Brussels Beer Challenge 2015

Last Saturday, the winners of the 4th annual Brussels Beer Challenge were announced. A little over 1,100 beers were judged in 66 categories by 75 judges, of which I was again privileged to be one. This year the competition was held in Antwerp, and there was a 36% increase in the number of beers this year over last year’s competition, which also required an additional 15 judges. After two days of judging, the awards were announced at De Koninck.


For the second straight year, the United States came out on top, winning the most medals. Here are the top medal winners, by country.

Medals Won by Country:

  1. United States = 60
  2. Belgium = 46
  3. Italy = 26
  4. Netherlands = 23
  5. TIE: Germany / Spain = 9
  6. France = 6
  7. TIE: Brazil / United Kingdom = 5
  8. Denmark = 4
  9. TIE: Czech Republic / Malta / Poland = 3
  10. TIE: China / Ireland / Japan = 2


The 2015 Brussels Beer Challenge Winners

Category 1: Dark Ale: Abbey / Trappist Style Dubbel
Gold: Nucis, Kamun srl (Italy)
Silver: Diôle Brune, La Brasserie des Carrières (Belgium)
Bronze: Texels Dubbel, Texelse Bierbrouwerij BV (Netherlands)
Bronze: Moreneta Bruna-Brune, Barna Brew (Brouwerij Anders!) (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Terenez Brune, La brasserie du bout du monde (France)
Certificate of Excellence: Bon Secours Brune, Brasserie Caulier SPRL (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Paljas Bruin, Brouwerij Henricus (Belgium)

Category 2: Dark Ale: Brown Ale
Gold: Davy Brown Ale, Figueroa Mountain Brewing (US)
Silver: UnderCover – Brown Ale, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Bronze: Jopen 4Granen Bokbier, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Bonfire Brown, Saugatuck Brewing (US)

Category 3: Dark Ale: Dark/Black IPA
Gold: Ebers Hopsfall 2015, Land Food & Beverage Soc. Coop. Agricola (Italy)
Silver: Turmoil, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)
Bronze: Bosuil – Tawny Owl, Brouwerij het Uiltje (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Black, Lucky Bastard (Czech Republic)

Category 4: Dark Ale: Oud Bruin (Flanders Brown Ale)
Silver: Liefmans Goudenband, Brouwerij Liefmans (Belgium)

Category 5: Dark Ale: Strong Dark Ale
Gold: Inglorious Quad, Inglorious Brew Stars (Belgium)
Gold: Edelhert Donker, De Heidebrouwerij 1 (Netherlands)
Bronze: Jopen Ongelovige Thomas – Doubting Thomas, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Eden Quadrupel, De Lustige Brouwers (Belgium)

Category 6: Flavoured Beer: Chocolate
Gold: Zeven Zonden Invidia, Hugel (Belgium)
Silver: Global Mutt Baltic Porter, Wander Brewing (US)
Silver: Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, Epic Brewing (US)
Bronze: 7 Fjell Morgenstemning Coffee Stout, 7 Fjell Bryggeri (Norway)
Certificate of Excellence: Midnight Ritual, Moylan’s Brewing (US)

Category 7: Flavoured Beer: Coffee
Gold: Breakfast Stout, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)

Category 8: Flavoured Beer: Fruit Beer
Gold: Malagrika, Birrificio B94 SRL (Italy)
Silver: Boysenberry Fruit Puncheon, Wander Brewing (US)
Bronze: Red & White, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Mort Subite Oude Kriek Lambic, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)

Category 9: Flavoured Beer: Fruit Lambic
Gold: Kriek Boon Mariage Parfait, Brouwerij Boon N.V. (Belgium)
Silver: Oude Kriek Cuvée René, Brouwerij Lindemans (Belgium)
Bronze: Oude Kriek Oud Beersel, Oud Beersel BVBA (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Timmermans Oude Kriek, Timmermans (Belgium)

Category 10: Flavoured Beer: Herb & Spice
Gold: Fleur Sofronia, MC77 – Birrificio Artigianale (Italy)
Silver: Zinnbach Kung Fu Beer, Shandong ZinnBach Biotechnology Co., LTD (China)
Bronze: Glezia, Glezia Beer (Belgium)

Category 11: Flavoured Beer: Honey Beer
Gold: Humdinger, Joseph Holt Ltd (UK)
Silver: Barbãr Blonde, Brasserie Lefebvre (Belgium)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Honey Queen, Boston Beer Company (US)

Category 12: Flavoured Beer: Pumpkin ale
Silver: Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Fat Jack, Boston Beer Company (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Saranac Pumpkin Ale, FX Matt Brewing (US)

Category 13: Flavoured Beer: Smoked Beer
Gold: Bax Bier Koud Vuur, Bax Bier Groningen (Netherlands)
Silver: Arsa, Birrificio Birranova (Italy)
Bronze: Roulv, Bryggeriet Frejdahl (Denmark)
Certificate of Excellence: Stray Bird Smoked Porter, Stray Bird Brewery (China)
Certificate of Excellence: Smoked Revolution, Birrificio Birranova (Italy)

Category 14: Flavoured Beer: Sweet/Milk Stout
Gold: Nocturna, Kamun SRL (Italy)
Silver: Steel Toe Stout, Ska Brewing (US)
Bronze: Milk Stout, Left Hand Brewing (US)

Category 15: Flavoured Beer: Wood/Barrel Aged
Gold: Black Butte ^ 3, Deschutes Brewing (US)
Silver: Keyte Jubileum, Brouwerij Strubbe (Belgium)
Bronze: Ska Face, Ska Brewing (US)

Category 16: Lager: American-Style Pilsner
Silver: Salamander Hoppy Violet Potato Lager, Browar Stu Mostów (Poland)

Category 17: Lager: Bohemian-Style Pilsner
Silver: Bohemian Pilsner, Brauerei Lemke Berlin (Germany)
Bronze: Maes Pils, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)

Category 18: Lager: Dark/Dunkel (including Schwarzbier)
Gold: Bamberg Schwarzbier, Cervejaria Bamberg (Brazil)
Silver: Vadia Preta, Cerveja Vadia (Portugal)
Bronze: Premium Dark, Primátor a.s. (Czech Republic)

Category 19: Lager: German-Style Dunkel Bock/Doppelbock
Gold: Ezelenbok, SNAB Bierbrouwers (Netherlands)
Silver: Bokkepruik, Brouwerij Hommeles (Netherlands)
Bronze: Cerveza Apóstol Premium Tipo Bock, Indsutria de Cervezas y Bebidas SAS (Colombia)
Certificate of Excellence: St. Christoffel Bock, Christoffel Bieren B.V. (Netherlands)

