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If you were a beer conference keynote speaker …

Linotype machineMaybe I should have asked this question earlier, given that 2016 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference is just a week off.

But what would you talk about if you were going to give the keynote speech?

Or maybe the question is, what would you like to hear about?

I already plan to use this image and (technology permitting) some audio from James McMurtry.

Yes, I will include your name (maybe even your url or twitter handle) if I quote you. Unless it is really clever, in which case I will take all the credit.

Monday links: The culture & business of beer


Talking Pride Over Pints
Pride is an important part of what Robin LeBlanc says here, but so is this: “Longtime readers will no doubt agree with the fact that I see beer as exceptional background material to significant social goings-on. It’s the people you’re with that are more important than what you’re drinking, though it helps if the drink is good enough to help enhance the situation from behind the scenes. For the most part, beer should pleasantly accompany the night and not demand your attention if you don’t want it to.” [Via Torontoist, h/T Alan McLeod, among others]

Piero Rodriguez, MIA Beer brewer, killed in car crash.
It makes me sad I never heard of Rodriquez before he died. “And he was punk, through and through, from his tight pants with combat boots and T-shirts with obscure band names, to his taste in music. At MIA Beer, he set up a pair of turntables between the brewery and the tasting room, where he could watch over his gurgling beer boilers and spin everything from the Ramones to the Clash, not to mention a host of insider-only bands.” [Via Miami Herald]

Stout Decline: Guinness Slides in Popularity, Status.
So how are Guinness sales in the United States these days? I’ve recently wandered into several St. Louis taverns/pubs I don’t frequent, trying to settle on what to write about for The Session #113. I’ve seen lots of Guinness handles, and for that matter more drinkers choosing Guinness than, say, Ballast Point Sculpin. But I’ve also been in places that previously had Guinness on tap and it is no longer there. What does this all mean? [Via All About Beer]

What We Mean When We Talk About the ‘Death’ of Flagship Beers.
[Via This Is Why I’m Drunk}
Death of the Flagships: But Why?
[Via Stouts & Stilettos]
Is The Age of the Flagship Beer Over?
[Via Bear Flavored Ales]
And you thought “Brexit” was the story you couldn’t escape last week. This is an important business story if you are in the business. Thus ultimately it has implications for consumers. But as I just mentioned, I’ve recently been looking at draft selections at many taverns I don’t regularly frequent. This is obviously St. Louis specific, and to places where people gather just to talk, or sometimes because it is the best place to watch Jeopardy or the Cardinals or football/soccer or whatever on the TV. It is a small sample, and we’re not talking about what’s going on in grocery stores, convenient stores, and liquors store, where most beer is sold. I wouldn’t claim is represents the “other 99 percent” but it does fall outside the 1 percent that Bryan Roth (first link) writes about.

So what did I see? The Urban Chestnut tap handle is going to pour Zwickel, the Schlafly handle Pale Ale, the Civil Life handle American Brown, and so on. And there may well be buckets full of ice and Bud Light on the table. It’s not exactly the same everywhere. For one thing sometimes these breweries will have a second handle. And a can of 4 Hands City Wide sliding across a bar top is more noticeable than a bottle of Stag being jammed into a koozie. But there’s still a time and a place for the familiar.

Why you can’t get a pint in a beer bar anymore.
Another business/consumer story. If you make it to the end you’ll read Jeremy Danner talking about the Midwest, specifically Kansas City. It’s the same on the other side of Missouri, the neighborhood spots mentioned above almost always serving beer in pint glasses or “cheater” 14-ounce shakers — even beers you’ll get a smaller measure of if you visit the brewery. Jeff Alworth is also quoted at the end, but no mention of his honest pint project. [Via Washington Post]

How the sounds you hear affect the taste of your beer.
Didn’t Pete Brown already tell us this? [Via Washington Post]

11 jobs in the beer industry guaranteed to make you jealous.
Maybe not all 11. I don’t want to be the person “Upping America’s koozie game with one-size-fits-all beerwear.” However, given that Jared Williamson tweeted “Funny, production shift brewer isn’t on this list” a few examples why not: profiles of Jared, Jonathan Moxey at Perennail Arisan Ales, and Andrew Mason of 3 Floyds Brewing. Not the sexiest jobs going. [Via Trillist]


The Weird World Of Expensive Wine.
I’d be inclined to cross out the word “weird” and replace it with “terrifying.” “Maybe you can actually taste the money.” [Via FiveThirtyEight]

Demystifying Terroir: Maybe It’s The Microbes Making Magic In Your Wine
Wait, bacteria and fungi may affect the flavor? Have they heard about this in the Senne Valley? [Via NPR]


As usual, click on the date to read the thread.

