Patent No. WO1996012669A1: Method And Apparatus For Enhancing A Beverage Head

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Today in 1996, US Patent WO 1996012669 A1 was issued, an invention of Alexander Richard Dunn and John Cooke, assigned to Scottish & Newcastle Plc, for their “Method and Apparatus For Enhancing a Beverage Head.” Here’s the Abstract:

A gas jetting apparatus is used to jet a fine jet of gas through an orifice at a nozzle (18) into a beverage, for example beer, to promote formation of a creamy head. This apparatus may be incorporated into a beverage dispenser, for example a beer tap which dispenses draught beer.

And includes the following description:

“Method and Apparatus for Enhancing a Beverage Head”

This invention relates to a method and apparatus for enhancing a beverage head, particularly, but not exclusively, a head on a draught beer dispensed from a tap.

Sparklers are sometimes used to agitate a flow of beer as it is dispensed from a beer tap; this can promote frothing of the beer and contribute to formation of a head on the dispensed beer. It is also known to provide a single use secondary chamber within a sealed, pressurised beer can from which gas and/or beverage is jetted into beer within the can when the can is opened.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of promoting formation of a beverage head, comprising jetting a fine jet of gas derived from a gas source through at least one orifice and into a dispensed beverage.

The method may form or assist in the formation of a head.

The beverage may be dispensed from a tap; it may be a draught beverage.

The gas may be jetted into the beverage once the beverage has been dispensed. Alternatively or additionally, the gas may be jetted into the beverage whilst the beverage is being dispensed, it may be jetted into a stream of beverage.

Historic Beer Birthday: Lawrence Steese

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Today is the birthday of Lawrence Steese (April 20, 1912-April 19, 1991). Steese is part of the more recent lore of Anchor Brewing. Originally from Mill Valley, in Marin County, he bought Anchor in 1960 when Joe Allen was retiring, though Allen stayed around to teach him how to make Steam Beer. Fifty-one percent of the brewery was then bought by Fritz Maytag, who eventually bought out Steese and assumed full control.

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Steese was from Mill Valley, and in the July 14, 1962 edition of the Daily Independent Journal, an article used the headline How a Marinite Rescued Steam Beer, which included the following in its coverage.

SOME THREE years ago the requiem for steam beer was being played, and the sad demise of a California tradition was being mourned. At that time Joe Allen, owner of Anchor Brewery, announced his retirement. There was no one skilled in the exacting art of steam beer brewing to take his place, and no one, it seemed, who cared to take the time and trouble to learn from the old master. No one, that is, until Lawrence Steese decided he’d like to try. Joe Allen was more than willing to teach. And since his official “retirement” these three years past, Allen has spent his days at the brewery as professor of steam beer brewing. The making of steam beer is not like the brewing of other beers. Steam beer is naturally carbonated; neither additives nor preservatives become it. “The Sincere Beer,” it is called by some. IT IS TRULY a “health food,” its devotees assert, containing more malt and hops than other beers, and without corn or rice to lighten it.

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And this is Steese’s story, distilled to its essence on Anchor Brewery’s website today.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Matthew Vassar

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Today is the birthday of Matthew Vassar (April 29, 1792-June 23, 1868). Vassar was born in England, specifically in East Dereham, Norfolk. While he’s best know for having founded one of the first women’s colleges in America, Vassar College, the money came from operating his brewery, M. Vassar & Co., which when he first built it in Poughkeepsie it was the largest brewery in the Americas.
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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Business Magnate. Self-made man with only a very basic formal education. When his father’s brewery burned in 1811 and he discontinued business, Matthew Vassar started his own brewery independently. As business increased he became involved in many things. Among others, in 1842 he became President of the Hudson River Railroad. In 1861, inspired by a niece, he endowed the first women’s college in the United States, with $408,000 and 200 acres of land east of Poughkeepsie which is where present-day Vassar College still stands. A lasting legacy for him which is also humorously embodied in an old song, “And so you see, to old V.C. Our love shall never fail. Full well we know that all we owe To Matthew Vassar’s ale.”

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For much more thorough biographies, there’s Wikipedia, the Vassar Encyclopedia, and the Vassar Quarterly has a long article about the brewery, The Brew that Built Vassar.

