Beer Birthday: Denise Jones

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Today is the birthday of Denise Jones, longtime brewer in the Bay Area. Denise last year started with a new brewery, Napa Point Brewing, but brewed for long stints at Moylan’s and Third Street Aleworks, among others. She’s a very talented brewer, and makes especially great stouts. Join me in wishing Denise a very happy birthday.

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With Ralph Woodall of HopUnion at GABF in 2006.

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Shane Aldrich and Arne Johnson, from Marin Brewing, Brendan Moylan, who owns both, and Denise, along with Jim Grbac, from Molyan’s Brewing after the award ceremonies at GABF in 2007.

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Denise with Brendan Moylan and Mark Worona, from Brewers Supply Group, at Tcho Chocolate in 2012 after a chocolate beer competition during CBC (which Denise won).

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With Alec Moss at the Triple Rock Firkin Fest in 2009.

Beer In Ads #1411: They Rationed Everything


Sunday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1944. Since the pilgrims traditionally landed today at Plymouth Rock, in 1620, and established a colony there, this ad by Budweiser during World War II contrasts that event with wartime rationing that was going on through the Second World War. Rationing feels so remote to us, but my mother was a “General” in the scrap metal army, or something like that, because my grandfather was a mechanic and that allowed her to amass a lot of scrap metal, apparently. I have a newspaper clipping reporting on her “promotion.”

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Beer In Ads #1410: A Blue Ribbon Christmas


Saturday’s holiday ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1941. “Isn’t Christmas Fun?” A frazzled husband responds. “Could Be! If You’d Only Give Me A “33 to 1″ Chance!” Eventually his wife understands, and he enjoys a beer before turning into a decorating demon, prompting her to suggest he may be getting a whole case of PBRs on Christmas Day.

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Beer Birthday: Ron Silberstein

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Today is the 54th birthday of Ron Silberstein, the founder, and original brewer, of Thirsty Bear Brewing in San Francisco. I’ve known Ron for a number of years but have gotten to know him better over the last several years working on SF Beer Week. We also spent a weekend together at Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp, which was an awesome experience for everybody who attended. Join me in wishing Ron a very happy birthday.

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Ron and me at Brews by the Bay a few years back, the San Francisco Brewers Guild’s annual beer festival. (photo by Steve Shapiro)

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Ron and Beer Camp head brewer Scott Jennings.

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Ron and his twin sons. (photo purloined from Facebook)

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Jesse Friedman and Fraggle with Ron at the Anchor Holiday Party in 2012.

Beer In Ads #1409: Blatz Mistletoe


Friday’s holiday ad is for Blatz, from 1952. According to the ad, while many things have changed in the last century (or more), some things have remained the same, including beer and the use of predatory mistletoe. Who uses such a long ribbon to position it directly above the intended victim’s head? And is it just me, or is the ad showing the backwards slide of women’s rights? The 19th century picture depicts a couple courting, but on somewhat equal footing, sitting side by side on a couch. By contrast, the 20th century (albeit the 1950s) shows the woman standing, serving her beau, as a good woman of that decade was supposed to. I’m not sure I’d call that progress.

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Beer In Ads #1406: 62 Individual Reasons To Drink


Tuesday’s ad is for the Coopers 62, from 2011. Although it’s a newer ad, given that I post my own reasons to drink for any given day, this ad certainly spoke to me, despite most of the reasons being fairly pedestrian. But in a sense, that was the point, that any reason was good enough to drink this Australian beer. Whether that’s true, I couldn’t tell you. I like their sparkling ale, but they don’t strike me as a pilsner brewery.

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Big Brands Continue To Slide

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For the last several years, sales of some of the major beer brands have been slipping, and not just the sub-premiums or secondary packages but even once mighty flagships. 24/7 Wall Street has a new list of some of these brands, characterized as Beers Americans No Longer Drink. Using data from Beer Marketer’s Insights, here are seven brands that have lost significant sales, at least 20%, between 2013 and 2008. The negative number following the name is how much sales are down in that six-year period.

  • Miller High Life -21.2%
  • Budweiser -27.6%
  • Milwaukee’s Best Light -40.6%
  • Milwaukee’s Best -57.0%
  • Miller Genuine Draft -58.3%
  • Budweiser Select -61.1%

Some additional analysis and reasons for the decline, according to 24/7 Wall St:

Another key factor in the weakening sales has been price dynamics. “Beer prices were increased more aggressively over the last five years than wine and spirits,” Shepard said. Many people in the industry believe that, as a result, some customers replaced buying beer with the now relatively less expensive wines and spirits, he explained.

Several other products were also gaining at the expense of big brand-name beers, Shepard noted. While some customers have been moving to wine and spirits, others were switching to imported beer, particularly Mexican imports. Indeed, in the five years through 2013, shipments of Mexican brands Dos Equis and Modelo Especial more-than doubled. Similarly, he added, “Some [drinkers] are moving to craft [beer]. Clearly, there’s been a trade-up in the industry.”

Craft beers have largely bucked the overall downtrend in beer sales. From 2008 to 2013, shipments of craft beer rose by 80.1% to a total of more than 16 million barrels, or 7.6% of the U.S. beer market. While the craft beer category now outsells Budweiser, it remains a relatively niche market. For comparison, the nation’s top-selling brand, Bud Light, shipped 38 million barrels in 2013, accounting for 18% of all beer shipped.

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Beer Birthday: Nicole Erny

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Today is the 31st birthday of Nicole Erny, a certified Master Cicerone and passionate beer lover, who used to work at The Trappist and as a “Beer Ambassador” at the CommonWealth Cafe & Public House, both in beautiful downtown Oakland. She also used to work with Ray Daniels’ Cicerone program, but recently left that position for her next adventure. Nicole and I almost worked together on a great-sounding beer project, but alas it fell apart. She’s a great advocate for better beer and has more energy than any three people I know. Join me in wishing Nicole a very happy birthday.

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Rodger Davis, Nicole and Claudia Davis at Triple Rock’s Sourfest during SF Beer Week in 2010.

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Dan Shelton and Nicole during GABF in 2009.

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Toasting the End of GABF Week with Matt Brynildson at the Falling Rock in 2009.

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A great shot for Nathan Smith and Nicole’s Beer School at The Trappist several years ago. (photo “borrowed” from Jon Weber’s Beer Obsessed, in the hopes he won’t mind.)