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‘Local’ beer, or simply brewed nearby?

MONDAY BEER LINKS, MUSING 06.02.14

What does it mean for a beer to be local? Jeff Baker on what’s involved in putting local ingredients in local beers in Vermont. Although I’m a fan of using local grains, hops, fruit, whatever, I continue to think that the people who make beer (and, in a way, even the drinkers) are an essential ingredient in making a beer local.

[Via Burlington Free Press]

Strange Brews: The Genes of Craft Beer. Hope you read to the finish of this New York Times article and this from a yeast geneticist: “Until recently, the brewing industry has been remarkably resistant to using the techniques of genetics and molecular biology to improve their brewing strains.” I’m all for better beer through science. (Quick aside: It’s a lot easier to write for brewers when there’s science to back up statements, particularly when those statements contradict what’s been written before.) But it’s good to be a little be wary of science, or at least scientists (and maybe brewery owners/bean counters) who don’t appreciate the bit of alchemy involved in brewing.

[Via The New York Times]

O’Fallon Brewery, Urban Chestnut aiming to take their beer global. But not exactly global in the same way as another St. Louis brewery. However, O’Fallon is shipping a bit of beer to Italy and company president Jim Gorczyca hopes exports becomes a bigger part of the brewery’s business when its new facility is up and running). And why did an Italian distributor contact O’Fallon? Because he’d heard of O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer.

Following the call, O’Fallon Brewery shipped beer samples to Italy and then signed an agreement to export six-pack glass bottles affixed with an extra label listing the beer’s ingredients in Italian, and the Italian word for beer: birra. Each label was painstakingly affixed by hand.

[Via St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Would You Pay $1,000 Once to Get Free Beer for Life? This is a real question. Just one more reason to visit Minneapolis (and pay for the beer). That is all.

[Via Atlantic Media]

Bottoms up! Brew pub Paulaner celebrates relaunch. It opened just last November and closed in March, redesigned and with a new menu. It would seem if you think the German beer culture is portable that it is best if you understand that culture.

[Via Crain’s New York Business]

4 Responses to ‘Local’ beer, or simply brewed nearby?

  1. Nate O. June 3, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    I think there’s definitely unmet demand in Europe for American craft beer. Pretty much the only beer I can find easily in Germany is from Brookyln or Firestone Walker. It’s very dear as well. A 750ml of Local 1 sets you back 12,99, and a 12oz IPA costs 2,99. Local beer goes for around 0,65-0,85 per half liter.

    I’m really surprised NB or SN haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet.

  2. Bill June 3, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    I think Three Floyds did a variation on the free-beer-for-life deal when they were a start-up — folks who invested $1,000 get a free beer a day at the brewpub.

  3. Jeff Baker June 4, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Thanks for linking to my column, Stan. I agree with you that both the brewers and the drinkers are part of the ‘local’ designation. I don’t want to come off sounding like a Portlandia skit demanding that every micron be sourced from nearby, but I do think the supply chain in Vermont is shifting to a point where we could start to see beers that more closely align with the food version of what it means to be local. Vermont is blessed with a climate that allows for fairly diversified farming and I think brewers here can take advantage of that to produce some seriously local beers. I know this isn’t possible everywhere and the language surrounding the term ‘local’ will become more complex.

    • Stan Hieronymus June 5, 2014 at 7:06 am #

      Jeff, I liked the column in part because it made it clear this is about choice. As you note – and Alan McLeod’s followup (Divisive “Local” Craft Culture Clash Marketing) further proves – it can get complex.

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