Molson Coors

At the end of last month, Molson Coors announced that it was restructuring and closing its offices in Denver and other places. This change could save the company up to 150 million dollars. Molson Coors is the parent company of Miller Coors. Although the company is laying off 500 workers, the restructuring will create some new white collar jobs in Milwaukee. Finance, human resources and other support services will consolidate and be based in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is the historic home of Miller beer.

Although some aspects of brewing will be in Milwaukee, the name Miller Coors will cease to exist. Instead it will become part of the North American division, headquartered in Chicago. Beside consolidating services and offices, the restructuring is part of a plan by Molson Coors Brewing to become Molson Coors Beverage company with a greater focus on products other than beer. Hard seltzer is on of the “new” company’s targets.

The loser in this plan is Denver. Coors has been a presence in Colorado for almost  150 years. The closing of the corporate offices will lead to 300 people losing their jobs. Colorado is facing this significant job loss as well as a loss of its corporate identity. The state remains second in craft brewing; California is first.

As the brewing industry seeks continued tax relief, perhaps  federal legislators will call Molson Coors to task for laying off 500 people. If you want more information on  Molson Coors, read here and here.

Beer Days

October 27,  Sunday, was National American Beer Day. I will confess that I had not idea such a day existed. I read about it here.  According to the  website, National Today American Beer Day is a day to “celebrate distinctly domestic lagers and ales brewed across the country.” The site also describes three other days that one can celebrate beer.

There is International Beer Day which occurs on the first Friday in August and is a “global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and backyards all over the world. It’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders and rejoice in the greatness of beer!”

National Beer Day is on April 7th and commemorates the day that beer became legal again after 13 years of Repeal. Upon signing the legislation, FDR apparently remarked, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

National Today also describes National Beer Can Appreciation Day which is January 24th.  January 24, 1934, the Krueger Brewing Company produce the first beer in cans. I posted about the history of beer cans in 2011.

Krueger can. Photo courtesy of Brewery Collectibles Club of America.

Besides these days, there is also Repeal Day which is Dec. 5 and represents the day in 1933 that all alcoholic beverages became legal again.  Most, if not all, of these days seem like marketing ploys. The days that commemorate actual historical events have more legitimacy, but, in the end, all of these celebrations exist to convince you to buy and drink more beer.

Mark your calendars and let the drinking commence!

Barley and Beer

A recent article looked at the relationship between barley and beer and the economic implications for both Alabama farmers and brewers. Nationally barley production is down; farmers less often use it as feed. One remaining use for barley is in brewing.

Alabama has never been a major producer of barley. Despite the national downturn there has been an increase in barley production in the state. There are over forty brewers in Alabama, and this may be a factor in the increase in barley production.

However, beer requires a higher quality barley than that needed for feed. This combined with the fact that there are not really any maltsters in the state has made barley production more of an aspiration for Alabama farmers than a reality. Brewers used roasted barley or malt in beer production, requiring maltsers to undertake this part of the process. The closest maltster for Alabama brewers is in North Carolina.

Here are some excerpts from Brewing Battles about a prominent patriot who was also a maltster, Sam Adams.

Henry Adams, the great-great grandfather of both John Adams, the second president, and Samuel Adams, noted patriot, emigrated from Somerset County, England with his wife Edith to Mount Wollaston, now Braintree, in the Puritan colony of Massachusetts, around 1636. Henry’s arrival in the New World was twenty-seven years after the Mayflower and seven years after the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Company. He was a farmer.[1]

Henry Adams immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his wife, eight sons, and a daughter. The youngest son, Joseph, was born in 1626. As an adult, Joseph pursued his economic livelihood by farming and malting, preparing barley for its use in fermentation and brewing.[2]

Joseph Adams’ malting operations seem to have passed down to Deacon Samuel Adams, father of his namesake, the patriot Sam Adams who was born in 1722. At the time of his birth, settlement in the New World was over one hundred years old and the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages, including beer, was thriving. His father’s malt house generated enough income to provide the family with a house, orchard, garden, and a few slaves.[3]

The Sugar Act brought Sam Adams to prominence as he wrote eloquently in opposition to the tax. Adams was concerned that the Sugar Act represented the first shot in a battle for a widespread taxation system. He argued for individual control over economic activity against the grasp of the British government. “If our trade may be taxed, why not our lands? Why not the produce of our lands and everything we possess or make use of?”[4]

