Posts Tagged Beer

The Death of Beer Has Been Greatly Exaggerated – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic

The Death of Beer Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Taking a deeper dive into America’s liquid economy





It’s been a rough decade for beer. 

Americans are drinking less brew. Producers are making less, too. Meanwhile, wine has closed a 20-point favorability gap with beer in the just 20 years. Since the mid-1990s, beer volume has declined by nine percent while and spirits have soared (now even hard cider is staging a comeback after a century-and-a-half slump).

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But, despite my previous lamentations, maybe beer doesn’t deserve out tears. This is still America’s booze, goshdarnit, and Uncle Sam is awful proud of that beer gut. In fact, total U.S. spending on all alcoholic beverages — both at home and at restaurants and bars — is up 27 percent since 1980 and even more since the mid-century.

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Those numbers are inflation-adjusted, but real incomes have grown since the 1950s, too, so maybe the best way to see our boozy growth is measure alcohol’s share of the food budget, which has grown steadily since 1994.

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Pull back the lens to the late 19th century, and the story changes slightly. Alcohol spending has been about 15 percent of the food budget since the turn of the century, but the rise of cheap beer in the second half of the 20th century helped contribute to a decline in relative booze spending. It’s only recently (since 1994, or so) picked up.

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Back to the present: If we’re spending more on alcohol but drinking much less beer, what’s going on? Well, we’re spending more for the suds. Beer is getting more expensive on average, due to the rise of craft beers, which account for about 10 percent of the market. In 1980 there were 8 specialty breweries in the United States. Now there are more than 2,000 “Between 1994 and 2011, an average of 97 breweries opened in the United States every year,” consultant David Dworin pointed out in an email to me. As a result, beer hasn’t lost much ground as a share of total booze-spending at stores.

And it is by far the most popular alcoholic drink by volume. Yes, you point out, it is physically impossible to drink vodka in beer-like quantities. And yes, I’d agree, but on an alcohol basis, holds up well against wine: Beer volume still outsells wine volume by 8.5X despite the fact that a typical beer that’s 4% alcohol is only three or four times weaker than a typical wine.

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To sum up: The total amount of beer consumed by Americans is in structural decline, and there are more wine-drinkers than there used to be. But beer is still the most popular boozy beverage in America and overall sales are holding up, thanks in part to the emergence of craft beers.

 The Death of Beer Has Been Greatly Exaggerated – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic.


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Brewers to make White House beers –


Brewers to make White House beers


Several brewers across the country have announced that they will start making batches of the White House homebrews.

The Obama White House released the beer recipes last week, after several beer enthusiasts petitioned for them. Obama has been carrying the homebrews around on the trail, handing them out to voters at various events. The beers were also served at several White House parties.

Utah beer maker Wasatch Brewing told the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday that they planned to make the honey ale recipe released by the White House.

“We’re going to call it El Presidente Honey Ale,” the brewer’s founder told the paper.

(PHOTOS: 8 times Obama had a brewski)

And several D.C.-based brewers have also expressed interest. Local DC Brau brewery told the Washington City Paper they wanted to brew the beer, but were in the process of asking the White House for permission. And the local website DCist, in conjunction with several local brewing enthusiasts, will make their own batch.

“Lutz and DCist agreed to team up in producing a replica of White House Honey Ale, using the recipe provided by White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass in Saturday’s announcement,” the website announced this week.

 Brewers to make White House beers –


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President Delivers Beer to Va. Firehouse – ABC News


President Delivers Beer to Va. Firehouse

ap barack obama fire dept nt 120904 wblog President Delivers Beer to Va. Firehouse

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo


On his way home following his last pre-convention campaign rally, President Obama pulled into Fire Station 14 in the city of Norfolk and personally delivered a case of beer brewed at the White House.

“I’m going to call you up and find out what you think,” he told the firefighters on duty.

“Should we wait until tomorrow to drink it?” one asked.

“It needs to be chilled, it’s been sitting in my trunk,” the president advised.