Category 20: Lager: German-Style Helles-/MaiBock/Doppelbock
Silver: San Miguel Selecta XV, Mahou San Miguel (Spain)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Double Bock, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Alfa Super Dort, Alfa brouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 21: Lager: German-Style Märzen
Gold: Oachkatzlschwoaf, Urban Chestnut Brewing (US)
Silver: Octoberfest, Wormtown Brewery (US)
Bronze: Saranac Adirondack Lager, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 22: Lager: German-Style Pilsner
Gold: Bavik Pils, Brouwerij de Brabandere (Belgium)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Stolz der Bayern Pilsener, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Cisk Export, Simonds Farsons Cisk (Malta)
Certificate of Excellence: ViaEmilia, Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)

Category 23: Lager: Helles
Gold: Birra Ichnusa Cruda, Heineken Italia (Italy)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Bayerisch Hell, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Exquisit, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Brixia Lager, La Curtense (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence: Estaminet, Brouwerij Palm (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Birra Ichnusa, Heineken Italia (Italy)

Category 24: Lager: Ice
Bronze: Corsaire, Brasserie Lorraine (France)

Category 25: Lager: International Style Pilsner
Gold: Asahi Super Dry, Asahi Breweries, Ltd (Japan)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Schweden Pils, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Bierland Pilsen, Cervejaria Bierland (Brazil)
Certificate of Excellence: De Leckere Pilsener, De Leckere BV (Netherlands)

Category 26: Lager: Light Lager
Gold: McGargles Fancy Frank’s Lager, Rye River Brewing (Ireland)
Silver: Heineken Light, Heineken International (Netherlands)
Bronze: San Miguel Fresca, Mahou San Miguel (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Utica Club Pilsener, FX Matt Brewing (US)

Category 27: Pale & Amber Ale: (Belgian style) Tripel
Gold: Hoegaarden Grand Cru, AB Inbev (Belgium)
Silver: Bersalis Tripel, Oud Beersel BVBA (Belgium)
Bronze: Rangsken, Den Houten Molen (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Gouden Carolus Tripel, Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)

Category 28: Pale & Amber Ale: Abbey / Trappist Style Blond
Gold: Maredsous Blond, Duvel Moortgat (Belgium)
Silver: Affligem Blond, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)
Bronze: 7PK, Vzw De Winning Maatwerk / PK (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: ABT Fundum Blond, Columbus Management / Zonderik Beer Company (Belgium)

Category 29: Pale & Amber Ale: Altbier
Gold: Bamberg Altbier, Cervejaria Bamberg (Brazil)
Silver: Samuel Adams Boston Ale, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Flying Bison Rusty Chain, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 30: Pale & Amber Ale: Amber
Gold: Brevis Furor, Birrificio dei Castelli (Italy)
Silver: Palm, Brouwerij Palm (Belgium)
Bronze: Doom Bar, Sharp’s Brewery (UK)
Certificate of Excellence: Blue Label Ale, Simonds Farsons Cisk (Malta)

Category 31: Pale & Amber Ale: American IPA (Greater than 6.5 ABV)
Gold: Capivara Little IPA, Cerveja Blumenau (Brazil)
Silver: Odell IPA, Odell Brewing (US)
Bronze: Sculpin, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Pallet Jack IPA, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)

Category 32: Pale & Amber Ale: American IPA (Less than 6.5 ABV)
Gold: Hopvine IPA, Schooner Exact Brewing (US)
Silver: Be Hoppy, Wormtown Brewery (US)
Bronze: Long White Cloud Pale Ale, Long White Cloud Brewing (New Zealand)

Category 33: Pale & Amber Ale: Best Bitter
Gold: Cutthroat Pale Ale, Uinta Brewing (US)
Silver: 942, Dougall’s (Spain)
Bronze: Punks Do It Bitter, Birrificio Indipendente Elav (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence: Calico, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)

Category 34: Pale & Amber Ale: Bières de Garde ambrée
Gold: Brassin d’hiver, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc (France)
Silver: Terenez Blonde, La brasserie du bout du monde (France)
Bronze: La Rousse, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc (France)
Certificate of Excellence: Rare Vos, Brewery Ommegang (US)

Category 35: Pale & Amber Ale: Bitter
Gold: Jopen Jacobus RPA, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Silver: Patagonia Küne Pale Ale, Cerveza Patagonia (Argentina)
Bronze: ROCK Ale Cut, Schlossbrauerei Friedenfels GmbH (Germany)

Category 36: Pale & Amber Ale: Bitter Blond / Golden Ale
Gold: Seef Bier, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie NV (Belgium)
Silver: Steenbrugge Blond, Brouwerij de Gouden Boom (Belgium)
Bronze: Maneblusser, Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)

Category 37: Pale & Amber Ale: English IPA
Gold: San Blas – English IPA, Lord Chambray (Malta)
Silver: Dales Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Brewery (US)
Bronze: Butcombe Atlantic IPA, Butcombe Brewery (UK)
Certificate of Excellence: BBP Aupa Pale Ale, Basqueland Brewing Company S.L. (Spain)

Category 38: Pale & Amber Ale: Imperial IPA
Silver: The Calling IPA, Boulevard Brewing (US)
Bronze: Dreamcrusher, Deep Ellum Brewing (US)

Category 39: Pale & Amber Ale: Kölsch
Gold: BBP Captain Norbert Kolsch, Basqueland Brewing Company S.L. (Spain)

Category 40: Pale & Amber Ale: Light Bitter Blond / Golden Ale
Gold: Atlantic, Sharp’s Brewery (UK)
Silver: Bax Bier Kon Minder, Bax Bier Groningen (Netherlands)
Bronze: Wild Jo, Brouwerij de Koninck (Belgium)

Category 41: Pale & Amber Ale: Saison
Gold: Saison Dupont Biologique, Brasserie Dupont (Belgium)
Silver: Biir – Country Belgian Farmhouse Ale, Brouwerij Montaigu – BIIR Brewer Assoc. (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Saison, Brouwerij Maximus B.V. (Netherlands)

Category 42: Pale & Amber Ale: Strong Blonde / Golden Ale
Gold: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, Boulevard Brewing (US)
Silver: St-Feuillien Grand Cru, Brasserie St-Feuillien (Belgium)
Bronze: Hopruiter, Scheldebrouwerij bvba (BElgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Caulier Triple / Gluten Free, Caulier Developpement SA / NV (Belgium)

Category 43: Pale & Amber Ale: Strong / Extra Special Bitter
Gold: ESB/Amber, Saugatuck Brewing (US)
Silver: Leyenda, Dougall’s (Spain)

