News Schell's Response to the Brewer's Association

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by RKPStogie, Dec 15, 2012.

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  1. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (637) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    There's a lesson to be learned here: What's in a name? NOTHING, it's just a name. And names mean different things to different people. And yes, blacklisting breweries is Beer McCarthyism.
  2. Horbar

    Horbar Zealot (560) Feb 24, 2012 Rhode Island

    Crapping on the homebrewer, nicely played. Oh, you know who else home brewed in the past??? Just about ever great "craft brewer" this country has!!! They also own Schells ass when it comes to making great beer!!!
    dfried likes this.
  3. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (1,925) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    Dave Berg from Schell's already apologized for that. And it seems he was attempting a play on words that most missed (by definition, a zoigl can't just be one guy brewing at home - it's communal). The argument is over; no need to bring it back up.
    JavaNoire, harrymel, Ford and 7 others like this.
  4. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Although, be definition, it is one guy brewing, just at the community or homebrewer association owned equipment. Then lagered and served at that individual's home.

    And sadly, in a few of the remaining zoigl towns, its almost down to one guy. And, for all Dave knows, Im using community equipment (Im not, so he got that right, and he did apologize, so he has that going for him).
  5. bdub32689

    bdub32689 Initiate (0) May 19, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    They make a good point. Not everyone is going to fit into the definition of craft beer and thats fine but there is nothing stopping them from labeling or marketing their beer as craft. What is key to this piece is the fact the brewers association not only lists craft brewers but one that are not craft. Just list the craft list they dont need to tell you every one else who does not fit the definition. The only definition that matters to these brewers is how craft is defined by law and barrel production so that they can receive the special economic protections
  6. SamCalagione

    SamCalagione Initiate (132) Feb 22, 2004 Delaware

    I have learned a lot from this thread and the related thread on the Brewers Association's Op-Ed piece. I think it's far to say there are a lot of people who care what company makes the beer they are drinking and there are other people who don't. I think a number of people have made valid points about great regional brewers who fall outside the Brewers Association's defintion of a craft brewey. The Brewer's Association does not have a defintion for craft beer. That is for the consumer to descide. The op-ed never said anything about the quality of the people or the beer being marketed as craft beer by the international conglomerates. The main point Brewer's Association is making with the op-ed piece is that consumers deserve to know who makes the beers they are drinking. I'm pulling a quote from an earlier point in this thread and contrasting it with the hyperlink below:

    "Lack of transparency in beer labeling is a non-issue. If a beer drinker cares who brews the beer they drink, they will find out. All one requires is the internet and Google or a knowledgeable beer store employee. People simply don't care....Transparency in beer labeling is a distraction."

    I do not think transparency in labelling and marketing is a distraction - As exibit A I am sharing this hyperlink that has come up before on a related thread. If you are not a raging beer geek like so many of us are on this site, and you see this segment - it is easy to think that Blue Moon was funded and owned and started by this one man on a DIY 7 bbl brewhouse. Blue Moon does not have the same access to market challenges true indie craft breweries face. Blue Moon does not have the same access to ingredeints challenges that true indie craft breweries face. It is now and has always been 100% owned by Coors which is part of the second-largest brewing conglomerate in the world.

    Within 24 hours of the publication of the op-ed MillerCoors got this man on to national TV to double down on their marketing message that blue moon is a bootstrapping entrepreneurial success story. It's not. It's a success story about powerful marketing and powerful distribution. But there are over 2200 breweries operating in America today and we are all free to support, buy, and drink which ever beers we want. As beer advcates and consumers we are creating our own grassroots-oriented success story of powerful BUT AUTHENTIC marketing by championing the thousands of locally-owned craft breweries we are fortunate to have in this country. Marketing doesn't have to be a dirty word - it can simply mean sharing and promoting something you believe in. This passionate community doesn't always agree on what to share and what to promote - which beers to champion - which ideas to embrace - and that's why there are thousands of beer choices out there. And that's a beuatiful thing.
  7. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,015) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    And they thought calling the 152 year old August Schell Brewing Company non-traditional would help get that point across?
    bergbrew likes this.
  8. bergbrew

