Beer Birthday: Jennie Hatton

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Jennie Hatton, who did P.R. for Philly Beer Week and several craft breweries in the tri-state area for a number of years. She cut her teeth working for Tom Peters at Monk’s Cafe. Jennie and her business partner Claire Pelino are responsible for many, many beer books being published as literary agents to a number of beer writers, including yours truly. Also, Jennie is one of my favorite people in the industry and she’s so much fun to be around that people refer to her as “The Wonderful Jennie Hatton.” Also, few people love tater tots like I do, and she’s one of them. That’s enough for me. More recently, she became the North American Brand Manager for Crabbie’s Ginger Beer. Join me in wishing Jennie a very happy birthday.

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Jennie and me on the floor at GABF in 2008.

Everyone wanted their picture taken with the Hammer, and Jennie was only too happy to oblige
Jennie wielding the Hammer of Glory during this last year’s Philly Beer Week.

Jennie Hatton and the Reverend
Jennie and the Reverend Kirk T. Berlenbach, Rector of Saint Timothy’s Episcopal Church, at the Sam, Tomme & Old Beer event at Nodding Head Brewing during Philly Beer Week.

Jennie w/tots & a dog at North Lanes Lounge
Jennie with some of the best tater tots ever, at North Lanes Lounge in Philly.

Beer Birthday: Tom Peters

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My good friend Tom Peters, one of the owners of Monk’s Cafe and Belgian Beer Emporium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, turns 60 today. His enthusiasm for and promotion of Belgian beer has few equals. And he throws perhaps the best late night parties of anyone I’ve ever known. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.

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Tom Peters with Dave Keene, owners of the best two Belgian beer bars on both coasts.

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Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie Carey, co-owner of Monk’s, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters.

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Tom Peters, with Rob Tod from Allagash in Portland, Maine, at GABF.

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Me and Tom after the Great Lambic Summit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology & Anthropology during last year’s Philly Beer Week.

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In Belgium, with a perfectly poured Orval, with Daniel Neuner, William Reed and Justin Low.

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Also in Belgium, with a Fanta and Frites sandwich.

Beer Birthday: Fergus Carey

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Today is the 51st birthday of Fergus Carey, better known simply as Fergie. Fergie owns Fergie’s Pub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is co-owner of Monk’s Cafe with Tom Peters and is also a partner in Nodding Head Brewery. Fergie’s always a fun person to have around and he’s as kind as soul as ever I’ve met in the beer world. Join me in wishing Fergie a very happy birthday.

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Fergie huddling up with Tom Dalldorf and his Monk’s Cafe partner Tom Peters at 2st Amendment in San Francisco.

Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie Carey and Armand Debelder
Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie and Armand Debelder at a Lambic Beer Dinner last month at Mon’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week.

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Outside Monk’s cafe: Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, after the Canned Beer Dinner in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Carol Stoudt

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Today is Carol Stoudt’s birthday. She and her husband Ed started the first microbrewery in Pennsylvania, Stoudt Brewing, not far from where I grew up. After my grandfather retired, he worked part time there helping out with maintenance. He was married to Ed’s aunt so I’m distantly related to the Stoudts by marriage. I grew up going to their restaurant, Stoudt’s Black Angus, but had already moved to California by the time they opened the brewery. But it’s been great seeing them at the various craft beer industry functions from year to year. Plus they make terrific beer and have created an amazing destination in Adamstown. If you haven’t been to Stoudtberg, you should definitely plan a visit. Join me in wishing Carol a very happy birthday.

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Me and Carol behind Stoudt’s bar during a Christmastime visit several years ago.

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Ed and Carol Stoudt, with Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver, Colorado.

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Dave Alexander, former owner of the Brickskeller in D.C., with Carol at GABF.

Carol Stoudt & me
Carol and me at Fergie’s Place during Philly Beer Week several years ago.

Beer Birthday: Sebbie Buhler

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Today is Sebbie Buhler’s 58th birthday. Sebbie had been a rep. for Rogue for as long as anyone could remember, though she no longer works for Rogue. Her face still graces the label of Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. She could be found at beer festivals and other events throughout the country and throughout the year. She’s without a doubt one of the best people in the industry and sets the standard that brewery reps should adopt and emulate. She left the beer industry to help out with her parents business P-Stat, but continues to advocate for better beer. Join me in wishing Sebbie a very happy birthday.

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Sebbie, her chocolate stout and Phil’s rubber chicken.

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Me and Sebbie at the Falling Rock during GABF week in 2006.

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Pouring Rogue’s distilled spirits at Slow Food Nation at Fort Mason, San Francisco.

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Picking up two World beer Cup awards for Rogue in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Tom Kehoe

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Today is the 49th birthday of Tom Keohe, founder of Yards Brewing, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tom’s been a fixture of the Philly beer scene as long as I can remember, at at least since 1996. He’s one of those people that you feel like you’ve known for years, even when you first meet him. And he’s a terrifically talented brewer, too. Join me in wishing Tom a very happy birthday.

Toasting the Class of '96: Greg Koch, Mark Edelson, Bill Covaleski, Tom Kehoe, Gene Muller & Sam Calagione
Toasting the Class of ’96: Greg Koch, Mark Edelson, Bill Covaleski, Tom Kehoe, Gene Muller & Sam Calagione.

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With Philadelphia Mayor Nutter and Tom Kehoe handing out glasses of the ceremonial beer to the assembled crowd at the opening ceremonies of the first Philly Beer Week in 2008.