Sam had inherited the malt house on Purchase Street in Boston from his father when he died in 1748. He had not shown any previous aptitude for business and had always been more interested in politics. By the 1760s Sam worked more often as a town tax collector than at the malt house. This position increased his political connections.[5]

The beer ration for revolutionary war soldiers reflected, in part, General George Washington’s fondness for beer. As hostilities heated up between the colonies and Britain prior to the Revolution, patriots such as Sam Adams and others encouraged Americans to “buy American.” Washington, who loved porter and often imported it from England, agreed wholeheartedly. In the 1790s Washington got his porter from Benjamin Morris, a member of the Morris and Perot brewing family.[6]

 

[1] “John Adams,” Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center, Farmington Hills, Michigan: Thomson Gale, 2006, http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC (accessed March 3, 2006); Benjamin H. Irwin, Samuel Adams, Son of Liberty, Father of Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2002), 6­­-9, 15.

[2] James Grant, John Adams, Party of One (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2005), 18.

[3] Irwin, Samuel Adams, 17.

[4] Quoted in Irvin, Samuel Adams, 47, 44-45; Baron, Brewed in America, 74-75.

[5] Irvin, Samuel Adams, 47, 44-45; Baron, Brewed in America, 74-75.

[6] Baron, Brewed in America, 113-117.

Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper, erstwhile presidential candidate, is also a former craft brewer and former Governor of Colorado. He has an online only ad that highlights his career as a brewer. In 1988, he co-founded  Wynkoop Brewery.

The ad is full of brewing references; comparing the country’s polarization to debates in the brewing community over “hazy IPA and pastry stout.” You can read more about the ad here.

In 1988, Hickenlooper and three other men including brew-master Russell Schehrer started a brewpub with pool tables in Denver.  The brewery did produce beer for retail but stopped that in 2016.  Hickenlooper divested his holding when he ran for governor in 2010.

Wynkoop and Breckenridge Brewery merged in 2011,  forming Breckenridge-Wynkoop. The company sold Breckenridge Brewery to In Bev Anheuser-Busch in 2015. Colorado has over 400 breweries and is fourth in  in the country for number of breweries.

Although Hickenlooper has been successful  as a brewer, businessman and Governor, his presidential campaign has not gained much traction.  The New York  Times has an  article, “The Extraordinary Humbling of John Hickenlooper ,” which details his lackluster performance. I would be very surprised if he was on the debate stage in September.

As you may have noticed, I failed to post a blog last week. We had been traveling and my life has been really hectic; dealing with various personal issues. I am posting today because I will be out of town on Wednesday. I will also be unable to post the following two Wednesdays. I hope to and have every  expectation  of resuming my regularly scheduled postings on Aug. 21. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Maine Beer

I recently read an article about Maine beer. The state is second, after Vermont, in the number of breweries per capita. Maine has over 80 breweries.[1]  Maine’s love of beer is a recent development. Here is an explanation from Brewing Battles.

“In Jacksonian America, the various states regulated the retail sale of alcohol, placing license fees on dealers as a minimal control on consumption. The growing temperance movement attacked the license system as inadequate and advocated new legislation. By 1850 reformers had moved from local control of liquor sales to statewide prohibition.[2] In every northern state except New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislators enacted or popular referenda passed “inclusive prohibitory or constitutional measures.”[3]

“In the 1850s, no state had the police capacity to enforce the provisions of this legislation, known as the Maine Law. As a result, advocates of the legislation created extra-legal groups, ostensibly to gather evidence and swear out complaints. Unfortunately, the “leagues” often overstepped these boundaries, generating violence. Both retailers and drinkers refused to accept the legitimacy of prohibition legislation. Liquor sellers organized to fight the Maine Law and the extra-legal enforcement “leagues,” and German and Irish immigrants opposed the law for cultural and economic reasons. The working class as a whole also resisted state intrusion into customary behavior.”[4]

Maine was the first state to pass such a law. Most states repealed the legislation by the 1860s. Maine repealed its law temporarily but reinstated it in 1857 and didn’t repeal it until 1934.[5]

Today, however, Maine is a poor state and beer is a source of reliable revenue. You can go on a Maine Beer trail and visit some of the over 80 breweries. We will be in Maine in August and I plan to visit at least of few of the breweries on the trail. I’ll let you know about the results.