    bergbrew Initiate (62) Jan 12, 2004 Minnesota

    With all due respect, Sam, you know as well as I do that the labeling of many craft brewers is far from transparent. I can look at a label and I know whose brewery is in the City, State listed, and note the name of the brewer is not the name of said brewery. I'm surprised this is an argument the BA wants to start.
    RyanMM, RKPStogie and TongoRad like this.
  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,293) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    So, if you petition the TTB and get the beer labeling "Name and Address" requirements changed so that no 'dba' brewery names would be allowed and the city/state listed would have to be the actual brewery, and not just the "headquarter" brewery, wouldn't that negatively affect a sizable number of Brewers Association member "craft brewers" who contract brew, use the "alternate proprietorship" model or "gypsy" brew at other breweries?
  10. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    The Lower Palatine is part of the current state of Rheinland-Pfalz ("Pfalz" = Palatinate) and that state indeed borders France (and Luxemburg as well) although the "Pfalz" proper did not. The Upper Palatine is one of the 7 administrative divisions of the state of Bavaria and it borders the Czech Republic in the East. Part of it actually was part of the Kingdom of Bohemia for several centuries. We've got a very checkered past over here :slight_smile:
    Chaz likes this.
  11. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    For Germany (and Austria) it's rather easy. Avoid everything listed here:
    for Austria:

    In general, asking Wikipedia is a good source to find out who actually brews any given name. For a list of what to drink / look for in eastern Bavaria (= the districts of Upper Palatine and Lower Bavaria) you can always ask me as well :grinning:
    Chaz likes this.
  12. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Oh nono :slight_smile: Not even remotely :slight_smile: There's not many towns left, true but where it's still alive it really IS alive :slight_smile: Take a look at the official "Zoiglkalender" for 2012 right here:
    Ford, Chaz and bergbrew like this.
  13. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I can't edit my own post anymore so I'm replying to myself... :grinning: I just posted a much longer post on the subject of "Zoigl" in the German subforum that also includes links, adresses and dates for 2013 so if anyone is planning a trip, there#s a good place to start :slight_smile:

    boddhitree and Chaz like this.
  14. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Cool, I will check that out, although I doubt my trip will be in 2013.

    Also good to hear its thriving in the few remaining towns, I had the impression is was down to a couple of households per.
  15. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Sometimes doing the right thing hurts. If Sam and the BA are serious about the transparency, they will consider that acceptable. Honestly, I see it as a win-win situation. Transparency for the big guys, the hypocrisy argument that you sometimes make goes away. At a cost for the small guys in having to get new labels (hopefully with enough time lag to use up old labels/cans).
    RichardMNixon likes this.
  16. RichardMNixon

    RichardMNixon Zealot (515) Jun 24, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I agree, but Schell's wasn't on the list because of independence for being a fake success story, they were there for using adjuncts. What is your opinion on that? Frankly traditional is the criterion I can least get behind. I avoid AAL because they taste bad, not because they're "nontraditional." I love Palo Santo Marron and some of your wilder stuff, but how is that in anyway traditional? Is it really important? Is it just a poor choice of words?
    RyanMM likes this.
  17. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,293) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    As has been noted a few times in these threads, there are "craft brewer's beers" (<that awkward phrase since the B.A. doesn't define "craft beer":wink:) being contract brewed in "Non-Craft Breweries" that are on the B.A.'s Blacklist - Cold Spring, City, Genesee, The Lion, etc.

    And we all know that Blue Moon was created as a Coors product by a Coors employee in a Coors facility. It has always been a "faux" craft beer, one that does not fit the current B.A. definition because of the "Independent" factor.

    But it HAS been brewed in a "craft brewery" - twice, in fact. Go figure, huh?

    click for larger view​
    Or full screen larger view here
    Chaz likes this.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,545) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I appreciate that Sam Calagione took the time to participate in this thread(s): both by reading the posts and making a post.

    Sam states: “The main point Brewer's Association is making with the op-ed piece is that consumers deserve to know who makes the beers they are drinking.”

    I for one would very, very much like that beer labeling would clearly detail “who makes the beer they are drinking”. If AB InBev is brewing a beer like Shock Top I want to know that it is brewed by an AB InBev brewery. Also if MillerCoors is brewing a beer like Blue Moon I want to know that it is brewed by MillerCoors.