Over the holiday weekend the White House revealed the special recipe of the President’s homebrew. He’s been downing beers at campaign stops over the summer seeming to underscore his theme of supporting America’s middle class.

The case of White House beer was placed on the rear bumper of a Norfolk firetruck, apparently 12 bottles each of the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter brewed with honey from hives on the White House South Lawn.

 President Delivers Beer to Va. Firehouse – ABC News.


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President Obama Makes Surprise Stop for Beer, Cracks Birther Joke – ABC News


President Obama Makes Surprise Stop for Beer, Cracks Birther Joke



KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Rolling to Orlando this evening, President Obama’s bus tour made a surprise stop at a local sports bar for beer and a little college football.

“There he is,” a girl squealed, according to pool reports, as Obama walked into Gators Dockside bar and grill, doing the “gator chomp.”

The president went straight to the bar and ordered a pint of beer before working his way around the room, chatting with patrons as the Florida State vs. Savannah State game played on the TVs.

At one table, the president met a young boy, Andre Wupperman, who informed him he was born in Hawaii, too.

The president asked the boy whether he had a birth certificate, and the whole table cracked up laughing.

At another table, the president came across a birthday celebration and joined the party, leading the group in singing “Happy Birthday” to Sorina Terrell.

 President Obama Makes Surprise Stop for Beer, Cracks Birther Joke – ABC News.


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New Commercials For Old Milwaukee Beer Feature Group Of Friends Contemplating Suicide | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

New Commercials For Old Milwaukee Beer Feature Group Of Friends Contemplating Suicide

JUNE 22, 2012

One of several nearly silent advertisements set to air nationally.

WOODRIDGE, IL—Old Milwaukee beer announced Friday the launch of a new series of commercials featuring a group of friends despondently contemplating suicide while drinking the alcoholic beverage and sitting in darkened apartments.

According to company spokesperson Jim Sloman, the ads are intended to reflect the experience of a large segment of the Old Milwaukee customer base, namely those for whom the daily indignities and humiliations of life have almost become too much to bear, and who increasingly see no solution other than killing themselves.

“We’re confident consumers of Old Milwaukee will strongly relate to these drunk, hopeless, broken down men joylessly downing beer after beer while listlessly watching television and discussing in flat monotones whether there’s any compelling reason why they shouldn’t just end it all,” Sloman said following a screening of a TV spot in which a pale, sunken-eyed man opens his ninth Old Milwaukee, stares at it blankly, and then puts it down untouched after realizing that nothing is helping. “Extensive market research has shown these scenes are quite authentic in terms of how a great number of Americans enjoy the crisp, delicious taste of Old Milwaukee beer.”

Old Milwaukee reps say the new advertising campaign will “really strike a chord” with their consumer base.


Sloman said the commercials will have elements of continuity tying them together in a loose narrative, including a character named Randall who, irrespective of anything else being said in the commercial or whether anyone is even listening to him, only looks at the floor and says, “Erica…Erica…where did it all go wrong?” Additionally, one or more characters will end each ad by offhandedly muttering Old Milwaukee’s new slogan, “Honestly, what’s the fucking point?”

One of the more conceptual commercials in the campaign simultaneously shows the four friends alone in their respective homes, with each engaged in a different activity: One puts a gun in his mouth for a full 10 seconds before removing it, burying his head in his hands, and sobbing loudly; another tries to masturbate but is unable to achieve an erection; and the remaining two characters whisper prayers to God to please just kill them and end the suffering.

“I imagine these spots will have a lot of Old Milwaukee drinkers thinking, ‘Hey! How did you guys get a camera into my house?'” said Sloman, who along with the assembled reporters erupted into laughter.

According to a press release, the commercials will run on network and basic cable television between the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., when members of the target demographic are typically thinking about going out to their garages and running their cars until they die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We’re planning some really fun tie-ins with the new campaign,” advertising director Jill Eisenhard said. “If you somehow gather the mental wherewithal to collect 30 UPC labels and mail them to our promotions department, we’ll send you an Old Milwaukee pen and notepad set, perfect for scrawling down your tear-stained final words.”