Category 44: Red Ale: American Red Ale
Gold: Daylight, Track 7 Brewing (US)
Silver: Route 77, Birrificio il Mastio (Italy)
Bronze: Pastorale, Van Moll (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Ebers American Pale Ale 2015, Land Food & Beverage Soc. Coop. Agricola (Italy)

Category 45: Red Ale: Irish Red Ale
Gold: McGargles Granny Mary’s Red Ale, Rye River Brewing (Ireland)
Silver: Red Cap Irish Style Red Ale, Kulshan Brewing (US)
Bronze: Barbarossa, Birrificio Svevo di Cisco Vito (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 46: Red Ale: Oud Rood (Flanders Red Ale)
Gold: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Brouwerij Rodenbach (Belgium)
Silver: Samuel Adams Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, Boston Beer Company (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Rodenbach, Brouwerij Rodenbach (Belgium)

Category 47: Speciality Beer: Barley Wine
Gold: Olde School Barley Wine, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (US)
Silver: Fathead Barley Wine, Nebraska Brewing (US)
Bronze: Bohemia Reserva, Ambev S.A. (Brazil)
Certificate of Excellence: SEVEN, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)

Category 48: Speciality Beer: Brut Beer
Bronze: Broeder Jacob Brut Rosé, Brouwerij Broeder Jacob (Belgium)

Category 49: Speciality Beer: Hybrid
Gold: Sun Barley Bio Blonde, Micro Birrificio Castel del Monte (Italy)
Silver: Karibu, Piccolo Birrificio Indipendente Decimoprimo (Italy)
Bronze: Brutus, Brouwerij Maximus B.V. (Netherlands)

Category 50: Speciality Beer: Lambic & Gueuze
Gold: Timmermans Oude Gueuze, Timmermans (Belgium)
Silver: Coolship Resurgam, Allagash Brewing (US)
Bronze: Sour Opal, Firestone Walker Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Gueuze Boon VAT 77, Brouwerij Boon N.V. (Belgium)

Category 51: Speciality Beer: Speciality Beer
Gold: Nonniversaire, HopSaSam (Belgium)
Silver: Petrus Aged Pale, Brouwerij de Brabandere (Belgium)
Bronze: Gulpener Ur-Hop, Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 52: Speciality Beer: Winter Ales
Gold: Gulpener Wintervrund, Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Silver: UnderCover – Christmas Ale, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Certificate of Excellence:

Category 53: Stout/Porter: American Stout
Gold: Calix Niger, Birrificio dei Castelli (Italy)
Silver: Obsidian Stout, Deschutes Brewing (US)
Bronze: Darker than your Soul, Saugatuck Brewing (US)

Category 54: Stout/Porter: Baltic Porter
Gold: Ballast Point Baltic Porter, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Bronze: Cornelius Porter, Sulimar Sp z o.o. (Poland)

Category 55: Stout/Porter: Dry Stout
Gold: Stringers Dry Stout, Stringers Beer (UK)
Silver: Dry Stout, Reuben’s Brews (US)
Silver: Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout, Moylan’s Brewing (US)

Category 56: Stout/Porter: Oatmeal Stout
Gold: De Poet, New Holland Brewing (US)
Silver: Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Oatmeal Stout, Blue Point Brewing (US)

Category 57: Stout/Porter: Porter
Gold: Magarìa, ‘a Magara (Italy)
Silver: Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing (US)
Bronze: Transporter, Kulshan Brewing (US)
Bronze: Arriaca Imperial Porter, Cervezas Arriaca SL (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Malvados Porter, Malvados Beer by Crevezart (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Turkunara, P3 Brewing (Italy)

Category 58: Stout/Porter: Russian Imperial Stout
Gold: Ten Fidy, Oskar Blues Brewery (US)
Silver: Mìerula, ‘a Magara (Italy)
Bronze: Ukrainian Imperial Stout, Pravda Beer Theatre (Ukraine)
Certificate of Excellence: Nautilus, Birrificio Mezzavia (Italy)

Category 59: Stout/Porter: Stout Export
Gold: Tsunami Stout, Pelican Pub & Brewery (US)
Silver: Duits & Lauret Stout, Duits & Lauret (Netherlands)
Bronze: Voreia Stout, SIRIS Microbrewery (Greece)
Certificate of Excellence: Asahi Stout, Asahi Breweries, Ltd (Japan)

Category 60: Wheat: Dubbel Wit / Imperial White
Gold: IJwit, Brouwerij ‘t IJ (Netherlands)

Category 61: Wheat: Dunkel Weizen
Bronze: Friedenfelser Dunkles Weizen, Schlossbrauerei Friedenfels GmbH (Germany)

Category 62: Wheat: Dunkel Weizen(doppel)bock
Gold: Texels Bock, Texelse Bierbrouwerij BV (Netherlands)
Bronze: TAP6 Unser Aventinus, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Germany)
Certificate of Excellence: Jopen Johannieter, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)

Category 63: Wheat: Gose
Gold: Gose, pFriem Family Brewers (US)
Silver: Sun Barley Bio Blanche, Micro Birrificio Castel del Monte (Italy)

Category 64: Wheat: Weizen
Gold: Weizenbier, Primátor a.s. (Czech Republic)
Bronze: Cornelius Pszeniczny, Sulimar Sp z o.o. (Poland)
Bronze: TAP1 Meine Blonde Weisse, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Germany)

Category 65: Wheat: White IPA / Hoppy Weizen
Gold: Weiss Weiss Baby, Figueroa Mountain Brewing (US)
Silver: Lunette, Brasserie de la Pleine Lune (France)
Bronze: Les 4 Surfeurs de l’Apocalypso, Le Trou du diable (Canada)
Certificate of Excellence: Sirena, Birrificio Della Granda (Italy)

Category 66: Wheat: Witbier
Gold: Alkali Wit, Track 7 Brewing (US)
Gold: Montelago Litha, Birrificio il Mastio (Italy)
Silver: Blanche de Namur, Brasserie du Bocq (Belgium)
Bronze: St. Paul White, Brouwerij Sterkens Bierparadijs (Belgium)

Best Belgian Beer

Best Belgian Beer
Saison Dupont Biologique, Brasserie Dupont (Belgium)

The Comac Trophy: Best in Show

The Comac Trophy: Best in Show
Hopvine IPA, Schooner Exact Brewing (US)

SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev Reach “Agreement In Principle”

abib sabmiller
While most of us were sleeping, it appears SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev were quite busy, and announced this morning SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev [Reach] Agreement in principle and extension of PUSU. The New York Times has an analysis of the deal, or you can read the entire Press Release from SABMiller:


LONDON–The Boards of AB InBev (Euronext: ABI) (NYSE: BUD) and SABMiller (LSE: SAB) (JSE: SAB) announce that they have reached agreement in principle on the key terms of a possible recommended offer to be made by AB InBev for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of SABMiller (the “Possible Offer”).

