Beer News

News by | Jul 2009 | Issue #30

Yuengling Takes to the Skies

Beer enthusiasts who fly often don’t enjoy much variety when it comes to suds in the skies. This is changing, thanks to USA3000 Airlines and Yuengling. The Philadelphia-based airline has recently expanded their in-flight beverage options to include the Yuengling family of beers, and Lou Romano, marketing manager for Yuengling, tells BA how the two companies feel it’s a natural pairing.

“USA3000 … wanted to offer Yuengling products to their travelers for two primary reasons. First, it’s a ‘taste of home’ for those travelers who live in Yuengling’s distribution footprint. Second, it provides a unique opportunity to travelers living in the Midwest who cannot normally purchase Yuengling in their home state,” Romano said. “It is a point of difference for their airlines, making them unique in the industry, as we are currently not offered on any other airline.”

Craft beer offerings on other major airlines remain limited, but this arrangement is beneficial for everybody involved. Yuengling gains exposure, USA3000’s beer sales will (presumably) rise, and of course, the consumer gains additional beverage options.

30News3Molson Retirees’ Free Beer to Dry Up

Workers and retirees of Molson’s breweries have long enjoyed a great perk: up to 864 free beers a year. Until recently. The decision was made by Molson to cut back on the free beer for both the 3,000 current employees and 2,400 retirees.

Current full-time workers are given 72 dozen bottles of beer (six dozen per month), but will see that number shrink to 52 dozen (or a 12-pack per week) as of January 1, 2010. Retirees will see a more drastic change on this date, though. They will go from six 12-packs a month to one per month for five years—after that, they’ll get zero.

Ferg Devins, Molson’s vice president of government and public affairs, tells BA, “There was a whole range of cost-cutting initiatives across the business, and this was one we looked at and decided to move on. There was also an opportunity to standardize the complimentary beer across the country,” as different plants were giving different amounts. “This decision was not taken lightly … but we’ve just got to continue to assess our competitiveness and maintain efficiency in the business.”

The company is standing by its actions despite protests from Molson’s workers and retirees, but has agreed to meet for discussions on the matter sometime in the coming weeks.

30News2Amsterdam Beer Bikes Prove Both Popular and Controversial

Giving the famed red-light district a run for its money, an increasingly popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam is the beer bike, a rather different method of local transportation. The bikes hold between 10 and 22 passengers (plus a non-drinking, designated driver provided by the company) who sit around a bar, ready to consume 30 liters of beer as they pedal their way around the streets of Amsterdam.

Ard Karsten, head of leading beer bike company Beerbike.co.uk, tells BA via email, “I came up with the idea because … friends get lost in pubs, smoking’s not allowed anymore, then the thinking starts: Do it into the air with a breeze and pedals, and maybe that is the solution to survive … and it did!”

Two minor accidents by other beer bike companies were publicized in the local news. That bad publicity got the attention of the Amsterdam City Council, which could be putting the bike’s future in jeopardy.

In a Reuters report, a spokesperson for Amsterdam Alderman Hans Gerson, who’s in charge of city transportation, states, “[Gerson] is not very enthusiastic about this idea of people drinking while being amongst traffic,” but also went on to mention Gerson was “looking into various options.”

Beerbike.co.uk’s website notes that the bike comes with an experienced driver/guide, so safety is ensured. In the meantime, the bikes remain legal, enjoy steady business, and are even being improved upon. Karsten adds, “We just started the karaoke bike, where you can sing a song on the bike and have lots of entertainment.”

Iron City Brewing Moves to Latrobe, Pa.

Intending to put the troubled Iron City Brewing Company back on the track toward financial success, the Pittsburgh brew’s production has moved to a more capable facility in Latrobe, Pa., owned by Wisconsin-based City Brewing, which can provide greater production numbers and fewer finance-induced headaches.

Iron City needed to move from their old Lawrenceville, Pa., plant because it required too many resources and overhead costs for the company to be profitable with the roughly 170,000 barrels per year they’d been producing. Brewing at the Latrobe facility began on June 17th, and bottling is expected to begin in mid-July.

Timothy Hickman, CEO of Iron City Brewing, was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review saying, “The brewery would need to sell around 250,000 barrels per year to stay afloat.”  In addition, they plan to use the money they save on production for marketing in an effort to reach the 250,000-barrel goal.

Iron City Brewing utilizes contracts to produce several other beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), including brands like Arizona Iced Tea and Mike’s Hard Lemonade, as well as its own line of beers.