Monday beer links, musing 12.09.13

Tuesday is National Lager Day. I didn’t know that either, not until I received a press release on behalf of Anheuser-Busch. It included results of a new survey conducted by the brewer and KRC Research that found drinkers prefer lagers to ales by a large margin.

Key findings include: beer drinkers prefer lagers 2-to-1 over pale ales and 3-to-1 over IPAs and stouts; two-thirds of beer drinkers like the crisp flavor [I added the italics] flavor of lager more than beers with bitter, sweet or fruity flavors; and when it comes to serving style, respondents say enjoying beer in a glass bottle is best (38%), followed closely by beer on draught (32%).

For the press release, A-B head brewmaster Pete Kraemer said: “It’s great to see excitement for lagers reaffirmed through the survey results. They are the most challenging beers to brew, but also the most rewarding. There is nothing I enjoy more than the light, refined flavor complexity of an American lager.”

The press release also points out that lagers account for 75 percent of the beer consumed in the U.S. Those are the facts and that’s a lot of beer.

On to other matters:

- “The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer – A Rant in 9 Acts.” Max Bahnson and Alan McLeod simulreleased an excerpt from their upcoming book. You can read it at either spot, with McLeod’s commentary here, and Bahnson’s here.

- The Session #82 roundup posted. Steve Lamond took no time collecting the “beery yarns” published just Friday.

- Why Do I bother? The lunatic idea that Grodziskie/Grätzer was a sour beer has Ron Pattinson appropriately pissed off.

- What if A-B had “spun off” specialty division in the 1990s? An interesting bit of history from Brew Hub founder Tim Schoen, who previously worked at Anheuser-Busch for 28 years:

“In the 1990s, I was in charge of innovations at A-B, or what we called the specialty brewing group. From that point, I knew there was a groundswell of consumer demand. During that period, I proposed that my group secede from (A-B), and I had a whole plan, moving over to a whole separate building. It was going to be the Specialty Brewing Group Beer Co. It was going to be all crafts and micros. Everyone loved it, but we didn’t do it. I still to this day say that if we would have done it, there would be a different landscape out there, at least for my former employer.”

- “Rare beer? You can keep it.” He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more.

- Is a Peanut Butter Pop-Tart an Innovation? “Back in 2007, 99 companies in the S&P 500 mentioned innovation…. This year the number was 197.” Perhaps this is relevant to discussions about “innovation” and beer.

5 Responses to Monday beer links, musing 12.09.13

  1. Bill December 9, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Ok, when the article is about not chasing rare beers… wouldn’t it be great if the author didn’t qualify what “not chasing rare beers” means? “I won’t do it unless I see one on the shelf, or if there’s coconut in it, or if I can somehow classify it as a ‘beer adventure’…” is by no means the same as “I’m giving up on rare beers.”

  2. Mitch Steele December 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Regarding Tim Schoen’s comments about spinning off the Specialty Brewing Group, I remember those discussions well. In fact, we had a brewhouse that was purchased from a defunct craft brewer, I think it might have been a 30 bbl brewhouse, and we stored it in crates in the building that was being discussed, which was on the AB St. Louis Property.
    This idea went back and forth many times, and kept getting killed, primarily by some high level peoples’ insistence that the brewery be able to brew American lagers, which always jacked up the cost tremendously, and really missed the point. Why would the specialty brewing group need rice cookers and beechwood chips?

    Not sure I agree at this point that this would have been a game changer, but at the time it was being discussed, I did think so. I think AB finally sold the brewery to someone, but not sure where.
    Tim was in San Diego last week and visited me at Stone. I think he’s going to be succesful with Brew Hub.

    • Stan Hieronymus December 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks for that additional detail, Mitch. Probably worth trying to track down some more, and find out where that brewery ended up.

  3. tempestinatankard December 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I wasn’t aware until very recently (this morning) that today is National Craft Lager Day either. Thank goodness for social media (?). From my quick googlings before writing about a Landbier I happened to have on hand, it seemed that the idea originated with Sam Adams. But your press release from A-B might explain the difference between declaring something National Lager Day, as opposed to National Craft Lager Day. Whatever the case may be, it gave me an excuse to drink an under-represented beer in the craft community.

  4. Mitch Steele December 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I wish I could remember who bought that brewery from AB. I do believe that the brewery originally came from Wolfgang Puck’s foray into craft brewing in Los Angeles. Perhaps his beer was called “Eureka Gold”? Hard to remember exactly….