What a crazy year it has been for the beer industry. What follows is a list of stories that either resonated with Beernews.org readers or got coverage in the mainstream media. Because of the site’s foundation as a craft beer site first and a beer site second, the list is heavily slanted toward stories relating to the craft beer category.
So without further ado, let’s get to it…
30. Governor Walker makes changes to Wisconsin three-tier system
Many of the stories you’ll see featured over the next couple days are microcosms of larger trends or movements. Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, and the sly budgetary provision that pissed off New Glarus and other small brewers in the Cheese State is no different. Legal battles involving distributors had their fair share of time in the spotlight with Illinois being a notable example.
In the case of Wisconsin, MillerCoors reportedly had input on the controversial provision that limited craft brewers’ freedoms… though craft brewers didn’t. From ThinkProgess:
Tucked into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) much-discussed budget was a little-noticed provision to overhaul the state’s regulation of the beer industry. In a state long associated with beer, the provision will make it much more difficult for the Wisconsin’s burgeoning craft breweries to operate and expand their business by barring them from selling directly to restaurants and liquor stores, and preventing them from selling their own product onsite.
29. SABMiller agrees to buys Foster’s for $10.2 billion
The purchase will be the biggest ever by London-based SABMiller and give it access to about half of the Australian beer market. SABMiller’s initial attempts to buy the maker of Victoria Bitter were rebuffed by Foster’s management as undervaluing the brewer, one of the world’s most profitable.
28. Google and Dogfish Head collaborate on beer, Urkontinent
What if we do an idea like I showed you before where we have a template, we invite you all in as collaborators to the Google Doc. We literally devise a ‘wikibrew.’ We refine it and get it down to exactly the way that people are looking for with their input. Then we launch it.
Maybe we start out with a small draft version that we first test out here at the Google draft system. Then after a couple permutations, if we really dial it in [...]
URKontinent is brewed in the style of a Belgian Dubbel. It begins with Pilsner, Munich and Chocolate Malts and Belgian Dark Candi syrup. Then we add unique ingredients from around the world.
URKontinent should hit bottles in 2012.
27. Flying Dog Brewery sues Michigan over alleged violation of First Amendment rights.
Citing its First Amendment rights and an appalling attempt at state censorship, Flying Dog Brewery, with the support of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, filed suit in U.S. District Court on Friday to overturn the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s ban on the sale of the company’s best-selling beer, Raging Bitch. The suit also seeks to recover damages from the loss of Flying Dog sales under the statewide ban, which the Commission issued based on its members’ personal distaste for Raging Bitch’s labeling.
Flying Dog won the battle but, after later claiming victory, vowed to keep fighting Michigan for its alleged violation of First Amendment rights.
Though the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has now approved the sale of Raging Bitch in the state, we have no interest in dropping the First Amendment lawsuit. With the support of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and the law firm of Gura & Possessky, we originally filed suit in U.S. District Court on March 25 not only to overturn the Commission’s regulation banning Raging Bitch, but also to deem their ability to ban any beer label that they find offensive unconstitutional. Additionally, the suit seeks to recover damages from the loss of sales under the rule.
26. BrewDog creates beer for Royal Family wedding
The wedding of Will and Kate was among the world’s biggest events in 2011. The guys at BrewDog just had to put their own spin on celebrating the occasion, right?
‘Arise Prince Willy’: A beer to stir the loins of newlywed princes, summon the ghosts of long gone princesses and cure the stammer of stuttering kings.
According to the specially commissioned label, the Royal Virility Performance contains Viagra, chocolate, Horny Goat Weed and ‘a healthy dose of sarcasm’. The beer is a 7.5% ABV India Pale Ale and has been brewed at BrewDog’s brewery in Fraserburgh.
With this beer we want to take the wheels off the royal wedding bandwagon being jumped on by dozens of breweries; The Royal Virility Performance is the perfect antidote to all the hype.
BrewDog has removed any mention of the beer from its website.