 

[1] https://www.craftbrewingbusiness.com/news/infographic-what-states-have-the-most-breweries-per-resident/

[2] Tyrrell, Sobering Up, 226.

[3]; The Cyclopaedia of Temperance and Prohibition, (New York, 1891), 275–361.

[4] Tyrrell, Sobering Up, 290–307.

[5] William L. Downard, Dictionary of the History of the American Brewing and Distilling Industries (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980), 17.

Happy July 4th

In honor of the Fourth of July, here is an article about the top twenty-five beers in America, according to home brewers. I haven’t drunk many of them so the article has given me a goal.

Apparently today is  “National Independent Beer Run Day”; a day that the Brewers Association made up to get consumers to buy  independent, that is not macro beer, for the holiday. Marketing schemes like this are not new.

After Repeal, brewers attempted various campaigns The most prominent one was for bock beer in the spring. Here is another post from my pre-WordPress blog. It was for the Session, which was a blog carnival, which stopped publishing in 2018.

July 4, 2008


The Session #17: Going Against the Grain: Drinking Anti-Seasonally 

In my book, Brewing Battles,I explored the attempts of the immediate post-Prohibition brewers to develop a marketing strategy that would cover all seasons. The centerpiece was bock beer; for the journal, Modern Brewery Age,  this beer was the epitome of spring.

In the years before beer marketing was national and also before wide spread air-conditioning, the summer months usually saw an up surge in beer sales. However today it is not clear if increased beer drinking is so synonymous with warm weather.

Brewers vary in their focus on bock beer as a harbinger of spring. On a personal level when it is very warm I prefer a lighter beer such as a heifenweizen with a lemon. I also like a shandy or panache but I have been told that brewers dislike such combinations.

The Session is a blog carnival originated by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer.  For a summary of the Sessions thus far, check out Brookston’s handy guide

 

 

Light Beer

Recently the New York Times had an article about craft brewers trying to create new  craft version of light beer. This is a bit like trying to square a circle since low calorie beers are generally also low in taste  and represent the largest selling beer in macro brewers product lineup.

Here is an excerpt from Brewing Battles about Miller’s creation of lite beer.

Following the purchase of Meister Brau, Miller began working on its own low calorie beer. In 1975 Miller unveiled Miller Lite and made history. John Murphy, the McCann Erickson advertising company, and Miller Brewing, using the resources of Phillip Morris, unleashed an advertising campaign on an unprecedented level for the brewing industry. With their clever, sports-driven television commercials, Miller created a new product and greatly accelerated the consolidation of the brewing industry. Miller expended vast sums to market and promote Miller Lite which eventually prodded Anheuser–Busch to develop its own light beer, Bud Light, and match Miller’s advertising spending. Ultimately most of the country’s other brewers could not keep up. Miller steadily and rapidly gained market share, not at the expense of Anheuser–Busch but by incapacitating Pabst, Schlitz, and others.[1]

Miller wanted people who liked sports to drink Miller Lite; the company’s advertising used sports heroes to drive home the point that men drank the new beer. Matt Snell, a New York Jet who had played in Super Bowl III in 1969 when the Jets beat the favorite, the Baltimore Colts, was in the first Miller Lite commercial. This first ad was not funny and used the tag line “new lite beer from Miller is all you ever wanted in a beer and less.” The focus was on carbohydrates; eventually “less filling” became the key message.[2]

The second commercial was with Mickey Spillane, the crime writer, and Lee Meredith, a Playboy Bunny of 1973. Meredith was “the doll” in the commercials that tried to be funny about athletes and their unsuccessful flirting with a beautiful woman. The appearance of the athletes in the commercial legitimated the masculinity of drinking Miller Lite and indicated that the market for sports was nationalizing as was the market for beer.

The final tagline for the commercials became “Lite Beer from Miller. Everything you wanted in a beer . . . and less.” Many of the spots featured athletes and other figures debating between “tastes great” and “less filling.” It took Anheuser–Busch over a year to respond. The company essentially copied Miller’s advertising strategy and lured away several of the athletes including Mickey Mantle.[3] Ironically, Mantle would die in 1995 following a liver transplant that was necessary due to advanced alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver.[4]

Figure 20: Lite Point of Sale, 1976. Photo courtesy of Miller Brewing Company Archives.

