Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Barreling at the CBC

Barrelling

Alan Hew —longtime member of Washington, D,C.-based homebrewer club, B.U.R.P. (founded in 1981)— proudly carries an oak barrel he had secured at BrewExpo America®, during the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference, which ran 10-13 April in Washington, D.C. —only the second time for the conference in that city.
The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers—has concluded the 34th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) in Washington, D.C.

As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 13,300 brewing professionals and more than 900 exhibitors for discussion and dialogue around America’s craft brewing business and culture. CBC was last in the nation’s capital in 2013, with 6,400 attendees and 440 exhibiting companies.
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 13/14, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 13/14
26 March - 8 April 2017

  • 8 April 2017
    Re-brand and prosper. For practical, logical, and historical reasons, the Brewers Association should dissolve itself and reconstitute as the United States Brewers Association.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 7 April 2017
    By partisan vote, Neil Gorsuch confirmed to United States Supreme Court, capping a year-long fight by the Republican party to restore a conservative tilt to court —including a year-long refusal to even grant a hearing to President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland— returning court to traditional nine-justice make-up.
    —Via Washington Post.


  • "Pretty good. Not bad at all!"
  • 7 April 2017
    No! Prohibition did NOT end on 7 April 1933. That's 'Fake News.' What did happen was that Congress, constitutionally, redefined the legal meaning of "intoxicating."
    —Via YFGF.

  • 6 April 2017
    Don Rickles, the insult comedian whose aggressive delivery belied his engaging smile, has died at age 90.
    Frank Sinatra had his own favourite Rickles story: the comic interrupted his dinner at the Sands in Las Vegas one night to say he wanted to impress his date, who didn’t believe he actually knew the singer. When he’d finished his meal, Sinatra went over to Rickles’s table. “Hi, Don, how the hell are you?” Rickles looked up. “Not now, Frank. Can’t you see we’re eating?”
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 5 April 2017
    'Own-premise' sales volume (i.e., at the brewery sales) in 2016 was 2.3 million barrels, or approximately 9.4% of the production volume of small and independent brewers (9.5% of domestic sales volume and about 1% of overall U.S. beer sales volume). Up 2% over 2015, that growth in 'own-premise' sales is coming more from the proliferation of production breweries that begin with onsite as a large portion of their business model rather than a strong shift within existing breweries toward onsite sales.
    —Via Bart Watson, chief economist for [U.S.] Brewers Association.


  • 7,714 operating brewery licenses in U.S. (April 2017)
  • 5 April 2017
    As of 30 March, there were 7,714 breweries with active TTB permits in U.S. (By comparison, there were 2,343 in 2010.)
    —Via Lester Jones, chief economist for National Beer Wholesalers Association, at YFGF.

  • 4 April 2017
    Another canary in the 'craft'-beer-mine? BridgePort Brewing Company, a 30+ year veteran of craft brewing, is cutting about half of its brewing staff "in order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving craft beer market in Oregon."
    —Via Portland Business Journal.

  • 3 April 2017
    Absurd Maryland bill HB 1283: jeopardizes Guinness' move to the state AND harms the state's existing craft brewing industry. As beer author Jeff Alworth tweeted:
    This is incredibly asinine. What on earth is Maryland thinking? These laws wouldn't have been defensible in 1985; now they're madness.
    —Via Baltimore Sun.

  • 31 March 2017
    William T. Coleman Jr. —who championed the cause of civil rights, was a key member of the legal team that litigated Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark desegregation case in which the Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for African American and white students to be unconstitutional, served as only second African-American Cabinet Secretary (United States Secretary of Transportation under Gerald Ford)— has died at age 96.
    —Via NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

  • 30 March 2017
    From the moment a brewery is taken over, its beers may cease to exist – or be replaced by inferior substitutes – at any time, and there’s nothing anyone outside the new owner company can do about it. The new owner hasn’t bought beers, it’s bought brands and their market share. If the new owner is genuinely committed to making decent beer, the beer backing up those brands may continue to be good, but even that can’t be guaranteed – and, of course, the new owner can’t actually be held to account by anyone else. Even when the new owner continues to make a particular beer the old way, nobody can tell whether they’re going to start cutting corners or simply stop making it – let alone stop them doing so.
    —Via Phil Edwards, at Oh, Good Ale.

  • 29 March 2017
    British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50, marking the formal start of the United kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU), its so-called "Brexit."
    —Via National Public Radio.

