I like taxes. Taxes are how we pay for stuff like roads, schools, hospitals, police, firefighters, EMTs, etc. So I have no problem with governments charging taxes on luxury items such as beer. However, I also know that if you want to spur growth in an industry you cut the taxes to make it easier for businesses to expand. The British government may not have gotten that memo when it comes to beer. The writer of this piece makes the point that in the US the tax on a pint is 3 cents and in the UK it is 70 cents. It is important to point out that is the US federal excise tax and does not include all the state and local taxes brewers have to pay, but the point is still well made. For British brewers to continue to grow, the taxes must be shaved a little.
Tuesday has arrived. Yesterday was my first day since moving that I just got to chill in my new space. It felt great to be home and not have to worry about packing, moving, or unpacking. I still have a lot of stuff to do, but until I get the rest of my furniture there is no need. Onto the Five Articles.
This is an interesting business take on what is happening to Boston Beer Company as the revolution that it helped start eclipses it. Boston Beer reminds me of many of the leaders of the French Revolution. They created a thing that they can’t control and don’t understand. This thing has passed them by and they are in the difficult position of trying to figure out their place in the world they have created before this new world destroys them.
Here is a nice history of the craft beer scene in Japan. I like the way this piece is written. It is a kind of classic in how it uses a specific anecdote at the top to represent the larger point of the piece. It does have me wondering, how do you get a job brewing beer when you have never brewed beer? This story also highlights my belief that most beer and alcohol laws are passed in order for the government to increase tax revenue.
I’ve been away for two very good reasons. One, I’ll have a new address soon. Two, I’ve been thinking about the focus of this blog. My new address will hopefully help with the second part. More coming in a few days. Onto the Five Articles.
Another state is trying to raise the cap on the ABV of beer brewed and sold there. The fear of people drinking high ABV beer is unwarranted for the most part. If you are worried about people drinking that beer just to get drunk and wreak havoc all over the jurisdiction, I will counter that if they want to get that drunk they already can by buying a bottle of vodka which will be cheaper and much more effective.
The World Beer Cup is gaining stature every year. Up until about 4 or 5 years ago I knew nothing about it, but now I see how important it is in the craft beer community. Unlike GABF which is only beer brewed in the US, the World Beer Cup brings brewers from all corners of the globe. It has about the same number of beer entered into competition as GABF, but they are from around the globe. It highlights how the craft beer industry is growing in ways that the large beer conglomerates can’t keep up with in the long run.
For some reason, I thought this case was already adjudicated. It is an interesting look at the Canadian constitution through a beer lens. There are similar laws in the United States (including North Carolina and South Carolina), however, I don’t remember ever hearing anyone getting arrested for smuggling alcohol from one state to another.
There are not going to stop this pub from being built. Maybe all the noise they make will make it harder for the pub to gain traction, but it will be built and lots of people will drink there. The San Diego craft beer community needs to move and beat AB by making better beer and being cooler people. Provide a better and more organic atmosphere then you will get at a big corporate pub. You can tell the difference when going into a locally owned bar and a corporate franchise. Make that and a much better beer selection your selling points.
This is something happening in small towns all across the state of North Carolina. Many of these towns are trying to attract tourists from in and outside of the state. They are attempting to make themselves destinations for people to spend long weekends relaxing in the clean country air. That is why it is interesting to watch the clash of these small towns with the people they are trying to attract. Again, this is why I don’t think the people who passed HB2 though past the immediate bump from their voters about what they were doing. Not all the tourists you are trying to attract fit into your traditional definition of a couple or a family.
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life
That is one of the best openings to any piece of music or fiction you will ever read. I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince the last week like everyone else and that opening and that song are things I can never get enough off. Anyway, let’s talk about stupid laws and other beer related stuff.
Staying in the theme of stupid and unnecessary, this is the thing that galls me most about HB2 (besides the blatant discrimination): The people responsible for its passage have touted themselves as pro-business since they got elected. That was in part how they got elected. Yet, at every opportunity, they have managed to do things that have hurt bringing businesses to North Carolina with this being the crown jewel. Of course, they will say this is what the people wanted. Whenever I hear that, I remember the people of 1956 North Carolina would have said segregation was good, so I don’t care what the “people” want if they are advocating discrimination. But what do I know, I just write about beer.
