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Ratebeer News for April 6, 2006

The Czechs open a beer spa and new brews hit the US shelves
Brewers/Industry April 6, 2006      
Written by RateBeer

Santa Rosa, CALIFORNIA -

The world’s first beer health spa is opening in Czech Republic. The Chodovar Family brewery in Chodova Plana offers beer baths, beer massages and beer cosmetics. The cellar has seven huge Victorian style baths where visitors can swim in beer while enjoying a pint poured at a bathside bar. "Beer can treat a range of conditions, particularly skin conditions, and the health centre should appeal to men who are put off by ’posh’ traditional spas. I have heard of some places in other countries where people can swim in beer but it’s just a gimmick. We believe in the healing properties of beer and we offer the full range of treatments. We are a fully-fledged beer spa," declared Jiri Plevka, the owner.

It seems that Anheuser-Busch decided that they will brew a special beer in their Columbus, Ohio brewery. The beer would only be available in Ohio and they are considering what beer they will make. They have the choice between a malty lager, an American amber ale and a beer called Old Eyepopper which is a blend of caramel and chocolate malts. Anheuser-Busch wants to do the same thing in New Hampshire and maybe in all the twelve states where they have a brewery.

Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar has settled a dispute with German importers. The dispute started in 2003 when Budvar cancelled exclusive distribution contracts with the importers because of falling sales in Germany. The importers demanded a compensation from Budvar and the case went before an arbitration court which decided that the cancellation of the contracts was invalid but didn’t recognise any compensation for the importers.

Denmark will bring a problem with German cans of beer before the European Commission. It seems that a lot of Danes go to Germany and come back with cans of beer, a total of 400 million every year. First it is seen as potential environmental problem since those cans are not recycled, and then there is a matter of competition for Denmark’s retailers.

Heineken are launching their new beer, Heineken Premium Light, in the US. They are exepecting to sell 5 million cases over the first year. In order to achieve this they launched a $ 50 million full-scale national marketing campaign. They feel that there is an enthusiasm for luxury light beers.

Union workers at InBev are angry at the company’s plan to relocate activities in Eastern Europe which will lead to job cuts, mostly in Germany and Belgium. InBev is planning to close two breweries in Belgium, included the Hoegaarden brewery. Union protestors declared that they were sick of seeing cuts like this while the company earns high profits. At one point three breweries had to be closed in Belgium because of the protestors. Unions are calling for more information and clarity about management plans as well as guarantees on job security.

A new Australian beer is being released in the US. James Boag’s Premium Lager is the flagship beer of Boag’s Brewery in Tasmania. It is being imported by Global Village Importers.

Also coming soon to the US, Andechs Spezial Hell, courtesy of Distinguished Brands International. This will be brewed at Brick Brewing in Waterloo, ON. Brick has brewed Andechs Spezial Hell for several years for the local market and it generally compares pretty well with the Bavarian original.


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