Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Miscellaneous

Brewing Community Unites for Camp Fire Relief

In response to the terrible Camp Fire in northern California, which has destroyed thousands of homes and leveled entire communities -continues to burn as this is written- Sierra Nevada Brewing Company stepped forward with a proposal to brew a beer and donate all sales to fire victim relief efforts.

Similar collaboration benefit brewing efforts are not new to the California craft brewing community. Last year, after the devastating fires in Sonoma County, Russian River Brewing Co. enlisted dozens of craft breweries to brew Sonoma Pride beer. Their efforts helped raise over $1M for Sonoma fire relief.  Similarly, just a few months ago, after the Carr Fire, five Shasta County craft breweries teamed up to raise funds by  brewing Shasta Strong IPA.

This time, Sierra Nevada’s founder and CEO, Ken Grossman got the ball rolling with this message on Facebook:

Many of you have asked if we will be brewing a fundraiser beer to support Camp Fire relief efforts. The answer is a resounding “yes.”

We are proud to announce that we’ll be brewing Resilience Butte County Proud IPA and donating 100 percent of sales to Camp Fire relief. In addition, we are also asking every brewery in America to brew Resilience and do the same.

I’m sending a letter to brewers across the country, inviting them to join us in a collaboration brew day on Tuesday, November 27. We are working with malt and hop suppliers to provide raw ingredient donations to all participating breweries and are asking those breweries to donate 100 percent of their sales, as well.

We know that the rebuilding process will take time, but we’re in this for the long haul. Our hope is to get Resilience IPA in taprooms all over the country to create a solid start for our community’s future.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your support. We’re right here with you and we’ll get through this together.

– Ken

The response from the always close-knit brewing community has, of course, been tremendous and hundreds of breweries in California and further afield have signed on.

Some of the Bay Area breweries that are participating are Danville Brewing Company, Del Cielo Brewing, Shadow Puppet Brewing Company, Ghost Town Brewing,  Russian River Brewing Co., Altamont Brewing Company, Almanac Beer Co., Anchor Brewing Co., Drake’s Brewing Company, 21st Ammendment, Morgan Territory, ….

There is a growing list of participating breweries on the Sierra Nevada webpage.

In addition, the recipe for Resilience Butte County Proud IPA has been made available to homebrewers via the AHA, and homebrew supply retailer MoreBeer! may (emphasis on may) be releasing a homebrew ingredient kit.  Homebrewers, who of course cannot sell their beer, are encouraged instead to make a donation for Camp Fire relief via the Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation.

On what is “craft” beer?

Watching Entre lúpulo y malta brought to mind the now-notorious video released last year by AbInBev in response to the Brewers Association’s introduction of its “Independent Craft Brewer” seal for use by breweries.

In that video the founders of breweries recently acquired by AbInBev’s The High End division –10 Barrel, Wicked Weed, Elysian, Four Peaks, and Devil’s Backbone—expound on why the label is a bad idea, even though they themselves are excluded from using it, and so on. Part of the way they do that is to argue that there is no difference between what they do and what BA member breweries do. While, from a technical standpoint, that may be true, they deliberately muddy the waters when it comes to what defines a “craft” brewer, and thus “craft” beer.

That they can do that raises the issue that, while for a long time what defined a craft brewery seemed pretty clear-cut, with an increasing number small breweries being acquired by brewing industry giants like AbInBev, Sapporo, Heineken, that definition is being blurred. (There is also the BA’s own continual expansion of the upper-bbl limit, but that is a matter for another time.)

In Peru there is the same sort of discussion going on as to what makes a beer a “craft” beer? But, there, the discussion is being approached from the other end.

Unlike the US, Peru has a living artisanal tradition and millions of people make their living from an artisanal economy, but until just a few years ago there was no history of small, independent brewers. Even those very few regional brands that existed tried to compete with the big brewers on their own terms, brewing the same kinds of beers, and as far as I can tell, all were either absorbed or went out of business. There was no equivalent to a Yakima Brewing, New Albion, or Anchor Brewing, to serve as a reference point.

So, Peruvian consumers, with no experience of small-batch, locally-produced beer, and no experience of beer styles other than big boy’s pilsners, are encountering an as yet small, and fairly localized (to Lima), but booming craft beer industry without a reference to what is a craft beer. But, they are trying to figure it out.

