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Monday, August 19, 2019

Happy World Photography Day

Today is World Photography Day. Unlike other marketeers' fanciful markers, this date is rooted in actual history.

In 1839, Frenchman Louis Daguerre developed the daguerreotype process, the first publicly-announced and commercially-viable photographic process. Although crude photographs had been attempted before Daguerre, the year 1839 —180 years ago— is generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography.

Telling a story is what good photograph should do. Here's one I took with a simple point-and-shoot in 2012 ... of beer and a beer drinker, of course.

Weizen sippers

I think the photo tells the story of the moment: anticipation, concentration, and satisfaction. It was a lucky shot. But I'll take it.

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Red beach bicyclist

Red beach bicyclist

The beach.
The ocean.
The surf.
Clouds.
A bicyclist.
A red jersey.
A bird.
Minimalist.

An early evening exercise-ist pedals along the Atlantic Ocean, at St. Augustine Beach, Florida. 4 August 2018.

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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Avondale Stonehenge

Avondale Stonehenge

Like a latter-day (but, oh, so less mystical) Stonehenge, block totems mark the careening mitosis of 'luxury' condominium construction.

As seen in Avondale Estates, Georgia, on 27 July 2019.

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Friday, August 09, 2019

Tastes not-so-great, barely less filling: Michelob Ultra continues its fast growth.

'Craft' breweries make pastry stouts and beers with fruit loops. Mega-breweries do this.

Michelob Ultra has surpassed Miller Lite as the third-best best-selling beer in the U.S. Bud Light and Coors Light remain at number one and two, respectively.


Michelob Ultra launched nationally in 2004, and, according to sales data, it’s now the third-largest beer brand in America, with Miller Lite slipping to number four. That’s by dollar sales, though, not volume. Because Michelob Ultra costs more than Miller Lite, it still sells less by volume than Miller Lite, but rakes in more money.

'The first two years [of Michelob Ultra sales] were ridiculous and it’s been a double-digit growth brand for a decade. There’s nobody else except for upstart brands that can lay claim to that,' Bryan Roth, a beer writer who’s covered Michelob Ultra extensively, tells The Takeout. A piece he wrote for Good Beer Hunting last year calls Michelob Ultra 'the most important American beer since Bud Light.' [...] 'The way the brand has integrated itself into the lifestyle activity and the minds of people consuming it is a true differentiator. It’s built this ‘better for you’ category for modern beer audiences.'
— Kate Bernot
The TakeOut.

Almost three decades ago, 'clear ' beer —implied as a product better for you— fell with a thud. In this year's data, there is a 'sobering' trend for the conglomerating breweries to note. Of the top 20 brands (by sales dollars), only fourMichelob Ultra (Anheuser-Busch), Modelo (Constellation / Anheuser-Busch), Natural Light (Anheuser-Busch) and Stella Artois (Anheuser-Busch)— are up in sales. Dollar sales of Modelo have increased 18.9% over last year; Stella barely 0.2%. Miller Lite, owned by Molson Coors, is down 0.3%.

What's it all about, Alfie? Other than the dollars, not much. One can of Michelob Ultra contains 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates, whereas Miller Lite contains 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbohydrates. Tastes not-so-great; barely less filling.

The only 'craft' beer on the list —to be precise, the only beer produced by a [U.S.] Brewers Association-defined 'craft' brewery— is Yuengling Lager. Its dollar sales are down 3.5%, this year vs. last.

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Thursday, August 08, 2019

Resistance is futile. Anheuser-Busch's Brewers Collective

Anheuser-Busch In-Bev' Brewers Collective has purchased 20,000-barrel-per-year* 'craft' brewery Platform Brewing of Cleveland (and Columbus and Cincinnati), Ohio.

ABIB announced:

[Platform's] unparalleled creativity and experimentation has resulted in more than 600 recipes that include a variety of unique seasonals, sours, ciders and fruit ales, barrel-aged beers, and a line of hard seltzer.

Six-hundred 'recipes'! Wow! Such vast expertise! Or, as Jeff Alworth, at Beervana, put it:
Platform offers beer slushies, beer cocktails, seltzers, and hazies. [...] It doesn’t seem like a stretch to suggest ABI will be using Platform to reach younger Millennials and Gen Z drinkers.

On-line beer news site Brewbound (itself in recent news, unfavorably) interviewed Platform's co-founder Paul Benner.
Benner said the Ohio craft brewery began “exploring different investment mechanisms” about six months ago in an effort to continue the company’s upward growth trajectory. Ultimately, Benner said he and co-founder Justin Carson were attracted to the “autonomy and independence” A-B provides the founders in the daily decision making of its acquired craft brands. “As we became more educated on what that partnership actually looks like, it became more and more clear this was the best option for us for the short-term and the long-term as a company”

But not the medium-term? 'Autonomy'? Investment 'mechanisms'? Gobbledygook. How about honesty: "We wanted to make lots of money."?

Adding Platform to the list, here's the scroll of shame (my phrase) and the date each 'craft' brewery sold (out), alphabetically:
  • Goose Island (March 2011)
  • Blue Point (February 2014)
  • 10 Barrel (November 2014)
  • Elysian (January 2015)
  • Golden Road (September 2015)
  • Breckenridge (Dec 2015)
  • Four Peaks (December 2015)
  • Devils Backbone (April 2016)
  • Karbach (November 2016)
  • Veza Sur (April 2017)
  • Wicked Weed (May 2017)
  • Virtue Cider (September 2017)
  • Platform Beer (August 2019)
At some point this year, Anheuser-Busch InBev rebranded its portfolio of (now, lucky 13) acquired 'craft' breweries from “The High End” to the “Brewers Collective.” The ABIB-borg collective. Resistance is futile.

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