Patent No. 1162515A: Process For Treating Cement Beer-Fermenting Tanks

Today in 1915, US Patent 1162515 A was issued, an invention of Frank W. Rickers, assigned to the Schaefer Brewing Co., for his “Process For Treating Cement Beer-Fermenting Tanks.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The object of the present invention is the production of a beer fermenting tank constructed of hydraulic cement or cement concrete or reinforced cement concrete which shall avoid the disadvantages incident to those previously constructed, and which shall be economical to construct, and which shall be substantially permanent when constructed.


Beer In Ads #1744: When Do 300 Lb. Lineman Say Budweiser?

Sunday’s ad is another one for Budweiser, also from the late 2000s. Although it’s a recent ad, it has a more vintage feel, and is part of a series that was created for college market newspapers. This one shows a football player’s head up close, and the thoughts in his head that lead her to drink a beer.


Patent No. 6968773B1: Vessel And Wort Processing Method For Producing Beer

Today in 2005, US Patent 6968773 B1 was issued, an invention of Kurt Stippler and Klaus-Karl Wasmuht, assigned to Anton Steinecker Maschinenfabrik Gmbh, for their “Vessel and Wort Processing Method for Producing Beer.” Here’s the Abstract:

A vessel and a method for thermally treating wort in beer brewing, wherein a wort guiding screen or cone is placed inside the vessel and a feed pipe ending above the wort guiding screen or cone is used to discharge wort from above onto the wort guiding screen or cone. The wort boiling method has the wort discharged onto an inclined, heated guiding surface from which it flows down and spreads into a sheet and is thereby heated.




Beer Birthday: Darron Welch

Today is the 48th birthday of Darron Welch, brewmaster at Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon. Darron has something like a gazillion awards for his beers, including “Brewer of the Year” seven times (at GABF in 2000 and 2005 for small brewpub and in 2006 and 2014 for large brewpub; and at the World Beer Cup in 2008, 2012 and 2014 for large brewpub or small brewery). In addition to being a great brewer, Darron is also a terrific person, as well. Join me in wishing him a very happy birthday.

At a beer dinner at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco several Januarys back, Pelican Pub brewmaster Darron Welch with the Beer Chef Bruce Paton.

Darron and the gang (including Ben Love at far left) from Pelican Pub & Brewery winning Gold for their Kiwanda Cream Ale at GABF in 2006.

Darron Welch (2nd from Left) with the Pelican Brewpub Team
Darron, again with the Peilcan Crew, this time at GABF in 2009.

On stage accepting on of his awards at the World Beer Cup in 2014.

Patent No. 2138529A: Hop Separator

Today in 1938, US Patent 2138529 A was issued, an invention of Edouard Thys, for his “Hop Separator.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to separators and especially to a machine for separating leaves and like foreign material from hops, the present application being a continuation in part of my co-pending application entitled Hop picking machine, filed November 13, 1935, Serial Number 49,531.

The picking of hops by means of machinery is now a comparatively old art as machine picking has been in continuous use on a comparatively a large scale in California and other States at least since 1910. The type of machine generally employed consists of a series of revolving drums from the surface of which project V-shaped flexible wire fingers. The vines to be picked are l passed over and under the drums by a conveyor and as the vines pass over and under the drums they are combed by the V-shaped fingers and the hops are removed during the combing operation. A great many leaves and stems are also m removed and some of the hops are broken, thereby forming petals, hence after the picking operation has been completed it becomes necessary’ to separate the hops from the leaves, petals and stems as the cleaner the hops the higher the market value of the same.

The present invention relates. to a machine for separating the hops from the leaves, petals, stems, etc., the object being to improve and simplify the separation of hops of this character; to provide a pervious inclined belt upon which the hops, leaves, etc., are delivered; to provide means in the form of fans, or the like, placed under the belt so as to maintain a sufficient suction to cause the. lighter material, such as leaves, petals, etc., to adhere to the surface of the belt while the inclination of the belt will permit the hops to roll down and off the belt; to arrange the belt in such a manner that the air blast produced by the discharge side of the fans may be utilized to release the leaves, petals, etc., from the belt; and, further, to provide means for adjusting the inclination of the belt to insure rolling and gravity separation of the hops from the leaves and other organic matter.