[1] “150 years of Miller beer”; Frank Deford, Lite Reading: The Lite Beer From Miller Commercial Scrapbook (New York: Penguin Books, 1984), 30.

[2] Deford, Lite Reading, 31.

[3] Ibid.,  34, 43, 49.

[4] Joseph Durso, “Mickey Mantle, Great Yankee Slugger, Dies at 63,” New York Times, August 14, 1995, A1.

Boston Dogfish

Boston Beer Company, producers of Sam Adams beer, Twisted Tea and other products, announced last week that they were merging with Dogfish Head Brewing, located in Maryland. This news was a big deal since Boston Beer is a publicly traded company and the nation’s second largest craft brewer. Dogfish Head is 13th.

The deal is valued at $300 million in cash and stock. The cash, $173 million, is going to investors in Dogfish while Sam and Mariah Calagione, owners of Dogfish are getting 406, 000 shares of Boston Beer. This will make them the second largest non-institutional stockholder, after Jim Koch. Sam Calagione will have a seat on the new company’s board. Although the press release presented this as a merger, it is, in effect, the sale of Dogfish Head to Boston Beer.

Boston Beer shipped nearly 4.3 million barrels of beer in 2018 while Dogfish was on track to sell nearly 3000,000 barrels this year. The combined production may enable the newly merged company to overtake Yuengling for first on the craft beer list that the Brewers Association publishes. The fact that the Brewers Association considers Boston Beer, a publicly traded company that had $999.7 million in revenue in 2018, is puzzling.

According to the Brewers Association, “An American craft beer is a small and independent brewer.”  A brewer is independent if “less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.”[1] This definition excludes a company like Goose Island Brewery which InBev-Anheuser- Busch owns.

The other part of the definition is about size. A craft brewer is “small” if it has an annual production of 6 million barrels or less. Obviously, the brewers Association is defining “small” in relation to the behemoth production figures of Anheuser Busch and other macro brewers. The way the Brewers Association defines “small” enables Yuengling and Boston Beer to market themselves as craft brewers even though they are anything but small.

 

[1] https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/craft-brewer-defined/

New Jersey Brewing

New Jersey is tied with Kentucky as the states which have experienced the greatest growth in the craft brewing industry. You can read the article about this here.  What follows are a few excerpts from Brewing Battles about three prominent New Jersey brewers.

Gottfired Krueger Brewing Company

Beginning in 1935, brewers produced canned beer.[1] The American Can Company had developed a viable beer can prior to Repeal. The company lined the can with enamel, thus earning the designation “keg-lined.” In 1933, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company of Newark, New Jersey engaged American Can to produce cans. The can company produced a trial run of two thousand Krueger Special Beer cans which contained 3.2 percent beer, the alcoholic content allowed by the modification of the Volstead Act. The test market approved of the taste of beer in cans, and Krueger went on to produce a line of canned beer which the company put on sale in Richmond, Virginia on January 24, 1935.[2]

The Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company dated from 1852. Its original name was Braun & Laible. By 1865 the name had changed to Hill & Krueger; Gottfried Krueger took over in 1875. In 1889, the brewery became part of the U.S. Brewing Company, Ltd of New York, a British brewing syndicate. After Repeal, Krueger reopened. A regional brewery, despite its’ brief moment of fame for canned beer, Krueger’s closed in 1960. Narragansett purchased the brand; when Falstaff purchased Narragansett, Krueger became one of its products.[3]

Krueger can. Photo courtesy of Brewery Collectibles Club of America.