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Tom explaining the beers he created for the colonial themed City Tavern.

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Tom clowning around with the Hammer of Glory during Philly Beer Week a couple of years ago.

Beer In Ads #1228: Its Heart Belongs To Europe


Friday’s ad is for Imperial Pilsener, from 1976. Imperial Pilsener was made by the Hofbrau Brewing Co. from Allentown, Pennsylvania. It’s interesting to see a beer using “imperial” in its name in the 1970s. Using the tagline “Its heart belongs to Europe,” it seems less like they’re using it to denote strength than an air of European-ness.

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Beer In Ads #1227: Real Quality Beer For 100 Consecutive Years


Thursday’s ad is for Iron City Beer, from 1960. Despite a clock in the background, they seem to have a funny idea about time. Actually, even funnier, that clock looks like it marks both the days in a month and the hours in a day; a clock and a calendar. The ad claims “Real quality beer for 100 consecutive years,” but that seems to ignore those pesky 13 years when no one was supposed to be brewing beer.

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Beer Birthday: John Hansell

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Today is the 54th birthday of John Hansell, publisher of Malt Advocate, the whisky magazine in America, which also puts on WhiskyFest in several cities, including San Francisco. John’s a terrific person I don’t see nearly often enough. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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John with All About Beer’s Julie Johnson at the beer bistro in Toronto.

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John and Lew Bryson.

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Toasting Stephen & Maggie Beaumont’s wedding, with Tom Peters, from Monk’s Cafe, and Stephen Beaumont.

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John in a publicity shot with his wife Amy.

Pennsylvania Anti-Privatization Propaganda

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I’ve considered myself a Californian since 1985, when I moved to the Golden State. But I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. On my Mom’s side, my family first came from Berne, Switzerland, to the Reading area in 1745. I have a relative who participated in the Revolutionary War and another who fought at Gettysburg, and whose name is enshrined on the Pennsylvania Monument there. As a result, I tend to feel a connection to the Commonwealth and try to keep a closer eye on what goes on there.

The Keystone State is a peculiar one, especially when it comes to alcohol. State Stores there enjoy a monopoly on liquor and wine sales, and beer is sold only by the case (with some expensive exceptions) in heavily regulated and licensed beer and soda stores known as “distributors.” When I turned 21, in 1980, the state still didn’t have photo driver’s licenses and I remember having to fill out a form and attach a photo so the state could create my PLCB photo card, whose only purpose was to buy a drink, in effect a drinking card. The drive to change the state’s weird, and antiquated, alcohol laws has been a topic of conversation literally since I was a child, and I can recall my parents debating its merits. They were in favor of privatization, as apparently a majority of Pennsylvanians still are.

But efforts to privatize Pennsylvania’s alcohol trade and get rid of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, or PLCB, always seem to stall, and nothing ever seems to change. Watching from afar that seems as true today as it did when I still lived there. Everybody I know hates the system the way it is, but no one’s been able to change that due to what I can only assume are powerful forces who want to keep the status quo the way it is. But over the last few years, momentum appears to be building again to bend the state’s laws toward the will of the people and privatize the sale of beer, wine and spirits.

And they must be making some progress, because a few days ago I saw this:

It’s easily one of the most obnoxious, dishonest and insulting pieces of propaganda I’ve ever seen. Right out of the gate they insult every other state where alcohol is sold in grocery stores and other places where people already do their shopping, a.k.a. the civilized world, when they state that it “would be so dangerous for kids.” Hey lady (scriptwriter, really), I’ve got news for you. We can buy beer in all manner of stores throughout California, and my kids are just fine, thank you very much. There’s so much dishonesty in the ad that it’s almost not worth going through it point by point. But the capper is how they end it, by saying “it’s about greed, pure and simple.”

What’s so dishonest about that is that the ad is indeed about greed, but the greed of the people who made the ad who want to keep the status quo, and the money flowing to them. The ad was created by the UFCW PA Wine & Spirits Council (a front organization) and the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1776 (UFCW 1776) (and was produced by Strategic Communications). As I’ve written many times before, one of the most pernicious tactics of these campaigns is invoking “it’s for the children,” when it’s really not about that at all. But this one takes it to a new low with their new catch phrase: “It only takes a little bit of greed to kill a child.”

You might ask what kind of a person would come up with something like that? It’s most likely UCFW 1776′s “president for life” Wendell W. Young IV, who apparently has made a career out of this sort of thing, as detailed nicely by my friend and colleague Lew Bryson in Wendell Young lies and I can prove it on his blog all about Why The PLCB Should Be Abolished.

As he points out, the ad is so ham-fisted and absurd that it’s made the state a laughingstock, with news reports lambasting the ad from Forbes to the National Memo, which declared it the “craziest political ad of 2014.” Also, the Commonwealth Foundation points out how the statistic about North Carolina’s children dying at a rate of one per week is false. The Foundation also has a good overview of the Principles of Liquor Privatization.

But it’s another example in the ongoing sad saga of just how far people will go to push their self-serving agendas, something anti-alcohol groups are amazingly good at doing. At some point, the creators of this, the sponsors and people paying the bill all looked at this ad before airing it to the public and never once concluded it went too far, might be over the top or played fast and loose with the truth. And that, I think, tells you everything you need to know about the hearts and minds of the UCFW 1776. It really does only take a little bit of greed, doesn’t it?