Here’s news making the rounds in the beer world:
-According to beer industry data, Coors Light has overtaken Budweiser as the country’s second-most-shipped beer. What beer is in first place? Bud Light.
-A couple of Illinois college kids took home the World Series of Beer Pong title and a $50,000 prize recently.
-Mustang Brewing released its latest company newsletter, which includes an interesting mention of a new line of beers called the Saddle Bag Series. My guess is a line of more complex/strong craft beers. I’m working on more details.
-Ever wonder how much it costs to enjoy beer at your favorite NHL hockey game? Of course you did. Well, here’s a list that shows what each NHL team charges. Most expensive on the list? None other than my Toronto Maple Leafs. Expensive beer, expensive tickets, crappy hockey. Sounds like a winning combination!
-We’ve all heard of aging beer on oak or bourbon barrels, but how about aging it on the same wood used to wrap and box cigars? I’m not so sure about that brew.
On Friday, I promised more details on an upcoming petition drive to have strong beer and liquor introduced in the state’s grocery and convenience stores. Here’s the story, courtesy of the Tulsa World:
(Side note: The group Oklahomans for Modern Laws says they plan to spend up to $450,000 on the petition drive process. They obviously have not spent any of that money on their website — www.okmodernlaws.com.)
A group seeking to legalize wine and strong beer sales in Oklahoma’s grocery and convenience stores plans to begin the initiative petition process as soon as (this) week.
Oklahomans for Modern Laws will file its petition with the secretary of state, which starts a process that the group hopes will lead to a statewide vote on the issue in November.
Currently, state law restricts retail sales of wine and beer of more than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight to liquor stores.
Changing the law will help improve the state’s image, attract major retailers to the Oklahoma market and give consumers more choices about where they spend their money, said Brian Howe, spokesman for the group.
After the petition is filed with the secretary of state and goes through a formal publication process, opponents will have 10 days to challenge the legality of the petition’s language before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
One key technical question is whether the group will be able to change the retail alcohol laws with only one petition and one state question, Howe said.
The group’s initial effort will attempt to do so, but opponents are likely to say it violates the state Constitution’s requirement that state questions only deal with one issue.
If the Supreme Court rules that the issue can’t be dealt with in a single petition, the group will come back with a multiquestion effort, Howe said.
If the issue clears the Supreme Court, the group will have 90 days to collect more than 155,000 Oklahoma voter signatures.
Howe said the group hopes to have petitions in the hands of professional petition-passers by spring with a goal of gathering 200,000 signatures to give the effort some cushion. After signed petitions are returned to the Secretary of State’s Office, opponents will have another opportunity to challenge the effort on the basis of an insufficient number of signatures.
The group plans to spend $300,000 to $450,000 on the petition-passing campaign and is relying on financial contributions from retailers to pay for the effort, Howe said.
J.P. Richard, president of the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma and owner of a Lawton liquor store, said his group is ready to fight any effort to take wine and strong beer sales away from liquor stores.
He said the state’s system for selling wine and strong beer works as it is and doesn’t need alteration.
“This industry has been here for 50 years and it’s not broken,” he said.
Richard said the petition process actually cost closer to a million dollars, and he is suspicious of the financing of the campaign.
“Who’s behind this thing?” Richard asked. “Follow the money. The money tells all.”
Mike Thornbrugh, spokes-man for QuikTrip, Oklahoma’s largest convenience store chain, said the company will have to look at the petition when it is filed to see if it can support it.
The company wants to end the state’s dual-strength beer system and get wine into the retail setting but won’t be willing to support an effort if it changes retail hours and days of operation, the right to sell refrigerated beer or rules on hiring clerks younger than 21 to match state laws that apply to liquor stores, he said.
Those fighting to get strong beer and wine sold in the state’s grocery and convenience stories are not quite ready to give up. Groups in favor of such a move are expected to file a constitutional amendment petition as soon as next week. We could see a spring petition drive to acquire enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot, followed by a November 2012 vote. More details to come.
COOP Ale Works will celebrate its third anniversary with an open house on Saturday that will benefit charity. The party will be split into three sessions: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 3 to 6 p.m.; and 7 to 10 p.m. at the brewery, 1124 NW 51. Admission is free to the open house sessions, but the guys at COOP suggest a $5 donation, which will go to the charity Wishing Well: Water for the World. The Oklahoma City- based group works to dig water wells in third-world countries. You can find more info on the charity at http://wishforwater.com. As for Saturday’s party, COOP will offer samples of its beer, a D.J. and food from The Wedge pizzeria. Obviously, you’d pay a lot more than $5 for all that goodness. Good beer, good food and a good cause? Can’t go wrong there. And congrats to COOP on hitting three years!
There’s plenty coming up on the Oklahoma beer horizon. Here’s a sampling:
-Part two of Choc’s Project Hop is tonight at McNellie’s OKC. This week’s frikin is a dry-hopped 1919 using Citra hops. Citra hops are usually used for aroma purposes and are described as having a heavy tropical aroma of lychee, mango, papaya and pineapple. Interesting.