    I for one will believe that the Brewers Association is genuine about “consumers deserve to know who makes the beers they are drinking” when I look at a can of Sixpoint beer and the label details: “Brewed by Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA”. Until that day I really won’t think that the Brewers Association is truly committed to the idea of: “consumers deserve to know who makes the beers they are drinking”.

  19. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    lol, sometimes i think jesskidden must have a photographic memory. the obscure minutiae and documentation that he seems able to call up at will is haunting... :grimacing:
    RyanMM, bwiechmann and Chaz like this.
  20. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    You keep bringing this up, but you fail to mention one thing. Who is brewing the beer? I dont think the equipment matters, its the brewer, right? So if Crafto craft company contracts to the Lion, but crafto brews it on Lion equipment, isnt that different than if they contract it and then The Lion's brewer brews it?

    And, does that even matter? Once the brewery rents the equipment and the brewer, they become the effective "owner", in the same way that a renter controls their rental property. Police cant get permission to search from the leasing company, they have to get it from the renter, for example.

    That said, I wish the labels made it clear where the beer is brewed.
  21. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,044) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Truer words were never spoken.
  22. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    As best I could tell from following the links you posted in the other thread, this is true for 4 of the 5 towns. But if I understood it correct, Eslarn only has one. My german is nonexistent and I was relying on chrome translating pages, but figuring out the different brewers seemed straight forward. In the others it ranged from 3 to 7 different brewers.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,545) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I am confident that jesskidden will respond shortly.

    Permit me to opine on the query of: “I don’t think the equipment matters, it’s the brewer, right?”

    In a past thread BA Chlodwig23 of Mystic Brewery posted:

    Simple answer: By blundering recipe I meant one that will not work for that particular brewhouse and fermenation cellar. There are no magic recipes, but the advantage a brewer may have is developing recipes specifically for a specific brewhouse. So something fantastic at one brewhouse may be full of off flavors at another if the recipe is not 'tuned' for that particular brewhouse and cellar.”

    So Chlodwig23 is of the opinion that the equipment (brewhouse & cellar) does matter.

  24. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,382) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Ingedient lists are a dime a dozen. Equipment and procedure are critical.
    mintjellie likes this.
  25. cevafm

    cevafm Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Not sure where you are going with that post. What I was trying to convey, is that on multiple brewery tours that I have done at the Yuengling brewery in Pottsville, the tour guide genuinely believe that Yuengling is some kind of awesome craft brewery, or at least that is what they are being told to say.

    And yet, they are BMC, at least in Pennsylvania. They fight for the case law, they price their beers at the exact price point of Bud, Miller, Coors, etc.

    I would go a step further and say that A-B is better because they are at least coming out with new brews or adding brands to their portfolio.

    Yuengling makes the same tired old beers, all not that much differentiated from each other.
  26. jklinck

    jklinck Initiate (192) Jul 23, 2007 Washington

    I'm on Schell's side on this one but you need to back off on insulting homebrewers. Plenty of homebrewers make world class beer and plenty of commercial breweries make awful beer (Indian Wells for example).
    dfried likes this.
  27. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,044) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    You need to follow through on the whole thread -- it's already been established that this was not the intent -- despite all the knee-jerk responses.
    bwiechmann likes this.
  28. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    I agree they matter for purposes of recipe/flavor. I meant it terms of conferring the magical "craft" tag. And I hope that brewers are adjusting recipes if they move from one location to another, to keep the flavor profile the same.
  29. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Which means that brewer/brewer management are critical.

    I can name plenty of places that went downhill (or uphill) when a brewer left. The big problem they had was that their wasnt someone else in charge of making sure things stayed on the same path when the brewer changed.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,545) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    “Yuengling makes the same tired old beers, all not that much differentiated from each other.”