Terms of Possible Offer

Under the terms of the Possible Offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to receive GBP 44.00 per share in cash, with a partial share alternative (“PSA”) available for approximately 41% of the SABMiller shares.

The all-cash offer represents a premium of approximately 50% to SABMiller’s closing share price of GBP 29.34 on 14 September 2015 (being the last business day prior to renewed speculation of an approach from AB InBev).

The PSA consists of 0.483969 unlisted shares and GBP 3.7788 in cash for each SABMiller share, equivalent to a value of GBP 39.03 per SABMiller share on 12 October 2015, representing a premium of approximately 33% to the closing SABMiller share price of GBP 29.34 as of 14 September 2015. Further details of the PSA are set out below.

In addition, under the Possible Offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to any dividends declared or paid by SABMiller in the ordinary course in respect of any completed six-month period ended 30 September or 31 March prior to completion of the possible transaction, which shall not exceed USD 0.2825 per share for the period ended 30 September 2015 and a further USD 0.9375 per share for the period ended 31 March 2016 (totalling USD 1.22 per share) and shall not exceed an amount to be agreed between AB InBev and SABMiller in respect of periods thereafter (which shall be disclosed in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer).

The Board of SABMiller has indicated to AB InBev that it would be prepared unanimously to recommend the all-cash offer of GBP 44.00 per SABMiller share to SABMiller shareholders, subject to their fiduciary duties and satisfactory resolution of the other terms and conditions of the Possible Offer.

Antitrust and reverse break fee

In connection with the Possible Offer, AB InBev would agree to a “best efforts” commitment to obtain any regulatory clearances required to proceed to closing of the transaction. In addition, AB InBev would agree to a reverse break fee of USD 3 billion payable to SABMiller in the event that the transaction fails to close as a result of the failure to obtain regulatory clearances or the approval of AB InBev shareholders.


The announcement of a formal transaction would be subject to the following matters:

  1. a) unanimous recommendation by the Board of SABMiller in respect of the all-cash offer, and the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction from members of the SABMiller Board, in a form acceptable to AB InBev;
  2. b) the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction and to elect for the PSA from SABMiller’s two major shareholders, Altria Group, Inc. and BevCo Ltd., in each case in respect of all of their shareholding and in a form acceptable to AB InBev and SABMiller;
  3. c) the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction from AB InBev’s largest shareholders, the Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev, EPS Participations SaRL and BRC SaRL in a form acceptable to AB InBev and SABMiller;
  4. d) satisfactory completion of customary due diligence; and
  5. e) final approval by the Board of AB InBev.

The Board of AB InBev fully supports the terms of this Possible Offer and expects (subject to the matters above) to give its formal approval immediately prior to announcement.

AB InBev reserves the right to waive in whole or in part any of the pre-conditions to making an offer set out in this announcement, other than c) above which will not be waived.

The conditions of the transaction will be customary for a combination of this nature, and will include approval by both companies’ shareholders and receipt of antitrust and regulatory approvals.

In view of the timetable for obtaining some of these approvals, AB InBev envisages proceeding by way of a pre-conditional scheme of arrangement in accordance with the Code.

The cash consideration under the transaction would be financed through a combination of AB InBev’s internal financial resources and new third party debt.

Further details of the PSA

The PSA comprises up to 326 million shares, which will be available for approximately 41% of the SABMiller shares. These shares would take the form of a separate class of AB InBev shares (the “Restricted Shares”)[1], with the following characteristics:

  • Unlisted and not admitted to trading on any stock exchange;
  • Subject to a five-year lock-up from closing;
  • Convertible into AB InBev ordinary shares on a one for one basis after the end of that five year period;
  • Ranking equally with AB InBev ordinary shares with regards to dividends and voting rights; and
  • Director nomination rights.

SABMiller shareholders who elect for the partial share alternative will receive 0.483969 Restricted Shares[2] and GBP 3.7788 in cash for each SABMiller share.

Extension of the PUSU deadline

In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, AB InBev was required, by not later than 5.00 pm on 14 October 2015, to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for SABMiller, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies.

In accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code, the Board of SABMiller has requested that the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Panel”) extends the relevant deadline, as referred to above, to enable the parties to continue their talks regarding the Possible Offer. In the light of this request, an extension has been granted by the Panel and AB InBev must, by not later than 5.00 pm on 28 October 2015, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for SABMiller, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline will only be extended with the consent of the Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code.

AB InBev reserves the following rights:

  1. a) to introduce other forms of consideration and/or to vary the composition of consideration;
  2. b) to implement the transaction through or together with a subsidiary of AB InBev or NewCo or a company which will become a subsidiary of AB InBev or NewCo;
  3. c) to make an offer (including the all-cash offer and PSA) for SABMiller at any time on less favourable terms:

(i) with the agreement or recommendation of the Board of SABMiller;
(ii) if a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller on less favourable terms; or
(iii) following the announcement by SABMiller of a whitewash transaction pursuant to the Code; and

  1. d) to reduce its offer (including the all-cash offer and PSA) by the amount of any dividend that is announced, declared, made or paid by SABMiller prior to completion, save for ordinary course dividends declared or paid prior to completion, which shall not exceed USD 0.2825 per share for the period ended 30 September 2015 and a further USD 0.9375 per share for the period ended 31 March 2016 (totalling USD 1.22 per share) and shall not exceed an amount to be agreed between AB InBev and SABMiller in respect of periods thereafter (which shall be disclosed in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer).

The announcement does not constitute an offer or impose any obligation on AB InBev to make an offer, nor does it evidence a firm intention to make an offer within the meaning of the Code. There can be no certainty that a formal offer will be made.

A further announcement will be made when appropriate.


SABMiller Rejects Buyout Offer From A-B InBev

abib sabmiller
SABMiller released a statement this morning rejecting the latest takeover offer from Anheuser-Busch InBev. You may, or may not, be able to read the statements released by SABMiller on their website, and there are some fairly scary disclaimers including language that, depending on your jurisdiction, claims that the publicly available information may not be legal to read, and in such case advise you to “exit this web page.” Which while I’m sure is required by some law, probably UK law, also feels fairly ridiculous. At any rate, quite a few news outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the New York Times are all reporting on it, so it must be okay for the likes of me.

