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/// HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
 
APRIL/MAY 1998 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
The News-of-Our-Demise-Is-Greatly-Exaggerated-Dept: It's not hard enough trying to make great beer and get it distributed these daze, so one financial "journal" in the Seattle area decided to do a report on the "troubled micro-brewery industry" (and thereby add to the alleged troubles). The Puget Sound Business Journal stated that "Portland Brewing recently closed," in an article that really should have said "Nor'Wester Brewery," instead! Ooops!!! Adding insult to injury, several beer businesses with competing products faxed copies around to capitalize on the unfortunate situation and pick up some instant, if unfair, "market share." Portland Brewing managed to do some quick damage control and let industry types, friend and foe alike, know of its still ambulatory status. Sigh... Remember when all we wanted to do was make great beer?...

Ya gotta love Widmer's latest POS describing their "Celebrator's 10th Year IPA." The copy reads: "Powerful – This IPA is not intended for the weak... just like the Celebrator. Unfiltered – This IPA gives it to you with all the good stuff in it... just like the Celebrator. Aromatic – This IPA has an intense hop bouquet from whole Columbus hops... the Celebrator smells like a newspaper." And we're damn proud of it, smell-wise! Well, if that ain't the most creative sucking up, er, POS writing we've ever seen! (Sure hope marketing maven Tim McFall doesn't think this will get him extra ink in the Celebrator...)

The micro-beer theme is hot on mainstream TV. In addition to the many sub-plots involving micros on "Drew Carey" show (love that Buzz Beer!), I hope you checked out the "Saturday Night Live" take on beer commercials featuring two blue-collar homies popping bottles of Schmitt Gay Beer and watching the pool fill with water and... several hunky guys! Chippendale-types – stud muffins struttin' their stuff on network TV! One of Adam Sandler and the late Chris Farley's better moments...

Fox's "MAD TV" had a Super Bowl bit that featured the "VUD Bowl," with VUD and VUD Light beer bottles smashing each other to pieces on the Gridiron on the first play. Hilarious! But wait!!! That wasn't the funny part! The sports casters calling the game were none other than bottles of "Stan Adams" and "St. Pauli Girl!" You hadda been there!...

The above "satire" commercials aren't as weird as the new real one from A-B that debuted during coverage of the otherwise tepid Winter Olympics on CBS. The new spot has animated beer bottles from the "Bud Family" playing Frisbee, dancing and swimming. How to get home responsibly after all that partying? Their "cousin" O'Doul's is the ultimate designated driver! At the end of the party, as the bottles load up in their six-pack to go home with O'Doul's driving, the tagline sez, "When partying with your Buds, remember to choose a designated driver... it's the perfect pick-me-up!"

This new spot features a "barking" bottle-opener who lives next door and "The Twist Offs," a rock band of Bud bottles! The party takes place in a neighborhood where houses are coolers, the pool is a galvanized beer tub and the town water tower is a Budweiser keg! And Charlie P thought HE had "Beertown!"

Corporate spokesperson Francine Katz said, "Our goal is to prevent drunk driving, and research shows that when it comes to encouraging personal responsibility, people respond more favorably to positive messages than to scolding or scare tactics." We're equally sure that the "toon-town tactics" will be a big hit with the kiddies now that Joe Camel has split for parts unknown...

Being stuck in an airport is never a drag when you're in Seattle. Sea/Tac features a wonderful pub call CJ Borg's near the Alaskan Airlines terminal that boasts at least 12 Taps featuring regional brew. Yes, there is a real CJ Borg who was born in Denmark and is a grad of the Culinary program of the U. of Copenhagen AND the Sorbonne in Paris. Mais ioui! As General Manager of Host Marriott's restaurants at the airport, his motto is "Travel Globally — Drink Locally!" There I discovered Mack & Jack's African Amber imbued with spicy hopping, delightfully estery and with a wildly flavorful bitter finish. Having two hours to kill I must admit that I put a serious dent in their keg of Obsidian Stout from Deschutes. It was, after all, 9:00 in the morning... and I can think of no better breakfast beer!...

Talk about your beer with attitude! Arrogant Bastard Ale has recently been released from Stone Brewing Company in San Diego. Its motto: "You're not worthy!"...

From the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame comes the latest entry into the Belgian-style brewing league: Don Feinburg and Wendy Littlefield's Brewery Ommagang in Cooperstown, NY. Great architecture, great labels, great beer! But is it true that the brewery was named by a Belgian-loving Valley Girl who tasted the beer and said, "Ohmygawd!"?????...

After the Associated Builders and Contractors gave their top award to the movie set of Titanic, they finally came to their senses and awarded second prize to the beautiful new Sonoma Mountain Brewery in Glen Ellen, CA. The brewery, owned by the Benziger Winery folks, graced the cover of the Celebrator just a few issues ago! Definitely worth a trip to the wine country just for the beer!...

You probably remember the Prohibition Party candidate for President in 1904 — Silas Swallow... which is what this column is hard to...

 

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