    In another thread on Yuengling in the Beer Talk forum I posted the below:

    I personally do not view the Yuengling beers as being craft beer but they do have some ‘interesting’ beers in their lineup:

    · Yuengling Porter: an American Porter (some folks would call this a Pennsylvania Porter). I drink this beer from time to time. It is not a favorite American Porter of mine (I really, really like Founders Porter) but I would classify this beer as being a good beer.
    · Lord Chesterfield Ale: Beer Advocate classifies this as an American Pale Ale. This beer tastes like a Blonde Ale to me. I have a bottle of this beer in my basement to be enjoyed during the holidays.
    · Back & Tan: this beer is a Black & Tan. I could only guess on how many barrels of this beer I consumed during the late 80’s/early 90’s. I haven’t had one of these in years
    · Traditional Lager: Yuengling’s flagship beer; an American Amber Adjunct Lager. I enjoy a Lager from time to time; it is certainly more enjoyable to drink than a BMC beer.
    · Etc.

    I am not a big drinker of Yuengling beers but I do think that the Porter is much different from the Lager. I also think the Lord Chesterfield Ale is rather tasty and I would never confuse that beer for the Lager.

    I also think it is nice that Yuengling has come out with some ‘newer’ seasonal beers in the past few years: Bock and Oktoberfest. I have both of these beers. I wouldn’t describe them as being excellent beers but I did enjoy drinking a few of them.

  31. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,382) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    [quote="rlcoffey, post: 753506, member: problem. hich means that brewer/brewer management are critical.

    I can name plenty of places that went downhill (or uphill) when a brewer left. The big problem they had was that their wasnt someone else in charge of making sure things stayed on the same path when the brewer changed.[/quote]
    If procedures are in place it can be no problem. Or it can be a big problem. Then there are good/poor brewers that make lower/higher quality* beer when they go to a new brewery, or get a bigger brewhouse (this later can be dialed in with time).

    *In the industrial quality sense.
  32. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,716) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    I like Schell. I wish we got more of it in my part of WI. Ironically, what attracted me to Schell's was a comment that I seem to remember (or maybe misremember) being made by Charlie Papazian in which the Schell's Pilsner was favorably compared to the best pilsners in the world. Or something along those lines. I've enjoyed lots of Schell's beers, the Pils has turned out to be my favorite.

    BA is off-base.
    Chaz likes this.
  33. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Yeah, Eslarn has just one at this point and it's a recent (well, somewhat recent) thing too. The Zoigl has had quite the revival in the past decade so enterprising people are rediscovering their heritage and the possibilities therein :slight_smile:
    rlcoffey and Chaz like this.
  34. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,293) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    My bringing up the craft brewers who use contract breweries, or are "tenant" brewers, or use alternating proprietorship model are references to points made in the original Brewers Association article written by the 3 B.A. officials that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and further elaborated by Stone's Greg Koch.

    "Who is brewing the beer?" might also be asked about the now non-craft Goose Island beers still coming out of Chicago and the Kona beers coming from CBA breweries in the PNW and NH. (And, remember, before being purchased entirely by CBA, Kona was still a B.A. "craft brewer" when their bottled products on the mainland didn't come from Hawaii).

    Koch wrote, "Nothing I've said above is intended to make any comment about qualitative issues. Only about disclosure." Why would disclosure be desired for the non-craft AB- and MC-affiliated beers but not for the contracted craft brewers' beers?

    The Post-Dispatch Op-Ed claimed craft brewers rely on " appreciation for local, and authentic and delicious products to attract their consumer base... brewed locally by neighbors and friends who are very visibly involved in their communities". How are 21st Amendment's beers "local" to San Francisco when they are brewed half a continent away in MN and TN? Check Sixpoint's website or labels and see how many times you can find "Brooklyn" and then how many times for "Wilkes-Barre".

    The Op-Ed goes on to say that craft brewers are "lifting the local economies" and creating "local, Main Street jobs". But the jobs created (if any, it is a much smaller number than would be the case with true local production "microbrewery-sized" facilities) by the contract brewers aren't on "Main St.", but in far away Rochester, Stevens Point, Cold Spring, Utica, La Crosse, etc.

    I have nothing against contract-brewing - I regularly drank some of the earliest East Coast examples like New Amsterdam (brewed by Matt) and bottled Wm. Newman's (from Schmidt's and Walter's in Eau Claire) in the early '80's pre-dating the founding of BBC's and their Samuel Adams Boston Lager. And I've pointed out that most contracted-beer, craft and non-craft alike, lists the actual city along with a dba name making it relatively easy for anyone curious enough to do the minimal amount of research to know a contract brewed beer and what brewery in comes from. (Greg's question re: Kona and GI 312 "Would you like these facts disclosed to you on a label?" is answered by "Well, yeah.... but they are.")