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There’s also another piece in a blog concentrating on the Hudson Valley, The Rise and Fall of M. Vassar and Co..

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This is the larger brick brewery on the waterfront Vassar built in 1836, just above the Main Street Landing. The waterfront facility had a brewing capacity of 60,000 barrels annually.

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Portrait of Matthew Vassar, by Charles Loring Elliott.

Patent No. 426965A: Beer-Filtering Apparatus

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Today in 1890, US Patent 426965 A was issued, an invention of Phillip Seibel, for his “Beer-Filtering Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This filtering apparatus is intended especially for beer or other liquids liable to foam, and has means for the removal of the foam into a settling-chamber, from which the liquid is withdrawn as it subsides. The apparatus is composed of two or more similar filters connected with the same system of circulating pipes.

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Patent No. 2281457A: Aeration Of Fermenting Wort In The Manufacture Of Yeast

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Today in 1942, US Patent 2281457 A was issued, an invention of Sven Olof Rosenqvist, for his “Aeration of Fermenting Wort in the Manufacture of Yeast.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

In the manufacture of pressed yeast it is known to blow air into the worts to increase the yeast yields; As a rule the fermentations are now performed with the use of the running-in method, the level of the wort in the vat being considerably lower at the commencement than at the termination of the fermentation. As a rule, it is desired during the start and at the termination of the process to supply less air to the wort than during the main portion of the fermentation. During the main portion of the fermentation it may also be of interest sometimes to be able to supply air quantities of different magnitudes.

Generally, one or more compressors of the same or of different types would operate on a ‘common pressure conduit branched off to the various vats’. By employing large compressor units, the air of which would be distributed to a plurality of vats, a rather low installation cost would be obtained for the compressor system. At the same time, however, the disadvantage would be incurred that the pressure on the air piping always would have to be maintained at a value corresponding to the highest back pressure prevailing in any vat.

Air taken out from the pipe system for a vat with a lower back pressure thus would have to be reduced by a valve from the higher to the lower pressure, which obviously would involve losses of energy.

With large compressor units, the losses in idle running would also be considerable at a low load.

Any control of the air quantity for the various fermentation vats could only take place manually with the arrangements described and with loss of energy. A control of the air quantity to a fermentation vat from the common conduit would entail disturbances in the air supply to the remaining vats and in order to limit such disturbances the pressure above atmospheric in the main conduit would have to be maintained at. an unnecessary high value. The arrangements as hitherto used consequently could not, owing to the fact that the control would be less accurate or too expensive, ensure the proper air supply to each of the fermentation processes proceeding in the various fermentation vats at an energy cost as low as possible. By reason of the fact that the supply of the quantities of air undertaken at the fermentations could not be properly adapted with respect to the process otherwise carried out in connection with these fermentations, the lowest cost for the aeration work, the best yield of the raw materials and the best quality of the finished product consequently could not be obtained.

The present invention refers to an arrangement for the supply of air to fermenting wort in the manufacture of pressed yeast, in the use ‘of which the above described disadvantages are avoided.

The arrangement according to the invention is principally distinguished by a compressor apparatus adapted to be controlled with respect to the delivery of air, the pressure conduit of which apparatus is connected to the plant of fermentation vats, and by an arrangement with a continuously driven member adapted to control the intensity of aeration in accordance with a previously determined aeration scheme, and which may actuate the air delivery of the compressor apparatus by influencing the compressor apparatus itself, its suction or pressure conduit or its driving machinery, or two or more of these arrangements, and which is so arranged as to adjust the compressor apparatus automatically and in accordance with an aeration scheme determined beforehand, to deliver air in a quantity and at a pressure required by the scheme at any moment. Preferably, a measuring device is provided to indicate the amount of air passing on its way to the fermentation vat, said measuring device being adapted to give impulses to the controlling doling device. According to an embodiment of the invention, the controlling doling device is adapted directly or indirectly to actuate a device, in ,order, in the case of double acting compressors, to convey a portion of the air to that part of the compressor which operates at a pressure below atmospheric. According to a further embodiment, a measuring device for the air in the inlet or outlet of the compressor “is arranged to transmit impulses for the control of the number of revolutions of the driving engine of the compressor.

Also. a measuring device for the air may be arranged to effect throttling in the inlet or outlet of the compressor so as to control the quantity of air in this way. If a compressor be used. a turbo-compressor adapted to be controlled with respect to the number of revolutions thereof is preferably made use of.