Who brews the ‘Walmart beer’?

This was a silly headline: “Is Walmart Looking to Dethrone Budweiser as King of Beers?” The story itself does not suggest Walmart will be getting into the brewing business. Instead it is about still another foray the retailer is making into selling beer.

You’ll recall that about three years ago there was chatter about Walmart’s plan to become America’s biggest beer retailer. This included selling brands such as Budweiser and Coors at low, low prices and broadening their overall selection. At the time I visited Walmart to compare both prices and selection. I’m not going to run another price check, but last time I looked (granted, several months ago) the overall selection had shrunk since September of 2013.

But now there are these beers from Trouble Brewing, which is not exactly a brewery (but more on that in a moment). Details are in the “Dethrone the King” story.

We want to bring craft beer to the masses,” said Walmart senior vice president of adult beverages Al Dominguez. He spoke at an event at the company’s culinary innovation center in its home state of Arkansas. Dominguez was quick to point out that due to alcohol laws, it’s not calling the beer “private label” but rather “distinctive label” beer.

But what is this Trouble Brewing in Rochester, New York, they speak of? It must be pretty good size to produce beer for 2,200 of Walmart’s 4,600 stores. It doesn’t take much detective work to figure out it must be Genessee Brewing.

Why don’t they just put that on the label?

What are spruce, dandelions and hibiscus doing in Monday beer links?


The Reinheitsgebot – A Personal Voyage.
“Let the brewing traditions of Germany open and grow, to give the beer-drinking public what they want, and see a rejuvenation of German beer culture at a time when the trend has been away from beer.” [Via The Bitten Bullet]


A short history of spruce beer part one: the Danzig connection.
A short history of spruce beer part two: the North American connection.
[Via Zythophile]
Foraging for Fonta Flora’s Appalachian Wild Ales.
[Via Serious Eats]
9 New Floral Beers That Don’t Remind You of Your Great Aunt Esther.
[Via bon appétit]
Spot a theme?


The True Story Of Milton Glaser’s Best Client
“In the initial consultation, Steve Hindy had a couple ideas of what he wanted the brand to evoke. ‘I said Milton (Glaser), I want the Brooklyn Bridge, I want the Dodgers, I want every guy in Brooklyn to want to get this tattooed on his arm,’ Hindy says. ‘And Milton said, ‘Save something for me to do!”” [Via Fast Company]

Great Story, Shame It’s Not True.
It’s this simple: “Lots of pubs have fascinating stories attached to them but it’s a shame so few of them seem to be true.” [Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

The deal that shook craft beer five years ago is still reverberating.
The deal is the sale of Goose Island Beer Co. to Anhueser-Busch InBev and founder John Hall says, among other things: “That’s one reason why there’s the High End today. That’s really equipped to sell a specific product, tell more stories and connect on-premise rather than in an off-premise way. Also, I think the biggest portion was the PR thing. When we said, ‘Trust us, it’s all about the beer,’ it is all about the beer — and the beer is as good [as], if not better than, it’s ever been. There’s more of it, there’s more creativity, and then, if you look at the employees, they’ve done better professionally and financially, those who have stayed. Those who didn’t? That’s their choice.” [Via MarketWatch]

Blogunitas: When Big Gets BIGGAR.
Greg Nagel has lots of pictures from the newest Lagunitas brewery. Meanwhile the story he posted last week (it got squeezed out of links here because there were so many) about what might be a new brewery in LA or might be fiction kept getting stranger. [Via OCBeerBlog]

Genesee becomes local craft’s big brother.
Genesee Brewery invites local (non-Genesee) brewers to sit in on its sensory panel and also opens its laboratory for outside use. Area brewers have borrowed equipment, been trained to count yeast, for instance, and Genny has provided analysis of beers.[Via Democrat & Chronicle]


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