    I guess I keep "bringing this up" because I don't care for deception (regardless of if its source is a craft or non-craft brewer) or hypocrisy.
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  35. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I agree, if you don't own your own equpment you do not run a "brewery". You may still make yummy beer but you're not a brewery and I would like to know about such details. :slight_smile:
    Chaz likes this.
  36. njhopspop

    njhopspop Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2010 New Jersey

    The problem with self proclaimed experts is they have to proclaim themselves experts. Their opinion only matters as far as how many others give it creedence.
    To me, if you call yourself an expert, whether or not you really are one, and think you are the sole entity that has the authority to define a word, you come off as an arrogant snob. It doesn't have to be about exclusivity. Just my personal opinion. Maybe it matters, maybe not so much.
    You drink what you like, I'll do the same. I'll clink my glass with any "craft" or not drinker because why create drama about a beverage that we all enjoy? Cheers to all that we can!
    KarlHungus likes this.
  37. RKPStogie

    RKPStogie Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Maybe we should "blacklist" SAVOR and GABF...
  38. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    I think you missed my point (or failed to combine it with all the other points I made into a coherent whole), probably my lack of clarity. Im in absolute agreement with you on deception and I think the stuff the BA is saying absolutely applies to craft breweries, especially when contracting.

    But you seem to be making the point that if, say, The Lion isnt cant make craft beer because they arent a craft brewery, then if they make contract beer for a craft brewery then it shouldnt be considered craft either. Which I think is silly, because of the rental argument I made.

    On a semi-unrelated note, I dont get the general hatred of hypocisy. I figure the hypocrite is right 1/2 the time (either in what they say or what they do) which is much better than the person who is consistent but wrong.
  39. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    That is questionable. What if you rent?

    I know of a recent startup brewery in which the equipment was owned by a separate investment arm, and the brewery leases it with a right to purchase. It was done, I assume, in order to get the needed investment money, but to keep control of the brewery equity. In return, the investors get a nice return on investment and own the equipment if things go south.

    This is, of course, different from a contract situation, but really, is it? Is this any different than a gypsy brewer, other than the fact that they are always brewing on the same equipment and not physically moving about like a gypsy brewer?

    I think you have to be very careful trying to draw definitive lines (which is also what caused this whole problem, with the BA trying to define craft brewery).
    jedwards likes this.
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,545) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Hopefully jesskidden and Stahlstrum will respond shorty.

    In the interim, permit me to opine on the topics of “rental argument” and “recent startup brewery in which the equipment was owned by a separate investment arm, and the brewery leases it with a right to purchase.”

    As I discussed previously via quoting Chlodwig23 of Mystic Brewery and hopfenunmaltz’s post of “Equipment and procedure are critical” it is not always as simple as a brewer going to another brewery and being able to make ‘quality’ beer. The bottom line is that the equipment at the existing brewhouse could have profound effects on how the beer is produced. So, if the brewery has a brewhouse that has equipment that permits the brewer to brew their beer per their established recipe and procedures than it is indeed possible to produce consistent, quality beer.

    Let’s get into the specifics of Sixpoint brewing (or having their beer brewed) at Lion Brewery. For a period of time, the Lion Brewery utilized their house ale yeasts to make Sixpoint beers. After some time an ‘agreement’ was reached whereby Sixpoint could use their Sixpoint ale yeast strains to make the Sixpoint ales. I would imagine that the Lion house ale strain was first utilized either out of fear of yeast cross-contamination (or maybe it was a process issue which later got resolved?). A number of ‘older’ regional breweries utilize a high gravity fermentation process whereby the beer is brewed at a higher gravity but then diluted with water post fermentation. I do not know the specifics of the Lion Brewery brewhouse but this could very well be the case. If so, then Sixpoint needed to change (tailor?) their brewing accordingly. There are a myriad of other considerations that I am not aware of since I have never brewed professionally.

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