Sunday, November 19, 2017

Craft Beer Quick Books

U.S. brewery count, 1990-2017

Fun facts: a snapshot of the brewing and craft brewing business in the U.S. and globally.
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    U.S. beer production & sales

  • In 2016, the U.S. beer market totaled $107.6 billion dollars, 0.5% of the entire U.S. gross domestic product ($18.6 trillion).

  • By volume in 2015, the U.S. beer industry sold 206.7 million barrels of beer – equivalent to more than 2.8 billion cases of 24-12 ounce servings.

  • However, the overall U.S. beer market volume is expected to decline 1.5% this year.


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    Craft beer production & sales

  • In 2016, 'craft' beer accounted for $23.5 billion, 0.1% of U.S. GDP.

  • 'Craft' beer sales growth is projected to be 8 or 9 percent this year, but that's below the 10 percent pace of 2016.

  • 'Craft' beer's volume growth is forecast to be 5 to 6 percent, also below recent double-digit growth.

  • This year, that translates to 1.5 million barrels more than in 2016.

  • The peak year for 'craft' beer was 2014, when it added 3.3 million barrels.

  • Most of the new volume growth for 'craft' this year will come from smaller breweries, not big-name 'craft' brands such as Boston Beer or Sierra Nevada. Larger brands are suffering from a perception of not being authentic 'craft.'

  • Grocery chains are not adding total space this year for 'craft' brands.

  • 'Craft' beer is forecast to represent about 12 percent of total beer volume this year, up slightly from 2016 levels.

  • In 2017, homebrewers will have produced approximately 1.4 million barrels of beer, 1% of all beer produced in the U.S.


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    Brewery & beer employment

  • Directly and indirectly, the beer industry employs nearly 2.23 million Americans (including breweries, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and importers).

  • In 2016, 'craft' breweries, themselves, employed 128,768.


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    Total number of breweries

  • Nearly 6,000 U.S. breweries are expected to be in operation by the end of this year, up from about 5,300 at the end of 2016. The vast majority of them will be 'craft'(small, independently-oned, and/or locally focused).

  • In 1970, there were 4,000 breweries in the world. At the end of 2016, there were 20,000.

  • The number of beer brands, worldwide (excluding one-offs), is close to 250,000.

  • In 2016, worldwide 'craft' beer sales totaled $85 billion.


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    Beer vs. wine & spirits?

  • In 2016, consumer preference for beer increased from 42% to 43%, for wine decreased from 34% to 32%, and for spirits decreased from 21% to 20%. 36% of the population does not consume alcohol. (This is an interesting poll result from Gallup. Numerous other media are saying the opposite: that Americans are shifting away from beer to wine and spirits.)
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Mssrs. Beaumont & Webb

Mssrs. Beaumont & Webb (03)

Quad is NOT a style!” insisted Stephen Beaumont, as he and Tim Webb presented the just-released edition of their new book —Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World’s Beers— to a 50+ filled room (attendance, not all demographics), upstairs at the Brick Store Pub, in Decatur, Georgia, on 14 November 2017.

Among many beery accomplishments, Tim Webb is also the author of The Good Beer Guide Belgium, first published in 1992, and now in its 7th edition (the latter co-authored in 2014 with Joe Stange). The 8th edition is scheduled for release in spring 2018; in fact, Webb was working on the final revisions during this America trip. Sadly, it will be his last update to the series.

Stephen Beaumont, in his own words, has been ...
lucky enough to have spent the last 25 or so years sipping and savouring beers and spirits all around the world, and getting paid to write and talk about it. Along the way, I’ve managed to author or co-author ten books, beginning with the first of two editions of The Great Canadian Beer Guide back in 1994. [...] Among my other books, I’m extremely proud of The World Atlas of Beer, which I co-wrote with Tim Webb and has now been printed in eleven international editions in nine languages.

In previous editions, Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World’s Beers had been entitled The Pocket Guide to Beer. This was both because that is what the books had been and because, to some degree, Messrs. Webb and Beaumont wrote them as an homage to the late beer writer, Michael Jackson, who had begun the Pocket Beer series in 1986.

For the 2017 edition, the authors have retitled and re-tooled the book to include fewer beer reviews. And why is that?
Our own very conservative estimate places the global brewery total at over 20,000, but it is likely that there are many more than that. [...] The worldwide count of regular beers is fast closing on a quarter-million, and when one-offs are included, doubtless well beyond it. [...]

So, you might ask, why create a book that features even fewer beers? The answer is focus. Rather than attempt to deliver a cross-section of breweries spanning the globe, we have assembled a carefully selected group of what we firmly believe are the best minds in beer [listed at the back of the book] and tasked them to deliver detailed reviews of the absolute best beers their native lands have to offer. Not the most talked about or rarest or the most obscure, but simply the finest ales and lagers and mixed-fermentation beers that eager enthusiasts might actually be able to get their hands on. Star ratings have been dispensed with because all the beers we have featured are at the top of their class.

