Monday, January 15, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 51/52, 2017.

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

Weeks 51/52
17 December - 31 December 2017

  • 31 December 2017
    The Wine Spectator's 2017's wine of the year:
    Of the nearly 17,000 wines under review this year, more than 5,600 rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale. From that starting point, we looked for wines that excelled in four criteria: quality (based on score), value (based on price), availability (based on cases either made or imported into the U.S. and, most importantly, a compelling story behind the wine. This year's Top 100 features a strong showing of wines from the United States: nearly 25 percent are from California. Overall, domestic wines account for one-third of our class of 2017, including the Wine of the Year: [...] Duckhorn Merlot Napa Valley Three Palms Vineyard 2014, representing a comeback story starring a grape much maligned over the last decade.
    — Via Wine Spectator.

  • 30 December 2017
    The dumbest beer-exec statement of 2017?
    From the guy responsible for marketing [Bud Light] the largest beer brand in the country, a brand that continues to post sales declines of 5-6%--a staggering (!) 1.9 million barrels of beer volume lost in the current year alone--comes this: “...(the) Bud Light veep... said Dilly Dilly is 'creating such a fun buzz' and the 'creative team is having a blast.' ”

    Ad-agency creative people are paid handsome salaries to create advertising that sells beer. "Having a blast" is what they do after work, over alcohol beverages (although rarely beer) and banned substances. But maybe, in this case, they should be giddy. They have a client so clueless as to spend millions and, rather than hold them accountable for sales results, he celebrates their... celebrating.
    — Via past Coors advertising executive Dan Fox.

  • Bombogenesis, January 2018
  • 28 December 2017
    A near historic cold-snap, that some meteorologists have called "bombogenesis" or "bomb cyclone" hits the U.S. midwest and east coast.
    — Via Earther.

  • 27 December 2017
    Mike Hastings, past head brewer for national 'craft brewing company Oskar Blues at its plant in North Carolina, assumes the same position for Lost Rhino Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia.
    — Via Lost Rhino Brewery. [Instagram]

  • 23 December 2017
    "Carole" was an Old French word referring to a round of dancers, singing and holding hands. It came to mean a song or hymn related to Christmas.
    — The etymology of "carole," via British Library.

  • 21 December 2017
    With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, craft breweries will receive a tax cut. Beer writer Jeff Alworth asks: "Is it good policy?"
    • Small brewery making 2,000 barrels of beer: $7,000 tax cut.
    • Large regional brewery making a million barrels: $2,090,000 tax cut
    • Large regional brewery making 2 m barrels: $4,090,000 tax cut
    • Large industrial brewery making six million barrels: $12,000,000 tax cut.
    These tax cuts are still the best deal, per barrel, to the small brewery. But as with the Trump tax cut in general, the serious cash accrues to the already-successful. The vast majority of beer excise taxes cut by Congress will go to the largest breweries. They pay the most in taxes, so you may feel like this is only fair. On balance, given the short window and puny benefit small breweries will actually realize, the whole thing looks a lot like another way to transfer federal dollars to giant corporations. Your mileage may vary, but I see no public policy good served by this wealth transfer.
    — Via Beervana.

  • Session double
  • 22 December 2017
    A brewer in Virginia posts a dark lament to Facebook.
    IPA, IPA, IPA! I think it's time that 'real beer' drinkers and brewers (not the Instagrammers and Untappd abusers) take beer back. When was the last time anyone saw a brown ale or a porter or stout that wasn't flavored or imperial? There is nothing quite like a nice, unflavored porter. DARK BEERS MATTER!
    — That and porter's demise in Ireland in 1973, via YFGF.

  • 21 December 2017
    DRAFT Magazine online chooses its top 25 "the most interesting, innovative and well-executed" beers of 2017. [Beers from brewpubs and non-packaging breweries are MIA.]
    — Via DRAFT.

  • 20 December 2017
    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a non-tax provision to permit drilling for oil in the until-now environmentally protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
    — Via The Hill.

  • 20 December 2017
    The 115th United States Congress has passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Included in the legislation is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) that lowers the federal excise tax for breweries, wineries and distilled spirits producers. The provisions become effective 1 January 2018.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.

  • 20 December 2017
    Parti-gyling is NOT the production of several beers from different runnings of the same mash, as is often stated in beer writing. Beer historian Ron Pattinson set the record 2010.
    • Real party-gyling is where you blend 3 or 4 worts of different strengths in differing proportion in different fermenting vessels to make worts of different gravities in order to create several beers. The important point is that even the weakest beer will get some of the strongest wort.
    • Despite what many homebrewers believe, parti-gyling is not using each separate running to make a different beer. That method of brewing disappeared about 1762.
    • And, despite what many beer writers have claimed, party-gyling didn't pretty much die out by 1800. It's a common feature of all the brewing records I've looked at from 1805 to 1965.
    — Via Shut Up about Barclay Perkins.

  • 19 December 2017
    The U.S. government has publicly acknowledged that North Korea was behind the WannaCry computer worm that affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries earlier this year.
    — Via MSN News.

  • Christmas sprites (01)
  • 19 December 2017
    Not quite the Twelve Beers of Christmas but nine beers of winter: "Classic craft, "International flavor," and Georgia-brewed "Local cheer."
    — Via Bob Townsend, Beer Town writer for Atlanta Journal Constitution.

  • 19 December 2017
    British beer writers Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey select their favorite web-scribblings on beer from around the world-wide-web in 2017.
    — Via Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog.

  • 18 December 2017
    The TTB —the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau— is the primary federal regulatory agency responsible for the brewing industry.
    • In 2017, through August, the TTB had received 31,396 applications for beer label approval, a 15.4% over 2016. The vast majority of those applications (97.5 percent) are now electronically submitted.
    • In mid-2016, label approval processing times were averaging 24 days for malt beverages. With additional resources and staffing, the goal for label approval turnaround was 10 days by the end of FY 2017. As of September 11, processing time had dropped to two days.
    • Advocacy efforts led to success when an additional $5 million was added to TTB’s FY 2016 appropriations to accelerate processing of formula and label applications [and] allowing [TTB] to hire 13 additional labeling and formulation specialists. Ten were working as of June 28.
    • Although the 53-day average processing time in August 2017 was a sharp improvement from the average processing time of 178 days in August 2016, the TTB recognizes the need for additional improvements.
    — Via [U.S.] Brewers Association.


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