Beer News

News by | May 2012 | Issue #64

Churchkey Can Company Resurrects the Flat-Top Steel Can

Fifty years after the death of the flat-top beer can, the historic container has seen a resurrection. Seattle’s Churchkey Can Co. is opting to use the old-school flat-top can (which must be opened with a churchkey) to package their sole beer, a Pilsner.

Churchkey co-founder Justin Hawkins explains to BA via email, “Co-founder Adrian Grenier and I both shared an interest in someday drinking a beer from the original flat-top-style beer can—to experience a great beer in a simple can as generations before had enjoyed. Experiencing packaging that was standard for more than 30 years and—until recently—was all but forgotten, is exciting. Connecting the original beer can with the craft beer of today seemed like a win-win situation.”

According to a representative from can manufacturer Ball Corporation, steel cans tend to have a higher recycling rate than aluminum thanks to their more rigid structure, meaning contents are usually consumed at home. This matters because a recycled-steel can saves around 74 percent of the energy needed to make new steel. Recycling stats aside, the two can types have a comparable environmental impact.

64News2As Business Booms, Interstate Brewery Expansions Loom

Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Lagunitas have each announced major expansion plans, which include building additional brewing facilities across state lines.

After a multi-year search of hundreds of potential sites, Sierra Nevada chose to build on a 90-acre tract of land in the town of Mills River, N.C. The brewery—which will also include a restaurant and gift shop—is slated to have an annual production capacity of 300,000 barrels, “with room to grow,” according to the press release. The brewery is expected to begin production in early 2014, and will eventually provide around 90 jobs, plus those of the restaurant staff.

After their own extensive search process, New Belgium held a special press event to announce they would be building a 400,000-barrel-capacity brewery and packaging facility on a 17.5-acre site in Asheville, N.C., 12 miles away from Sierra Nevada. Total costs are projected at $100 million. Construction is slated to begin in early 2013, with the first brews shipping out in 2015. New Belgium says they hope to employ more than 100 workers in Asheville within three years of opening.

In a radically different approach, Lagunitas owner Tony Magee kept things a bit more quiet. Magee announced via a series of tweets on April 9th that Lagunitas had secured a space, and would be opening up a brewery in Chicago with an initial capacity of 200,000 barrels. The new space resides in an old steel mill, and production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Magee explains via Twitter, “I thought about all the truck loads of brew leaving eastward. Thought about all the freight. Added it up. It was enough to … cover the financing for a whole new brewery. … So I jumped a plane n flew back to Chicago … found a perfect space … so I rented it.” As Magee points out in his tweets, these expansions also signify “fresher beer w/ less diesel in it.”

Study Finds Two Drinks a Day Could Be a Life Saver

A recent study published in the European Heart Journal claims that men who drink two alcoholic beverages a day may be more likely to survive a heart attack than non-drinkers.

The study, conducted at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, followed 1,818 American men who’d had a heart attack between 1986 and 2006, taking into account their ages, medical histories, body mass indexes and whether or not they smoked cigarettes; 468 members of the group died during the course of the study.

The results showed an association between those who consumed two alcoholic drinks per day (between 10 and 29.9 grams of alcohol) over a long period of time and good overall heart health. More specifically, findings showed that these moderate drinkers were 42 percent less likely to die of heart disease, and 14 percent less likely to die from other causes. The type of drink had no effect on the results.

The study illustrates that moderation is key. Binge drinkers did not see any noticeable benefits; their statistics were nearly identical to those of non-drinkers. However, at this point, the study is not conclusive. Researchers stress that this correlation is not a clearly proven causal link, and a doctor should be consulted before changing a drinking regimen.

64News3Heineken Bans Branding of Local Brews During London 2012 Olympics

Regional foods, customs and tourist attractions are always showcased during the course of the Olympic Games, but this summer, there’s one British favorite that won’t be seen—at least by name—in London: local beer. Heineken has paid an estimated £10 million for the rights to be the only branded beer available at all Olympic venues.

Under the conditions of the sponsorship, the Dutch company will be the only one to receive any brand recognition or signage. Its beers and ciders, including Bulmers and Strongbow, will be sold by name at sanctioned locations. If another brand’s trademarks are in a venue, they will be covered or removed for the duration of the games. This includes handpumps, tap handles and even portraits of famed cricket player Matthew Hoggard (a spokesman for British brewer Marston’s) that adorn Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), tells BA via email, “Britain’s brewing industry is revered the world over, not least at a time when there are now more small brewers in operation than at any time since World War Two. As a grand spectacle showcasing everything that is great about Great Britain, it is hugely disappointing that attendees inside the Olympic venues won’t have access to a range of British real ales. Such a move represents a major missed opportunity to show off one of Britain’s most historic industries.”

Legislation Brewing

Indiana: Indiana’s House Bill 1054, also known as the “3 Floyds Amendment,” has been signed into law. The new law tweaks the amount a brewery can produce and sell annually while still being considered a “small brewer” when it comes to tax laws, self-distribution regulations and the right to sell beer on-site. While the amount of beer that an Indiana brewer can sell in-state remains capped at 30,000 barrels, the amount sold out-of-state is no longer included in total. So essentially, a brewery can sell as much as they want outside the state, while keeping the benefits promised to small brewers.

Georgia: The Georgia state Legislature has passed House Bill 472, which greatly increases the amount of beer a brewpub can produce and sell each year. The annual production limit has been lifted from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels, and of that, a brewpub can sell up to 5,000 barrels to a wholesale distributor, up from the previous limit of 500. Georgia’s brewers and lawmakers view this as a positive development for the local economy and expect it to boost commerce and spur job creation.