Weekend Reading #58

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Forbes | Eat Your Beer: Why A San Francisco Startup Is Making Granola Bars From Spent Brewing Grains

I am aware of lots of breweries who don’t let their spent grains to go waste and instead provide it for farmers to feed cattle. I love this article’s focus on the small company Regrained who are using spent grain from breweries to make granola bars.

We believe we should all be able to have our beer…and eat it too.

From the ReGrained website

If this kind of thing puts a big smile on your face, pop into Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen in Fremantle where head chef Mitch Mitchell is always putting their breweries spent grain to good use, most prominently in the form of his spent grain sourdough.

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Beer Bread  // Photo from Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen Facebook page

Draft Magazine | Renegade Brewing Co. owner Brian O’Connell talks beer festivals, drinking local and what it means to be a renegade

What I love about breweries and the stories behind why they opened is that I have never heard someone say, “I opened a brewery to make a pot of cash”. Brian’s story is just a fun, passion filled and wonderful as any other story I have heard. I particularly like the recollection of the day he realised he had to give it a shot.

I cancelled the meetings I was supposed to go to, rented a car and drove three hours out to the Delaware coast and spent the day at the Dogfish Head Brewery.

His approach to beer festivals is also of interest, not that we are reaching the same kind of numbers that the US are but being one brewery amongst a field of them begs the question as to how valuable they are for the breweries themselves, maybe is more than one way to get exposure?

Australian Brews News | Bridge Roads sets up authenticity campaign

A really interesting media release from Bridge Roads Brewers (VIC) to introduce new symbols to appear on their packaging and communications. There is this on-going debate as to whether the term “craft beer” is relevant, the can of worms really opens up when you start asking what the term means, how it should (if it should) be defined. This approach from Bridge Roads embraces the word “craft” and gives the drinker an idea of what it means. Maybe it even encourages questions from the drinker, like questions on owns others beers you like, do some breweries brew off site and, most importantly what does that mean?

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The team at Bridge Road Brewers are proud of what they do and the beer they make. The symbols were developed by the team, asking themselves; what is it that makes us different? And what do I expect from the craft beer I drink?

Wall Street Journal | Line Them Up: ‘Crafty’ Expats Stir Up the Vietnamese Beer Scene

As always I really enjoy reading about the craft beer scene in other countries outside of Australia and the US, this article on Vietnam’s emerging craft beer scene, what is driving it and its growth potential is super interesting.

BrewDog | DIY Dog

This is pretty epic. Scottish craft brewery BrewDog, known for excellent beer, making a lot of noise and stuffing a beer bottle into a taxidermy squirrel, have just released their entire back catalogue of beer recipes and story along with a guide to home brewing. Like I said, epic. Even if you don’t home brew, this is a great document to download and get all beer geeky on.

Weekend Reading #55

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


The Guardian | Russia’s craft beer revolution: ‘The last time people stood in line for beer was in the Soviet Union’

A little insight into the vodka loving country of Russia where the craft beer revolution is, from the sounds of it, in it’s early days. It also seems like their liquor licensing laws are far more liberal than ours!

The Sip | Lion turns off Tap King beer

I don’t think this will be news to anyone. The Tap King seemed about a complete overhaul of the way we drink beer at home so it was a bold move that was always going to be really tough to sell, even if you did have a funny ad with Lionel Ritchie.

Malay Mail Online | Skål! Here’s the best craft beer in Scandinavia

Admitted this is a list with a lot of beers that we can’t get here in WA, maybes with a couple of exceptions, but it’s still interesting to see what other countries are doing with their beers.

Gold Coast Bulletin | Now is time for Gold Coast craft beer brewers but venues haven’t caught up

Sometimes you forget how big Australia is and that the craft beer scene in one city isn’t the same as another. Here in WA the industry is maturing and more and more venues are getting on board with craft beer, putting more thought into what is going on their taps and in their fridges. It’s a trend you’d like to see stop being a ‘trend’ and start being ‘the norm’.

First We Fest | How craft beer fails its female fan base

I’ve read articles like this a number of times but it doesn’t make this one any less true, in fact it’s spot on and the opening statistics on women drinking craft beer are, at least to me, a pleasant surprise.

Ultimately, the last thing I want is for beer to be marketed to me, or at least a girly version of me that some beer marketers think I am. I don’t want a beer ad reminiscent of the old Diet Coke hunk TV commercials featuring some hot guy, shirtless and sweaty. I want to hear the story behind the beer, tell me about the brewery, why you started it and what sort of beers you like to brew. What’s unique/different/interesting about your beers? That’s the stuff I want to know.

a few words on truth in beer advertising

When it comes to beer there are other truths I’m much more interested in than a kilojoule count

The ‘Beer the Beautiful Truth’ campaign by Lion Nathan has been kicking around for a few months and up until now I haven’t commented much on it.

