The Thirsty Beagle earlier gave you a report about the financial struggles of British pubs. Let’s be honest here: If British pubs are struggling and closing down, as has been reported, that casts a fairly ominous shadow over the beer industry in general. Well, those folks across the pond are not taking this matter lightly. Forget focusing the efforts of British leaders on fixing trivial things like the economy, unemployment and the general well-being of the nation, the English have formed a 400-member all-party parliamentary beer group. (Come to think of it, why haven’t I already moved to England?) This beer group is tasked with keeping pubs in business. They’re suggesting reducing taxes on beer from the tap and possibly even instituting a legally enforceable minimum price for beer. (Really, I hear England is quite the cultural destination.) Seriously, though, we may not want to drive on the other side of the road, name our first born sons Paddington and eat fish and chips three times a day, but can’t our political leaders come together to emulate their British counterparts on this one?
Ever wonder how many calories the beer you’re drinking contains? Ponder the nutritional value of your brew? It appears there will be a way for you to find the nutritional values of more than 2,000 beers from around the world. A new book titled “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer” will be hitting bookstore shelves soon. The book promises calorie and carb counts, alcohol content and even Weight Watchers points for scores of beers.
I’ll admit, The Thirsty Beagle, usually wanting to at least keep tabs on his beaglish figure, has wondered from time to time why beer bottles don’t have nutritional value labels on them. Apparently, some brewers have resisted placing such labels on their bottles because of financial concerns. Perhaps this book can bridge that knowledge gap for consumers. Of course, you could always just go to the Internet to find out about the calories in a beer. Or, you could just do like The Thirsty Beagle does: If you find yourself enjoying the taste of a full-flavored beer, just accept the fact that there may be a small price (calories) to pay for that taste and enjoyment, and move on with life. Then hit the treadmill the next day.
In this part of the country, one doesn’t often consider mixing religion and beer in the same stein. But if you were to have taken a stroll through the booths at the recent Great American Beer Festival in Denver, you’d have seen all kinds of examples of brewers capitalizing on religious themes for their goods. One brewer has a confession he wasn’t afraid to share: He’s using God to sell beer.
“It’s the oldest story ever told — the struggle between good and evil,” said Tomme Arthur, 35, of California’s The Lost Abbey brewery. “There is a battle being waged between those who make good beer and those who make evil beer.”
The Lost Abbey produces Judgment Day Ale. At the festival, you also could have found beers called Salvation, Damnation and Consecration, and from a Jewish brewer, He’Brew (the chosen beer), Genesis Ale (our first creation) and Messiah Bold (the one you’ve been waiting for).
Getting a little worried about beer sullying the good name of religion? Relax, scholars point to all kinds of examples where beer and the good word have crossed paths throughout history.
Just a warning, though, if you’re one who doesn’t consider this to be all in good fun, I’d steer clear of one of these T-shirts:
Here’s what is making news in the beer world — with a heavy does of the beer crime blotter:
-A lawsuit has been filed in a dispute about simulating the drinking of a beer on your iPhone.
-Man uses broken beer bottle as weapon in robbery.
-In the “Can we get this guy off the roads?” category, a man is stopped after he’s seen throwing beer cans from his car. It’s his third drunken-driving arrest.
-After a mayor in Australia invited all “beauty-disadvantaged” women to his mining town — saying because of a shortage of women, the men there aren’t really that picky — local organizers staged a Beer Goggles Ball to poke fun at the idea.
-A man in California was arrested for intent to burglarize a liquor store. He was found in the store’s beer cooler, drinking. He used a cinder block to smash into the walk-in cooler. I see a Darwin Award in this guy’s future.
-The union of two evil empires: The Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are joining sides to sell hot dogs, burgers and beer.
Despite apparent progress toward completion of the $52 billion sale of Anheuser-Busch to Belgian brewer InBev, there may be another bump in the road: According to this article in The New York times, the maker of Corona has filed court papers trying to block the move. Corona principal Grupo Modelo said the proposed sale violates an earlier agreement between it and Anheuser-Busch. It seems Anheuser actually owns a 50 percent stake in Modelo, and Modelo says the agreement places restrictions on the American brewery’s ability to transfer its stake to another beer company. Anheuser says there is no merit to Modelo’s claims.
Full marks to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. of California for its ingenious “alection” campaign. The company has re-branded bottles of one of its ales with Obama and McCain labels and is asking customers to pick their favorite – a little vote early and vote often action, if you will. The company is tracking sales of pints at its brewery and bottles to distributors. You wouldn’t be surprised with the mock election results so far — Obama leads by a 4-to-1 margin — because the beer is distributed only in Democratic-leaning California. At least it goes to show that in this sometimes nasty election cycle, Democrats and Republicans can unite behind their love of beer.
How tough is the economy right now? Consider these numbers from a recent Newsweek article:
-Five pubs go out of business every day in Britain.
-For the first time in nearly 1,000 years, more than half of Britain’s villages have gone dry.
-Beer consumption in Britain is at its lowest point since the Great Depression.
Disturbing trends, indeed. It’s no secret that this economy is hurting the beer market. The Thirsty Beagle earlier mentioned the lament of American craft brewers, who can’t afford to drop their prices to the bottom of the vat to encourage more sales. The real tragedy here would be if too many small, creative breweries — and the pubs that serve their goods — are forced to close up shop.
Fascinating article here about a Palestinian brewer who perpetuates unity between Christians and Muslims through a love of beer. Here’s a quick passage:
“The malt comes from France and Belgium, the hops are Czech and Bavarian, but the beer is made in a hilltop Christian village in the heart of the West Bank from which it takes its name — Taybeh is Arabic for “delicious.”
It’s an unlikely place for a brewery. The grey tower of an army outpost stands guard over the main road into the village, one of more than 600 Israeli military checkpoints and roadblocks that dot the West Bank.”
The Thirsty Beagle earlier linked to an article about Bud Light ramping up a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, which included an assertion that beer is recession-proof. Turns out that may be true for giant commercial brewers who can sell six packs by the boatload at $5 a pop. But for craft brewers who use more expensive ingredients and have a higher price point by necessity, the slumping economy is nothing to brush aside. Anecdotal evidence from the Great American Beer Festivalheld in Denver over the weekend shows some smaller brewers could see themselves struggling to grow their brand, or going out of business altogether. Let’s hope we can get this financial situation straightened out — for a number of obvious reasons: Hello, 401k and college savings plan — but also so we can continue to enjoy the handiwork of the country’s talented craft brewers.
A little late with the links this week, but here’s what is making news in the beer world:
-A British beer named after a military helicopter and created to raise funds for troops in England was so popular, the brewery is making it a regular staple.
-The controversy over Six Flags’ plan to sell beer at the Arlington, Texas, park — as relayed earlier by The Thirsty Beagle — continues.
-Miller is trying to expand the beer market in India.
-And finally, in the giving beer a bad name department, a sheer genius was caught with an open beer container in his vehicle. And a 4-year-old child in the back seat.