Beer News

News by | Sep 2012 | Issue #68

Nonprofit Pub to Open in Oregon

It’s no secret that Portland, Ore., is a great beer city—which also makes it a great location for what could be a growing trend: the nonprofit pub. At the Oregon Public House, patrons will eat and drink like anywhere else, but once it’s time to pay, they will receive a checklist of charitable causes with the bill. The organization(s) selected by the customer will then receive 100 percent of the net proceeds from the tab.

“In a down economy, the first thing that people cut from their budget is their giving,” says OPH founder Ryan Saari. “So, we thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could start a business that existed solely to raise money for local charities? The pub idea was an obvious, perfect fit.”

The pub has been in planning for about three years, including “about one and a half years of building and actual work on the property,” Saari says. It’s due to open this fall. Saari has been taking his time, but for good reason. “We have a team of about 40 volunteers, mostly from the neighborhood, that come in and help with painting, woodwork, demo [and everything else],” so that the pub can open debt free, meaning it can immediately start working to benefit charities.

Other bars and breweries have also been opening in the name of charitable giving. Minnesota’s Tonka Beer Co. donates 100 percent of their profits to preserving lakes and rivers; in Houston, the Charity Saloon lets patrons vote for which charity benefits each month.

“We see this as a community pub, with a community feel and a community purpose,” Saari says. “Giving back. Sharing together. Drinking together. Isn’t that what ‘Public House’ is all about?”

68News3Historic Beers: The Next Big Thing? Two More Defunct Brands Revived

Hot on the trail of last month’s resurrection of Chicago’s long-lost Baderbräu beer, two more once-extinct beer brands have risen again. Wiedemann, an historic Kentucky brand, and New Albion Ale, one of the original modern craft brews, have been re-created by some intrepid beer advocates.

Wiedemann Bohemian-Style Special Beer was brewed in Newport, Ky., from the 1880s until 1983, when it was purchased and produced by the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. It hasn’t been sold since 2007.

Beer journalist Jon Newberry and his wife, Betsy, have been the driving force behind Wiedemann’s comeback. Jon tells BA that the couple have always enjoyed the brand, and when they learned the trademark had expired, had to jump on the chance to bring the traditional beer back. Jon says they were inspired by the local brews they experienced in the Czech Republic, and thought, “If we could develop an American version of the classic Bohemian lagers we enjoyed so much in Prague, Wiedemann could be restored to its proper place among the many great local beers.”

The Newberrys consulted with Chas. Seligman Distributing Co. and Kevin Moreland, head brewer at Listermann Brewing Co. in Cincinnati, to create the recipe for Wiedemann’s Special Lager. “It’s an all-new Wiedemann’s recipe, but true to the Wiedemann tradition of quality that George established,” Jon explains. The first keg was tapped by Richard Wagner (great-great-grandson of George Wiedemann) on August 3rd in Newport, and quickly sold out.

Additionally, Boston Beer Co. has announced that CEO Jim Koch has been working with Jack McAuliffe, founder of now-defunct New Albion Brewing Co., to brew New Albion Ale, widely recognized as America’s first modern craft beer. New Albion Brewing operated in Sonoma, Calif., from 1976 to 1982. The beer is already in production, being brewed with the original yeast strain, which has been preserved at the University of California. Limited-release six-packs are due on shelves this fall.

Pabst Launches Interactive Marketing Campaign to Promote Rainier Brewery

For decades, anybody familiar with Seattle likely knew the giant, neon-red “R” that lit up the skyline from the roof of the Rainier Brewery. But when Rainier went bust in 1999, the sign was taken down. Now, in an interactive marketing campaign, Pabst (who currently owns the Rainier brand) has launched the “Restore the R” project.

The fans themselves won’t be restoring the actual “R” sign—that’s being handled by paid professionals with Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)—but are instead being asked to complete challenges, like writing a Rainier-themed haiku or building a Rainier robot. Each completed challenge lights up one of the 258 bulbs on the “virtual” sign online, and once the challenges are complete, the real sign will be lit up.

68News2Lost Abbey Tasting Party Crashed … by Lost Abbey users “starrdogg” and “raveskdr” received some unexpected company during a July 1st Lost Abbey tasting party at a private home. User starrdogg explains on the BA forum that they posted their Washington DC event on BA, and a San Diego user named Chris said he’d like to come.

On the day of the party, starrdogg continues, “This guy wearing a Lost Abbey shirt and wielding a fancy camera showed up at our door. … He introduced himself as Ryan, not Chris, and while I thought something fishy was up, he had the right beers so I was willing to let it slide.”

The party had just begun, when “there was a loud knock on the door. We all looked around confused—we weren’t expecting anyone else for the tasting. Was it the cops? Had Chris/Ryan called some guys over to rob us? Raveskdr opened the door and his jaw literally dropped to the floor. Outside were Gwen and Tomme from Lost Abbey! And Tomme was carrying a huge box of beer!”

It turns out “Chris” was actually Ryan Tillotson, Lost Abbey’s multimedia manager, who had orchestrated the whole stunt. Tomme Arthur, Gwen Conley and Tillotson spent about three hours at the party, chatting, watching soccer and sharing the beers they brought.

“We feel the internet is a great place for enthusiasts to gather. What we don’t enjoy is the negativity,” says Arthur, Lost Abbey’s co-founder and director of brewery operations. “I floated the idea of the trip as an opportunity for us as producers to reward our loyal fans and bring a spirit of beer advocacy to our travels. It was an epic experience and one that none of us is likely to forget.”

Super PAC Hopes to Foster Change by Funding “Happy Hours”

Washington DC-based college students Daniel Bassali and Winslow Marshall are on a mission to influence positive political change, and they hope beer can be the catalyst. It began when they realized how easy it was to start their own super PAC. Bassali writes on his website, “The concept that any average American, even those still in college, could create their own organization with the hopes of making their impact on democracy intrigued me. I wanted to make an impact.”

So, he and Marshall got together and filed the paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, officially launching the “Slam Dunks, Fireworks, and Eagles” super PAC. However, for the first month or so, the PAC was missing one minor thing: a purpose. Bassali (who leans right) and Marshall (who leans left) talked about their ideas while out having beers, and eventually agreed that their PAC would focus on deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility.

But the real breakthrough came to Marshall shortly after, when he asked, “Why can’t our congressmen … just grab a beer after work and meet in the middle?” Bassali continues, “From this thought, we came up with the idea that our super PAC would be used to facilitate discussion between Republicans and Democrats with a round of beers to start building connections between the parties. … We believe that if we have a friendlier government, then we will have a better government.”

They plan to initiate talks with Congress members after the August recess. The duo has begun raising money among fellow George Washington University students, and is progressing toward their goal of $5,000 by September.