-Marshall Brewing Co. has scheduled a series of firkin events this month. Wednesday will be a vanilla-bean infused Big Jamoke Porter at Main Street Tavern in Broken Arrow; Jan. 13 and 19 will be a Big Jamoke Porter Firkin infused with toasted ancho chili, cocoa nibs and bittersweet chocolate. Jan. 13 is at McNellie’s OKC, while the latter date is at McNellie’s Tulsa.
-COOP Ale Works has announced that its third anniversary party will be Saturday, Jan. 14. Further details to come. In other COOP news, expect to see COOP’s Territorial Reserve Oak Aged Imperial Stout on store shelves by the middle of next week.
-Mustang Brewing, which up until now has used generic gold bottle caps, announced they will have new bottles caps on beers available later in February.
I’ll say this much: Driving for 14 hours is a lot better when your team won its bowl game the night before. Now, on to a random collection of thoughts about the Fiesta Bowl and other bowl games.
-The Phoenix area is excellent. My trip to the Fiesta Bowl was the first time I’ve been there, and I can’t say enough about it. Someone told me I’d think it was less awesome if I was there in August when its 120 degrees, but I’m just going to pretend it’s always 75 and awesome there.
-Note to future Fiesta Bowl visitors: If you’re going to grab a few beers outside the stadium before the game, think about just bringing them yourself. Otherwise you have to pay $20 for the right to get in to the fenced-off area where you then can buy a thin selection of Budweiser products.
-In other miscellaneous Fiesta Bowl news, Stanford’s band: Dumbest sideshow I’ve seen at a football game. They may think they’re really funny with their snide political statements and condescending humor, but all they really do is flail around the field and play “music” that you can’t even decipher. Isn’t the point of a band to play music that people can hear? Calling them a band is forgiving. They should be renamed “The people who flail around the field while blaring on instruments while spelling out human letters.”
-OSU wide receiver Tracy Moore — one of Brandon Weeden’s top three targets this year — saw limited playing time. He was being punished for violating team rules. Some suggested he violated curfew. Thank you, Tracy Moore, for reminding me how dumb it is to get wrapped up in college football. Seriously, who other than a college kid would risk not playing in the biggest game in school history just so he can stay out late?
-Someone who should be thanking Moore, however, is Colton Chelf. The backup wide receiver had the game of his life running the routes that Moore would have been running.
-Speaking of running routes, Justin Blackmon is pretty good. I read a quote before the game from one of Stanford’s defenders that they had devised their entire defensive game plan around stopping Blackmon. How did that plan work out?
-Some might be inclined to think OSU was lucky to win on account of the three missed kicks. As far as I can remember, LSU still got credit for beating Alabama in overtime when the Tide missed three kicks.
-Speaking of LSU-Alabama, wasn’t the OSU-Stanford game like an alternate-universe version of that game? Both games were slugfests featuring the teams’ strengths dominating each other, overtime and missed field goals. The only difference is that LSU-Alabama featured defenses dominating, and OSU-Stanford featured offenses doing the dominating.
-I still think the untold story of this college football season is how LSU’s or Alabama’s defense would measure up against OSU. Stanford was no slouch on defense this year — heading into the Fiesta Bowl, the Cardinal ranked 23rd in the nation in points allowed (20.3 ppg) and 25th in the country in total defense (331.4 ypg). Although Arkansas has a good offense, neither LSU nor Alabama has or will have to face anything like they would have seen with Weeden and Blackmon. Thanks to the BCS and the voters, we’ll never know what would have happened.
-I’m not saying Andrew Luck isn’t good. Clearly he’s got a strong arm, is an accurate thrower and made some nice plays while under pressure/on the run. I’m just getting a little tired of the lovefest because they guy “does so much at the line of scrimmage.” It may be 100 percent true, I’m just sick of always hearing about it.
-Kind of like how I’m sick of hearing about how much of a great dual threat Robert Griffin is. Does Griffin have good straight-line speed? Probably. Can you compare his running to Michael Vick? Heck no. Let’s have those comparisons come to an end. I like to point out Griffin’s last two games against OSU. He averaged 1.7 yards per carry in each game, and in 2010 was outrushed by Weeden.
-Speaking of dangerous ball carriers, Weeden’s first career rushing touchdown couldn’t have come at a better time. It was so unexpected, I count it as a trick play.
-Let’s hear it for the ACC! A solid 2-6 in the bowl season, including BCS losses to an average Michigan team that didn’t even deserve to be in the BCS and last night’s humiliation against 23rd-ranked West Virginia. Good thing we got two ACC teams in the BCS and only one Big 12 team.
-The PAC 12 went 2-5 in bowl games. Good thing we got two PAC 12 teams in the BCS and only one Big 12 team.
-The Big 10 went 4-6 in bowl games (with one of those wins coming in a nailbiter against Western Michigan and another coming against a UCLA team with a losing record and no coach). Good thing we got two Big 10 teams in the BCS and only one Big 12 team. Did I mention the Big 12 is 6-1 in bowl games to this point?
-I couldn’t be more happy to see a story that several AP voters have gone on the record to say they’ll vote for LSU as their No. 1 team even if LSU loses in the title game. Down with the BCS!