Headlines

Posted in Brewery Expansions, Creature Comforts, Headlines

Georgia’s Creature Comforts partners with Avengers director on L.A. brewery

Creature Comforts Los Angeles

Athens, Georgia based Creature Comforts is expanding to Los Angeles, California, opening next year.

By the summer of 2021, Creature Comforts Brewing Company will have a home in the Fashion District of Los Angeles. The new build is thanks to a partnership with film director Joe Russo, director of movies like Marvel’s Infinity War and End Game. You might recall the brewery’s Tropicalia IPA making a “guest” appearance thanks to Thor in Endgame. That screen appearance occurred after Russo’s assistant, a Georgia native, brought Tropicalia to the set during Infinity War filming. Russo fell in love.

Even before Marvel fame, Creature Comforts has collaborated frequently with other brewers in California, including Russian River, Modern Times, Firestone Walker, Alvarado Street, and Sierra Nevada. Creature Comforts has always had an affinity for the Golden State.

While Creature fans had long been hoping a taproom was coming to Atlanta, the brewery’s 3rd location will be on City Market South at 1124 San Julian St. in the Fashion District of L.A., The new build includes a 3,000-sq. ft. taproom, a 10,000-sq. ft. production facility and copious outdoor seating. The production capacity of the new facility initially maxes out at 15,000 barrels (nearly 500,000 gallons) annually. Russo apparently discovered the space in the same development as his AGBO production company that was already zoned for a brewery.

“We are excited to join the vibrant craft beer scene in California and plan additional collaborations. While we are delighted to share many of our core year-round and seasonal beers, we also look forward to creating unique brews for the Los Angeles community.” – Adam Beauchamp, Brewmaster and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Creature Comforts opened its original facility in April of 2014. A larger production facility nearby by the original taproom opened in June of 2018.

Posted in Headlines, Oskar Blues Brewing

Oskar Blues debuts ‘Mustard Beer’ featuring 150 pounds of French’s

Oskar Blues Mustard Beer

We wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that today, August 1st, is National Mustard Day. There’s a “day” for everything. While you are smothering everything in spicy yellow goodness, there’s a craft beer to pair with it. Oskar Blues Mustard Beer.

It’s craft beer, so you know we aren’t kidding. Oskar Blues partnered with French’s on the collaboration, a tropical wheat beer infused with the yellow stuff. 150 pounds of it to be exact. The result is a wheat beer with a yellowish tinge, boasting flavors of lime, lemon, tangerine, and passion fruit to complement the spice and zip added by the mustard.

Last year French’s made a mustard flavor ice cream for the occasion. We never got to try it, but some folks on social media melted down over its mear existence. (One person even called it a slight against God. That might be a little much.)

Oskar Blues Mustard Beer was available to ship on CraftShack.com, but it sold out pretty much immediately.

Style: Wheat Beer (w/ French’s Mustard)
Availability: 12oz Cans. Limited Release.
Debut: 8/1/20

5.2% ABV

Update: Sold out. Everywhere. Next stop, ketchup day. 

Posted in Headlines

The anti-racism, dubbed racist ‘Yellow Belly’ beer is back to haunt again

Over the past few years, Omnipollo’s Yellowbelly beer has found its way into mainstream media’s attention span. Perhaps the conversation was truly part of the design from the beginning.

For those unfamiliar, the collaborative brew was developed in 2014 as part of Berkshire Brewery Siren’s Rainbow Project Challenge. 14 breweries were paired off, each creating a beer inspired by the colors of the rainbow.

Sweden’s Omnipollo and United Kingdom’s Buxton Brewery were paired and pulled the color yellow. The duo thought yellow was the color of cowardice and created Yellow Belly, an 11% imperial stout with peanut butter and biscuits. Interestingly, the beer contained neither. By design, name and packaging, the beer’s intention was to denounce hate organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. The final flourish – Yellow Belly was packaged purposefully in white paper twisted to a point with eyeholes, similar to a KKK hood.

Since the beer’s debut, the beer would surface on national news in Europe, Canada and the U.S. concerning the racial overtones of the packaging. Most recently this week, when World of Beer in Connecticut pulled Yellow Belly from their inventory after a customer’s Facebook post went viral after apparently being “blindsided” by the packaging.

“This is the $40 bottle of beer that was promoted and presented to my black husband and his white friend tonight at World of Beer. After researching it at home, we discovered that it was ‘created to denounce racism… promote open-mindedness… packaged in paper deliberately to denounce organizations like the KKK,'” the Facebook post read. No picture of the actual bottle in the restaurant was included in the post.

