Beer Birthday: Gary Glass

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association. Gary’s been with the Brewers Association for many a moon and has become the face of homebrewing in America. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday. And relax, drink a homebrew, if you have one.

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Gary at Anchor Brewery with his wife Erin after an AHA rally there in 2008.

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Gary talking with Fred Eckhardt at Hopworks Urban Brewery, flanked by Christian Ettinger and Brian Butenschoen, Oregon Brewers Guild Director. Photo by Oregon Brewers Guild.

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Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor Brewing for an AHA Rally.

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Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Cigar City Bought By Fireman Capital

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In an exclusive this morning, Brewbound is reporting that Fireman Capital to Purchase Cigar City. According to Brewbound, “Cigar City, a leading independent brewery based in Tampa, Fla., has agreed to sell controlling interest to Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which already owns majority stakes in Oskar Blues, Perrin Brewing and the Utah Brewers Cooperative outfit that includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands.”

The overall entity created by Fireman Capital for their brewery acquisitions is United Craft Brews LLC, incorporated in Delaware. The SEC Form D lists Fireman Capital’s address is Waltham, Massachusetts, but information on OpenLEIs lists a registered address in Delaware, but Oskar Blues’ Longmont address as Headquarters for United Craft Brews. Last year, Westwood was still asking Does Oskar Blues Still Own Oskar Blues? This will undoubtedly continue to muddy the waters surrounding the answer to that question.

Rumors had been swirling that ABI was considering Cigar City as their next target for acquisition, and founder Joey Redner confirmed that he’d gotten as far as signing an LOI. But ABI let their exclusivity period pass without executing a formal purchase agreement, leaving Cigar City free to entertain other potential buyers.

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Cigar City’s website posted a joint press release about the transaction:

Oskar Blues Brewery Rolls up a Cigar City Blunt

Longmont, CO, & Tampa Bay, FL — Oskar Blues Brewery announced the acquisition of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Putting months of acquirement rumors to rest, the decision is driven by mutual irreverence, respect and desire to stay true to craft beer roots.

The combination stems from the want to take risks, sniff out bullsh*t and grow against-the-grain in an era of increasing competition within craft beer. The collaboration will match years of large-scale growth, expansion expertise and resources of Oskar Blues with the strength of Cigar City’s local following to help both breweries strengthen their future position. Similarly to Oskar Blues, Cigar City’s award-winning brews are well known and respected within the craft community.

“Cigar City is facing next-level challenges and we needed to develop next-level skills and resources to meet them. But, we got into beer out of passion and an unwavering desire to travel our own path. We didn’t want to just shove our round peg into some f*cking square hole and hope for the best. Florida craft beer drinkers want something they can proudly stand behind. These guys get that. They wrote the book on keeping it real,” says Joey, founder of Cigar City Brewing. Joey will remain as CEO of Cigar City following the transaction.

Since 2009, Cigar City Brewing achieved a near constant growth pattern reaching nearly 60,000 barrels in 2015, placing the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida on the craft beer map. The partnership will provide additional investment for Cigar City’s infrastructure growth within Florida.

“What Cigar City has done for the community of Florida craft beer is impressive. It’s important for our culture to do business with people we want to hang out with and Joey and the gang fit,” Dale Katechis, Soul Founder of Oskar Blues, stated about the new partnership.

Oskar Blues Brewery is the funky brewpub that started brewing beer in 1999 in the small town of Lyons, CO and is responsible for starting the craft beer in-a-can movement in 2002 with Dale’s Pale Ale. In 2008, the brewery expanded down the street to Longmont, CO. and added an additional brewery in Brevard, NC in 2012. Oskar Blues brewed 192,000 barrels in 2015 and announced another brewery in Austin, TX scheduled to open in May of 2016.

Terms of the acquisition are not disclosed.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Danny Williams

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Today would have been Danny Williams’ 57th birthday today, having been born exactly two days before yours truly in 1959. Unfortunately, Danny lost a battle with cancer a little over four years ago, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 23, 2012. For over a decade, Danny worked for the Brewers Association as the beer competition manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Danny left behind two grown children and an 8-year old son, Fletcher. His friend Ben Spencer, who’s also a good friend of mine, lets me know from time to time how Danny’s kids are doing, which is great. Join me in raising a birthday beer and giving a toast to the memory of Danny Williams tonight. Danny would have wanted it that way.