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Patent No. 726427A: Beer Filter

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Today in 1903, US Patent 726427 A was issued, an invention of William Haussermann, for his “Beer Filter.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to improvements in filters, and particularly beer-filters.

The object of the invention is to provide a beer-filter which is simple of construction, comparatively inexpensive of production, efficient in operation, and adapted to be readily and conveniently cleansed of the retained impurities.

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Patent No. 2440276A: Brewing Method Using Albedo In Wort

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Today in 1948, US Patent 2440276 A was issued, an invention of Abraham Arnold Klein, for his “Brewing Method Using Albedo In Wort.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

According to the present invention albedo from fruit of the genus Citrus, particularly from grapefruit or citron, is used instead of, or in addition to, hops in the manufactured beer. I have found that the lupulin of hops has in many cases undesirable effects on the human organism. Furthermore hops deteriorate easily. Albedo from citrus fruit can be used instead of hops and the bitter flavour imparted by it to the wort is of a mild and agreeable character.

So this is essentially using grapefruit or other citrus almost 70 years before Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin. But not the whole fruit, or even the rind, the albedo is the white, fleshy inner later in between the thinner, top rind layer and the inside fruit. That spongy material is, according to this patent, used in place of or with hops in the brewing process. I wonder if anybody used this method to produce commercial beer?
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ABI Buys Birra Del Borgo

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Anheuser-Busch InBev announced yesterday that they’ve notched another brewery, this time it’s Italy’s celebrated Birra del Borgo. Under the terms of the deal, Birra del Borgo will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AB InBev, though the price was not disclosed.

From the press release:

Birra del Borgo is happy to announce that it has decided to partner with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). The partnership will give Birra del Borgo, one of the leading craft brewers in Italy, a unique opportunity to make the necessary investments for expansion while continuing to independently manage its business and define how to grow.

AB InBev will provide the support to allow Birra de Borgo to expand its brewery know how and infrastructure, continue to innovate and bring new great beers on the market through its distribution system. Founder Leonardo Di Vincenzo will continue to lead Birra Del Borgo as CEO of the company.

In 2005, Birra Del Borgo was founded by Leonardo Di Vincenzo in Borgorose, a small town in the province of Rieti on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo in Italy. Leonardo started brewing beer at home for enjoyment while at University studying biochemistry. He traveled frequently throughout Europe to explore the traditional beer styles; getting to know the German and Belgium master brewers was crucial to his education. One of Leonardo’s most formative experiences was brewing at the Starbess brewery in Rome, which later led to his conception of Birra del Borgo. Leonardo’s initial inspiration comes from English & Belgian beers, but he then reinvented the styles to root them in the Italian gastronomy culture. Leonardo currently produces ten beers year round, some famous such as ReAle, Duchessa, DucAle. Other Birra del Borgo products include 4 Seasonals inspired by local ingredients and several unique beers brewed with original techniques, under the “Bizzarre” family. Leo’s inspiration is dictated by the moment and seasonality related to the main ingredient, with a passion to reinvent styles and push boundaries.

Leonardo will remain the CEO of Birra Del Borgo.

Leonardo Di Vincenzo said: “Our voyage since we started in 2005 has been a great adventure. Today the beer sector has become very competitive and it necessary for us to make a next step to ensure that we can continue to evolve in terms of brewing techniques and in terms of the complexity and taste variation we can offer to consumers. We believe partnering with AB InBev is a great opportunity to do exactly that: it will allow Birra del Borgo to grow in a sustainable way while staying true to our unique identity and the philosophy that we have followed since the very beginning.

The partnership with AB InBev will bring us many advantages, from technological improvements and access to scientific research to the possibility to grow from a commercial point of view. Moreover, this partnership also means that we will be able to focus much more on what we enjoy most and do best: creating and experimenting with exciting new beers and pushing the boundaries of beer evolution in Italy.

He added: “We will continue brewing all of our beers in Borgorose, which will allow us to grow by continuing to invest in our local community, as we have always done. At Birra del Borgo, we have a great team with enormous enthusiasm and love for what we do every day. It is with this team that we start this exciting second chapter in Birra del Borgo’s history. The heart and soul of Birra del Borgo will remain unchanged and it is with the very same passion and love for beer that we will continue Re(Thinking) Ale”.

