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Ratebeer News for April 13, 2006

Craft beer promotion
Brewers/Industry April 13, 2006      
Written by RateBeer

Santa Rosa, CALIFORNIA -

In the UK a popular beer festival received the axe. The 2006 Devizes Beer Festival had to be cancelled because of increasing costs due to licensing law changes. The organising committee was disapointed in the current turn of events but are aiming for a 2007 revival.

Still in the UK, six of the top real ale producers have joined for a common cause, the promotion of real ale. The group composed of Adnams, Caledonian, Charles Wells, Greene King, Fullers and Wolverhampton & Dudley want to drive up real ale sales by working closely with pubcos and licensees. The campaign will focus on issues like quality, training standards, stocking policy and developing what they call “ a common language for consumers”. Other real ale groups like Campaign for Real Ale, Cask Marque and the Society of Independant Brewers is supportive of the group’s goals.

The Boston Beer Company are considering the opening of a new brewery in Freetown, Massachussets. The company would invest $ 75 million to $ 90 million to build a 250 000 square foot facility that would brew the 18 Samuel Adams beers.

We’ve wrote it before, the craft beer market is booming, but New-Jersey brewers claim that they have a hard time reaping the full benefits of the current boom. They say that antiquated law prevent them to be both a brew-pub and a micro-brewery, it’s either brew for retail sales or on premise consumption. They feel they would need this edge to compete with brewers from other states who don’t have the same restrictions. On top of that a new law was voted making it very difficult for a microbrewery to change its distributor. This new law is intended to protect distributors.

A Toronto Star beer writer, Jon Filson, established a paralel between the expansion of the craft beer market in the US and in Ontario. In his article he mention the buzz around american craft beer and its flagship breweries like Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, Stone, AleSmith and Rogue. He mentions that these breweries have established themselves as some of the world’s most best and most innovative beer makers. As for Ontario Filson wrote that the craft beer sales also rose and the breweries have been succesfull, but failed to be creative. Filson feels that instead of developing their own flavors and styles, Ontario’s microbrewies generally try to replicate European products or mainstream Canadian beers. He also wrote that light tasting pale ales, lagers and pilseners make up for the largest share of Ontario’s craft brews, 53 of 123 beers. "From everything I’ve read, the U.S. craft industry is light-years ahead of us," admits Phil DiFonzo, owner and brewmaster at King Brewery in Nobleton. "I think they’ve had a longer period of time to get their act together. We’re in the very, very early stages. I think Ontario brewers have worked very hard to build a quality taste. They haven’t yet come out as the U.S. does and tried to challenge the taste buds."

The Foster’s lager brand rights has been bought by Scottish & Newcastle for use in Europe and Russia. Scottish & Newcastle already brew and distribute Foster’s lager since 1995 but had to pay royalties which amounted to $ 26 million last year. Foster’s lager represents 14% of Scottish & Newcastle’s sales.

A beer from Mozanbique is on its way to the UK beer market. Called Laurentina, the beer is brewed by a SAB Miller owned brewery and used to be exported to South Africa and Germany. It is reported that Laurentina has been brewed since 1932 and there is also a Laurentina Preta (dark).

SAB Miller has expanded their brewing capacity for their Aurangabad, India brewery. The production will increase from 170 000 cases per month to 700 000. The capacity expansion at Aurangabad is part of the company’s plans to improve manufacturing facilities and quality of products across its breweries for which the company has earmarked an investment of $125 million. A second upgrade is already planned in order to increase to capacity to a million cases a month. Also, the company is encouraging local farmers to grow barley varieties suitable for the production of beer.



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