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Monday, August 11, 2014

Morning News, Heat Wave Edition

As the mercury climbs for the latest in a series of heat waves (this is going to be an interesting hop crop), and hot on the heels of the news that Bear Republic may have to relocate because of persistent drought, I find my blogging energies dwindle.  But never fear--news marches on without me.

1.  Bud Establishes a Crafty Unit in Chi-town
I, perhaps alone, am fascinated to see how the two remaining American giants plan to tackle a tricky future.  Americans are drinking less beer overall, even while the craft segment explodes.  That means ever falling sales of mass market lager.  AB InBev's latest move?  Lean on Goose.
The brewer, whose U.S. headquarters are in St. Louis, will establish a new Chicago outpost to oversee premium craft and imported beers, which have been a bright spot in the overall sluggish U.S. beer industry.
Mainly, it seems like a marketing move, which is probably not going to be a long-term solution.  It's hard for bigs to sell beer in the craft market, and the obstacles can not be surmounted by a bigger PR wing.  

2.  Craft Breweries Expand Beyond Beer
In a doomy Bon Appetit article, Sam Calagione warns, "there's a bloodbath coming."   The answer would not shock executives in St. Louis: diversify!
On the fest circuit, Lagunitas runs the roving Beer Circus, and New Belgium operates the whimsical, bike-focused Tour de Fat. For its recent brand expansion, Pennsylvania’s Victory recently unveiled a lineup of cheese spreads, as well as ice creams concocted from its unfermented beer. “Strategically, that broadens our brand impact,” says cofounder Bill Covaleski. “It puts our flavors and brands in places where they’ve never been.”
Beer ice cream?  Who's crafty now?

3. They Could Have Save a Lot of Time
...and just asked a beer geek.  Instead, researchers actually did the work to prove that you can't taste the differences among light beer brands (.pdf).
 Participants were then asked to consume the beers at home, and rate each of them. Some of the six-packs had beers with labels, while others were unlabeled. When the beers were labeled, participants rated the beers differently, and as expected, they rated their favorites higher than other beers. When unlabeled, however, participants showed virtually no preferences for certain beers over others. In the blind tasting condition, no beer was judged by its regular drinkers to be significantly better than the other samples. In fact, regular drinkers of two of the five beers scored other beers significantly higher than the brand that they stated was their favorite.
But Boneyard fans already knew that.


  1. I'd really like to see that experiment done with "styles" of beer other than "European Pale Lagers." I'd be willing to guess that if they did the same experiment with the more widely available west coast IPAs they might yield the same results.

  2. could you elaborate a little more on the inside Boneyard joke for those of us who don't follow?