That evening in Georgia, the audience was served anecdotes and appetizers, cheeses and full plates, and six beers, too (but no quadrupels). The presentation was recorded; at some point, I'll post a transcription, including Beaumont's quad rant and Webb's saison rant. In the meantime, here is another, less 'artistic' view of Mr. Webb (left) and Mr. Beaumont (right):

Mssrs. Webb & Beaumont (01)

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Friday, November 17, 2017

New England IPA: "the first beer style based around Instagram culture."

Garrett Oliver, at Morning Advertiser

Garrett Oliver —author, bon vivant, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, and brewmaster for Brooklyn Beer— recently had something to say about so-called New England India Pale Ales.
I think it (NEIPA) is a fad. These things come and go. I have seen a great many fads over my 28 years of brewing. Three or four years ago, it was black IPA —everyone brewed one. Now, it is hard to find one.

And more...
New England IPA is a beer style that can be really tasty when it is well made, but it can't even sit on a shelf for two weeks. It has no shelf life to it at all. It is the first beer style based around Instagram culture. [...] It is based on the idea that you wait online or at a brewery to get some of this limited thing.
—Read the full interview with Mr. Oliver at the The Morning Advertiser (in the U.K.), published on 15 November 2017.


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What is NEIPA?

Typically cloudy in appearance and loaded with fruity esters from both hopping and fermentation, New England IPAs [sometimes known as NEIPAs or Vermont-style IPAs] rose to fame on the back of a beer called Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery in northern Vermont. Other northeastern US and central Canadian breweries soon started to emulate the massively successful beer, and from there this new style spread westward [and south] and eventually overseas.

Along the way, the appearance of these beers gradually evolved, growing first densely cloudy, then turbid and finally reaching something resembling orange juice with a head on it. As the "turbidity stakes" grew hotter, it came out that some breweries were adding flour and fruit purées to increase the cloudiness and "juicy" character of their beers.

Surprisingly, the principal difficulty with such ales is not that their appearance might put drinkers off — a dense cloudiness has, in some circles, come to be perceived as a mark of quality — but that some of these ales lack the flavour stability necessary in a market where competition is growing and kegs or cans of beer might not wind up being consumed within an optimal time frame.
—Tim Webb & Stephen Beaumont
Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World’s Beers (2017)

In their new book, Mssrs. Webb and Beaumont alliteratively placed their NEIPA description, accompanied by a few other beer 'style' candidates, under the heading, Suspect Styles & Tenous Trends. Mr. Oliver, in his interview, was adamant that his brewery would never brew such a beer, throwing shade: "We don't do bandwagon." And this blog's writer, a past brewer, simply disdains ugly beer.

So, whence NEIPA? Its murk —and beer murkiness in general— continues to pop up all over, unabated. What do we know? Instagram or not.

Yellow Beer

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Dr. Morten Christian Meilgaard (1928 - 2009)

Dr. Morten Christian Meilgaard (1928 - 2009)

Umami and oleogustus! Today would have been the eighty-ninth birthday of scientist Dr. Morten Meilgaard, a man of good taste.

Born on 11 November 1928, Dr. Meilgaard would become a pioneer of the science of beer flavor identification and nomenclature. In 1979, he created the Beer Flavor Wheel, a landmark organoleptic tool that the European Brewery Convention, the American Society of Brewing Chemists, and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas soon designated as an accepted standard. His book, Sensory Evaluation Techniques, became a textbook for sensory science.

Dr. Meilgaard died on 11 April 2009, at age 80. His Beer Flavor Wheel is still being used today by brewers, beer judges, and sensory scientists. His textbook is now in its 5th (and revised) printing. His influence on brewing (and craft brewing) and on the enjoyment of beers is ongoing and substantial.

Above, Meilgaard is pictured in 1962, sailing in Australia (with beer and cigarette), at age 34. The photo is via Stephen Goodfellow, an adopted son of Meilegard, who wrote the following biography to accompany the photo:
Morten Christian Meilgaard was born on Fyn, Denmark in 1928. His younger siblings, Ida, Jorgen, and Erik, followed in short succession. As their father, Anton Meilgaard, was a country doctor, they were brought up in a rural milieu in Morud. Their school was a considerable distance away, and during some winters, they would ski to pursue their education.

Morten caught the travel bug early, taking a road trip with his friends Finn and Torben, pulling a creaky four-wheeled cart around Jutland in 1944, during the German occupation of Denmark.

After WW II, Morten pursued a degree as a chemical engineer and became a research chemist specializing in yeasts for Alfred Jorgensens Laboratorium in Copenhagen. This dovetailed nicely with his love of travel, and his job took him all over the World. He became the Johnny Appleseed of establishing the [nomeclature of] flavors of beer throughout the world, including in Japan, South Africa, and the Americas.

Morten's contribution to the field of sensory science cannot be underestimated; it was truly extensive. Amongst his many contributions, He is the major contributor to the flavor wheel, a Rosetta Stone of sensory evaluation science.