The gist of it is the SABMiller board unanimously rejected ABI’s latest takeover offer, for the primary reason that they believe ABI’s offer “substantially” undervalues their company (currently the offer values SABMiller at $104 billion), among a few other technical reasons having to do with the timing, regulatory issues and others. The current offer is for roughly £65.14 billion, which is $99.76 billion dollars.

The Wall Street Journal helpfully created a graphic showing the recent history of the potential deal as it’s been unfolding.


There’s little doubt this is not the end of it, but there will continue to be a back and forth as this high-stakes game unfolds. And it really is a game, sad to say. Apparently negotiations have been tense, which really should not come as a shock to anybody, yet you see statements like this. “AB InBev is disappointed that the board of SABMiller has rejected both of these prior approaches without any meaningful engagement.” The absurdity of that reveals the gamesmanship involved, as it plays out in the media. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

World Beer Market: Opportunities & Forecasts 2014 – 2020

Allied Market Research, an international research company with seven offices around the world, has started selling their latest report, the World Beer Market – Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 – 2020. If you want to buy the report it will set you back anywhere from $4,515 to $10,680, for a global user. While here at the Bulletin we’re not sufficiently well-heeled to buy our own copy, there is some information revealed to entice potential buyers on the report’s website.

For example, this chart gives several data points from the report.

Global Beer Market

And here’s the “Report Overview:”

Beer is a yeast – fermented alcoholic drink prepared from malt, and flavored by adding hops. Popular in Neolithic Europe, its production dates backs to as far as 2050 BC. By, 7th century AD the alcoholic drink was being produced and marketed by several monasteries in Europe. This drink is majorly brewed from ingredients such as yeast, water, hops and malted barley, although many fermentable carbohydrate sources or natural additives may be included. Likewise, fermentable carbohydrates like wheat, rice and maize are added to produce different styles as well as flavors. Beer style categorizes this alcoholic beverage by factors including flavor, production technique, ingredients, color, and origin etc., of which ale and lager are the two commercially popular types. Ales use top fermenting yeast at a room temperature, on the contrary lagers are made with bottom – fermenting yeast below 10 Celsius. The global beer market is expected to generate about $688.4 billion in sales by 2020. Besides this, the aforementioned industry is likely to register a CAGR of 6 percent during the forecast period 2015 to 2020. A significant increase in the consumption volume is believed to fuel the market growth in developing regions.

Worldwide, sales is following an upward trend. Many brands are now experiencing tremendous success due to a sudden rise in the disposable income and changing lifestyle. Exploiting a niche segment, matured markets are also witnessing a dramatic shift in the high calorie beer market and have developed a taste for low –calorie brew. Likewise, continuous popularity of craft brew has paved a path for a new generation of producers. It is phenomenon, that right from their debut to their annual sales the strong and light brews occupy majority of the market share in the beer industry. Alternatives to glass such as PET, makers are using durable yet ductile, affordable and sustainable packaging solutions like cans or draught. Consumption statistics also disclose a rapid growth in the number of female drinkers.

Beer Market Analysis by Type

World’s largest brands have uncorked and positioned their wide portfolio of strong and light brew in the domestic and international market, which now occupies a major chunk of the total business. The market for strong brew is expected to garner about $464 billion in sales by 2020. Besides this, the strong industry is likely to register a CAGR of 6.5 percent during the period 2015 to 2020. Many developed countries have been biased to stronger brew, a liking that has become highly accentuated with the brand image associated with such drinks. In the West, taste and refinement are the prime factors for drinkers. Thus many prefer strong brews due to their high alcoholic content. In close completion are the light brews that have low calorie count and other nutritional contents. Light brew have exploited the desire of the health conscious drinkers to stay healthy.

Beer Industry Market Analysis by Production

Breweries are categorized into macro-breweries and micro-breweries based on the production volume or size. Officially the war between them is on, with craft brew companies increasing their production capability. Macro breweries are offering quality and quantity across greater distances. At the same time microbreweries are benefitting too. Likewise, emergence of breweries in less saturated locales worldwide too is a welcome news. Recent changes in drinking preferences have considerably increased the demand for micro-breweries, which is anticipated to register a CAGR of 9.3 percent during the period of 2015 to 2020. Larger number of discerning consumers are shifting to locally produced drinks, enabling the ale industry to revive. So, with varieties of flavor as well as alcohol content, microbreweries are increasing today because distributors spotted a huge demand and took risk on imports of major microbrew brands.

Industry by Category

Better sales of even the more expensive premium, super premium and draught have shrugged off all doubts about the dip in the consumption volume. Consumers today are increasingly desirous to experiment with locally produced premium and international varieties. Many brewers now recognize that the premium brews industry would stay the most attractive new segment. Some brewers have just hyped their portfolio as premium in many countries because they are international. Producers are putting greater focus on how they should brand these premium labels. Premunization, is significant and an innovation, that aims at targeting the high–spending customers including highly trendy brews for tier -1 mavericks. The premium industry is anticipated to register a CAGR of 6.4 percent during the period of 2015 to 2020, when compared to the super premium and normal brew segment. Besides this, the super-premium brews are observing a rapid growth in the business and would grow three folds. Few major consumer behavior pattern have also given the super-premium sales a push. The grocery outlets today make up a major part of alcohol sales in terms of value. This presents a greater opportunity for the super – premium brews to grow via channel expansion. Moreover, the normal brews occupy a largest division of about 43 percent of the total industry.

Industry by Packaging

The packaging plays a vital role when it comes to influencing the customer buying pattern. Available in bottles, cans or draught these drinks are delivered with care and consideration. In line with the growing sales of brews like ales, new and flavored drinks in bottles are making waves. However with acceleration, canned brew are giving an intense competition to their bottled and draught peers. Likewise, cans are becoming more and more famous and idiosyncrasy in it contributes to the shift in the buying pattern or attitude. There is a rising demand for canned that can be easily stored as well as transported. Further, what makes canned the first choice is the fact that it protect the content from external heat. Alongside this, range of already –established draught brews are continuing to expand in the competitive business environment.

Industry by Geography

Over the 300 years that ale existed in North America, customer demands has constantly pushed the segment forward with rapid and steady growth. Next, introduction to the craft brewing technique created immense opportunity and a greater population responded to it with further support. Similarly, Europe also has an emerging market for hop lovers. Region’s relaxed brewing mandates have stabilized the consumption volume, which fell significantly in the past two years. Emerging economies are also becoming significantly important to the major international brands, as sales in some matured region still lags. Increased sales in Latin America and Asia has empowered producers to economize out complete sales growth. The Asia – Pacific market is expected to garner about $202.4 billion in sales by 2020. Besides this, the market is expected to register a CAGR of 7.3 percent during the period 2015 – 2020.