Spinning Statistics … Again

A few days ago, I wrote that in my mind, Alcohol Justice, as much as any prohibitionist group, had achieved the status of a cult, given their by-any-means-necessary tactics and casual relationship with the truth. Today presented a perfect example of that, in which they took another “study” and bent it and remolded it into the shape they wanted it to be in order to advance their agenda. This morning they tweeted the following:


And there’s certainly some scary claims in that tweet. “Stunning death rate rise for middle-aged white US men,” which is apparently linked to “alcohol” and also “drug misuse.” Or is that misuse of both drugs and alcohol? It could be read either way, and since you rarely here “alcohol misuse” as a term — it’s almost always “alcohol abuse” — I suspect that it was chosen on purpose to give the impression that it was simply drinking alcohol that leads to this “stunning death rate.” But what does the actual “study” claim? The tweet includes a link, which takes you to an article from November 2 in the New York Times, Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds. But that title is similarly misleading, because once you actually read it, you’ll discover that it’s not all middle-age white men whose risk is increasing, but a specific subgroup within that cohort. That group is increasing overall, but only because the steepest rise is almost entirely coming from less educated men in that group.

The mortality rate for whites 45 to 54 years old with no more than a high school education increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014.

I guess that’s statistically significant, but it’s an increase of 0.134%, which doesn’t sound as bad as they’re making it out to be. Later in the article, they say that “[i]n that group, death rates rose by 22 percent while they actually fell for those with a college education.” Of course, I don’t have a Nobel Prize in Economics, as one of the people who conducted the study does, which the article makes a particular point of pointing out. Despite those honors, they’re as flummoxed by the results as apparently everyone else who’s found it’s such a growing problem for “the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites.” adding. “In middle age, they are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans” and this has been “puzzling demographers in recent years.” Seriously? Let me take a stab at it. The middle class has been eroding for decades, real wages have been stagnating almost as long, people are losing their pension plans, unions are under attack and our government has been co-opted by business interests who have been doing everything possible to keep tax breaks for the wealthy, allow our elections to won by whoever has the most money, and generally make life miserable for every worker below the executive level, the people in the 90%. And which group would you expect that to most affect? I would suggest it’s people in the lower paying jobs, the ones requiring less education, which would go a long way toward explaining why these are the same people drinking themselves into an early grave.

They do finally make some mention of this, but apparently don’t think it was significant enough to “fully account for the effect,” when they earlier cited that middle-aged white men with only a high school diploma have “a more pessimistic outlook among whites about their financial futures.” But doesn’t it seem like one of those “well, duh” moments?

The least educated also had the most financial distress, Dr. Meara and Dr. Skinner noted in their commentary. In the period examined by Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case, the inflation-adjusted income for households headed by a high school graduate fell by 19 percent.

But that can’t be it, they seem to conclude. That wouldn’t cause them to become depressed, which might lead them to drink excessively or take more drugs, is what they’re saying. Why do we continue to go out of our way to insist that the alcohol or drugs, in and of themselves, are the problem, but not the underlying problem or problems that make people reach for them? Remember, the message from Alcohol Justice was that “alcohol and drug misuse” were the link to a “Stunning death rate rise for middle-aged white US men,” but that’s not what the study found, or is even the focus of the article, despite the fact that misleading headline could make you think that was the case, if you didn’t bother to read it. What this study of metadata from the CDC found was that there’s an increase for such men with less education and who abused alcohol, which is very different from what AJ is peddling. And this spin is doubly reinforced by the photo they chose to use with the tweet. It shows two older couples, well-dressed and sipping on champagne. That’s practically the polar opposite of the image one would expect for which group is showing an increase in their risk of death found by the study they’re referring to. And it’s the photo you see first, before you read either the tweet or click on the article. Before you have any facts whatsoever, you’re confronted by this misleading image of well-heeled bubbly revelers.


