If you’re on the national beer festival circuit, you’ve no doubt seen Ray McCoy, whose birthday is today. In 2003, Ray was crowned “Beer Drinker of the Year” in the contest sponsored by Wynkoop. Ray and his wife, Cornelia Corey (herself a 2001 BDOTY, making them the only couple to have won) travel from their native North Carolina to attend many of the big beer festivals and events around the country, and the parties are always a bit more fun when they’re around. Join me in wishing Ray a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Julie Johnson, who until not too long ago was the editor of All About Beer magazine, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Julie is without a doubt one of the nicest people in the industry and a pleasure to work with. Plus she likes odd little German trolls almost as much as I do. Hers is pink, mine’s silver. Don’t ask — or do, if you’d like a long, rambling travel story. Join me in wishing Julie a very happy birthday.
Today is also the 44th birthday of Chris Rice, who led a group that not too long ago bought All About Beer magazine. Chris had worked at the magazine for many a moon, and in fact I got to know him much better during a press junket to Belgium a few years ago when I learned, among other things, that he’s a shark card player. He’s also a former brewery owner, having co-founded the Carolina Brewery in 1995, shortly after graduating from UNC. Having gone back to school for an MBA, he joined the staff of All About Beer and a couple of years took over as president and publisher. Join me wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
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.”
“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.”
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.
Today is the 54th birthday of Rick Lyke, a fellow drinks writer in North Carolina. Rick writes for a variety of publications and online at Lyke 2 Drink. It’s especially terrific that we can all celebrate Rick’s 54th today, because he fought and won a battle with prostate cancer, which prompted him to found the grassroots organization Pints For Prostates. Rick is a terrific champion for both great beer and men’s health. Join me in wishing Rick a very happy birthday.
Rick at the first Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF Week in 2009.
Thanks to declines in sales volume, MillerCoors announced today that they will be closing their brewery in Eden, North Carolina, winding it down over the next year with plans to finally close in September of next year.
According to MillerCoors’ website:
Opened in 1978, the Eden facility was the first brewery to produce Miller Genuine Draft back in 1986. Today, it’s a state-of-the-art operation with more than 500 employees and an annual brewing capacity of 9 million barrels. The small, friendly community of Eden lies near Greensboro.
Here’s the press release:
“Today we made the difficult decision to close our brewery in Eden, N.C., in order to optimize our brewery footprint and streamline operations for greater efficiency across our remaining seven breweries,” said Chief Integrated Supply Chain Officer Fernando Palacios.
The decision to close the Eden Brewery was due to significant overlap in distribution between Eden and the Shenandoah, Va., brewery, which is approximately 200 miles away. Eden has been a strong performer over the years. However, Shenandoah is better suited geographically in relation to Northeast markets and is also the newest brewery in MillerCoors network.
The Eden brewery employs approximately 520 employees. In 2014, Eden produced 7.1 million barrels of beer, which were shipped to 280 independently-owned distributors. Brands include Blue Moon seasonals, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. Over the next 12 months, products currently produced in Eden will be transitioned to other breweries, including Shenandoah, Va.; Trenton, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Albany, Ga.; and Milwaukee, Wis.
Since the creation of MillerCoors seven years ago, volume has declined by nearly 10 million barrels. This volume loss is due to a variety of factors, including economic challenges, an explosion of choice and fragmentation within the beer business, and a dramatic change in the way consumers engage with brands. As a result of declining volume, MillerCoors breweries are operating at an increasingly inefficient capacity. While MillerCoors is taking steps to strengthen its overall portfolio to drive long-term growth in volume and share, continued volume declines are expected each of the next few years.
“We take great pride in supporting the communities where we live and work,” Palacios said. “We’ve been proud to be part of the Eden community since we shipped our first products in 1978. We will work with community leaders to make sure we continue to support the community while we are brewing beer in Eden.”
The Milwaukee Business Journal added:
Blue Moon seasonal products will be moving to the Milwaukee brewery, which already produces seasonal varieties for Leinenkugel, said Marty Maloney, a spokesman for MillerCoors. Maloney said each brewery receiving work from Eden will evaluate its own hiring needs, but the shift could add jobs or at least support the existing jobs in Milwaukee.
But decreasing sales — volume has declined by almost 10 million barrels since 2008 and the company expects the trend to continue for the next few years — mean MillerCoors’ breweries are operating inefficiently, and future closures or reductions could be in the big brewer’s future.
Today is the birthday of Julie Radcliffe Atallah, co-owner of one of the nation’s premiere beer stores, Bruisin’ Ales in Asheville, North Carolina. We took a family vacation to Asheville a few years ago and got to know Julie and her husband Jason. They were great hosts and terrific ambassadors for the beer in their community. Julie is also among the elite twitterati within the beer world online and writes the Bruisin’ Ales Blog. Plus, we’re both from Pennsylvania. Join me in wishing Julie a very happy birthday.
Note: Many of these photos purloined from Facebook and other sources.
If you’re on the national beer festival circuit, you’ve no doubt seen Cornelia Corey, who turns 59 today. In 2001, Cornelia became the first female “Beer Drinker of the Year” in the contest sponsored by Wynkoop. She and her husband, Ray McCoy (himself a 2003 BDOTY, making them the only couple to have won) travel from their native North Carolina to attend many of the big beer festivals and events around the country, and the parties are always a bit more fun when they’re around. Join me in wishing Cornelia a very happy birthday.
Today is the 66th birthday of Daniel Bradford. Until recently, Daniel was the publisher of All About Beer magazine. He’s been involved in the beer world for many a year, from the early days of GABF to the Brewers Association of America, which a few years ago merged with the Association of Brewers to become the Brewers Association. Last year, longtime employee, and former brewer, Chris Rice bought the magazine, and Daniel continues to be involved as an associate publisher. Join me in wishing Daniel a very happy birthday.