Patent No. 650377A: Malting-Drum

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Today in 1900, US Patent 650377 A was issued, an invention of John F. Dornfeld, for his “Malting-Drum.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

The primary object of the invention is to provide, in a malting-drum, an improved construction for positively stirring the steeped barley contained in the drum, whereby the contents of the drum are properly stirred and mixed at all times.

A further object is to provide an improved means for introducing water into the malt whenever necessary in an even and regular quantity and in such manner that the water is thoroughly mixed with the malt.

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Beer Birthday: Tony Magee

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Today is the 55th birthday of Tony Magee. Tony is the founder and owner of Lagunitas Brewing. We first met in the mid-1990s when I visited the old brewery, before they moved to their present location, and have been good friends ever since. I recently wrote a profile of Tony for Beer Connoisseur magazine. With his beautifully twisted, iconoclastic vision, Tony’s built an amazing empire by never compromising his ideals. His unique beers, and especially their quirky label designs and text, are always a treat. And now that they’ve installed a new 250-barrel brewhouse in both Petaluma and Chicago, are talking about a third in the not-to-distant future, I’d say he’s poised to take over the world. Local newspaper articles keep referring to him as a “beer baron,” which cracks me up. Bwa, ha,ha,ha. Join me in wishing Tony a very happy birthday.

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Tony as Ringmaster of the Lagunitas Beer Circus in 2009, with Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing.

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Tony and me at the Bistro’s IPA Festival in 2006.

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Tony warming up for a set at the Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol in 2008.


Performing the Big Bill Broonzy song, Key to the Highway, at the Brewing Network’s Winter Brews Festival in January of 2010.

Beer In Ads #1569: James Bond, The Man With The Golden Guinness


Thursday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1974, when the James Bond film Man With the Golden Gun was released, which was Roger Moore’s second film portraying the British spy. Today is the birthday of Bond’s creator, author Ian Fleming, and is also known as “James Bond Day.” The Guinness ad is essentially a modified version of the film’s poster, with a man holding a glass of beer in the foreground and round logos replacing the zeroes in 007. And yes, I know Guinness isn’t golden, but the alliteration was too funny not to use. Although apropos of nothing in particular, Guinness announced recently that they will be launching Guinness Golden Ale and last year made a Blonde American Lager.

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Patent No. 3091366A: Beer Dispenser

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Today in 1963, US Patent 3091366 A was issued, an invention of Thomas A. Hutsell, for his “Beer Dispenser.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This present device relates to the general art of devices intended for the measuring and dispensing of effervescent beverages. More particularly this invention relates to a beer dispensing device for dispensing draught beer. Means are provided in this present device to automatically dispense a measured amount of beer and the device is further capable for adjustment so that the desired amount of head of foam can be supplied as a part of the measured amount even though the beer in the dispensing keg may have physical properties quite different from that of the beer in the keg to which the device was previously connected.

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Patent No. 2003050A: Beer Container And Cooler

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Today in 1935, US Patent 2003050 A was issued, an invention of Harry Iselin, for his “Beer Container and Cooler.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application as being an “invention [that] appertains to liquid coolers and more particularly to a cooling device for kegs of beer and the like,” adding:

One of the primary objects of my invention is the provision of a novel device for cooling the beer directly in the keg or barrel entirely dispensing with the necessity of cooling coils and the like, the device being of a portable nature, whereby the same is particularly adapted for use on picnics, for use in the home, etc.

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Beer In Ads #1568: Dizzy Dean’s Trophy Room


Wednesday’s ad is for Falstaff, from 1954. The ad includes a great illustration of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean, who’s show relaxing with some beers and showing off his many trophies to a younger couple. AT this point in his career, he’d been retired for years and had been inducted into the baseball hall of fame the previous year.

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Cancer Charities Grow Cancerous

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One of the byproducts of keeping a close watch on prohibitionist groups and other so-called non-profit organizations is that I’ve become quite jaded not just about those particular ones, but about the charitable industrial complex in general. It’s really become big business and, in my opinion, most have strayed very far from the (hopefully) good intentions that spawned them. Longtime readers will recognize this thread, that many of the charities and organizations that choose to attack the beer community from the high moral ground, are themselves often in no position to take such a lofty nose-in-the-air position.