But that image holds another secret, and one Alcohol Justice probably doesn’t want you to know about, especially as they’ve started tweeting for donations at this, the giving time of the year. The image is actually taken from an article in the British newspaper, the Telegraph, from early September of this year. That piece, entitled Drinkers ‘subsidising’ non-drinkers by £6.5 billion a year, flies right in the face of one of AJ’s most-cherished propaganda lies, the idea of alcohol harm, that people drinking are a drain on the economy, forcing teetotalers to pay for their excesses and strain public resources. It’s one of AJ’s most common arguments for raising taxes on alcohol, under the notion of a “charge for harm” that they’re so fond of insisting. But the subtitle of the Telegraph article is: “A drain on taxpayers? Drinkers pay their dues three times over, new study claims.”

Far from being a financial burden on taxpayers, people who enjoy alcohol pay the cost of dealing with drink-related social problems almost three times over in tax every year, the analysis by the Institute of Economic Affairs, the free-market think-tank, argues.

The paper calculates that the NHS, police, the criminal justice and welfare systems in England collectively spend £3.9 billion a year dealing with the fallout from excessive alcohol consumption.

But that figure is eclipsed by the £10.4 billion a year it says the Treasury gains in alcohol duty in England.
It argues that taxes on drink could be halved and still leave the Government firmly in profit.

They continue:

Christopher Snowdon, author of the report, said: “It is time to stop pretending that drinkers are a burden on taxpayers.

“Drinkers are taxpayers and they pay billions of pounds more than they cost the NHS, police service and welfare system combined.

“The economic evidence is very clear on this – 40 per cent of the EU’s entire alcohol tax bill is paid by drinkers in Britain and, as this new research shows, teetotallers in England are being subsidised by drinkers to the tune of at least six and a half billion pounds a year.”

So that’s where the photo came from that Alcohol Justice used to accompany a misleading tweet about misstated statistics, linking to a somewhat misleadingly titled article. And this is from the organization that claims to be the “industry watchdog,” forcing me to ask, yet again, who’s watching the watchdog? Because left to their own devices, they obviously aren’t terribly concerned with honesty or truthiness. And that makes it increasingly difficult to have any meaningful discussions with them about alcohol policy or indeed believe anything they say or claim.

Beer Birthday: Wil Turner

Today is the 48th birthday of Wil Turner, brewer at Goose Island Brewery. Wil’s originally from California — or at least that’s where I first met him — but moved to Chicago to brew at the Clybourn Goose Island brewpub, eventually moving to the production side. Since the sale of Goose Island, Wil’s moved back over to brewpub brewing at Revolution Brewing, also in Chicago. Wil’s a great brewer, of course, and a terrific person for the industry, always a fun guy to drink with. Join me in wishing Wil a very happy birthday.

Wil, me and Greg Hall at GABF in 2006.

Tom Nickel & Will Turner @ Wynkoop
Tom Nickel with Wil at the Brewer’s Reception at Wynkoop during GABF in 2009.

On the floor at GABF in 2007 with Andrew Mason (on left), Matt’s assistant when he was still at Flossmoor Station, and Wil.

Wil, also at the 2006 GABF, sadly empty.

Patent No. 20130314244A1: Draft Beer Supply Chain Systems And Methods

Today in 2013, US Patent 20130314244 A1 was issued, an invention of Steve Hershberger, Steve Kremer, Matt Mayer, and Mark Kosiarek, assigned to SteadyServ Technologies, LLC, for their “Draft Beer Supply Chain Systems and Methods.” Here’s the Abstract:

Supply chain systems and methods are disclosed for monitoring fluid levels in liquid containers, such as kegs. Embodiments include sensors that fit within a keg’s false bottom, measure the weight of the keg, and transmit the weight information to a computer database via a wireless network. Other embodiments include an RFID device with information about a characteristic of the liquid within a keg (such as brand and/or type of beer) that may be attached to the keg and paired with the sensor so the sensor can transmit information about the characteristic of the liquid in the keg. In alternate embodiments, the sensor’s transmitter is short range and an uplink/gateway is used to receive information from the sensor and relay that sensor’s information to a broader wireless network. Multiple containers in close proximity may each be fitted with an RFID device and sensor and communicate their individual information to the database.