By The Associated Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 0 Comments
PHILADELPHIA – Beer lovers across the U.S. have accused Anheuser-Busch of watering down its…
PHILADELPHIA – Beer lovers across the U.S. have accused Anheuser-Busch of watering down its Budweiser, Michelob and other brands, in class-action suits seeking millions in damages.
The suits, filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states, claim consumers have been cheated out of the alcohol content stated on labels. Budweiser and Michelob each boast of being 5 per cent alcohol, while some “light” versions are said to be just over 4 per cent.
The lawsuits are based on information from former employees at the company’s 13 U.S. breweries, some in high-level plant positions, according to lead lawyer Josh Boxer of San Rafael, California.
By Stephanie Findlay - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM - 0 Comments
SABMiller sells Impala as healthy alternative to moonshine
The era of home brew in Africa may be coming to an end. SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer, is wooing the continent’s illegal drinkers with dirt-cheap beer. In Mozambique, the brewer has released Impala, a beer made from cassava, the milky root used to make tapioca. At 70 cents a bottle, Impala is significantly cheaper than its malty cousins, priced at a dollar, making it affordable for the country’s rising middle class.
Zsuzsa Szilagyi, an alcohol analyst for Euromonitor International, says companies like SABMiller are looking for niche markets. “The African beer market is highly consolidated,” she says, so there’s a “big fight” for new markets.
SABMiller, founded in Johannesburg in the late 1800s, is battling with other beverage companies such as Heineken and Diageo for Africa’s growing population of beer drinkers. Impala was pitched as a healthy alternative to illegal alcohol made from sorghum—a starchy grain—and corn. (Methanol and battery acid have reportedly been included in the moonshine recipes.) The Mozambique government is giving the beer a break on taxes, seen as a way to give the economy a boost by employing farmers to produce raw cassava. One year after its 2011 launch, nine million bottles of the brew have been sold. In Uganda, the company has had tax breaks for years with Eagle beer, made from sorghum.
By Jasmine Budak - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
Crazy craft-beer Canucks are going wild with fermentation in an Ontario winery
On a grey October afternoon at the Good Earth vineyard in Beamsville, Ont., a crowd gathers around a cluster of steaming stainless-steel vats set up mere feet from the rows of swollen grapes. Iain McOustra, a brewer with Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewing Co. and one of the architects of this madcap plan, periodically stirs a boiled concoction of grains, hops and water that has the hue of milky coffee and smells faintly like shredded wheat. If McOustra is giddy, it’s because he’s exhausted and exhilarated by this, the culmination of three years of research and planning to make a sour beer in the back-breaking style of old-world Belgian breweries.
“This is certainly the craziest brew I’ve ever done,” says the 31-year-old, who’s been brewing beer professionally and in backyards for 13 years. “It’s the most difficult brew to pull off; so much could go wrong.”
Vital to the plan is the winery environment, especially at harvest time, when the air is thick with wild yeast and bacteria that will—it’s hoped—float into the open vessels and ferment the grain mixture, or wort. This is a contemporary take on lambic beer, named after the town of Lembeek, Belgium, where the process was refined in the 1300s. Continue…
By David Menzies - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 6:00 AM - 6 Comments
An Alberta tax break aimed at boosting the craft beer industry has fuelled a discount market, and U.S. jobs
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission presumably had good intentions in mind when it brewed up a policy to lend a helping hand to small breweries. Namely, beer companies qualify for substantially reduced beer tax rates on the first 200,000 hectolitres sold in Alberta. The explicit aim was to help small players compete against industry leviathans such as Molson and Labatt. And, implicitly, the tax break would entice craft breweries to set up shop in the province.
However, eight years after the reduced beer tax rates—estimated by one analyst to total about $200 million in savings—were first implemented, little in the Alberta beer business has worked out the way the AGLC envisioned. Only five small breweries have opened for business in Alberta since the policy was implemented. And in that time Alberta has, in fact, become a market characterized by discount beer. And at least one of the breweries taking advantage of the AGLC policy doesn’t even brew in the province, let alone Canada.
Companies like high-end craft brewer Big Rock Brewery argue that the reduction in the beer tax helps them compete against the likes of Labatt and Molson. Levelling the playing field is the main goal of the program, says the AGLC. Nevertheless, critics wonder how well the program works, given the modest size of Alberta’s craft beer industry compared to other provinces.
By Nicholas Kohler - Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Beverage groups will soon contribute to the anti-Proposition 19 campaign
For years, France’s wine industry backed the efforts of temperance advocates to demonize absinthe, the emerald-green spirit remembered today primarily as the tipple of choice for fin-de-siècle bohemians in Paris. The drink remained widely criminalized for decades as a result, a boon to vineyards everywhere.
The same tactic may now be at work in California, where voters are poised to decide on a ballot proposition to legalize another green substance—marijuana—but where an alcohol industry lobby group is funding a campaign to keep the drug verboten. This month, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors donated $10,000 to Public Safety First, a committee opposed to Proposition 19, which, were it to pass in November, would permit the regulation of marijuana.
Though it’s not commenting on the donation, the beer distributors’ group has good reason to worry that pot would cut into beer’s market share. Observers expect other beverage groups will soon contribute to the anti-Proposition 19 campaign. It’s a fight that makes for odd bedfellows: another big backer of the anti-pot Public Safety First lobby is California law enforcement. The police worry about impaired drivers—though not enough, it seems, to be wary of joining forces with the alcohol industry.