“Please accept our apologies for the lapse in judgment in serving. While we can’t speak for the intent of the brewer, the visual representation does not have a place at our establishment. We appreciate you bringing it to our attention and welcome the opportunity for discussion,” World of Beer said in a public statement following the incident.

As Beer Street Journal reported in 2018, Yellow Belly was discontinued after an unresolvable trademark dispute. This beer is no longer in production.

The comments on the customer’s Facebook post predictably devolved into fights about what is racist, name-calling, and per usual, someone gets called a nazi. Godwin’s Law on full display in yet another comment section.

Other than making a catchy, clickbait headline on larger media sites, followed by an apology headline by a corporate beer chain, perhaps this article will  serve as a lasting reminder of what Omnipollo and Buxton Brewery intended by Yellow Belly’s creation and packaging choice all along.

What most of the internet commenters have never, or may never know about Yellowbelly… it was brewed by a Henok Fentie, CEO and co-founder of Omnipollo, who also happens to be a black man and father to three. Going back to the brewing duo being assigned the color yellow. To them, yellow represented cowardice. Brewed the imperial stout with the “Yellowbelly” name and label description wasn’t enough. The beer’s packaging had to invoke more.

As found on every bottle:

To us, one of the most cowardly deeds is to act anonymously, hiding behind a group. A signifying trait of institutionalized racism.

This beer is brewed to celebrate all things new, open-minded, and progressive. A peanut butter biscuit stout with no biscuits, butter or nuts. Taste, enjoy, and don’t be prejudiced.

Grossly simplified, the message of Yellowbelly was always – “Be Better.”

To us, beer and brewing have always been an art form, from kettle to artwork, to glass. Omnipollo and Buxton’s imperial stout in its four years of existence was equal parts delicious and thought-provoking. It seems like the beer’s story never really got told, just the story its social media shock reactions.

Even in death (discontinuation), the beer comes back to haunt it’s creators, rising from the cellar somewhere to shock, scare, or offend another would-be drinker.

We will leave you with this eulogy, posted to Facebook this week by Fentie.

I am a black man, father of three black boys, and in my youth I was both harassed and beaten for being black. As such I personally wanted to write a response to the recent media coverage of our beer Yellow Belly (first brewed in 2014, now discontinued due to trademark dispute).
We want to use our craft to talk about the things that matter to us. As a black-owned and operated brewery, in the case of Yellow Belly, it was brewed to show a deep concern over racism in Europe, the United States and beyond. A question that has run through the DNA of our company since it’s founding ten years ago.The more specific message was and still is that light needs to be shed on the quiet and creeping racism that is sweeping through Europe and the world, leading to acts of inhumanity.

Quote from the bottle of Yellow Belly:
To us, one of the most cowardly deeds is to act anonymously, hiding behind a group. A signifying trait of institutionalized racism.
This beer is brewed to celebrate all things new, open minded and progressive. A peanut butter biscuit stout with no biscuits, butter or nuts. Taste, enjoy, and don’t be prejudiced.

We fully acknowledge that the format is unconventional and taken out of context can be both confusing and unintentionally offensive. As such we hope to engage our audience in this question now and going forward.
CEO and co-founder,

Henok Fentie

 

 

 

Posted in Headlines, Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon launches 100 calorie ‘Hard Tea’

Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Tea

Pabst Blue Ribbon has been synonymous with lager for decades. These days, Pabst is doing so much more. 2019’s biggest additions to the Pabst Blue Ribbon lineup weren’t beer at all. Specifially, a PBR branded whiskey, an 8% alcohol by volume Stronger Seltzer, and a Hard Coffee. 2020’s newest addition – Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Tea.

This new summer-inspired alcoholic sweet tea is brewed with tea leaves and natural peach flavor. Each can of Hard Tea has 3 grams of sugar, 100 calories, and just 4% alcohol by volume.

Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Hard Tea is deliciously effervescent with a natural peach flavor,  it’s a uniquely Pabstidian evolution of the seltzer market, and a perfect alternative to artificial and over-sweetened products

Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Tea is available in 12-ounce cans across 26 states starting in July 2020.