Beer Industry Competitive Analysis

To acquire a major chunk of the market, brew producers are seen expanding their distribution channels even for their less popular breeds. Merger and acquisition, rumors have hovered over the brew sector for years, with many domestic and international brewers considering tie – up at some point, inescapable. Likewise, multinational producers continue to make huge investments to grow their reach and trump up collaboration with domestic operators, to help consumers keen in exploring the local and international varieties buy them. To tap demand for expensive brews, a product segment where companies have more rivals brands decide to compete directly and launch new products.

And here’s a short “Analyst’s Review:”

The Global Beer Market would witness a steady growth in the coming years. Europe accounts for the highest revenue generating region in the global beer market followed by Asia-Pacific and North America. The growth in the North American and European region would be at a moderate pace in the future due to increasing health consciousness and legal regulations in the region. However, there has been a significant increase in the demand of beer in the developing countries of Asia-Pacific region. International brewing companies like SABMiller, Heineken have introduced especially brewed beer for the Asian market catering to the distinct taste buds of the consumers. The global beer market is primarily driven by the increasing disposable incomes and changing lifestyles. The growing adoption of craft beer and the rising number of restaurants and bars would further accelerate the growth of the beer market.

Conventionally, the male population has been the major consumer segment. However, with evolving cultural changes and modernization, there has been a significant rise in the count of females drinking beer. Women in the age group of 21 to 30 consume more beer than other age groups. Women generally prefer light beer with low alcohol content. Many vendors in the market are focusing on drinks especially made for women to increase their customer base and serve a wider audience. There has also been a rise in the adoption of craft beer as consumers want to explore different beer flavors. Craft beers include traditional brewing methods with exotic ingredients which add distinct flavor to the beer. Craft beer is widely adopted in the European and North American countries while Asian countries are still in the growing phase. Growing health consciousness, heavy taxation, and legal regulation limit the growth of the market. Stiff competition from substitutes including wine and other spirits also restrict its adoption.

You can buy the full report, and if you want to share it with me, I wouldn’t say no.

What The New Landscape Of Beer Might Look Like

You’d have to be living under a rock to not have seen the news that ABI was planning a takeover bid to acquire SABMiller, which might work unless SABMiller might be able to buy Heineken, thus making itself too big for ABI to get in a hostile takeover. These rumors have long been circulating so nobody who’s been paying attention to the beer industry was too surprised at these announcements.

But so far I haven’t seen too much discussion about what the beer world might look like if any of these come to pass. The online news site Quartz filled that gap by producing a chart showing that This is what the family tree of beer companies will look like if AB InBev acquires SABMiller.

Click here to see the chart full size.

Prohibitionists Calling Most Of The World “Idiotic”

Here’s yet another example of prohibitionists’ zeal run amuck. It’s one thing to disagree with opinions you don’t like, but quite another to call them “idiotic,” especially when the idea being called “idiotic” is the standard in a majority of countries worldwide. Here’s a Tweet from the chuckleheads at Alcohol Justice this morning, where they essentially insult most of the world.


Setting aside the fact that today, September 5, is a Saturday and not a Tuesday, and they couldn’t be bothered to change the text to match reality (tell me again who’s the idiot here?), let’s see what this is all about.

What got AJ into an insulting mood was a California man’s proposal to return the minimum legal drinking age in our state to its pre-1984 level, which was reported in Proposed measure would drop drinking age to 18. And of course, Alcohol Justice disagrees with that, in part because they’re against absolutely anything that shows alcohol in a positive light or opens its availability. And disagreeing is fine, of course. Calling something they disagree with “idiotic” is childish, at best, and at worst is insulting to every other nation of the world in which the minimum drinking age is 18 or below. And that accounts for 83% of the world’s countries. Or 86% for under 21. Only 6%, or 12 countries, have 21 as their drinking age, putting us in such company as Iraq, Mongolia, Oman, and Sri Lanka. In a further 16 nations (with some exceptions for non-muslims), around 8%, it’s illegal to drink alcohol no matter what age you are. So if AJ thinks it’s idiotic for California (and America) to let its otherwise legal adults drink at age 18, by extension they think most of the rest of the world is idiotic, too. Way to keep it professional.

Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) in 190 Countries


But the Legal Drinking Age for most persons is well below 21, and has been, as it had been for the United States before 1984, for a very long time, for most of human history in fact. According to Alcohol Problems and Solutions, “the average (mean) minimum legal drinking age around the globe is 15.9. The majority of countries have set the drinking age at 18. In fifty countries the minimum age is lower than 18 and in 12 countries it is higher than 18″ (which has changed slightly since that was written, but the analysis is still relevant). ProCon has more current figures on the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) in 190 Countries.

But even calling something that most of the world does “the worst idea,” especially when it’s been the norm for most of history, seems typical for prohibitionists who are already convinced they know better and have never been shy about telling you how you should be living your life and what you’re doing wrong (psst – it’s drinking and enjoying yourself). But it also feels fairly condescending and downright rude, and using the stock photo of a dour man wearing a dunce cap tells us how they really feel about the people who don’t think the same way as they do. I guess we’re all idiots.

Session #100: One Hundred Beers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

It’s hard to believe we’ve doing this 100 months in a row, but it’s true. For our 100th Session, our host, Reuben Grey — who writes the Tale of the Ale — has decided to send us all on a quest to find the ark of the holy grail filled with lost beer styles, or something like that. Actually, for the June Session, the topic is “Resurrecting Lost Beer Styles,” which he describes below.

There are many [lost or almost lost beer styles] that have started to come back in to fashion in the last 10 years due to the rise of craft beer around the world.

If you have a local beer style that died out and is starting to appear again then please let the world know. Not everyone will so just write about any that you have experienced. Some of the recent style resurrections I have come across in Ireland are Kentucky Common, Grodziskie, Gose and some others. Perhaps it’s a beer you have only come across in homebrew circles and is not even made commercially.

There are no restrictions other than the beer being an obscure style you don’t find in very many places. The format, I leave up to individuals. It could be a historical analysis or just a simple beer review.


Not content to follow directions, I recently spent way too much time thinking about beer color and creating several lists as a part of that. So I’m feeling whatever the opposite of listless is. Listical? Listful?

I have a love/hate relationship with beer styles. I think of them as both useless and necessary at the same time. And I’m hopeless when it comes to the instinct to categorize and organize everything, I can’t help but do it. I want to believe it’s simply human nature but I clearly have an advanced case of whatever disease causes people to catalogue, classify and codify the world.