For those who’ve not seen it, the advertising campaign is coupled with nutritional information on Lion Nathan’s beer brands. It’s not part of any government requirements on labelling but instead a voluntary move that Lion claims is a response to consumer demands for nutritional information when it comes to the beer we drink.

Read: Beer, the Beautiful Truth campaign details via Australian Brews News article – Beer the Beautiful Truth Campaign has it’s risks: Lion

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When I first caught wind of this campaign I screwed up my nose. I didn’t, and still don’t, like the new labelling on Little Creatures, the additional panel looks just that – additional – and I find it distracting from the old oval shaped label. Admittedly it’s a very minor detail and given the addition of a nutrition panel I guess there wasn’t much in the way of options. But more importantly I don’t really care about the nutritional information of the beer I’m drinking so this campaign does zero for me. This aside, I thought to myself, who I am to judge? Perhaps consumers ARE crying out for this sort of information, I don’t know, clearly I’m not the target market for this particular campaign so maybe I shouldn’t go on a rant.

Fast forward a couple of months and well I can’t help myself.

a few words on beer and advertising …

Beer advertising doesn’t exactly have a history of truth telling, its been predominantly about middle aged overweight men trying to find ways to get away from their wives or looking super cool to get pretty women to sleep with them. It’s been about men doing manly things and this narrative hasn’t changed much despite a big truth that yes, indeed, women also drink beer. Advertising of any kind isn’t really rooted in truth and honesty so why should we take this particular beer advertising has pure 100% truth?

The Source …

It goes without saying that Lion Nathan want you, me, everyone to drink more beer – in particular their brands of beer.

The ad campaign alone implies, at least to me, that their beers are preservative free and sugar free. This in turn implies that everyone else’s beers are not. Digging around the website I found they do acknowledge that “many beers sold in pubs and bottle shops today are preservative free” but the campaign’s main advertisements aren’t going out of their way to acknowledge this.

On the subject of sources, it’s probably worth mentioning that given I don’t really like this campaign then my own writings on it are inherently biased!

A Fad …

It’s really hard not to view this whole thing as a play for the current “sugar is bad” trend. Much like the claims of “zero fat” or “99% fat free” it doesn’t mean that the product is any good for you. I’m sure broken glass is 99% fat free but you don’t see me having a bowl of it for breakfast.

A great article on AdNews called ‘Booze Ads go Sour’ elaborates on this much better than I could, here’s a little excerpt –

Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin said Lion were deliberately “capitalising” on the concern around sugar, and labelling beer as 99.9% sugar-free “only tells part of the story.”

“The nutrition panel doesn’t show you where the energy is coming from because alcohol isn’t listed. It’s the alcohol that contains the kilojoules.”

“It’s like saying marshmallows are 99.9% fat free. The messaging is making the products appear healthier than they are,” she said.

We have seen this before with the boom of low carb beers a few years ago. Remember Pure Blonde? I remember when it was one of the biggest selling beers at the pub I used to work at, nowadays I see it less and less. Sure, Pure Blonde is making/trying to make a comeback but their own advertising is questionable as fellow Australian beer blogger ‘Beer is Your Friend’ highlights wonderfully in his post ‘The Pure Blonde Ad I hate’. Low carb was a thing, now zero sugar is a thing, then something else will be.

Trying to be healthy …

Consume less alcohol or none at all. I’m no health expert but surely it’s the BOOZE that is bad for you. Below is a great read from 2010 which addresses a lot of beer and health myths and misconceptions. Granted it’s longer than looking at a 30 second television spot but I found it full of good information.

Read: Australian Brews News – Beer Lovers’ Guide to Good Health

As with all alcoholic drinks, the primary focus should be in the effects of alcohol on the body first rather than carbohydrates or other component.

[Excerpt from Beer Lovers’ Guide to Good Health article]

I drink beer, Here is the truth I’d like …

I drink a lot of beer and I can say with a great deal of certainty that I don’t care about nutritional information on the label. I’ve never looked at a label and thought “gee, I wonder how many calories are in this?” but you know what I have thought – “who brews this beer?”, “where is this brewed?” and “who owns this beer?” This goes for draught beers as well, not just bottles and cans.

I can’t be alone on this – take Beck’s for instance, who’s parent company AB InBev recently got pinged in a law suit for misleading their consumers into thinking that all Beck’s beer is produced in Germany.