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Danny Williams and a friend at the World Beer Cup dinner in Chicago two years ago.

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Tom Nickel (owner of O’Brien’s in San Diego), Nancy Johnson, Director of GABF and Danny at Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco.

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Danny in the former goldmine beer cellar.

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Danny’s Angels, after a BA event.

Beer Birthday: Chris Black

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Chris Black, who along with his brother, owns the Falling Rock, the best beer bar in Denver and HQ for beer people during GABF, turns 53 today. Chris is a great guy and one of a handful of early Publicans across the country doing things right when it came to beer, something that happily we’re seeing more of now. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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Chris and me toward the end of the night at GABF several years ago.

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Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing with Chris at the Celebrator’s 18th Anniversary Party.

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Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Judy Ashworth (Publican Emeritus) and Chris at Falling Rock during GABF in 2006.

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Megan Flynn, of the now-defunct Beer NW (later Beer West), with Chris at the end of GABF Week in 2009.

Beer Birthday: Marty Jones

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Today is my friend and colleague Marty Jones’ birthday, though how old the eternally young Mr. Jones may be is anybody’s guess. Marty’s a beer journalist, brewery rep., musician, and much more. Join me in wishing Marty a very happy birthday.

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Marty Jones — along with his Brewbadors — entertaining the faithful with his original beer-soaked tunes at the Falling Rock during GABF week 2007.

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Marty toasting me at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival.

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Marty serenading the crowd during a seminar on marketing for brewpubs that he gave at the 2007 CBC

Historic Beer Birthday: Philip Zang

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Today is the birthday of Philip Zang (February 15, 1826-February 18, 1899) who’s most remembered for his brewery in Denver, Colorado, although he also founded a brewery in Louisville, Kentucky, before moving west in 1869. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, but came to the U.S. in 1853.

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Brewing Magnate in Denver. Owner of first brewery in Denver, Rocky Mountain Brewery, which was also the largest west of the Mississippi from 1880 to the start of prohibition. Arrived in the USA in 1853; initially settled in Louisville, Kentucky where he owned Phoenix Brewery (later Zang Brewing Co.), the largest in Kentucky, for 16 years; relocated to Denver in September 1869; acquired Rocky Mountain Brewery in 1871 and changed its name to Philip Zang Brewing Co.; increased production over the years to achieve over 65,000 barrels per year while surviving a couple of destructive fires; sold Philip Zang Brewing Co. in 1888 to British investors; retired from brewing in 1889 and listed the same year as one of 33 millionaires living in Denver. Was involved in mining holding interests in a number of gold and silver mines in Silverton, Cripple Creek and Eagle County. A prominent Denver citizen, he was also elected as a democrat to a term as city alderman.

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And here’s a fuller biography, from the Zang Mansion website:

PHILIP ZANG, founder of the Ph. Zang Brewing Company, of Denver, was a native of Bavaria, Germany, immigrated to United States in by ship in 1853. Married Elizabeth Hurlebaus, who died in Chicago, leaving an only child, Adolph J. Zang.

  • Founded Phoenix brewery in Louisville (1859-1869) then moved to Denver
  • Bought Rocky Mountain Brewing Co. from John Good (1871)
  • Changed name to Philip Zang & Co. (7/1880)
  • Sold to UK syndicate-chg. name to PH. Zang Brewing Co. (1889)
  • Son; Adolf J. Zang took over management (General Manager)
  • Second Marriage (10/1870) to Mrs. Anna Barbara Buck, nee Kalberer, (b.1836)(d.4/1896)
  • Previously widowed from marriage to Jacob Buck (b.1832) m(1857-xxxx)
  • The family residence, built in 1887, was at 2342 Seventh street, Denver, CO

ROOTS

Philip Zang, founder of the PH. Zang Brewing Company, of Denver, was a native of Bavaria, Germany, and next to the oldest among the six sons and two daughters of John and Fredericka (Kaufman) Zang. His father, who was a member of an old Bavarian family, engaged in farming and the milling business, and took part in the Napoleonic wars, accompanying the illustrious general on his march to Moscow. He (John) died in 1849, at the age of sixty-two. Two of John and Fredericka’s sons, Alexander and Philip, immigrated to America. During the Civil War Alexander served in the Thirty-ninth New York Infantry; he died in Denver in 1892.