Style: Hard Tea
Availability: 12oz Cans.
Distribution: GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, WY

Debut: July 2020

4% ABV

Posted in Headlines

Great American Beer Festival will be held online this year

GABF goes Virtual

The Great American Beer Festival, usually held in Denver, Colorado, will be held virtually this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beer festivals across the country have been canceled or postponed all the way through summer, but the largest – GABF had yet to make an announcement until today. This decision was bolstered by Colorado Governor Jared Polis issuing an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain statutes to allow the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado. This order means GABF can not be held at the Colorado Convention Center.

Instead, the festival will pivot to an online experience, taking place October 16-17. Expect live and virtual experiences, that will include tastings, brewery conversations, and at-home beer and food deliveries.

“While we are disappointed to not be gathering in Denver this fall for the craft beer community’s annual big tent event, the health and safety of our attendees, brewers, volunteers, judges, and employees is and always has been our top priority. As the world is still greatly affected by the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to be affected for the foreseeable future, we must stay true to our priorities and pursue other ways to host GABF.” – Bob Pease, president, and CEO of the Brewers Association

While the 39th annual festival will be virtual for usual attendees, the beer competition will still take place as usual. A panel of more than 100 judges will taste 7,000 entries voting for the three beers that best represent each style category. Brewers, the registration for this year’s competition opens June 9th.

The “virtual” GABF is still in planning, with more details to be released in the coming weeks.

Posted in Headlines

Monday Night’s survey doesn’t bode well for taproom openings

Coronavirus lockdowns across all 50 states have had America’s breweries scrambling to find new ways to serve their customers. With May just hours away, many states are cautiously reopening their economies, including Monday Night Brewing’s home of Atlanta, Georgia. The Peach state’s shelter-in-place order at the end of April and the next day brewery taprooms could open again with extra precautions.

Sounds like life could get back to normal in May right? Not so fast. Even with relaxed restrictions, it appears consumers might make a different choice.

Monday Night recently surveyed 740 people that had been to one of the brewery’s taprooms in the past 3 months. A series of questions about customer expectations surrounding taproom sanitation practices and changes to their expected visitation behavior were fielded and the results don’t look good for craft brewers.

Almost 40% of the respondents said they would wait until at least June before going back into a brewery taproom. 21.7% said July, while 13.8% said they would wait until late summer before going back to a taproom again.

Any vision of a normal Friday afternoon in a brewery taproom looks to be a further into the future than most hoped or thought. This could spell financial disaster for some operations hoping for “if you tap it, they will come” situation as we transition into summer.

Who do you listen to?

Monday Night’s survey revealed the consumer is more self-reliant than we assumed. Just because the Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says it’s ok to eat out, go bowling, get your haircut or grab a pint, doesn’t mean the consumers buy it. Respondents placed trust in the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization the highest determining factor as to when it’s safe to hit bars and breweries again. In just close second, when their own research says it’s safe. Interestingly, the state government’s advisement confidence level as guidance was dead last.

The biggest takeaway from this survey is that America’s breweries will probably see a drop in taproom attendance and along with it, in-house revenue through the summer.

Perhaps those numbers might trend upward if consumer confidence with efforts to slow the Covid-19 pandemic improves.

One thing is certain, there is no magic switch get back to the beer world we knew as 2020 started.

Posted in Headlines

Coronavirus forces cancellation of Germany’s Oktoberfest

COVID-19 Cancels Oktoberfest

COVID-19 has been claiming lives, jobs, and events worldwide. The latest casualty? Germany’s famed Oktoberfest.

The annual event kicks off in September, attracting 6 million people from around the world. With no vaccine on the horizon, Bavaria state premier Markus Soeder has made the difficult decision to scrap this year’s festivities.

said the Prime Minister about the decision. We agreed that the risk is simply too high. The spread of the coronavirus would not allow any other option. “We want to continue to protect Bavaria,” said Prime Minister Markus Söder.

Germany is home to over 1,600 breweries, who, like breweries in the United States, has been forced to cut production and furlough employees.

The cancellation of the 2020 festival will increase financial damage the coronavirus pandemic has dealt to Germany’s 1,600 breweries. Many of the nation’s brewers have already cut back production and furloughed employees. Each year, the festival serves nearly 70,000 barrels (U.S equivalent) of beer to the millions of attendees.

This isn’t the first time a pandemic has forced the cancellation of Oktoberfest. The festival was canceled in 1854 after 3,000 residents died of cholera, and again in 1873 due to another cholera outbreak.

Since then, the festival was canceled in 1870 due to the Franco-Prussian War, 1914-1918 due to World War I, and from 1939 – 1945 due to World War II.

The next date for Oktoberfest is scheduled for September 16, 2021.