“…we picked the wrong time to be bad at things.” I think a lot of breweries will be making similar comments in the years to come. There are too many breweries and too much competition to be mediocre now and just because you were everybody’s darling 3 years ago doesn’t mean you will be 3 years from now.
And the choir sang hallelujah. That isn’t even because I’m a huge New Belgium fan. It’s just that we have all been waiting for this thing to open for a long time. Yeah, I think I’m going to have to go up there soon to visit this taproom. I’m planning on taking a long weekend in August, I just don’t know where I want to go. Right now it is down to Richmond or Asheville. In other words, Stone or New Belgium.
This is a good article on the joys of homebrewing. People who are drawn to homebrewing are people who love process. They love breaking things down into steps and following the process obsessively making tweaks here and there to get exactly what they want. Brewing is the perfect avenue for people like that because the effects of your tweaks are easily seen and enjoyed. However, the part about this article that got me wasn’t the article itself. It was the temperature at the top of the page that said 35 degrees. While I prefer cold weather, I couldn’t live in a place where it is 35 degrees on April 28. That is just wrong.
Today, I feel much better. I restarted my meditation practice last week and it is starting to have an effect on my life. My mind is gaining clarity and I am little more relaxed. I’ve also started The Artist’s Way, but before I start my first week of work with it, I am doing the 3 pages. That has also helped me warm up and clear out all the clutter before I start writing. I also plan to move by the end of May which will make my commute easier and give me back at least an hour a day. I love days when it is easy to find five articles that interest me. Here they are.
Ohio is seeking to increase the ABV limit on beer. I agree with Kevin Loftis of Mother Stewart’s Brewing how is quoted in this article. Increase it if you want to, most brewers won’t brew anything over 12% because it is rarely worth drinking. Too much of a booze taste. Also, for a brewer anything that big is expensive as hell to make and would only be some kind of special one-off. No one is going to put into regular production a 12% beer much less a 15% beer.
There is actual science behind why certain foods work with certain beers. You don’t need to know the science if you are just a person trying to find a good beer to pair with your chipotle black bean burger. However, the chef at the craft beer-centric restaurant you want to go to has to know it when he is putting together his menu. Knowing not only what tastes work together is important, but knowing why is important because it lets the chef surprise you with a pairing that you wouldn’t expect.
You know there is a point where you figure out, you are getting old. The amount of sleep you need and your ability to sleep through the night is one area. There used to be a time where I could go to bed at 2, get up 7, and be fine. I try that now and my sleep patterns are screwed up for a week. Needless to say, I may have to catch another hour of sleep before I go into work today. Anyway, here are the Five Articles. Good stuff today.
The idea that a compromise was possible in Colorado was a tad more hopeful than sensible. The reasons are articulated perfectly in this article. One side is being asked to give up part of their business model and the other side is being asked to give up winning a ballot initiative that will give them everything that they want. At this point, the liquor stores need to figure out what their business model will look like after this thing passes.
This is a really light article. Not that it wasn’t well written or bad, just light. It felt like eating cotton candy. It is the kind of piece that is well written but you won’t remember what it was about 20 minutes after you read it. Do consumers prefer cans or bottles? Most honestly don’t care. For a retailer, cans are easier to store and last longer on the shelf. Also, you should never drink out of the can if at all possible. Beer always tastes better if poured into a glass.
Sometimes you see the headline of an article and think, “I agree with that.” Then you read the article and something about the writer’s tone annoys you and his path to the conclusion annoys you and you begin to think maybe I’m wrong with my position. This is that article for me. For some reason, I also don’t think the writer truly believes what he is writing and that is the greatest sin a writer can commit.
This is a good article on what to look for in a good IPA. There are too man IPAs right now. Mostly, because they are the easiest style to brew. That doesn’t mean all of them are good. Most of them are drinkable and some of them are good and a few are great. One thing the article didn’t mention is to beware of IPAs whose recipes have changed without the brewer telling anyone. It is getting harder and harder to get hops in the quantities needed to make IPAs, DIPAs, and triple IPAs. Your favorite IPA might not be the IPA you fell in love with.
