Friday, September 28, 2007

Long Live Octobeer!

As we bid a fond farewell to another Septembeer and wave hello to Octobeer... the wife and I are jetting out to the West Coast this afternoon for a longish weekend. We're gonna visit her folks in the Napa Valley - drink some wine (yes, I do like the occasional sip of vino), and with any luck get a chance to run into Santa Rosa and taste the brew crafted by Randall Gremp (pictured at right) out at Third Street Ale Works., and get some samplers from Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo over at the Russian River Brewing Company.

Although I wasn't able to get out to Germany for this year's Oktoberfest, I will be spending the final weekend of this grand ole beer guzzling hoedown with a few of my favorite (100%) Germans! So in a way, I am there... without being there! Ya know?!

Down at the bottom of the right sidebar you'll notice a thumbnail ClustrMap. What this little bad boy does is keep track of where in the world the visitors to this little slice of the Internet are coming from. Don't worry, I can't see your IP address or any other computer details, just where you're popping in from geographically speaking. Every time it loads, it increments a counter and shows the locations of all the visitors to the page, cumulatively. Clicking on it zooms in to a big world map, and (optionally) lets you zoom in to the continents. The totals will be updated daily. I just put it up so it will take a day before any blips appear on the map. Thanks to John The Beer Hermit for giving me this idea! Oh, and the best thing? You don't have to do anything at all. Just viewing the page is sufficient. Enjoy!

By the way, if you want to test your beer knowledge, clickety click here! Once you're done, come on back and post your score in the comments section. I wanna see how well you scored!

Hey, guess what? We're #1! ! That's right... Colorado just became the biggest producing beer State in all the US of A! California finally slipped to the #2 position. The last time CO held the top spot was way back in '90. In 2006 Colorado produced more then 23.3 MEEEELLION barrels of beer, which equates to 724.5 million gallons. Now that's a lot of beer!

Here's the whole article from today's Colorado Springs Gazette, written by Bill Bradford:

Beer here. Beer here more than anywhere, to be exact.

Colorado has reclaimed the title of No. 1 beer-producing state in the country, according to the Beer Institute.

California, which held that title for several years, slipped to No. 2 in the 2006 rankings. The last time Colorado was the top beer producer was in 1990, said Mark Destito, a spokesman for the Beer Institute.

The Colorado brewing industry produced more than 23.3 million barrels of beer last year, according to the Beer Institute. Colorado is home to Golden-based Coors Brewing Co., the third-largest brewing company in the United States, and an Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fort Collins along with dozens of smaller brewers such as Flying Dog Brewery in Denver and Bristol Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs.

“It’s true that most of that volume is from Coors and Anheuser-Busch, a very high percentage of it,” said Doug Odell, president of the board of directors of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “But I think the real story is that there are a hundred other breweries in the state of Colorado contributing a great variety of beer styles and beer flavors.”

Odell is an owner and brewmaster of Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, which has seen steady growth since it opened in 1989.

“Our first full year we sold about 900 barrels,” Odell said. “This year we are going to sell about 39,000.”

Arctic Craft Brewery is experiencing 100 percent growth this year over last, said John Dunfee, president of the Colorado Springs-based brewery. But, he noted, “a 100 percent increase on a small amount is still not a whole lot. I’m only up to about 215 barrels this year so far.”

The brewery is a one-man operation. “I’m the janitor all the way to the brewer,” Dunfee said.

There are many factors, Odell said, that make Colorado a great state for beer. For one, he said, “the love of outdoors, for some reason that translates into liking good things to eat and drink.”

Dunfee points to something in the water.

“The water quality here is ideal for making many different styles of beer,” he said. “That’s a big plus.”

Beer is big business in the state. A study commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association found the beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers and retailers, contributes $12.4 billion annually to Colorado’s economy. That economic impact includes 67,918 jobs — paying $3 billion in wages — as well as $1.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Despite its top ranking for making beer, Colorado isn’t at the top when it comes to drinking it. The state ranks 22nd in consumption per capita, according to the Beer Institute.

“Colorado is tremendously important to the beer industry and produces a number of high quality brews enjoyed by adults around the country,” Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, said in a statement. “With a strong beer culture and a rich brewing history, it’s no surprise the state has become number one.”


One final thing... do NOT forget the national toast to the memory of the late Michael "The Beer Hunter" Jackson on Sunday, September 30th, 9:00 PM EST. DO NOT FORGET!

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