In recent years, several cancer charities have criticized the alcohol industry for our fundraising efforts while hypocritically working with KFC and other unhealthily partners, as I detailed a few years ago with Biting the Hand That Feeds You. Between several of these cancer charities, and the usual prohibitionists, people who work in the alcohol field who want to do good and raise money for a cause that’s dear to them are routinely insulted and criticized for doing so. But taking a closer look at the charities themselves, as I started doing a few years ago, it’s not always clear how much actual good they’re really doing.

Just how many charities are there? In the U.S. alone there are a staggering 1.5 million non-profit organizations, the vast majority of them characterized as public charities. That’s essentially one charity organization for every 213 people in America. Of those, I don’t know how many are involved with cancer, but you can bet it’s a lot. In a partnership between the Tampa Bay Times, the California-based Center for Investigative Reporting, and CNN (who joined the partnership in 2013), they examined all of the charities and created a list of America’s 50 Worst Charities. Of the top ten, the second worst charity in the U.S. is a cancer one, the Cancer Fund of America. In fact, fully four of the top ten are cancer charities. In the full list of the top 48 worst charities, ten of them involve cancer. A surprising number of them are also about missing children, veterans and police and fire fighting groups, sad to say.

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But what prompted this was a report on Mashable I saw recently entitled Cancer charities allegedly misused $187 million for concerts and dating sites, U.S. says. Apparently, “Law enforcement from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with the Federal Trade Commission” charged four of them — Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society — “with taking money that donors had given to help cancer patients and using it to on themselves as well as their families and friends,” in an amount in excess of $187 million. The money was used “to buy cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships,” and even for providing lucrative jobs to friends and family. Two of the charities, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society, will be shut down. I don’t know why the other two would continue.

The Washington Post also detailed the story, and also published their 5 reasons why it took the feds so long to catch on to the cancer charities scam.

I find it incredibly sad that the state of charities has become so deplorable. It’s to the point where you don’t know whether you can even trust someone soliciting donations, no matter how worthy the cause might sound. The odds are becoming increasingly likely that it may very well be a scam. And undoubtedly that hurts however many charities remain that are actually staying true to their purpose, because at least in my case I’m not giving to anybody until I’ve had a chance to look into the charity asking for my donation. And without the time to adequately do that most times, my default position is a blanket no. So I think the state of the charitable industrial complex has itself become a cancer of sorts, eating itself. With trust in non-profits understandably plummeting, what will that mean for the good work of the few? The sham charities are harming not only the people they bilk out of their cash and savings, but making many others, I have to assume, reluctant to donate to any charity without first knowing more about them. There must be a special circle of hell reserved for these people, praying on people’s better natures with their own worst.

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Beer Birthday: Jim Koch

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Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., known primarily for their Samuel Adams beers, is celebrating his 66th birthday today. Jim was instrumental, of course, in spreading the word about craft beer, especially in the early days when Samuel Adams was often the first one to be available in many pockets of the country. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

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Daniel Bradford and Amy Dalton, both with All About Beer, sandwiching Jim Koch, and flanked by drinks writer Rick Lyke, who writes online at Lyke 2 Drink.

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Jim and me at the annual media brunch and Longshot winner announcement at GABF in 2009.

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After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).

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Jack McAuliffe and Jim at Boston Beer’s annual media brunch during GABF week two years ago.

Patent No. 888995A: Bottle-Sealing Cap

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Today in 1907, US Patent 888995 A was issued, an invention of Emory J. Godman, assigned to the Sterling Seal Company, for his “Bottle-Sealing Cap.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

My invention as hereinafter more particularly described, consists in providing the edge of the skirt of the sealing cap with a flat horizontally-extending corrugated flange, and in the sealing operation, indenting the skirt at a point above and independently of the flange so as to bring the inner surface of the skirt at that point slightly under and in contact with the shoulder of the bottle head.

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