When asked whether the company was concerned that the new ads would diminish their sales due to mass suicides, Eisenhard expressed confidence that the Old Milwaukee brand could always rely on a new group of suicidal customers reaching drinking age.

“Since its founding in 1890, those who have been left hopeless by life—and, more generally, by the immutable tragedy of the human condition—have always provided the primary revenue stream for Old Milwaukee products,” Eisenhard said. “That will never change.”

 New Commercials For Old Milwaukee Beer Feature Group Of Friends Contemplating Suicide | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

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Next to Tribe With Alcohol Ban, a Hub of Beer –

At Tribe’s Door, a Hub of Beer and Heartache

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

The streets of Whiteclay, Neb., just across the state border from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, often include groups of people in various states of inebriation. More Photos »



Published: March 5, 2012


WHITECLAY, Neb. — Four rickety metal shacks that line the main road in this town of maybe 10 people sell an average of 13,000 cans of beer and malt liquor a day. The nearest sizable city is two hours north. But just 240 yards north — across the state line in South Dakota — is the sprawling Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where alcohol has been banned since the 1970s.

The New York Times

The reservation is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which has filed a suit against the stores in Whiteclay that sell beer. More Photos »

Nearly all the alcohol bought in Whiteclay winds up on Pine Ridge or is consumed by its residents, tribal officials say. Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and is one of the poorest places in the country, according to 2010 census data.

In February, the Oglala Sioux filed a federal lawsuitagainst the stores, and Anheuser-Busch and several other large American brewing companies, accusing them of encouraging the illegal purchase, possession, transport and consumption of alcohol on the reservation. Fetal alcohol syndrome, fatal drunken driving accidents and beer-fueled murders have cast a pall over Pine Ridge for decades.

After the lawsuit was filed, Whiteclay’s two-lane road, Highway 87, bustled with traffic driving to and from the beer stores. Dozens of people in various states of inebriation wandered along the road. Other men and women were passed out in front of abandoned buildings. A Hank Williams Jr. 45, “I’d Rather Be Gone,” was among the detritus along the road, as well as empty liquor bottles, a copy of “Tabernacle Hymns No. 3,” soiled clothing and a dead puppy.

Thomas M. White, the Omaha lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the tribe, describes Whiteclay as “Sodom and Gomorrah.” There is a lawless feeling in the town.

The Sheridan County sheriff’s office, responsible for patrolling Whiteclay, is 19 miles away and has only five deputies. The department says it lacks the resources to properly patrol the town. The tribal police department, which has 38 officers — down from 101 six years ago — lacks jurisdiction.

John Yellow Bird Steele, the tribal president, said 90 percent of criminal cases in the court system and a similar number of reservation illnesses were caused by alcohol — the vast majority of which, he said, was brought illegally from Whiteclay.

“We believe we can’t get ahead, or function, without Whiteclay being addressed,” he said.

On Pine Ridge, which is roughly the size of Connecticut but has a population of about only 45,000, the tribal police last year made 20,000 alcohol-related arrests. As an indication of the depth of the problem, Thomas Poor Bear, a tribal vice president who has been a leader in calling for change in Whiteclay, was arrested and jailed last month and charged with obstructing government function and having consumed alcohol. Mr. Poor Bear has denied the charges, saying he had taken cold medicine. But his lawyer, Tom Clifford, said that his client drank “a couple of beers” before his arrest.

The lawsuit seeks $500 million for costs incurred by the tribe for health care, law enforcement and social services related to chronic drinking, and to limit the amount of beer Whiteclay shops can sell. The legal argument is that the brewers and the stores know that they are selling alcohol to people who have no permissible place to consume it, and who are smuggling it onto the reservation for illegal use and resale. Any sign of alcohol — the smell of beer, walking funny, slurred speech — can get a person arrested in Pine Ridge.

