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A Press Democrat Blog

Beer Country

A digest about that other famous beverage

In beer, big is really BIG

As excited as we can all get about craft brew, it is humbling to realize just how small a part of the overall beer market it really is. Two reports published in the last week cast that into sharp relief. First, a market report by beverage accountants Frank, Rimerman + Co. takes a look at the possible future of craft beer, particularly in light of the success and “premiumization” of the wine industry. The authors conclude that craft beer is… Read More »

Beer for the next generation?

The sale this week of Kansas City standout Boulevard to a Belgian firm (no worries, purists – this Belgian firm is Duvel, not InBev) has raised once more the question of what happens next for the early generation of breweries who led the craft beer revolution in the 1980s and ’90s. Already, we’ve seen Fritz Maytag sell his Anchor brewery, and New Albion founder Jack McAuliffe is long retired. Goose Island‘s John Hall decided to sell his Chicago brewery to… Read More »

Beer fun for the weekend

If you haven’t gotten your tickets for Sierra Nevada‘s outstanding-looking Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild festival on Saturday, forget it. The brewery says all tickets are sold out. Same with the 10th annual Brews on the Bay in San Francisco. If any of you are going to either of these events, tweet me some pictures and I will pass them along, since I can’t make either one in person: @beercountry. But if you can’t make it either, that doesn’t mean… Read More »

Sierra Nevada to open Berkeley taproom

Can’t spare the three hours to haul yourself to Chico to experience Sierra Nevada‘s iconic tap room? California’s largest craft brewer is cutting the commute time to less than an hour from Wine Country as it opens the “Torpedo Room,” an auxillary tap room in Berkeley, early next month. The 16-tap tasting room will feature the brewery’s regular lineup plus rarities and seasonals usually available only at the Chico mothership. “West Berkeley fosters a great, progressive culture,” founder Ken Grossman… Read More »

Is the Craft Beer revolution complete?

BeverageDaily.com had a report earlier this week that has sent a good-sized ripple around the great Beer Pond. Reporter Ben Boukley reports that Heineken CEO Jean-François Van Boxmeerhas thrown in the towel in the fight against American craft brewers: “Craft beers have been taking the lion’s share of beer market growth over the last decade – practically exclusively,” he told Societie Generale analyst Jamie Norman on a call this morning. “You cannot compete with Heineken or any other brand against the… Read More »

Mendocino celebrates 30th

Mendocino Brewing Company celebrates its 30th anniversary this week with a new single hop ale paying tribute to the early days of California brewing. The beer will feature exclusively Cascade hops, the hop that flavored the iconic New Albion Ale, first brewed in Sonoma in 1976, and later the backbone of early giants such as the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The anniversary beer comes in a little stronger than those older brews – about 7 percent alcohol by volume –… Read More »

Craft beer: Boom or bubble?

Draft magazine has an article this week that has generated a lot of beer chatter. It asks of America’s beer boom: “Will it fall?” This is not an idle question. The industry’s first boom, in the early 1990s, hit the skids pretty hard in less than a decade, leaving lots of bankrupt brewers in the wreckage. The craft industry remembers that massacre with the kind of horror that Germans retain for inflation after the post-World War I economic fiasco of… Read More »

Region’s breweries ranked (by size this time)

Our friends at the North Bay Business Journal (owned by the same people, located across the hall from the PD) have an interesting list this week: the region’s breweries ranked by size. They list the 14 craft breweries they could identify and get information out of and the results give a wonderful snapshot of the huge span of the craft beer industry in America today. At the top, of course, is the Big Man on Campus in Sonoma County, Lagunitas,… Read More »

Best IPAs?

Being that this is IPA Day and all, the Twittersphere is alive with discussions of Best IPAs and the like (including some dissenting opinions, such as this one, suggesting that we celebrate IPA Day by drinking some other kind of beer). Writer and beer lover (and former Northern Californian) John Sciacca writes of the 10 best he’s ever tasted and it turns out to be a pretty mighty list (The guy’s a hophead’s hophead, it appears). For discussion purposes, here’s… Read More »

Russian River, Lagunitas retain Best Of status

Is there any craft beer list left in the universe that doesn’t rank Lagunitas and Russian River somewhere near the top? Anyone? I didn’t think so. Website The Daily Meal recently quizzed its readers on the best American craft brew outfits and, perhaps unsurprisingly, our two locals showed up on the top 25 list, with Lagunitas at #7 and Russian River at #9, one spot above that other California icon, Sierra Nevada (what? No love for Bear Republic, readers?). For… Read More »

Russian River to join Sierra Nevada project

Russian River Brewing is among a dozen smaller craft brewers nationwide chosen by craft big-boy Sierra Nevada for a collaboration in 2014 to celebrate the Chico-based brewery’s planned opening of a new East Coast plant. The idea is that the 12 brewers will come to Chico to work with Sierra Nevada’s brewers to develop a collaborative beer that will be released as part of a commemorative 12 pack, TheBeerNews.com reports. The list isn’t complete but so far is looking like … Read More »