In so doing, many look to what they have in their hand: What makes this beer a craft beer and not that one? And, that’s where things get tricky.

As Peruvian craft brewers crank out a variety of very tasty ales –stouts, porters, weizens, fruited beers, etc.—consumers sometimes think that a craft beers is defined by “being in a different style” or by simply having “more flavor” than Backus & Johnston’s mass-produced lagers.

Another stumbling block is in the language itself. In Spanish, “artisanal” and “craft” are both expressed by the same word: artesanal. Now, because of Peru’s living artisan economy, everyone pretty much has an idea of what artesanal means. And, of course, what it means in most instances is things made at home, or in small home-based workshops, by hand or with minimal technology, without the refinements and standardization available to industrial producers.

Thus, I’ve had people in Lima ask me whether filtering would take away a beer’s artisanal quality. The working supposition being that an craft/artisanal product is less “finished” than an industrial one.

Naturally, there are those who argue –and with whom I agree—that what makes a beer “artesanal” or not is not the beer itself, but the brewer. However, even on that point, there is confusion. In discussions online with Peruvian homebrewers, some have expressed that they consider themselves cerveceros artesanales because their beer is home-made.

The lack of clarity on this point shows up in Entre lúpulo y malta, where the first cervecero artesanal that is presented is Christian Zapata, a dedicated homebrewer and president of the Peruvian homebrewers’ association, Asociación de Cerveceros Caseros del Perú (ACECAS).

Does it matter? Probably not that much. Not yet at any rate, while the Peruvian craft beer market is still quite small (in 2016 production was only 10k hectoliters, or 6.3k bbl), but as it expands and legislation and taxation begins to catch up and the Backus & Johnston conglomerate (itself owned by AbInBev) begins to feel threatened, a working definition of craft beer could well become quite important.

As it is in the US.

Musings on 12 Rounds’ CEO Resigning

Today, Daniel Murphy, co-owner and founder of Twelve Rounds Brewing Company in Sacramento, announced on the brewery’s FaceBook page that he is stepping down as CEO of the company and that he and his wife, Elle Murphy, will be divesting from the brewery.

As you may recall, Murphy drew much public ire (and some support) when he criticized the Women’s March on Washington on his personal FaceBook page, saying he was “disgusted” with those who supported that “divisive event.” That drew attention to previous posts on his page in which he reportedly made anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements and accused President Barack Obama off being some sort of crypto-Muslim and a promoter of hate. Those posting led to calls for a boycott of Twelve Rounds, and protests outside the brewery.

Although early newspaper reports stressed that the taproom was full, and that many there expressed support for Murphy’s views, or at least his right to express them, it seems that that early surge did not hold up. Sure, he had many expressions of support from out of state, but out-of-state supporters don’t pay the bills. People in the taproom do, and Murphy had clearly alienated his home constituency. Despite an apology from him, the incident cost him clients and, ultimately, tap handles as bars and restaurants around town declined to serve his beer or to be associated with the Twelve Rounds brand.

From what I’ve seen, the response on social media to his and his wife’s divesting from Twelve Rounds has, by and large, been one of “Seeya!”.

Although I have no sympathy for his views, I feel bad for the Murphys. Opening a brewery is no easy or short process. It takes years of work and dedication. They poured their hearts and treasure into starting the brewery, and now they’re having to step away from it.

At the same time I can’t but think what a rookie, dumbass move on his part, to lambast Muslims, gays, feminists, and liberals (In California!) when one is in a business that depends on making people feel welcome and included. And, especially in one in which so much depends on the brewers’ reputations and the customers’ relationship to them. In that sense, Murphy’s reaped what he sowed.

I just hope that the brewery can shake off the controversy and that the workers and partners that remain can make a go of it.

My Christmas Alcohaul

Thanks to my wife and kids, I’ve come away this Christmas with five exciting beers from under the tree: Mike Hess Brewing’s My Other Vice Berliner Weisse (San Diego, CA); New Braunfels Brewing Company’s Bauernhaus Über Weizenbock (New Braunfels, TX); Wicked Weed Brewing’s Silencio bourbon barrel-aged black sour ale, and Genesis blonde sour ale fermented with tropical fruits (Asheville, NC); and, Fullsteam Brewing’s First Frost foraged persimmon ale (Durham, NC).

