Here are a few good stories for the morning. They run the gamut from a fight between Anheuser-Busch and distributors to the death of a man who is very important in the development of the taste of American craft beer.
- First we go to Oklahoma where Anheuser-Busch is in a fight with beer distributors over small/cold beer and big/warm beer. Five states legislate that beer, in this case, at 3.2% ABV or less can be sold cold in grocery stores and convenience stores, but that anything over 3.2% has to be sold warm in liquor stores. Brewers in Oklahoma, including Anheuser-Busch, want that to change. Distributors on the other hand like the set up and want it to stay the same. That is a theme across the country. Distributors like the way things are and fight any changes to any beer distribution laws and they have the size and money to slow down these changes, but I don’t think that will last for very long.
- Now on to Massachusetts where there is another fight brewing between brewers and distributors over distribution laws. This will be where the next battles will be fought. The 3-tier system will not die as much as one of the three tiers will lose its primacy. There will always be a place for distributors, some brewers will never be big enough to eat the financial burden of being their own distributor, but some will.
- What do you do when you have more job openings then qualified candidates? Breweries are now in this situation. There are more breweries opening then there are trained brewers to fill brewing positions. What do you do? You start community college and university brewing programs. They are popping up all over the country in the places where brewing is important: Oregon, California, Colorado, North Carolina. They are also popping up in places where people are trying to make brewing important. Just what every parent wants to hear, “I’m majoring in beer.” In reality, brewing sciences is a hard discipline.
- Toronto wants to be the beer capital of the world. Good for them. I don’t know what that means, but OK. What they are trying to do is create an atmosphere where craft beer is a way of life and not just a way to get drunk.
- This a story about a man who is one of the most important people in the development of the flavor of American craft beer, and you probably have never heard of him. Without Jack Horner the Cascade hop may not have been developed and the American IPA would not taste the way it does. Tonight, have an IPA in his memory.