Sorry, I’ve been absent again, but working 12-14 hours a day, on your feet, for 4 days in a row takes its toll and I really needed to sleep. Anyway, there are three blog posts coming in the next 2 weeks. One of which will probably be a multipart post because it is a big subject I am going to try and tackle. The other are a continuation of my fascination and exploration of creativity and a fundamental question about everything I’m writing about on this blog.
Here is another case of brewers wanting to change the law specific to brewers. You know what would be great? If this state’s brewer guild took a few months and came up with a list of 5-10 legislative items and presented them to sympathetic state legislators telling them that if you can pass most if not all of these laws, we can guarantee a strong business segment that will generate tax revenue. I’m just kind of tired of reading stories about brewers upset that they can’t sell growlers or sell beer in their taprooms. These are all part of the same problem. Of course, a legislator in Oklahoma is trying to do that and she keeps getting hit in the face with 2x4s from self-interested lobbyists.
How much is too much when giving incentives to businesses to move to your state? That is a question NC has been trying to answer for years now in all business segments, not just beer. I became interested in this topic a few years ago when a few professional sports teams moved because they couldn’t convince the cities and states they were in to pay to build them a new stadium. Basically, the owners want cities and states to put up all the money for construction and infrastructure for a stadium the teams would control, including all the profits from ticket sales, parking, concessions, etc. They would spout off about all these pie in the sky jobs created by the stadium, which had no basis in any economic fact, and hold cities ransom. So, I have mixed feelings about states and municipalities giving away too many incentives for any business. I think luring businesses with tax breaks is great up until the point where the municipality is no longer making money off the venture.
Here is look at the alcohol industry in Michigan. It is interesting to think about craft beer as a part of a larger craft alcohol business segment. Again, instead of just trying to get growler and crowlers legal or getting the state to allow sales in brewery taprooms, it may help to position these things as part of a larger business segment that can have good tax revenue implications.
You know, I’ve felt like a character on Game of Thrones who goes around telling anyone who will listen, “Winter is coming.” I’ve been reading articles for almost 2 years now telling us that a hop shortage is coming and I’ve been writing about those articles in this space. Yet, the craft beer world, by which I mean craft beer drinkers have been going along like this bounty of hoppy beer will continue without end. Here is another article explaining what is and what will probably happen. What will probably happen? The price of your favorite double IPA is about to go up in the next few months if stays available at all.
Now, an ode to the hop. As much as I decry the overuse and over-reliance of hops I love what they add to beer. Also, I think they are misunderstood by most of the general craft beer drinking public, especially those who want to get in on the craft beer thing.
I am growing into liking sours. They are beer that doesn’t taste like what most people in the US consider beer, but unlike using concentrated fruit (peach, watermelon, pineapple, grapefruit, etc.) these are beers with interesting fruity and barnyard flavors created with natural beer fermentation. Here is a look at new Virginia brewery that is concentrating on sours.
Your body needs sleep. My body taught me that this weekend. After a week or so of working 40+ hours, trying to get up and write early, trying to read, and driving 90 minutes a day to and from work, my body said, “You need to sleep a lot.” I finally started feeling normal yesterday and I am back, hopefully with no other breaks. I have also been powering through a book that I want to use as the basis for a big blog post (or series of posts) on how I see what kind of beer reviewer/critic I want to attempt to be.
The theme today is less about state alcohol laws and more about the silliness of state legislatures. If I ever had to kill a fly in my house, I wouldn’t ask a state legislator because their solution would be to blow up the whole house. In order to stop a minor issue in one municipality, the NC legislature and the governor carpet bombed all LGBT rights. Here is the response of North Carolina brewers. As a person who loves saisons and hates ignorant bullies, I look forward to drinking this.
Here is a Q&A with Doug McKinney from Legal Remedy Brewing in Rock Hill. This is one of the newer breweries in this area whose beer I like. That may be the best thing about many of the new breweries popping up. For the most part, they make quality beer. New breweries fail for two reasons. Either they have a bad business model/plan or they make bad beer. I believe the next round of contraction will be because of bad business practices.