Craft Beer Continues To Grow

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Craft brewers enjoyed continued growth through the first half of 2014, according to new mid-year data recently released by the Brewers Association, the trade group representing smaller brewers. Craft beer production increased 18 percent by volume during the first half of the year (though the new numbers are based on the revised definition of who is a craft brewer as per the BA, while last year’s numbers were compiled under the old definition). From the press release:

From January through the end of June, around 10.6 million barrels of beer were sold, up from 9.0 million barrels over the first half of 2013. “The sustained double-digit growth of the craft category shows the solidity of demand for fuller flavored beer in a variety of styles from small and independent American producers,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the BA. “Craft brewers are providing world-class, innovative products that continue to excite beer lovers and energize the industry.”

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As of June 30, 2014, 3,040 breweries were operating in the U.S., 99 percent of which were small and independent craft breweries. Additionally, there were 1,929 breweries in planning. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 110,273 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.

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Beer Birthday: John Mallett

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Today is John Mallett’s 50th birthday, John is the production manager at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a post he’s held since 2001. John has a great sense of humor and I recall a particularly side-splitting kvetching evening-long conversation with him and Fal Allen at CBC in San Diego a number of years ago (not the most recent one) and last year we judged together in Japan, which was great fun. John me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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Mugging for the camera at GABF in 2007, with Bob Pease, Ray Daniels and Mark Dorber.

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At Bruce Paton’s “Tion” Beer Dinner. That’s John in orange trying to smooch with Peter Bouckaert from New Belgium.

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John, me and other judges in Tokyo to judge at the Japanese Craft Beer competition in 2013.

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John with Fred Bueltmann of New Holland Brewing, at Red Horse Ranch in Michigan (photo purloined from Facebook).

If you’d like to see John wearing lederhosen, click here.

Beer In Ads #1263: Set Up The Fun


Saturday’s ad is yet another one for Schlitz, this one from 1957. It’s yet another bowling scene, back from when bowling was really popular, asking us to “set up the fun with light refreshment.” Mary or Joan (ca’t tell which) is giving some liquid courage to Dave or Bill (ditto) before his next roll. That’s “leisure’s light refresher,” whatever that means.

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Beer Birthday: Mark Ruedrich

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Today is the 63rd birthday of Mark Ruedrich, co-owner, and original brewer, of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Mark was a marine biologist who discovered good beer while living in England. Looking for a spot to build a brewery in Northern California, he was drawn to the tidal pools around Fort Bragg, and built a mini-beer empire there beginning in 1988. His Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was one of the first truly great world-class beers made by early American microbreweries and helped the nascent industry on the map. Plus he’s great fun to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.

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Mark with North Coast co-owner Tom Allen at GABF in 2006.

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North Coast brewer Ken Kelley with Mark at the brewery last year.

Beer In Ads #1262: Move Up To Quality …


Friday’s ad is another one for Schlitz, this one from 1959. It’s a fall scene, but despite all the changing leaves outside that probably need raking, they’re inside and cozy. Instead the man is reading the newspaper while his wife is pouring him a Schlitz. Despite the scene, apparently it ran during National Restaurant Month — which used to be October — the ad copy is encouraging people to “eat out more often.” You’d think it would have made more sense to show people out drinking their beer, wouldn’t you?

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Beer Birthday: Paul Gatza

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Today is also Paul Gatza’s 50th birthday. Paul is the Director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado. He’s held numerous executive positions with the BA and its previous incarnation, the Association of Brewers. An avid homebrewer, Paul is great face for the BA and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Paul a very happy birthday.

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Toasting in New Orleans for CBC.

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Working the AHA booth at GABF.

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At the podium during the opening of CBC in 2008.

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Paul giving his annual state of the industry talk at CBC in 2012.

Beer Birthday: Vinnie Cilurzo

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Today is the 44th birthday of Vinnie Cilurzo, founder and brewmaster at Russian River Brewing. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Vinnie is one of the best brewers in America and is credited with having made the first Imperial IPA. His Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, California won unprecedented back-to-back best brewpub (and brewmaster) awards at the World Beer Cups in 2006 and 2008. And Vinnie is one of the nicest people in the industry you’ll ever meet. Join me in wishing Vinnie a happy birthday.

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Vinnie and his wife Natalie from presented to Tom Dalldorf (middle), owner of the Celebrator, a Balthazar of their yummy Damnation Ale in honor of the magazine’s 17th anniversary. A Balthazar is 12 liters or contains about 16 normal bottles of beer.

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Dave Keene, owner of the Toronado, Natalie Cilurzo, Dave’s girlfriend Jennifer and Vinnie at CBC in Seattle.

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Garrett Oliver, brewer at Brooklyn Brewing Co., and Vinnie at the Brewer’s Dinner the night before GABF begins.

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Vinnie and Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic at the Summit Hop Festival a few years ago at Drake’s.

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Vinnie with his wife and Russian River co-owner Natalie at GABF in 2009.

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Vinnie and me his 40th birthday party at the brewpub a few years ago.

Beer In Ads #1261: Enjoy The Difference!


Thursday’s ad is another one for Schlitz, this one from 1961. What’s the difference they want you to enjoy? Why it’s “that deep, cool, kiss-of-the-hops flavor,” of course. They want you to “move up to Schlitz.” But what’s with the animals on the wall. An oval frame with a picture of a horse? And then the ugliest painting/drawing of a dachshund on a tray? Given the paneling on the wall, I guess it must be the rec. room or man cave.

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Beer Birthday: John Harris

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Today is John Harris’ 51st birthday. Until a little while ago, John was the head brewer at Full Sail Brewing and was responsible for many of their excellent beers. He’s more recently opened his own brewery in Portland, Ecliptic Brewing. John also plays washboard with the Rolling Boil Blues Band. Plus he’s a terrific person, so join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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By the Celebrator booth at OBF, from left, John, Tom Dalldorf, and Fred Bowman, co-founder of Portland Brewing Co.

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John speaking very passionately about something or other at Elysian Brewing in Seattle, as Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment is about to accost him.

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John rocks out on washboard with the Rolling Boil Blues Band at CBC in Seattle, with Marty Jones (left) and Celebrator editor Tom Dalldorf (in the center).

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During a collaboration brew at Gigantic at last year’s OBF, with John and Gigantic’s Van Havig and Ben Love.

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John and his daughter at his 40th birthday party.

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John and the same daughter 10 years later at his 50th birthday party.