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Significant beer digits iii

Courtesy of CityLab (with a h/T to Tim Holt) a terrific map of “Liquordom in New York City” in the 1880s and these numbers:

– One 32-block section of what’s now the Lower East Side had 242 “lager-beer saloons” and 61 “liquor saloons.”

– There was one saloon to every twenty five families in the city.

– 63% of all the criminal arrests were for intoxication and disorderly conduct.

– Food sellers — butchers, bakers, and grocers — totaled 7,197. Liquor sellers totaled 10,075.

– Twelve of the 24 aldermen of the city were liquor dealers.


Monday beer links: Yeast genetics & trouble in Beervana


Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley National Park
We spent our weekend in Death Valley National Park (too early for wildflowers; great for exploring canyons) but here’s what hit my radar before we left the Midwest. Or I rushed to add Sunday evening with a minimum of musing.

Chris White of White Labs and Sequencing Yeast Genes.
A discussion of genetically modified (GM) yeast appears well into the story. Not likely happening short term, but White suggests it may eventually. About three years ago, when the project was just getting rolling, a scientist in one of the Belgian labs involved said, “Right now we have a few hundred genetically modified yeast strains patiently waiting in our laboratory’s freezer.” Having taken the temperature of brewers around the world, the Belgians changed their approach, working at breeding new strains just as other scientists have cattle and peas in the past. (In the current “Future of Beer” issue of All About Beer I compare and contrast this with Bootleg Biology). Putting aside the not so civil war that spins around genetic modification, it all makes me pause. Brewing science marches ahead all the time, whether it is a matter of finding more efficient ways to lauter or breeding higher alpha hops. But how “easy” should scientists make it to brew beer?

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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.


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