Beer Birthday: Rob Fullmer

Today is the 50th birthday — the Big 5-0 — of Rob Fuller, who’s the executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. Before that he was the president of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers and was one of the writers online at the Beer PHXation Blog. Rob’s doing great things for Arizona beer and he’s always fun to run into at various beer events throughout the year. Join me in wishing Rob a very happy birthday.

Rob at GABF earlier this year.

Rob, outstanding in his field of Arizona kegs.

ABI Buys Four Peaks

ABI four-peaks
Anheuser-Busch InBev announced this morning that they were buying Arizona brewer Four Peaks. Four Peaks is nearly twenty years old and Arizona’s largest brewery, on track to make approximately 70,000 barrels in 2015. As a nod to just how routine this type of news is becoming, ABI’s press release is titled “Anheuser-Busch Welcomes Four Peaks Brewing Company To The High End Business Unit.” The price was not disclosed and as is typical, the founders of the brewery will be remaining with the business.

Today, Anheuser-Busch announced an agreement to acquire Four Peaks Brewing Company, the leading craft brewer in the state of Arizona. Four Peaks will represent the sixth operation to join the growing list of innovative and progressive craft breweries within The High End, the company’s business unit providing unique craft and import brands.

“For 20 years we’ve had more amazing experiences than I can count doing what we love to do most – brewing great beer and sharing it with a growing craft community in Arizona that has supported us from day one,” said Andy Ingram, Four Peaks co-founder. “We’re excited to join the enthusiastic team and tap into their resources to expand our footprint and share our beer with even more people moving forward.”

Four Peaks, which opened its doors in 1996, expects to sell approximately 70,000 barrels of beer in 2015. The brewery will continue to brew their award-winning beers, including their flagship beer, Kilt Lifter, a Scottish-Style Ale that accounts for more than 60 percent of the brewery’s sales. Four Peaks also produces popular limited releases like cask versions of its mainstay beers and its four-time World Beer Cup-medaling Hopsquatch Barleywine. In addition to strong mainstay beers and limited releases, Four Peaks has seen great success with newer brews like its Pumpkin Porter, which grew more than 150 percent last year.

“As the leading craft brewery in Arizona, we’re proud of what we’ve built and of our brewing heritage. We’re excited to build on that success with The High End,” said Jim Scussel, Four Peaks co-founder. “Arizona has a rapidly-growing fan base for craft beer and we look forward to more opportunities to share what Four Peaks is about within our local community, and beyond,” added Randy Schultz, Four Peaks co-founder.

Four Peaks will join Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Brewing Company, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing Company and Golden Road Brewing as part of the growing portfolio of exceptional craft beers within The High End.

“It’s exciting to partner with another group of passionate craft beer founders, this time in the great state of Arizona,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, The High End. “What Andy, Jim, Randy and the team have been able to accomplish is remarkable and a testament to their culture and portfolio of great beers. We look forward to learning from each other and bringing more Four Peaks beers to craft lovers in the Southwest.”

The partnership includes the company’s three primary locations: the 8th Street Brewery & Pub in Tempe; the Wilson Street Brewery & Tasting Room in Tempe; and the Grill & Tap in Scottsdale, in addition to continuing their partnership at the Sky Harbor Airport facility. Anheuser-Busch’s acquisition of Four Peaks is expected to close during the first quarter of 2016. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Möbius Beer

Today is the birthday of mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius, for whom several mathematical items are named, although the most famous is certainly the Möbius Strip. Although the Möbius Strip was discovered by two different mathematicians around the same year, 1858, it bears his name and not fellow German colleague Johann Benedict Listing.

A Möbius Strip “is a surface with only one side and only one boundary,” so that it looks like it turns in on itself, but if you could walk around on top of one, you’d never come to the end. “The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being non-orientable. It can be realized as a ruled surface.”


I recalled seeing a famous beer label using a Möbius Strip, and a quick search revealed the one I was thinking of was Arizona Brewing’s flagship beer “A-1,” which used a multi-colored version.


Beer History has a good article about the brewery, A-1: The Western Way to Say Welcome
by Ed Sipos. The original A-1 label had an eagle on it, but by the 1950s Anheuser-Busch, which was spreading their tentacles nationally, decided to sue Arizona Brewing claiming the eagle on their label was too close to their own, and Arizona couldn’t afford to defend the lawsuit, and decided instead to simply change the label.