Simon Wuestenberg, Country Director for AB InBev Italia, said: “We have been very impressed by what Leonardo and his team have built since 2005. They have been at the forefront of redefining beer in Italy, bringing a unique mix of inspired innovation, quality and consistency. Leonardo’s vision for beer and his passion for brewing will be great inspirations to our whole team, and we’re very excited about partnering up and growing together. As a challenger on the Italian market, we have been successfully developing our business with a great portfolio of premium and specialty brands in the last few years. Today, that portfolio becomes even stronger with some of the best of “Made in Italy.”

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Indian Gov’t Issues Arrest Warrant For Mendocino Brewing Owner Vijay Mallya

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Those of you who’ve been in the beer world for a few decades will no doubt remember the tumultuous period around 1997 when Vijay Mallya, and his UB Group, which also owns the Indian beer Kingfisher, started buying up breweries. They picked up Nor’Wester Brewing first, along with a few others, and UB Group consolidated their U.S. holdings under the name “United Craft Brewers, Inc.,” or simply “United Craft.” The first five included Nor’Wester Brewing Company of Portland, OR; Aviator Ales of Woodinville, WA; Mile High Brewing of Denver, CO; Bayhawk Ales of Irvine, CA; and North Country Brewing of Saratoga Springs, NY. United Craft later added Mendocino Brewing Co. of Hopland, CA and Humboldt Brewing of Arcata, CA, and then Carmel Brewing of Carmel, CA. United Craft lists a Sausalito address, which is coincidentally where owner Vijay Mallya also built a multi-million dollar home. But essentially only Mendocino Brewing remains of the breweries as a viable brand, although Humboldt was sold off.

I remember when UB initially bought Mendocino Brewing and Mallya began visiting their distributors. He would attend distributor meetings with an actual entourage, including bodyguards, which was not exactly endearing to anybody. Within a short time the Mendocino brand, which had been very successful locally, began to fall precipitously. It’s never really recovered, though they do quite a bit of contract brewing out of their Ukiah facility. Mallya has a fairly ruthless reputation for his business practices, and I’ve spoken to at least two people who’ve done business with him in other industries who’ve had nothing flattering to say about the way he conducts himself, so the news being reported by the Drinks Business came as no surprise, except perhaps as to why it took so long. Undoubtedly, there, as here, the rules for billionaires are different than it is for you and me.

According to Drinks Business report, “Indian authorities have issued an arrest warrant against Vijay Mallya, the former head of United Spirits, just days after freezing his passport.”

The warrant was issued on the “third strike and out” practice of the Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED) when the colourful former tycoon failed to appear at the third time of asking at a Mumbai court to answer allegations of misuse of funds loaned to his Kingfisher Airlines by a state-owned bank, IDBI.

This is one of 17 Indian banks seeking to recover some $13 billion from Mallya. Last month they rejected his proposed scheme to repay $600 million.

It is alleged that Mallya used part of the $134m loan from IDBI to buy properties overseas. The airline, which was never profitable, collapsed into bankruptcy in 2012 with debts approaching £1bn.

Mallya has consistently denied impropriety and his private holding company, UB Group, said that the full loan, including up to $65m alleged to have been diverted to Mallya’s personal use, had been “used for legitimate business purposes only”.

The statement said that the arrest warrant was “erroneous and unjustified”.

Mallya, who is thought to be in Britain, has been ordered by India’s supreme court to disclose all his assets to the authorities.

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Inside the newer Mendocino brewery in Ukiah.

Patent No. 581206A: Apparatus For Aerating Liquids

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Today in 1897, US Patent 581206 A was issued, an invention of Peter Cooper Hewitt, for his “Apparatus for Aerating Liquids.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention is applicable to aerating waters, beer, and other liquids.

In the manufacture of beer by some methods the carbonic acid in the beer is extracted and it becomes necessary to replace the gas thus taken out.

The object of my invention is to thoroughly aerate the beer while it is in the form of a highly-attenuated film.

My invention consists in a centrifugal machine of peculiar construction adapted to reduce the liquid to the form of an extremely thin film, the centrifugal machine being operated in a closed vessel suitable for the required pressure.

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