Morten's publication, Sensory Evaluation Techniques, is the educational standard in this field of science. He was quite possibly the foremost expert in his field.

During his work and travels in England, he met Manon Meadows. They fell in love and remained married for almost fifty years, until her death in 2007.

Justin Meilgaard, Morten's and Manon's son, was born in England, 1966.

In 1967, the entire family, including Manon's mother, Doris Meadows, moved from Denmark to Monterrey Mexico where Morten worked for the Cuauhtemoc Brewery from 1967 to 1973.

In 1973, Morten was hired by Peter Stroh of the Stroh Brewery, Detroit, where he worked as Peter's right-hand man until the brewery was acquired by the Miller Brewing Company in 1999, at which point Morten retired.

Even after retirement, he continued to be active in his profession for many years, doing consulting jobs for the Danish Government, working with his co-editors on a revised edition of his book, and donating his extensive collection of brewing literature to Wayne State University [in Detroit, Michigan].

In 2008 Morten returned to Denmark and Sweden to visit family and revisit the important sites of his childhood and early adulthood.

Morten is survived by his younger brothers and sister, Jorgen, Erik, and Ida, and by his sons, Justin Meilgaard and myself.


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Meilgard's Beer Flavor Wheel

Beer Flavor Wheel

[Beer descriptors in the Beer Flavor Wheel] are divided first into those perceived by sense of taste and those perceived in aroma. The descriptors are then organized into 14 categories, each of which contains between one and six descriptors. Meilgaard's aim in creating this wheel was to establish a standard vocabulary of beer evaluation and to this day many organizations use his Beer Flavor Wheel as a reference tool.
The Oxford Companion to Beer: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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  • A more detailed description of the Beer Flavor Wheel —"Focus On Beer Flavor"— was written in 1997 by Scott Bickham (of the BJCP) for Brewing Techniques, a long defunct magazine whose articles are —thank goodness— maintained online.
  • Physical copies of the Beer Flavor Wheel can be purchased from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA).
  • In 2016, scientists Lindsay Barr and Nicole Garneau 'updated' Dr. Meilgaards' wheel with their Beer Flavor Map, a graphic explication of beer flavor rather than of chemical analysis. Among other changes, the new 'map' elevated “umami” (savory) and “oleogustus” (fat) to the subcategory of taste and designated “mouthfeel” as a primary sense.
    We elected to use the common descriptors to make the Beer Flavor Map useful to anyone that picks it up, no matter if they had sensory training. This structure allows more people to speak using a common vocabulary of beer flavors. The map bridges the gap for people to begin to associate the descriptive vocabulary with the chemicals.
    Lindsay Barr works as the sensory specialist at New Belgium Brewing and has her BS in biochemistry and molecular biology as well as an MS in food science and technology. Dr. Nicole Garneau received her BA in Genetics and her Ph.D. in Microbiology, and currently is the curator and department chair of health sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Both are members of the Beer and Food Working Group of the [U.S.] Brewers Association. The team is developing a companion model —to make the technical side of flavor just as accessible as the descriptive —and a mobile app— to combine the descriptive and chemical sides of sensory analysis.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • See the photo on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

"Brewmaster": the trailer

Brewmaster_trailer
A film, called Brewmaster, directed by Douglas Tirola, will arrive in theatres in the new year.

The trailer, which you can watch exclusively on Food & Wine, details several aspects of American beer culture. It follows one man as he studies to acquire his Master Cicerone certification, the beer equivalent of becoming a sommelier. Another thread in the movie follows a young man who quit his job as a lawyer to brew his own beer and pursue his dream of opening a brewery of his own.

The film is also peppered with expert voices in the beer world, such as Jim Koch, the co-founder of the Boston Beer Company; Vaclav Berka, a senior brewmaster at Pilsner Urquell (the company funded the film in honor of its 175th anniversary); and Charles Papazian, who founded the Association of Brewers and the Great American Beer Festival.

Food and Wine Magazine which wrote that blurb, ignored appearances by Ray Daniels of the Cicerone Certification Program, Randy Mosher of several books, and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery.

And the trailer reeks of fanboy-dom. Beer is referred to as the “most noble beverage ever conceived by man” and “a gift from God.” Food and Wine Magazine, in presenting the trailer, states that the documentary will be required viewing for "beer fanatics." Which does not promise a serious, 'documentary,' consideration of the topic.

But trailers are designed to sound loud and proud. And, as counterpoint, it does contain is this snippet, from Garrett Oliver, beer author and brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewing Company:
If you can't put that beer out tasting essentially the same every time, that doesn't mean you're a craft brewer. It means you're not a brewer.

Food and Wine Magazine says that Brewmaster will have select screenings in November and will be released to the general public in January. I don't know director Douglas Tirola from John Facenda, but just on that Garrett Oliver statement alone, maybe this might be worth the price of admission.

Without further comment, here's the trailer presented for your enjoyment.



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