A can of A-1 from 1965-66.

And not too long ago, Tuscon-based Nimbus Brewery introduced a new version of A-1 Beer, though I’m not sure if it’s still being brewed.

Apparently there’s also a Mobius Infused Lager that looks like a gimmicky contract beer. It appears to be a generic lager “infused with taurine, ginseng, and caffeine.” Ugh, does that sound like a bad idea.

Homebrewing: The Ultimate DIY

This will be obvious to anyone who’s ever home brewed, but it’s still nice to see it laid out. Dave Conz, who’s an assistant research professor at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society and the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (and a lecturer in interdisciplinary studies in the School of Letters and Sciences at Arizona State University) penned an article, What Beer Can Teach Us About Emerging Technologies, where he makes the case that the legalization of homebrewing led to the rise in commercial brewers and breweries, along with a wave of innovation and creativity. Hard to disagree with that. To my mind, homebrewing is easily the ultimate DIY.

Arizona Beer

Today in 1912, Arizona became the 48th state.


Arizona Breweries

Arizona Brewery Guides

Guild: Arizona Craft Brewers Guild

State Agency: Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control


  • Capital: Phoenix
  • Largest Cities: Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale
  • Population: 5,130,632; 20th
  • Area: 114006 sq.mi., 6th
  • Nickname: The Grand Canyon State
  • Statehood: 48th, February 14, 1912


  • Alcohol Legalized: June 16, 1933
  • Number of Breweries: 31
  • Rank: 20th
  • Beer Production: 4,708,088
  • Production Rank: 14th
  • Beer Per Capita: 22.5 Gallons


Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 42.8%
  • Cans: 47.1%
  • Kegs: 9.9%

Beer Taxes:

  • Per Gallon: $0.16
  • Per Case: $0.36
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $4.96
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $4.96

Economic Impact (2010):

  • From Brewing: $114,644,602
  • Direct Impact: $968,605,366
  • Supplier Impact: $646,575,797
  • Induced Economic Impact: $645,915,749
  • Total Impact: $2,261,096,912

Legal Restrictions:

  • Control State: No
  • Sale Hours: 6 a.m.–2 a.m. (Mon.-Sun.)
  • Grocery Store Sales: Yes
  • Notes: Sales of any type of alcohol are legal at any store that has an off-premises liquor license, including but not limited to convenience stores and grocery stores. Bars may sell closed containers of alcohol for consumption off the premises. Drive-through liquor stores are allowed. Everclear Grain Alcohol Proof 190 (95% alcohol) is legal. A large percentage of the land area of Arizona is in Indian reservations, many of which have liquor laws considerably more restrictive than state law, up to and including total prohibition. “Beer busts” (all the beer/liquor one can drink for a set price) in bars are illegal. Persons 19 years of age or older may work in bars and liquor stores serving and selling alcohol. Patrons may not have more than two drinks in front of them at any time, or one large pitcher of beer. DUI penalties are some of the most severe in the nation. A person convicted of a DUI (even first offense) must have an interlock installed in his or her car for one year. Arizona has an ‘Impaired to the Slightest Degree’ law that can convict a person even if his or her BAC is less than .08%.


Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.

For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.

Gilbert Arizona Declares Family & Beer Incompatible

Thanks to Rob Fullmer (a.k.a. olllllo) at Beer PHXation for letting me know about this weirdness. Arizona recently relaxed its 2005 law regarding the sampling of beer, wine and spirits in grocery stores. But one town mayor, John Lewis of Gilbert, Arizona, isn’t happy that someone might be able to have an ounce or two of alcohol, especially if he happens to be in the vicinity of that tasting with his children.

According to the Arizona Republic, he thinks having his kids see people even sipping alcohol will have untold consequences and will undo his careful parenting to, presumably, keep his children from ever seeing demon alcohol anywhere throughout their lives. Here’s how the Gilbert mayor put it:

Lewis recently called on local grocers to “withstand the temptation” to offer free taste-testing of beer, wine and spirits at their stores. He said his family frequently shopped at Sam’s Club, for example, and he would not want his children to be in an atmosphere where alcohol could be sipped.

