Breaking Down the AB InBev – SABMiller Merger Agreement

AB InBev + SABMiller = Almost a third of global beer sales.

The agreement was completed November 11. Sometime in the second half of 2016, ABI will absorb its greatest competitor in a deal valued around $107 billion.

SABMiller’s portfolio includes MillerCoors (Miller brands, Coors brands, Blue Moon, Redd’s, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, etc.). This deal would seem to put Budweiser, Coors, and Miller, the three main macro brands, and also several of the biggest players in the import market, under the same roof.

Except it won’t. Continue reading

On Passing the Certified Cicerone® Exam

I got to the brewpub early–way early. I had been cramming. I had slept briefly. And before that I had been cramming more.

But I had been studying for my entire adult life, really. My leisure experience included homebrewing and extensive “tasting”. My work experience included craft beer market/product knowledge, draught system service, server education seminars on keeping and serving beer, retail beer program consulting, and extensive “tasting”. My bedside reading material was a stack of books by Ray Daniels and other industry giants (if you are taking the Certified Cicerone® Exam, you have to read Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher).

I was still shaky. Continue reading

Hop Series 1: Hallertauer Mittelfrüh

Delicate, refined, spicy, floral. Fit for the title of Noble.

The Hallertau region of Germany is in Bavaria. It hosts the largest continuous acreage of hop vines in the world (and here are some great photos of the fields) and accounts for the vast majority of hops produced in the world’s number one hop-producing country. There are other varieties produced in Hallertau, but Continue reading

The Winter Blanket

Winter seasonals loom on the horizon, and pumpkin beers, at least in my small pocket of the world, seem to have sold through slightly better to date than last year. Last year was bad for pumpkin beer. Another year or two of late sell through like that could mar retailer and consumer confidence in the style. Simply put, there are too many.

I always find myself “spiced out” by the winter, but I reserve some spice tolerance for those fantastic Belgian Christmas beers. It is also high season for Bourbon Barrel Aged beers, hot and oaky and obnoxious in all of the best ways. These cork and cage releases are where I spend most of my time during the colder months.

If the quintessential fall seasonal of today is the pumpkin ale, what is the quintessential winter seasonal? “Winter Warmer” has always been a cop out to me, Continue reading