BOUND FOR AMERICA

Philip was a brewer’s apprentice for two and one-half years, after which he traveled around Germany, working at his trade. In 1853 he came to America, going from Rotterdam to Hull, then to Liverpool, and from there on the “City of Glasgow,” which landed him in Philadelphia after a voyage of eighteen days.

LEAPING FORWARD

Ignorant of the English language, his first endeavor was to gain sufficient knowledge to converse with the people here, and during the first six months in this country, while working as a railroad hand, he was storing in his mind a knowledge of our customs and language. In Philadelphia Mr. P. Zang married Miss Elizabeth Hurlebaus, who died in Chicago, leaving an only child, Adolph J. Zang. In January 1854, he went to Louisville, Ky., where he worked at his trade for one year. Later, desiring to learn engineering, he secured employment in a woolen mill, and remained there until January 1859, meantime becoming familiar with the engineer’s occupation.

THE BREWERY BUSINESS

Mr. P. Zang built a brewery in Louisville and this he conducted alone until 1865, when he erected a large brewery, which was carried on under the firm name of Zang & Co. Selling this in February 1869; he decided to locate in the growing town of Denver.

Here he was engaged as superintendent of the brewery owned by John Good until July 1871, when he bought out his employer and continued the business alone. Mr. Good had started the business in 1859 on the same spot, under the title of the Rocky Mountain Brewery, which continued to be its name for some years. In July 1871, Mr. Zang enlarged the brewery, which then had a capacity of one hundred and fifty thousand barrels per annum, and is the largest between St. Louis and San Francisco. There was also a malt house, with modern equipments; an ice plant, lager beer vaults, boiler house, brewery stables, and a switch from the railroad connecting with the main lines, in order to facilitate the work of shipment. In 1880 the name was changed to Philip Zang & Co., and in July 1889, the business was sold to an English syndicate, who changed the name to the Ph. Zang Brewing Company.

LOCAL AFFAIRS

In Denver, October 18, 1870, he was united in marriage with Mrs. Anna B. Buck, nee Kalberer, an estimable lady and one who has many friends in this city. The family residence, built in 1887, stood at 2342 Seventh street. For one term Mr. Zang served as an alderman of the sixth ward, to which position he was elected on the Democratic ticket, but he himself is independent in politics. While in Louisville he was made a Mason and an Odd Fellow, and he belonged to Schiller Lodge No. 41, A. F. & A. M., and Germania Lodge No. 14, I. O.O. F., of Denver, of both of which he was a charter member. He was also connected with the Turn Verein, Krieger Verein and Bavarian Verein, and took a prominent part in all local affairs.

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And in this short account, it is suggested it was gold fever that enticed Zang west, and when that didn’t pan out, he returned to what he knew: brewing beer.

“Zang came to Denver in 1870 – a few years after the Civil War – having run the Phoenix Brewery in Louisville Kentucky for 16 years. Even though his brewery had thrived through the turmoil of the war, he caught gold fever, sold that brewery and headed west. His gold mining career in Leadville lasted about a month. Soon he found himself back in the more palatable environment of Denver, running the Rocky Mountain Brewery for a “Capitalist” (his official title) called John Good. Within a couple years, Zang bought the brewery from Good and soon increased its capacity ten-fold. From then until the complication of Prohibition in 1920, Zang Brewing Company was the largest beer producer west of the Missouri.”

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The wonderful book 100 Years of Brewing, published in 1901, also has a short account of Zang’s brewery:

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Beer Birthday: John Hickenlooper

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Today is the 64th birthday of Governor of Colorado — and former Denver mayor — John Hickenlooper. John was also the co-founder of Wynkoop Brewery in Denver’s LoDo District, and in fact is credited with helping to revitalize the whole area. After being a popular, and by all accounts very effective mayor, for several years, he was elected as the Governor of Colorado. John’s been great for Denver, Colorado and craft brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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George Wendt, Nancy Johnson & John at the Great American Beer Festival three years ago.

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With Ken Allen, from Anderson Valley Brewing, and Dave Buehler, from Elysian Brewing at GABF several years ago.

Beer Birthday: Erin Fay Glass

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Today is the 45th birthday of Erin Fay Glass, Membership Coordinator and Brewery Detective at the Brewers Association. Erin is one of my favorite people in the BA, and the whole beer community for that matter. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.

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Several November 18ths ago, Maya Ryleigh was born to Erin and Gary Glass.

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Erin with husband Gary Glass, AHA director.

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Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor Brewing for an AHA Rally.