“For the image and preservation of what has been building Gilbert as a family-centered community, I hope we would not approve the sampling privileges in a family environment,” Lewis said.

I love Fullmer’s response in Beer PHXation:

Apparently Lewis, a grown man, finds the task of teaching his children about the responsible and legal enjoyment of alcohol (or the abstention of it for that matter) in the mere presence of adults tasting 1 or 2 ounces — while still maintaining a code of conduct suitable for the likes of a Sam’s Club — capable of erasing years worth of parental upbringing.

Having a family environment and an educational and informative environment for alcohol use are not mutually exclusive, in fact, the family environment IS the proper environment.

Precisely. What exactly is the problem with seeing adults having a simple taste of alcohol in a responsible, legal environment? This is the sort of modeling behavior we should want our kids to see. Lewis is so far off the deep end that he’s not just upset that his kids might actually see people drinking, he’s even bothered by “an atmosphere where alcohol could be sipped.” [my emphasis.] That means just the thought of there being a place where alcohol “could be sipped,” that there’s a possibility it might happen, is enough to worry him. That he could walk past even an empty roped off area, children in tow, is just too much for him to bear.

Not to get too personal, but according to his bio, he’s been married for 29 years, has 8 kids and 4 grandchildren. The likelihood that he even has impressionable little kids to actually walk through the grocery store with seems somewhat unlikely. So what he’s doing is just political grandstanding.

But his suggestion that somehow sampling alcohol is incompatible with family I find most offensive. I have a family. Countless brewers and beer lovers have families and see no contradiction with the two. That’s because there is no contradiction. Adults can enjoy a drink responsibly without damaging their family. People have being doing so for time immemorial. Why is is that some people believe that there is only one way to parent … their way?

When the bill passed the state legislature, only one representative voted against it, republican Andy Biggs, whose district includes — you guessed it — Gilbert. For him, it was all about the doughnuts, to wit:

“I go in with my kids to go get doughnuts at the Safeway,” Biggs said. “It’s one thing to walk through the liquor department to go to the bakery, but it’s something else when you’ve got people there serving alcoholic beverages.”

Seriously, it’s about his freedom to buy doughnuts without seeing alcohol? What exactly is wrong with these people? Why is it “something else,” whatever that even means, if there is beer sampling? I feel confident he could take another route to reach the bakery. But failing that, if it’s such a big deal couldn’t he just buy his doughnuts somewhere else? Nothing against Safeway, but they’re not exactly the gold standard for pastry.

It just feels like, based on their nonsensical comments, that this is personal for both politicians. And they’re using their positions to force their own issues with alcohol on the rest of the people they represent, in a way that feels out of touch with the average person’s opinion. Obviously, it’s hard to know how any community feels about so complex an issue as alcohol, but I feel confident in saying that a majority of people there do at least drink it.

The original impetus for the bill was to give local alcohol manufacturers a chance to compete locally by allowing Arizona beer and wines to be sampled. As you might expect, Todd Bostock, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association, believes that “most families wouldn’t be offended by in-store sampling because they already consume alcohol at the dinner table in front of their children. The more kids are exposed to responsible drinking, it won’t be a foreign thing to them,” Bostock said. “It’s not taboo.”

It certainly shouldn’t be, and based on the 54-1 vote it would appear most people agree.

Beer In Art #61: Alex Arshansky’s Cheers

Today’s works of art is quite modern, painted in a style that’s been described as “biomorphic cubism with a touch of surrealism.” The title of the acrylic painting is Cheers, and it was completed last year, in 2009.


The artist, Alex Arshansky, moved with his family from Moscow, Russia to Tucson, Arizona when he was 18. From his Fine Art America biography:

Alexander was born in Moscow and has moved to Arizona (USA) at the age of 18. As the East met West, his work has evolved and become more expressive, depicting symbolic, ambiguous forms and subjects. The critics and art lovers define Alexander’s style as Biomorphic Cubism with elements of surrealism. Great attention is paid to numbers, letters, signs and symbols. Alexander’s works feature vivid, saturated colors – they produce a visual impact even without understanding the content of the painting. Some of his art pieces present a challenging interpretation of religious events and common dogmas to the point of insult.

You can see more of Arshansky’s work at his own website and also at Fine Art America.