  • 29 March 2017
    Master cellarman Mark Dorber defines cellarmanship:
    To promote the most beauty in each cask of beer by developing the most interesting range of sound aromas and flavours; by nurturing wherever possible high levels of natural carbonation consistent with each beer style and, moreover, by serving each beer in a manner and at a temperature that enhances its aroma and flavour profile and creates an appropriate mouthfeel.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 28 March 2017
    A craft punk after all, large Scottish 'craft' brewery BrewDog threatened legal action against a London bar planning to call itself "Draft Punk," and this, only a day after the brewery blamed “trigger-happy” lawyers for a similar dispute over a Birmingham pub's name, "Lone Wolf," that sparked a social media backlash.
    —Via The Guardian.

  • 28 March 2017
    President Trump issues executive order which:
    • Rescinds Clean Power Plan (which had required power utilities reduce CO2 emissions 32% by 2030)
    • Lifting moratorium on federal coal leasing
    • Rescinds several restrictions on hydraulic fracking
    • Removes requirement for federal agencies to consider climate-change during decision-making.
    —Via Washington Post.


  • Craft Beer in 2016 (Brewers Association)

  • 28 March 2017
    The era of 18% growth rates is probably over.

    The [U.S.] Brewers Association releases its 2016 data showing craft breweries produced 24.6 million barrels in 2016, saw a 6 percent rise in volume over 2015, and realized a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value (estimated at $23.5 billion, representing 21.9 percent market share). By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewery growth.
    —Via [U.S.] Brewers Association, at YFGF.

  • 28 March 2017
    Republican-controlled U.S. Congress passes joint resolution stripping the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the primary authority for communications law, of its power to protect consumer's online privacy protection.  The new law enables Internet providers to sell online history and data without consent.
    —Via The Nation.

  • 26 March 2017
    Millenials have "promiscuous drinking tastes."
    Legacy craft breweries are struggling for several reasons, among them, an inability to reach choice-craving millennial consumers whose drinking tastes are more promiscuous than previous generations. And the ubiquitous nature of brands such as Boston Beer Co. and Sierra Nevada won’t make it easy. “The fact that they’re national brands gives them cache that’s offensive to the millennial,” said Mike Mazzoni [a beer industry veteran who has studied the 'lifecycle of brands']. “They want something that’s local. That’s one of the reasons that they’ve fallen off.”
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 26 March 2017
    Huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, have died, killed last year by overheated seawater. More southerly sections around the middle of the reef that barely escaped then are bleaching now, a potential precursor to another die-off.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 26 March 2017
    U.S. hop growers, dealers, and brewers had 140 million pounds of hop on hand as of 1 March 2017, as compared to 128 million at the same time in 2016, for an increase of 9 percent, according to a report by USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. (Compare to March 2015, when hop stocks were down 2 percent from March 2014. In September 2016, pre-harvest stocks were up 2 percent from the year before and the September before they were down 8 percent.)
    —Via Capital Press, at YFGF.


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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Brewers queue for Welcome Reception.

Brewers queue for Welcome Reception (02)
On 10 April 2017, a long line of brewers (a very long line, snaking a couple of city blocks) waited for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to open its doors for the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference Welcome Reception.

The conference ran 10-13 April in Washington, D.C. It was only the second time the conference had been in that city.
The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers—has concluded the 34th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) in Washington, D.C.

As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 13,300 brewing professionals and more than 900 exhibitors for discussion and dialogue around America’s craft brewing business and culture. CBC was last in the nation’s capital in 2013, with 6,400 attendees and 440 exhibiting companies.


There were so many attendees that the Brewers Association simultaneously staged a second reception at the National Museum of American History, a couple of blocks to the west, although less well-attended.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The skinny on the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference

Welcome to the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference

The 2017 Craft Brewers Conference only just concluded on Thursday. And I've only begun to look through photos, transcribe recordings, write up my thoughts, and recount stories. It's time to get to work, in other words, but that'll be tomorrow. Today, there's a ballgame to listen to and yard work to do.

The [U.S.] Brewers Association —the host and organizer— is, however, behaving in a more professional manner than I. It already has released a post-mortem, possibly one of several to come. Here is its official press release.

Craft Beer in the Capital

13,300 Brewing Professionals, Exhibitors Convene in Washington, D.C. for the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®

Boulder, CO • April 13, 2017—The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers—has concluded the 34th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) in Washington, D.C.

As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 13,300 brewing professionals and more than 900 exhibitors for discussion and dialogue around America’s craft brewing business and culture. CBC was last in the nation’s capital in 2013, with 6,400 attendees and 440 exhibiting companies.