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Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Super Wager For The Super Bowl

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You knew it had to happen. There’s at least one every year. Two breweries in the home city or state make a bet for whose team will win the big game, with the other’s beer as the prize. The only question is which breweries would step up.

This year, Denver’s Spangalang Brewery is throwing down the gauntlet, and Fullsteam Brewery of Durham, North Carolina has picked it up. The two breweries have wagered the outcome of next weekend’s Super Bowl on february 5, and apparently “the terms of the wager are significant for the brewers and their fans.”

According to the press release I got today from Denver beer writer Marty Jones, “The losing brewery will have to brew a special batch of beer from a recipe chosen by the winning brewery. The beer recipe will include indigenous ingredients from the winner’s state and will be named by the winning brewery.

On tapping day the losing brewery must hang the winning team’s flag and fly it for one week or until the beer is gone, whichever comes first.”

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Marty Jones with Fullsteam Brewery’s Sean Lilly Wilson during CBC 2010 in Chicago.

“That Panthers flag,” says Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullsteam Brewery, “is going to look great hanging in the Spangalang tasting room. But we’ll send a beer recipe with some choice Carolina ingredients and flavor to help ease the pain of Denver’s loss.”

“It will be interesting to see if Cam Newtown can sport his 1000-watt smile with Von Miller in his face,” says Spangalang co-founder and brewer Darren Boyd. “I’m thinking ‘Cam’s Kryptonite’ would be a good name for the beer recipe we send to North Carolina.”

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Spangalang’s Austin Wiley with Orange Crushsicle.

Each brewery will be asking its social media followers to suggest beer styles, local ingredients and names for the winning beers.

From the press release:

On February 5, the Friday before the Super Bowl, each brewery will release a special pre-game beer to rally local fans.

Spangalang will bring back Orange Crushsicle, which it debuted prior to the Broncos defeating the New England Patriots to win the AFC crown and a place in the Super Bowl. The beer equivalent of the Dreamsicle frozen treat, Orange Crushscicle is a citrus session ale enhanced with orange juice, sweet and bitter orange peel and vanilla. Its name pays tribute to the past and current defense of the Broncos and predicted the creaming of the Patriots by the Broncos.

“Broncos fans came out in droves to try the beer last weekend,” says Spangalang brewer and co-founder Taylor Rees. “Our tap room will be a sea of orange jerseys when we tap it again.” Fullsteam will release Bless Their Heart, a twist to its recent collaboration with Charlotte-based Free Range Brewing. The beer is made with foraged juniper, North Carolina Frasier fir, and an addition of chokeberry syrup. “We thought chokeberry would be a good ingredient to use in this beer,” Wilson says, “due to Manning’s history of choking in the Super Bowl.” No matter which team wins the game, the rival brewers are comfortable with the wager. “The worst that can happen,” Boyd says, “is we let a like-minded, quality obsessed craft brewer take the lead on a beer of ours. So this is a good bet to make. Although the Panthers flag in our brewery would make us all sick.”

Founded in 2010, Fullsteam Brewery is a Durham, North Carolina production brewery and tavern inspired by the food and farm traditions of the South. The brewery aims to “pioneer the art of distinctly Southern beer” and specializes in traditional and experimental beers with a Southern sensibility. Its beers often incorporate locally farmed goods, heirloom grains, and seasonal botanicals.

Spangalang Brewery was founded in April 2015 by former Great Divide Brewery brewers Taylor Rees, Austin Wiley and Darren Boyd. The brewery crafts world-class beer for locals and celebrates the past and present culture of its historic Five Points neighborhood. Spangalang earned numerous “best new brewery of 2015” honors and a gold medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival medal.

May the best brewery win.

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Beer Birthday: Charlie Papazian

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Today is the 67th birthday of Charlie Papazian, one of the most influential persons in modern brewing. Charlie founded the AHA, the AOB and the IBS back in 1978 (which today is the Brewers Association) and organized the first Great American Beer Festival. His book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing was one of the seminal works on the subject, and is now in its fourth edition. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.

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Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie, Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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Some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie Jurado (with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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On stage at the Beer Wars Live premiere with Ben Stein and Greg Koch.

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Charlie with Pete Slosberg at last year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San francisco.

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Of the literally hundreds of GABF and World Beer Cup award-accepting photos I have with Charlie in them, this is one of my favorites.

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The BA recently shared this great photo of Charlie from 1977.