Those, and a beer glass filled with orange gummies, and vanilla marshmallows as “foam”!

Anchor Brewing launches membership drive for California State Parks Foundation

Announcement from Anchor Brewing:

 

Anchor Brewing Company Extends Partnership with

California State Parks Foundation
San Francisco, CA (August 24, 2016) – In a continued effort to preserve and protect California’s natural heritage, Anchor Brewing Company launches a membership drive for the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF). In February of 2013, Anchor Brewing initiated a partnership with CSPF in conjunction with the release of Anchor California Lager®. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Anchor California Lager supports conservation projects in California State Parks that help enrich the state’s innate natural beauty. In the past year, Anchor Brewing has funded three important grants distributed by California State Parks Foundation.
“Enjoying our state’s natural beauty is a fundamental part of the California lifestyle,” said CEO and President of Anchor Brewing, Matt Davenport. “Here at Anchor we embrace and celebrate that lifestyle, making beer to be enjoyed in valleys and on peaks, taking in the landscape with a cold brew in-hand. We strive to make beer that inspires people to go outdoors and Anchor California Lager is a perfect example of that, given our partnership with the California State Parks Foundation. Anchor Brewing is dedicated to its role as a steward for environmental conservation, preserving California’s natural heritage and outdoor lifestyle for generations to come.”
 
Expanding on this, Anchor is now hosting a membership drive for CSPF, encouraging the public to visit California State Parks and become a member of CSPF, helping their efforts to preserve and protect state parks. Anchor has also recently funded three important CSPF grants, benefiting Citizens for East Shore Parks, Jack London Park Partners and Santa Barbara County Trails Council.
 
Citizens for East Shore Parks is funding a study on land birds and their habitat in the Albany Bulb, a historically and geographically significant parcel on the East Bay shoreline. The study will advise and guide the Albany Bulb Transition Plan’s habitat and wildlife conservation and restoration goals as the area becomes part of McLaughlin East Shore State Park. It is expected to be completed by late summer 2016.
The Jack London Park Partners grant will help update and modernize The House of Happy Walls Museum, which serves as the main visitor center and museum for the park. It was built by Charmian London, as a memorial to Jack London and contains artifacts and mementos attesting to this world famous author’s literary success and adventurous lifestyle. The project is anticipated to be completed by November 2016.
Finally, the Santa Barbara County Trails Council will add an entrance sign, kiosk, trail markers, and maps for a significantly underutilized area of El Capitán State Beach, improving access to the land. The grant will have a direct impact on visitors’ experience and as it was just awarded work is expected to begin immediately.
In addition to fundraising efforts, Anchor employees have joined CSPF staff for Anchor volunteer days at California State Parks, which have helped to support conservation projects at Fort Ross, Half Moon Bay, Candlestick Point and China Camp State Parks, with additional projects planned in the future.
Actively embracing California’s brewing traditions, Anchor California Lager is a re-creation of a historic beer; the first genuine lager brewed in California.  The label features a California Grizzly Bear, an icon for the state, as well as California State Parks. CSPF works to provide care for the state’s 279 parks and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy these national treasures. In this way, California’s enduring natural heritage is celebrated and protected.
Join Anchor Brewing in supporting the California State Parks Foundation by becoming a member today. The drive runs through September 30, 2016.
1      Visit calparks.org/anchor
2      Save $5 on your Membership Fee
3      Receive a FREE hiker’s guide to California’s State Parks
 

 

Anchor  will be also hosting Party for the Parks“, a membershipdrive event for the California State Parks Foundation:
Location: Anchor Beer Garden at The Yard –100 Terry A Francois Blvd., San Francisco
Date: Thursday, September 15th
Hours: from 5 pm ’til 7 pm
The CSPF will be onsite to sign up new members.  Sign up and receive $5 off of membership, and a free copy of the CA State Parks Hiker’s Guide.  Anchor Brewing will also be offering deals on pints and growlers of Anchor California Lager, and will donate $1 to the CSPF for every pint of Anchor California Lager sold at the event.

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