 

Feigenspan Brewing Company of Newark

During the early years of Prohibition, Christian Feigenspan headed the Brewers Association Feigenspan was the head of a Newark, New Jersey brewery bearing his name. Prior to Prohibition the company had gained control of the Dobler Brewing Company, Albany, New York and a New Haven brewery, the Yale Brewery. The company resumed brewing following Repeal. Ballantine bought the firm in 1944; Dobler beer was produced into the 1960s. .[4]

Peter Ballantine & Sons

One of the country’s most long lived ale brewers also had its origins in the antebellum period. Peter Ballantine, an immigrant from Scotland founded Ballantine Ale in Newark, New Jersey in 1833. By 1877, it was the nation’s fourth largest brewer and the only one that brewed ale exclusively.[5]

Prohibition had led to the closing of many breweries; during Repeal, the industry experienced growth and decline simultaneously. Some established brewers started up again, new breweries formed, and others attempted to reopen but failed. P. Ballantine and Son, New Jersey’s largest brewer in 1914 and one of the nation’s few English ale brewers, faced this fate. Although the company had planned to open following Repeal, the stockholders ultimately decide to sell their interests. Carl and Otto Badehausen bought the company and retained the name. Ballantine continued as a successful post-Prohibition brewery until the 1960s. Falstaff purchased the brand names in 1972.[6]

Falstaff Brewing was seventh in 1950. In 1972, Falstaff purchased Ballantine which also gave the company the brands of the Christian Feigenspan brewery of Newark, New Jersey. The main brand was Munich. Feigenspan headed the USBA during Repeal. In 1975, Paul Kalmanovitz, head of General Brewing (S & P Corp) gained the controlling interest in Falstaff Beer. Falstaff Beer continued as a corporate entity with its own breweries until 1990 when the last brewery in Ft. Wayne closed. It is now an apartment complex. By that time S & P also owned Pabst. Small amounts of Falstaff beer were available for sale until 2000. The shield trademark was over one hundred years old.[7]

 

Falstaff Brewing Corporation, Logo from 1933–1940. Photo courtesy of Pabst Brewing Company.

 

 

[1] Stanley Baron, Brewed In America: A History of Beer and Ale in the United States (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962) 323.

[2] Downard, Dictionary 64; “Beer Can History: The World’s First Beer Can,” Brewery Collectibles Club of America, www.bcca.com (accessed  July 17, 2007).

[3] Downard, Dictionary, 105.

[4] Downard, Dictionary, 74.

[5] “Ballantine Ale,” Falstaff Brewing Corporation, http://www.falstaffbrewing.com/index.htm (accessed January 13, 2006).

[6] Modern Brewery, July 1933, 73; Downard, Dictionary, 15.

[7] “The History of Falstaff Brewing,” www.falstaffbrewing.com (accessed January 24, 2007).

 

 

 

 

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Ohio Brewing

The Brewers Association has released rankings that show Ohio is fourth in the country in craft brewing. The state produces almost 1.4 million barrels, placing it behind Pennsylvania, California and Colorado. The state has 290 breweries, fifty opened just this year.[1] These statistics pertain only to craft brewing; the barrelage is a very small percentage of what the macro breweries like Anheuser-Busch produces.

Prior to the Civil War, Ohio was a center of brewing; one of “seven states which had production worth over one million dollars. The 951 establishments in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Missouri and California obviously were the majority of the total number of 1,269 establishments throughout the country.  These states also had large immigrant populations.”[2]

After the War, Ohio’s role in brewing diminished somewhat but both Cleveland and Cincinnati had a large number of breweries due partly to a large German population, particularly in Cincinnati.[3] The Ohio brewing industry today is also centered in those two cities with “Great Lakes in Cleveland, and Rhinegeist and Samuel Adams in Cincinnati.”[4]

The largest of Cleveland’s breweries in 1900 was Cleveland and Sandusky which was a combination of nine breweries. The Ohio Attorney General fined the company $1950 fine for Trust activity. After Prohibition, the brewery reopened and operated until 1962. [5]

The largest brewery in Cincinnati was Christian Moerlein. In 1895 it was the country’s fourteen largest and had an output of over 250,000 barrels. The family dissolved the business in 1919. [6] Although both Cleveland and Cincinnati had at least twenty breweries before Prohibition, they were never brewing centers like Milwaukee or St. Louis.

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. Picture from Digging Cinicinnati.

 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.sunherald.com/news/business/article229794289.html

[2] Amy Mittelman, Brewing Battles: A History of American Beer, (New York, NY: Algora Press, 2007), p. 22

[3] William L. Downard, Dictionary of the History of the American Brewing and Distilling Industries (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980), p. 47-49.

[4] https://www.sunherald.com/news/business/article229794289.html

[5] Mittelman, Brewing Battles, p.66; Downard, Dictionary, p.49.

[6] Downard, Dictionary, p. 123.