The suit was filed in federal court because the federal authorities oversee Indian reservations and are the ultimate arbiters on alcohol issues. Anheuser-Busch and the other alcohol companies named in the lawsuit declined to comment or did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the leading cause of preventable death among American Indians, and they are affected at about twice the rate of the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lawsuit comes amid a growing debate on Pine Ridge and other reservations about the wisdom of alcohol prohibition.

About a third of the nation’s 310 reservations ban alcohol, but Pine Ridge is the only remaining dry reservation in South Dakota. It abuts the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, which allows alcohol.

Proponents of repealing prohibition say legalizing alcohol would enable tribes to enact tighter controls and to use new revenue for treatment programs.

“Not to disrespect our elders and ancestors, but we’ve gone through several generations,” said Milton Bians, a tribal police captain, who was raised by grandparents because his parents drank.

Though the reservation is dry, nearly every aspect of life there is affected by alcohol. Tribal leaders say four in five families on the reservation have someone with a drinking problem, and one in four babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Rates of diabetes, teenage suicide, crime and unemployment are in some cases exponentially higher than national averages, according to federal and tribal data and officials.

The beer store owners declined to comment, citing the lawsuit. Whiteclay’s other businesses, which include two groceries and an auto body shop, say they feel little responsibility.

Victor Clarke, who has lived in Whiteclay 19 years and owns Arrowhead Foods, a grocery that does not sell alcohol, said there would be dozens of places within an hour’s drive where alcohol could be bought if the town’s annual sale of 4.9 million cans of beer and malt liquor was halted.

He said the widespread fear that Whiteclay’s troublesome customers would then move elsewhere virtually guarantees the town’s survival.

“People don’t want Whiteclay to go away,” he said. “The state of Nebraska doesn’t want Whiteclay to go away because it allows problems to be isolated in this one little place. You hear people in the towns around here, saying, ‘We don’t want these guys in our town.’ ”

Each side blames the other for the drunken assaults, robberies and murders that are part of Whiteclay’s ebb and flow.

“A lot of times, there’s a problem that boils up in South Dakota and ends up in Whiteclay,” said Sheriff Terry Robbins of Sheridan County. About the prospect of more patrols, he said, “With the economy the way it is, I don’t see us doing anything that we’re not trying now.” Deputies patrol the town two to three times a day.

The Arrowhead Inn, one of Whiteclay’s four beer stores, has a sign posted saying, “Cash your income tax check here.” The store takes a 3 percent commission. Pine Ridge has no banks, so the liquor stores serve that purpose.

The shop sells a 30-pack of Budweiser cans for $27.25 — a price higher than in New York City, and nearly twice as high as elsewhere in the country. But the drink of choice in Whiteclay is Hurricane High Gravity Lager, a malt liquor brewed by Anheuser-Busch. A 16-ounce can costs $1.50 at the Arrowhead Inn. Its alcohol content is 8.1 percent; regular beer has an alcohol content of about 5 percent.

Daryl Walking, 46, a former Marine who said he has been drinking since he was a boy, said he spends three nights a week in jail for public intoxication and the other four in the cold.

“I’ll curl up against the wall and I’ll wake up half frozen, but I’ll still be O.K.,” he said.

His friend James Whiteface, 43, was recently released from the tribal jail. It was his birthday, and he showed the date of birth on his arrest form to prove it.

“I came here right after I got out,” he said, referring to Whiteclay. “This is where everybody meets.” he said. Mr. Whiteface, a slight man, said he could drink six 16-ounce cans of Hurricane in one sitting.

A Nebraska State Patrol officer drove past. Someone shouted an obscenity. The trooper slammed on the brakes and shouted obscenities back, threatening to call in the sheriff to “clear this town.”

An hour later, there was no sheriff, and the crowds of drinkers had grown thicker.

 Next to Tribe With Alcohol Ban, a Hub of Beer –

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