Highlights from the 2017 conference include:
  • 2017 Achievement Awards
    Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service.
    • Brewers Association Recognition Award:
      Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, Co-Owners, Russian River Brewing Company

    • Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing:
      Will Meyers, Brewmaster, Cambridge Brewing Company

    • F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award:
      Matthew McLaughlin, Executive Director, Mississippi Brewers Guild

  • Other notable takeaways from this year’s CBC include:
    • Keynotes:
      Leadership expert Alison Levine drew parallels from her experience climbing the highest peak on every continent to discuss how craft brewers can compete in a challenging and changing environment. Revered brewer Dick Cantwell provided his industry colleagues with his insights from his long career in the craft brewing community, offering a message of unity among small and independent brewers and reinforcing the importance of producing and maintaining high-quality beer.

    • Diversity Committee:
      The BA announced the formation of a Diversity Committee, with a goal of bringing a more diverse group of brewers and beer lovers into the craft brewing community. Helmed by BA Board member Scott Metzger (Free Tail Brewing Company), the committee is made up of a cross section of industry members of varied backgrounds and regions.

    • Marketing and Advertising Code:
      The BA updated its Marketing and Advertising Code to help brewers maintain high standards and act as responsible corporate citizens. New language has been included to address that beer advertising and marketing materials should not use sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public. Any name that does not meet the Marketing and Advertising Code that wins a BA produced competition including the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) or World Beer CupSM will not be read on stage or promoted in BA materials, and will not be permitted to use the GABF or World Beer Cup intellectual properties in their marketing.

      Additionally, the BA has convened an Advertising Complaint Review Board should an issue arise that warrants further review and action.

    • CBC Symposium Beer:
      Each year the BA works closely with the local state guild to create the CBC Symposium Beer. Washington, D.C., presented an exciting opportunity to collaborate with the D.C., Virginia and Maryland guilds and involve area craft breweries. CBC attendees received a can of Family Tree, a Belgian pale ale whose recipe highlights the comradery among five D.C.-area brewers—Manor Hill Brewing, Vanish Farmwoods Brewery, Waredaca Brewing Company, and DC Brau Brewing Company—who got their start at Flying Dog Brewery.

    • Government Affairs:
      More than 230 brewers, brewery owners, and state guild representatives participated in the CBC Hill Climb, talking with Congressional staff about legislation important to the brewing community including the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. Introduced at the beginning of the 115th Congress, this legislation would lower the federal excise tax paid by craft brewers. Brewers explained that a recalibration of the tax rate would allow them to reinvest in their companies, creating the opportunity for more local manufacturing jobs.


Not one to dawdle, the BA has already begun promoting the 2018 CBC, which it has scheduled for 30 April through 3 May of next year, concurrent with the World Beer Cup, in Nashville, Tennessee. That'll be a hootenanny.

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Pic(k) of the Week: Easter egg in tree.

In A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox. In practice, that means that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. Thus, Easter can occur as early as 22 March 22 and as late as 25 April, depending on when the paschal full moon falls.

We know that Easter must always occur on a Sunday, because Sunday was the day of Christ's Resurrection. But why the paschal full moon? Because that was the date of Passover in the Jewish calendar, and the Last Supper (Holy Thursday) occurred on the Passover. Therefore, Easter was the Sunday after Passover.

The Church does not use the exact date of the paschal full moon but an approximation, because the paschal full moon can fall on different days in different time zones, which would mean that the date of Easter would be different depending on which time zone you live in.

For calculation purposes, the full moon is always set at the 14th day of the lunar month (the lunar month begins with the new moon). Likewise, the Church sets the date of the vernal equinox at March 21, even though it can occur on March 20. Both approximations allow the Church to set a universal date for Easter.

Still, Easter isn't celebrated universally on that date—at least not on the calendar we all use in everyday life. While Western Christians use the Gregorian calendar (the calendar that's used throughout the West today, in both the secular and religious worlds) to calculate the date of Easter, the Eastern Orthodox continue to use the older, astronomically inaccurate Julian calendar.

Currently, March 21 on the Julian calendar falls on April 3 in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, for the Orthodox, the Sunday following the 14th day of the paschal full moon has to fall after April 3, hence the discrepancy in the date of Easter. Note that the Orthodox use the exact same formula for determining the date of Easter; the entire difference comes from their use of the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian one.
Catholicism About.com

Easter egg in tree

Spring arrived nearly four weeks ago, on 20 March. The first full moon of the spring season, the Paschal Moon, occurred just this past Tuesday, 11 April.

Thus, in the year 2017, Christians will be celebrating Easter on 16 April —precisely the first Sunday after the Paschal Moon. ...Tomorrow.

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