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A Press Democrat Blog

Beer Country

A digest about that other famous beverage

Sonoma County Beer, Cider, and Spirits conference takes shape

Lineup set for first ever conference on Sonoma County’s booming artisan beverage industry.… 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 »

More on Russian River supply problems

Our report earlier this week on the extreme supply crunch at Russian River Brewing provoked a lively debate in our comment section and at other sites. Some beer fans applauded the position by owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo that there are some things more important than expansion, things like quality of life, financial stability, and the intimacy of a small business. Other commenters, however, seemed vexed that the Cilurzos seem to have no particularly interest in expanding. “That’s cool that… Read More »

Lagunitas founder scores spot in Chicago power list

He’s still months away from opening his new brewery in Chicago, but Lagunitas founder Tony Magee is already emerging as a power player in the Second City’s thriving food and beverage scene. The website NewCityResto acknowledged Magee’s growing significance this week by naming him to their list “The Big Heat: Chicago’s Food & Drink Fifty 2013.” That puts him in the company of some of the best chefs and hospitality pros in the city, even in the country, including the… 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 »

Lagunitas owner confirms: no fight over 420

Last we heard, Lagunitas was rethinking their decision to give in to Atlanta brewer Sweetwater, which demanded that the Petaluma brewery drop any use of the term “420″ on their labels. But I talked to owner Tony Magee this morning and he says he will follow his first instinct and not contest Sweetwater’s trademark claim, based on their flagship “420 Pale Ale.” “It would be like arm-wrestling for the name ‘Jesus,’ ” he said this morning from Chicago, where he… Read More »

Some more thoughts on Lagunitas…

My colleague Chris Coursey has some interesting reflections on Lagunitas founder/guru Tony Magee in his column this week, spurred by our article earlier this week about   the stink over the pot-slang term 420 with a brewer in Georgia. Incidentally, I spoke with a another senior official at the brewery on Thursday and he hints there may be more to come on this story, but that has to wait for Tony to get back from vacation. We’ll keep you posted. -Sean… Read More »