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Monday, December 28, 2015

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 50/51, 2015.

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

Weeks 50/51
6 - 19 December 2015


  • 18 December 2015
    The Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has streamlined the process of applying for beer "Formula" approval, adding more than fifty ingredients to its pre-approved exemption list. In doing so, TTB has found that these ingredients are “traditional” and not likely to cause problems. TTB’s position has not changed with respect to adding extracts, essential oils, or syrups: those still could contain alcohol, so the Formula requirement remains in place. Exemption from the formula approval process also include processes such as aging in barrels or with wood chips.
    —Via Brewery Law blog.

  • 18 December 2015
    New Belgium Brewing, the fourth-largest 'craft' brewery in the U.S., may be looking for a buyer. Potential asking price? More than a billion dollars.
    —Via Reuters.

  • 14 December 2015
    The growing can shortage crisis for 'craft' beer. Only two manufacturers remain in the U.S., both of which have raised their minimum orders.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 12 December 2015
    At the Paris Global Climate Change Conference (formally known as the United Nations 21st Conference of Parties, or UN COP21) representatives of 195 nations reached an accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 9 December 2015
    "A Charlie Brown Christmas" animated special was first broadcast fifty years ago, on December 9, 1965, commissioned and sponsored by Coca-Cola, written by Charles Schulz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip.
    —Via ABC.

  • 9 December 2015
    Is this pay-to-play? Kroger, a large national U.S. grocery chain, to require breweries to pay for the management of their beers on the supermarket shelves. Calls plan “Planogram Center of Excellence.”
    —Via Brewers Association.

  • 8 December 2015
    The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights heard testimony regarding the proposed merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SAB Miller. Judiciary Committee member Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont released a statement delineating his “concerns in distribution: specifically, concerns that the large brewers’ power over distribution is shutting out competitors and undermining consumer choice.”
    A product can only be sold if customers can find it. [...] Large brewers’ power over distribution is shutting out competitors and undermining consumer choice. If craft brewers are being squeezed off the shelf because of restrictive behavior by the dominant companies, that harms competition and limits consumers’ options. One way for large brewers to influence distribution is by buying up distributors. AB InBev has indicated that, following this merger, it will not increase its ownership of distributors above its current level of ten percent. Mr. Brito, at a minimum, I ask you to make a formal commitment to that today. For its part, Molson has indicated that, after it gains 100 percent ownership of MillerCoors, it will not increase its ownership of distributors—nor change its current practice of giving distributors leeway to showcase competitors’ brands. Mr. Hunter, I ask you to make a formal commitment to that today. The pathway from brewer to buyer is critical if we want small companies to compete. State laws regulating distribution vary dramatically, and many small brewers feel constrained by the current state of distribution. I hope this issue will remain a subject of close review.
    —Via Brewers Association.

  • 8 December 2015
    Maryland beer pioneer, Hugh Sisson, celebrates the twentieth anniversary of his Baltimore brewery, Heavy Seas. In late 1980s, Sisson opened Maryland's first brewpub.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 7 December 2015
    California's Stone Brewing releases first beers from its Berlin, Germany brewery, becoming the first U.S. 'craft' brewery to build, own, and operate a brewery in Europe.
    —Via Full Pint.

  • 7 December 2015
    The use of IBUs (International Bittering Units) to stand in for a measure of “hoppiness” is at best irrelevant and at worst misleading — because IBUs don’t measure “hoppiness,” they measure bitterness.
    —Via Jeff Alworth at All About Beer.

  • The 10 thirstiest American 'craft' beer cities (2014).
  • 6 December 2015
    The cities that drink the most craft beer as a share of their overall beer consumption (by dollar value). Number one is Portland, at 43.5%.
    —Via VinePair.

  • 6 December 2015
    To forestall antitrust concerns with its pending purchase by Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller to sell off its brands Peroni and Grolsch, as well as London, England, 'craft' brewery, Meantime, which it only just purchased.
    —Via BBC.

  • 6 December 2015
    Pennsylvania State University study finds that moderate drinkers (one drink per day) are twice as likely to exercise regularly than teetotalers.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 6 December 2015
    New "superbug" gene found in animals and people in China. Scientists alarmed by potential spread of this gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to last-resort antibiotics.
    —Via Scientific American.

  • 6 December 2015
    A Judgement of Paris moment for sparkling wine? A pair of English sparkling wines from Hampshire and Sussex defeated French Champagnes Pol Roger, Taittinger, and Veuve Clicquot to take the top spots in a blind tasting.
    —Via The Drinks Business.

  • 6 December 2015
    The average 'craft' brewery uses seven pints of water for every pint of beer it brews. Larger 'craft' breweries are more efficient. Stone Brewing, for example, has lowered its usage to 4.5 pints water per pint of beer. International brewing conglomerates can be more efficient yet. MillerCoors has reduced water usage at its Eden, North Carolina, plant to 3.1 pints of water for each pint of beer. But before a brewery even brews, a farmer will need to use ten gallons (eighty pints) of water to grow the hops and barley needed for one pint of beer. (By comparison, a glass of almond milk needs twenty-three gallons of water, and cow's milk requires thirty gallons.)
    —Via San Diego Reader.
    —More, via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • St. Nicholas of Myra
  • 6 December 2015
    December 6th is the Roman Catholic Church feast day of Nicholas of Myra (in what is now Turkey), a bishop in the 4th century, later canonized as the patron saint of brewers.
    —Via "The Brews Brothers" at YFGF.

  • 6 December 2015
    Coffee drinkers live longer than coffee abstainers, says new Harvard study. The Harvard School of Public Health followed a group of twenty-thousand nurses and doctors over the course of thirty years, and found that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from strokes, diabetes, heart disease, suicide, and neurological diseases. And those that drank up to five cups per day received the greatest benefit.
    —Via Eater.
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  • Clamps and Gaskets is a bi-weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

  • For more from YFGF:

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