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Stone & place; Grodziskie & poppycock


Based only on what I read in the blogs I subscribe to and my Twitter feed Stone Brewing’s crowdfunding campaign was the worst idea since Miller Lite (Exhibit 1: Crowd-Funded Brewery Campaigns Are Bullshit; Exhibit 2: On Rich and Successful People Wanting Free Money). I didn’t see a whole lot positive, except for the very basic fact that plenty of people are happily signing up for the Stone program.

I’m more interested in the potential impact of Stone’s brewery in Berlin — if and how Stone’s presence changes beer in Germany and Europe, and if and how Stone’s beers change when they are brewed in an entirely different geographical and cultural place. Better to wait and see rather than guess.

Craft Breweries Scale Up But Keep It Real. This Wall Street Journal article blurs the facts here and there, but ventures into total bullshit when referring to a collaboration beer produced by New Belgium Brewing and 3 Floyds Brewing: “Their latest joint effort resuscitated a once-forgotten wheat beer called Grätzer, introducing drinkers to an ancient style and an unfamiliar brewer at the same time.” Poppycock. Polish homebrewers deserve credit for reviving Grodziskie (Grätzer is German name). That the article overlooks the fact the collaboration differs in character from traditional Grodziskie in several different ways isn’t what bugs me the most. It’s the insinuation that “America craft beer will save the world.”

[Via The Wall Street Journal]

The (Non) Beer Bubble, Part Deux. Interesting math and some smart thinking from Bart Watson at the Brewers Association. What it doesn’t address — hey, it’s not his job — is the aspirations of these brewery owners, if their business plans are realistic. I’d ramble on, but we’re in Oregon right now, part of summer travel that has included visiting schools our daughter, Sierra, might want to attend. Were I much younger and thinking about starting a brewery (I’m never going to be again and I’m not about to) then paying college tuition x number of years down the road would be part of the equation. I’m not sure it is for many of these Sierra Nevada wannabes.

[Via the Brewers Association]

Governor Cuomo Announces Formation of NY Craft Brewer Workgroup. Here’s one paragraph from the press release: “The workgroup will help coordinate and improve communication between all segments of the craft brew industry and state government. Members will also work together to identify emerging needs, including research on new varieties of hops and barley, production methods and consumer trends; as well as making sure that the state has the infrastructure in place for this growing industry.” Promising.

[Via a press release.]

Second thoughts on the mysterious origins of AK. Your beer history fix of the week.

[Via Zythophile (Martyn Cornell)]

Bootleg Biology’s “Chief Yeast Wrangler” Talks Delicious Science. Meet Jeff Mello. Your beer geek fix of the week.

[Via Epicurious]

9 Responses to Stone & place; Grodziskie & poppycock

  1. Alan July 28, 2014 at 6:18 am #

    We should note that the fund raiser rules have now changed in material ways twice recently. First, the price drop to 60% leaving the question of where the other 40% was going and, second, now selling the exclusive beers through general distributors which, yes, boosted the drive from 14% to 24% of the goal but now undermines where the remaining 60% is going. So, as it stands now 15% of the target audience got on board with the brand otherwise diminished. Awesome.

  2. Gary Gillman July 28, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    Stan, you’re right about Grodziskie/Gratzer but it’s the America-centric focus of these articles that by now I read in without thinking about it. They are talking about the States in other words, although I doubt this collab’s product was actually the first in the U.S..


    • Stan Hieronymus July 28, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      Gary – Indeed, several other breweries have released beers called Gratzer – I’d say the one in the Samuel Adams LongShot six-pack got the widest, deepest distribution.

  3. Alan July 28, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Why do they use the foreign name? Is there some fear that Grodziskie is unpronounceable?

    • Stan Hieronymus July 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Alan – It appears they neglected to do read this.

      • Alan July 29, 2014 at 5:31 am #

        What an excellent bit of writing, Stan. Grodziskie it is.

  4. Craig July 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    I think Cuomo’s “workgroup” is a a course correction more than anything else.

    NY’s Farm brewery law, while admirable in its intent was—quite honestly—rushed into law before being researched and vetted. The law was implemented and quotas were set before any discussion of feasibility was had. One of the he biggest stumbling blocks being consistent production of barley in an atypical browning environment. Long story short, barley doesn’t grow very well in NY, and NY’s farms don’t produce enough hops meet the law’s benchmark—nor is there the infrastructure, to bolster any serious, positive growth in NY’s burgeoning hops industry.

    Hopefully the team that has been put together will get things back on the right track—if the politicos don’t get in the way…which they probably will.

    • Stan Hieronymus July 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      Craig – Not long ago I read a paper from a group examining small breweries in the context of small businesses. They point out that while the intentions behind measures like the farm brewery bill obviously are small business friendly the businesses would almost also benefit more by simply reducing the amount of paperwork they have to deal with.

      • Craig July 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

        There is an element of that in the law, a lessening of hoop jumping, at least.

        Again, the law isn’t a negative, but maybe not quite yet a positive. I know two or three of the people on the workgroup. They’ve got a lot of work a head if them, but if anyone can do it, they’re the ones.

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