushes higher alcohol content

Sometimes you do things because they need doing. Sometimes you do them simply because you can.

In the case of the Boston Beer Co., maker of the Samuel Adams brand ... well, you make the call.

The brewer has released an updated version of its biennial beer Utopias, at $150 a bottle and 27% alcohol. It is the highest-alcohol beer on the market, and is banned in 13 states.

Go here for the Associated Press report on the controversy.

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20091116

Oh, the humanity -- and the beer!

The fiery May 6, 1937, crash of the German zeppelin Hindenburg in Lakewood, NJ, is an iconic tragedy.

Most people have seen footage of the Hindenburg being engulfed in flames and being burnt to cinders in mere moments. Few people, however, known that not everything on the trans-Atlantic airship was destroyed.

A bottle of beer said to have been rescued from the crash has sold at auction in Wiltshire, England, for just over $16,000. It was one of several items picked up at the scene by Lakewood Fire Chief Leroy Smith at the time of the disaster.

Reports from people who have investigated the provenance of items say Smith found a half-dozen scorched bottles and a pitcher, which he hid for a while, then passed out to colleagues. The only other bottle still definitely known to exist was donated by Smith to the Lowenbrau brewery in 1977.

The bottle of beer, which still contains a liquid, was sold by the British auction house Henry Aldridge & Sons which specializes in disaster relics. It has been a major auctioner of Titanic artifacts.

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20091110

Maine seeks fix for tasting law glitch

Picture this.

You're in Maine with a group of friends or family and want to sample a couple of beers or spirits before making your purchase.

No problem, you think. The state legislature earlier this year passed a bill authorizing stores that sell beer or liquor to hold up to a dozen public tastings a year.

Ah, but there is a problem. A last-minute amendment to that law says tastings “must be conducted in a manner that precludes the possibility of observation by children.” It has caused all sorts of complaints from stores.

As a result, Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, has introduced legislation aimed at addressing the problems, a proposal that has received the unanimous support of the Legislative Council, which reviews all bills proposed for the legislative session that begins in January.

The intent of the new law was to give sellers of spirits and specialty brews the same marketing tool that has helped Maine wine shops draw additional customers. But, since it went into effect in September, vendors have gone through all sorts of machinations to keep children from seeing any tasting activities.

For example, Leslie Thistle of Bangor Wine & Cheese Co. told the Bangor Daily News she has to cover her front and back door windows with black and drape a sheet across the large storefront windows, giving her shop the feel of a speakeasy during her monthly tastings.

"The law also means that she could be found in violation if a parent with children in tow comes into her shop to purchase a bottle of wine during a tasting event," the newspaper said. "She also pointed out that there are no laws shielding children from the sight of people drinking alcohol while seated on a restaurant’s outdoor patio."

Other wine and beer shops have taken similar steps to cover their windows or discourage minors from seeing inside during an event.

“Many stores that traditionally never had a problem conducting wine tastings are being hurt by this onerous requirement,” Fitts said in a statement. “My bill would instead mandate that a sign be placed at the entrance to an establishment when an event is being held, so all patrons are aware of the taste-testing.”

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PC-compatible humidifier can be yours

I don't know about you, but if I were in the market for a humidifier I doubt one of the criteria for choosing it would be that it looked like a beer can.

I also wouldn't be looking for it to be USB-compatible with my computer.

So, I suspect, Green-House of Japan didn't have me in mind when it designed such a device, fitted out to look like a can of German-brewed beer.

The company is charging the equivalent of $64 US for its new humidifier that simply requires you to insert a filter, fill with water and plug it into your PC via the USB port.

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20091104

Brooklyn Brewery gets boost from state

A New York State economic development grant to the Brooklyn Brewery will result in a lot more of its beer hitting the market.

The current output of 8,000 barrels a year is expected to rise to as much as 50,000.

The $800,000 grant will be used as part of a planned $6.5 million project in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section. The company plans to convert 13,500 square feet of now-vacant distribution space into a beer fermentation facility. In addition, despite the high-priced real estate in the neighborhood, the continuing financial climate has driven lease prices down and the brewery just signed a 15-year lease .

Steve Hindy, brewery founder, told The New York Times, “When the recession hit in, like, August or September last year, all of a sudden the landlords here in Williamsburg were looking much more favorably on us as a long-term tenant."

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