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Peachy keen, & not so peachy, Monday beer links


Warning: The first several links may leave you with the impression that not everything is peachy keen in the world of alternative beer.

The Big Issue: Exploitation.
Perhaps coincidentally there was other chatter, not altogether pleasant, this week about the phrase “beer people are good people.” Feel free to pursue that discussion elsewhere. Granted, this reads a little sensational: “Yet, for some who try to build a life in the craft beer industry, that narrative is quickly lost as they find themselves at the will of employers cutting corners, underpaying staff or intimidating them into staying quiet about unethical or even illegal treatment of employees.” But this is an in-depth report (3,500 words or so) from Australia. Don’t think it is confined to that continent. Further reading: “Labor of Love” in Beer Advocate. [Via The Crafty Pint]

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Headlines matter – the sky is falling; no, it’s not

Brewers Associaton economist Bart Watson talked numbers yesterday at the Ohio Craft Brewers Association’s annual conference. Headlines on two stories that resulted set a different tone.

Beer economist: For somebody to grow, somebody has to shrink

Economist says there’s room for new breweries in Ohio

Storm clouds

The stories themselves contain most of the same facts, but the first has more and Watson saying, “There’s still growth out there, but it’s harder to find.” (It’s also from the USA Today network, so you have to answer three questions to read the whole thing.) Both headlines can be true. Craft Beer Brew News recently reported that “up to half of 36 brewers over 100K bbls declined.” But smaller breweries, those producing less than 100,000 barrels, did better. Beer Marketers Insights estimates their sales increased 14% (still not as good at 2015, when sales were up 25%). Thus it is likely there will be more breweries in Ohio, more breweries in lots of place, and more stories with headlines that read It’s 1997 All Over Again or It’s Different This Time.


Session #121 topic announced: Bock!

The SessionHost Jon Abernathy has announced the topic for The Session #121 is “Bock!”

You know, that “beer” that is really the stuff left at the bottom of the tank after a beer ferments. Not really.
Michael Jackson once explained how that myth may have come about:

A high gravity brew was made in March and laid down as a provision to be drawn upon during the summer months. When the warm weather was over, in September and October, the last of the stock was ceremonially consumed. This may explain the resilient folklore that bock beer is made from the sediment taken from vessels during spring cleaning. A laughable story, but perhaps based on a misunderstanding of the truth.

There’s plenty beyond that myth to write about and Abernathy has lots of suggestions. The Session is March 3. I’ll be in Minnesota that weekend for a meeting of hop growers, and I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to find a bock and three.


Monday beer links: They aren’t always pretty


Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?

From Hamilton, An American Musical

I don’t care who tells a story as much as I care about the story. There is lot of excellent ones this week, but before getting to those a few thoughts provoked mostly by the rollout of a new beer website called October. It kicked up quite a ruckus in my Twitter feed (one example, and another) and inspired at least one righteous blog post, mostly part because the site has been “co-created with beer giant AB InBev.” And that is something to think about seriously (and maybe even talk about how this is different, or not than A-B’s Here’s to Beer campaign 10 years ago — but not here today).

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Session #120 roundup posted

The SessionThis is what happens when you are not distracted by the Super Bowl, Super Bowl commercials or Lady Gaga.

Host Joe Tindall did not mess around getting a roundup posted for The Session 120: Brown Beer.

As I suspected, he was not able to resist posting the picture of Audrey Hepburn in a brown hat. And he passed along my favorite sentences of The Session (from Boak & Bailey): “Back in the 1990s Sean Franklin of Rosster’s ditched brown in favour of pale because he wanted a blank canvas on which hops could shine. If pale is blank, is brown noise? Or texture? Texture can be good. Noise too.”


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