I see beer styles as a dichotomy that will never be resolved. I understand both sides of the divide and think both are correct, and wrong, at least sometimes. The way we think about beer styles is a modern construct. Michael Jackson created the taxonomy that’s still with us (more or less) as a way to write about different beers around the world, and then Fred Eckhardt expanded on it and codified it for homebrewers, sealing its fate as the way we generally talk about beer styles. And I think it worked pretty well … for a while. It’s undoubtedly useful in judging and creating expectations. But I remember fifteen or so years ago Charlie Bamforth, my professor at U.C. Davis for the short course, telling us how beer styles don’t matter at all. And he was right, of course. They don’t. All that matters to a commercial brewery is that people like, and more importantly, buy the beer, no matter what “style” it is.

But where all these different beers came from has to do with geography, climate, agriculture and culture. Place is the single most important factor in having created so many different types of beer. Every local area had its own unique, or a mostly unique variation, of beer that took advantage of what the brewers had on hand, be it the grain, hops or other flavors they could get, what the local water was like, the local customs, and the politics or culture itself. What we call traditional beer styles today are simply the winners, the local or regional styles that survived industrialization and displaced more local styles as breweries grew larger and expanded their reach. Beer, slowly at first, and then much more rapidly, became commodified, became all the same, especially in the U.S., but all over the world to a greater or lesser extent. Popular regional, national and global brands displaced local ones and many of those can now be considered “lost,” if not entirely forgotten.


A favorite line from Elvis Costello’s 1977 song “I’m Not Angry” is “there’s no such thing as an original sin.” And I think that applies to beer styles, too. Just about everything has been tried before, and we fool ourselves that modern beers are more innovative. That’s not to take away from brewers trying to make distinctive beers, whether by trying to break tradition or finding beers that have become extinct or nearly so and resurrecting them, so to speak, or more often making a modern interpretation. I think these are all good developments. I’m not sure we need another IPA, so I find it much more interesting that brewers are exploring different flavors in an effort to stand out and make their mark in the beer world. So I’m not as interested in opining if they’re styles or not, I just want to taste them.

So for this Session, still feeling listful, I decided instead to do some searching around to simply find how many old, mostly forgotten types of beer I could find. As I said, I came up with the title before I even knew if I could find 100. It took maybe an hour to go past the century mark, and in the end, was no problem at all. And that tells us quite a bit about how much the landscape of beer was changed by industrialization and the consolidation of the industry worldwide. When beer became very much the same, the local, more unique beers were lost. We saw the same thing happen with food, too, which spawned the artisanal movements for better cheese, meats, chocolate, heirloom fruits and vegetables, etc.
Blue metal compass
So the list of 100 beers below is not strictly all extinct beers, but also includes beers nearly so, ones that are starting to come back, beers that are only made by a very few breweries and some so ancient we don’t know much about them beyond their names. The beers are from all over the compass. I gathered them from a variety of sources, mostly websites and a few books in my library. When I say you’ve probably never heard of them, chances are you know the names of at least a few of them. You could probably test your beer geek quotient by how many you recognize.

  1. Aarschotse Bruine
  2. Adambier
  3. Black Cork
  4. Black or Spruce Beer
  5. Bremer Bier
  6. Brett-Fermented Stock Ale
  7. Breyhan or Broyhan
  8. Burton Ale
  9. Chicha
  10. Citronenbier (Lemon Beer)
  11. Cock Ale
  12. Coirm
  13. Colne Spring Ale
  14. Cöpenicker Moll
  15. Dampfbier
  16. Danziger Bier
  17. Deutsches Porter
  18. Devonshire White or Devon White Ale
  19. Duckstein
  20. Dutch Black Buckwheat Beer
  21. Ebla
  22. Eilenburger Bier
  23. Einfachbier
  24. Erfurter Bier
  25. Erntebier (Harvest Beer)
  26. Fern Ale
  27. Fränkische Biere
  28. Gale Ale
  29. Garlebischer Garley
  30. Geithayner
  31. Gotlandsdrickå
  32. Grodziski (a.k.a. Grodziskie or Grätzer Bier)
  33. Grout Ale
  34. Hamburger Bier
  35. Heather Ale
  36. Hellesroggen
  37. Hogen Mogen
  38. Hosenmilch
  39. Humming Ale
  40. Jopenbier
  41. Kash or Kás
  42. Kashbir
  43. Kashdu
  44. Kashdùg
  45. Kashgíg or Kashgíg-dùgga
  46. Kash-sur-ra
  47. Kassi
  48. Kennett Ale
  49. Kentucky Common
  50. Keptinus Alus
  51. Kiszlnschtschi
  52. Kodoulu
  53. Kotbüsser Bier
  54. Koyt
  55. Kushkal
  56. Kuurna
  57. Kvass
  58. Leipziger Stadtbier
  59. Lichtenhainer
  60. Light Bitter
  61. Light Mild
  62. Lübecker
  63. Makgeolli
  64. Merseburger
  65. Moskovskaya (Old Moscow Brown Ale)
  66. Mum or Mumme
  67. Münster Beer
  68. Naumburger
  69. Pennsylvania Swankey
  70. Peeterman
  71. Potsdamer Bier
  72. Preusishce Bier
  73. Purl
  74. Rheinländische Bitterbier
  75. Rostocker Bier
  76. Ruppiner Bier
  77. Sahti
  78. Säuerliche Bier
  79. Scotch Ale
  80. Seef
  81. Sloe Beer (Schlehenbier)
  82. Sour Bock
  83. Sour Ofest
  84. Sour Old Ale
  85. Stein Beer
  86. Stingo
  87. Stitch
  88. Strong Pale Mild
  89. Sußbier or Einfachbier
  90. Uitzet or Uytzet
  91. Ulushin
  92. Vatted Old Ale
  93. Vatted Porter
  94. Weizenschalenbier
  95. West Country White Ale
  96. Wettiner
  97. Windsor Ale
  98. Winter Warmer
  99. Wurzner
  100. Zerbster

How much fun would it be to try every one of them? Beer, of course, is a global drink and is the third most-consumed liquid (after water and tea) so I suspect the number of lost beers is far greater than this, and probably numbers in the hundreds, or possibly thousands, depending on how you differentiated them. Should we try to catalogue them all? Now that would be a real fool’s errand, but it would be fun to try.


Where Do The Moderate Drinking Guidelines Come From?