Read: Beck’s beer settlement includes payouts for up to 1.7m US households

Sure, they included it’s US production on the packaging but from what I have read you really had to go looking for that information in order to find it. What was more prominent were words and symbols implying it was brewed in Germany. Where is the truth in that sort of labelling?

A little closer to home where last year the ACCC, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, fined Carlton United Breweries for misleading consumers with their Byron Bay Lager, a beer that was brewed more than 700km away in Sydney.

Read: ABC News – Byron Bay beer label not-so-fine

Further interesting reading on Australian Brews News on the Cole’s brand ‘Steamrail’ that, prior to the Bryon Bay Lager incident, didn’t mention anything about who was behind Steamrail beers.

Read: Australian Brews News – Who is Steamrail Brewing?

More beer labels followed suit and changed their labels to put a little more honesty about where the beer was brewed.

Read: Australian Brews News – Beers change beer labels to appease ACCC

By no means am I saying that beer brewed for Coles is rubbish or that brewing under contract is bad, what I do believe is that it’s relevant information for consumers and they are intelligent enough to do with that information whatever they like.

I am clearly not the target market for the Beer, the Beautiful Truth advertising campaign. I’ll accept that some people do want nutritional information on their beers, though I’d be interested to see if any other alcoholic beverage follows these footsteps, but I think when it comes to beer there are other truths I’m much more interested in than a kilojoule count.

A few words on hipsters and craft beer

Above: Brews in the Beer Garden, May 2015 at The Boulevard with lots of people enjoying craft beer who aren’t all hipsters

Beyond the myth of women only drinking fruity sweet beers or that women have to be tricked into drinking beer in the first place, the myth that most craft beer drinkers are hipsters has rocketed to the top of my “things that tick me off about beer” list.

It’s mass media that seems to be feeding this mythical beast. As craft beer grows in popularity, the number of craft beer articles appearing in major newspapers also grows and with every article comes the same lazy-ass reference to hipsters.

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For every tight jean shorts, bearded hipster guy drinking a craft beer I’ll show you twenty people who don’t fit that description who love craft beer. It’s not because I am in the beer industry that I know this, it’s because I walk around with my eyes open.

I don’t read about farmers markets being a haven for hipsters just like I don’t read James Halliday saying his top rated wines are the perfect hipster accompaniment. I don’t see hipsters being associated with food trucks, kimchi, ceviche, sliders or any other foodie trend. What has craft beer done to get this association?

I really don’t know how it happened but it needs to stop, please.

Weekend Reading #12

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

 

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

SommBeer | What’s wrong with beer marketing?

This is a collaboration piece with Hops Canary and together these beer bloggers discuss beer marketing including labels and packaging and the all important gender based marketing. Do beer ads need to target women and if so, how so? And when, oh when, are we finally going to stop seeing T&A as the one-stop advertising solution to beer ads (or all booze as a matter a fact).

“Tell me what your beer smells and tastes like and keep the bikinis to swimsuit ads,”

Jen aka Hops Canary

You can read the piece on the Hops Canary blog too, entitled He says fruity, I say Hoppy, sour, spicy, bitter … which I’d recommend as both authors get different comments and introduce the article in their own way.

Whilst we are on the subject of marketing, my partner showed me these ads for Heineken featuring actor Neil Patrick Harris and I really liked them. Simple, funny and not the outdated blokes-hanging-out / boobs-and-beer formula.

Heineken with Neil Patrick Harris:  “Director”, “Party” and “Rules”

Paste Magazine | Top five craft breweries to watch

I am such a sucker for a list. I know lots of people find them a bit naff but it is total click-bait for me. Even though these are American and therefore I’m unlikely to get my grubby little hands on them I was still curious to see what made them stand out, what made them “watchable”. The one thing that struck me was the use of the term ” artisan brewing”  – is this the new “craft brewing” and if so, what then defines the two? Maybe it is simply an effort to stand out in a country where new breweries are opening all the time. Or maybe beer is getting a little too wanky?

I very much liked the one off, limited release beers that are just that – made once, never made again and that’s it. Imagination run wild, the variety never ends.

Compound Chem | What gives beers its bitterness and flavour?

A little nerdy with great information and a nice infographic to boot! This is one of those articles I’ll probably read every once in a while just to try and get it in my head properly. It serves as a good supplement to the beer books I read and try to understand. I’m no good at the chemistry side of beer, I can barely pronounce some brewing terminology and yeast strains and other such beer nerdery, there is a reason I write a blog and not try a podcast! But I find pieces like this are great – visual, easy enough to read and not so long you start to tune out and wonder what is happening on Facebook.