For as long as I can remember, the recommended daily allowance to remain within moderate drinking guidelines has been one drink for a woman and two for a man. With the USDA’s new 2015 Dietary Guidelines open for comment, Modern Drunkard magazine, through their Brutal Hammer news blog, attempted to discover where those longstanding “2 for a man/1 for a woman” (2m/1w) guidelines came from, and wrote up their efforts in The CDC Is Stonewalling Us. In some ways it’s a silly piece, hinging on the CDC’s website comment apparatus not working, but the overriding question is sound. While the rest of the document about the Dietary Guidelines is heavily footnoted, with numerous references to the basis for their recommendations, the 2m/1w guidelines is suspiciously and conspicuously absent of any underlying scientific support.

Nowhere is it apparent how they came to that determination. No footnotes, no citations of scientific studies, not a damn bit of evidence to support it. Granted, my bourbon binoculars (the classier version of beer goggles, but they see deep into the truth of things) can only take in so much information at a time, but I couldn’t find a shred of reasoning for these arbitrary numbers.

I’d never thought about that before, but it’s a valid question. Where did they come up with that? And it’s not an unimportant one. The guidelines for defining moderate consumption are not the same worldwide, and in fact vary widely.

For example, Professor David J. Hanson at the State University of New York notes. “The fact that alcohol consumption guidelines are arbitrary is demonstrated by the wide variance in maximum limits recommended around the world. For example Poland’s recommended limit is 12.5 units per week whereas Australia’s is 35. Indeed, much research finds better health and greater longevity associated with drinking above the recommended guidelines published by most countries.” To contrast the U.S. guidelines, “Canada recommends that men on average consume no more than three drinks per day, five days per week, for a total of 15 drinks per week. For women it recommends, on average, no more than two drinks per day, five days per week, for a total of 10 drinks per week.”


A British examination of 27 European nation’s guidelines found “a remarkable lack of agreement about what constitutes harmful or excessive alcohol consumption on a daily basis, a weekly basis and when driving, with no consensus about the ratios of consumption guidelines for men and women.” Hanson concluded. “Thus, it appears that the differences in recommended guidelines are not based solely on the scientific medical evidence, but on cultural and political considerations. That is, the guidelines are highly arbitrary.”

And in some cases, capricious, as well. It was revealed in 2007, twenty years after the guidelines for the UK had been set in stone in 1987, that they were simply made up. One committee member who’d worked on the guidelines remembered that they were simply “plucked out of the air” and had “no basis in science” whatsoever, which I detailed at the time in Target: Alcohol. Without a clear basis on which our own guidelines were arrived upon, how can we be certain ours are any less fabricated inventions?

The other issue that’s never adequately addressed is the split for men and women. Supposedly, it’s because “Women tend to be smaller, but also have different body compositions and different metabolic enzymes.” But we know that weight matters. It’s how we figure out how much an individual can drink before they’ll be drunk or at least reach a specific blood alcohol level, because the rates are fairly precise when accounting for weight plus intake. So why do we ignore that simple knowledge with the guidelines? There are, of course, plenty of small, light men as well as many heavier women. It’s just a reality that people are diverse.

The International Center for Alcohol Policies or ICAP, somewhat disingenuously claims that the “Recommendations are based on scientific data regarding drinking levels at which risk increases,” yet never reveals where this “scientific data” comes from. And the fact that the guidelines vary widely from country to country would seem to suggest otherwise. Because if there was hard scientific data it would be the same everywhere, and the guidelines would not vary by as much as they do.

The closest thing I can find in the U.S. is at the Recommended Alcohol Questions on the NIH and NIAAA website states that the guidelines are “based on recent epidemiological studies on alcohol intake and risks which have demonstrated that for estimating risk of mortality, morbidity (including injuries) and other problems including drunk driving and social harms.” But then where are the citations for these epidemiological studies, and how could they possibly quantify such subjective issues as “social harms.” Quick answer: they can’t, not and remain purely scientific as the guidelines really should be.

I had never stopped to question the 2m/1w guidelines before, and it appears neither did almost anyone else. While there are plenty of citations for many aspects of the dietary guidelines, when it comes to alcohol, the government suddenly goes silent. But it doesn’t seem like too much to ask that the scientific basis for them be revealed and transparent. I’m not even arguing against them, and have always thought they were somewhat reasonable, especially in their current incarnation with the addition of the weekly limits. But we really should be able to see how they were arrived at, and what science, if any, they were based on.


Every Country’s Most Popular Beer

Here’s an interesting map. Vinepair has created a global chart of “The Most Popular Beer in Every Country,” based on “market share for each country” from “the most recent year available.” If they couldn’t find the data, or if there wasn’t a clear winner, they left them off the map, which is why there are some countries with no beer listed. That’s especially true in Africa and parts of Asia but, curiously, for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, too.

Click here to see the map full size.

World’s Drunkest Countries

An online article today on Business Insider examines the World Health Organization’s most recent Global status report on alcohol and health 2014. Entitled Here Are The Drunkest Countries In The World, it gives the highlights of the WHO report. Unfortunately, in my experience WHO tends to lean on the side of prohibitionists in their approach to alcohol, highlighting primarily the bad aspects while ignoring the positive. As a result, WHO tends to be all doom and gloom about alcohol in the world. It’s a somewhat odd position. At any rate, they use the map below, showing per capita alcohol consumption by country, as of 2010 (but it’s the same data in the 2014 report).

See the chart full size.

One thing to notice is that despite the hue and cry from U.S.-based anti-alcohol groups, American consumption has been flat or down since its 1980 high point, and worldwide we’re pretty much in the middle of the consumption scale, not the lowest or the highest, as they’d have us believe. Canada drinks more than we do. So does Australia and most of Europe, especially Eastern Europe and Russia.

But even with WHO’s very conservative view of drinking alcohol, American patterns of risky drinking is even lower than average, squarely in the second-lowest category. For example, Mexico may drink less than Americans per capita, but still manages to drink in a more risky manner, and Canada and us are the same, despite out-drinking Americans. Likewise, Western Europe, which drinks more than most, engages in the least risky behavior, at least as WHO defines it.

See the chart full size.

So if we accept the way WHO comes up with that statistic — stated as by considering “the usual quantity of alcohol consumed per occasion, proportion of drinking events when drinkers get drunk, proportion of drinkers who drink daily or nearly daily, festive drinking, drinking with meals, and drinking in public places — then overall there’s a lot less risky drinking in the world than the first chart would have us believe. While per capita consumption seems to follow the expected bell curve, risky behavior does not, with far less dark spots. The riskiest countries are concentrated in just a few nations, and looks even larger than it really is because one of the countries is geographically very big. The countries in the second-riskiest tier looks to be less than ten nations, suggesting that a majority of places to do not engage in a great deal of risky drinking, which is frankly what I’d expect. Either way, I’m not sure hardly any deserve the title “drunkest countries.”