Andy The Beerman

Thoughts, Ramblings and Occasional Insights from a Confessed Beer Geek

Faith Restored

Every day we trudge, stumble or walk through life and we are amazed and appalled by man’s inhumanity to man. Whether it’s a senseless shooting, a car bomb in some place we’d never like think about otherwise, or the person with the fish or “coexist” bumper sticker flipping off the car they just cut off, we are reminded daily that people suck.

We question ourselves, we question each other, we ask rhetorically “What the f**k is wrong with people?”

Every so often we see something or get to participate in something that reminds us that there is indeed hope for this world, and there are good people fighting the fight. Last night was one such occasion.

As many of you know, I tend bar in a busy brewery/restaurant in San Diego. In the course of a normal shift I get to interact with a myriad of personality types; the quiet couple, the brazen drunk, the cheap folks that wouldn’t tip if their hair was on fire, as well as the kind and caring and generous. Last night, (a busy Friday) I saw kindness, generosity, and most importantly respect, paid in a way that brought unbridled joy to my jaded heart.

A group of current and former Navy Seals came to the bar. They caught the attention of one of our bartenders and asked a favor. It seems that one of their brethren, Travis, was a huge craft beer fan who was killed in the act of defending his country, and they wanted to honor him. They told of how he loved to introduce people to craft beer, often buying total strangers a round of beer so they could taste the wonder that is a well crafted pint. On this, the anniversary of his passing, they wanted to carry on the tradition of buying beers for strangers, as they knew it’s what he would be doing had he lived. They had a round of drinks, toasted their lost friend Travis and then made an unusual request.

They asked if they could open a tab for a specific amount and have us, the bar staff, choose people at random to buy a beer in honor of their comrade until the tab was full. All they asked is that we mention their friend Travis and explain why they were getting a beer. While it’s not something that we would usually do, we felt that it was important to honor their request. I cannot convey the emotions that were on display as random people were told that they were getting a beer in honor of a fallen Navy Seal. Some were shocked, some were emotional, and all were genuinely touched by the gesture. One guest asked how much was left on the tab, and when he was told there was only a few dollars left, he pulled out his credit card and asked to have the amount transferred to his card, so he could reset the tab at zero and start it over again.

After getting one of the ‘honor beers’ another guest asked if he could open a tab and do the same to honor his friend Greg who was killed in Benghazi on 9/11 of 2012. I’ll be honest, when I told patrons the story of why they were getting a ‘free’ beer, it got a little dusty in the bar. People were honored to have a beer in the name of a fallen US soldier, and just about all of them did a toast to our military heroes that gave their lives for our country. Every member of our bar staff took pride, honor and joy in fulfilling the requests. All told, there was close to $200 between all of the tabs.

Sometimes with all the insensitivity, callousness, and sometimes downright cruelty that we impose on our fellow man, we forget that at the end of the day, most people have good hearts. I was deeply touched by the gestures and kind words from my fellow man. And I was truly honored to be a part of it.

Maybe there’s hope for us after all…

Andy the Beerman

September 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 5 ways to save time and sell more Beer

The blog is back! I’ll be posting regularly on a variety of topics relating to craft beer and the Business of Beer.

 

Let’s start with this:

Image

We’ve all heard the quote “Time is Money”. We’ve heard that time is the most precious (and most wasted) commodity there is. Can we put a dollar value on our time? Even if we can’t monetize the value of time, we can all agree that like money, time is something that can and should be saved. Here are 5 easy ways to save time, save money, and make your bar or restaurant more efficient.

  1. Use your calendar. Write down what you need to do and when you need to do it. Try using a single calendar for everything, personal and professional, so you can effectively budget your personal time as well. Get an effective calendar app for your smartphone, so you can link your office, personal and mobile calendars, there’s nothing worse than trying to manage 3 different calendars. By using 1 calendar for everything, I don’t make the mistake of scheduling a teeth cleaning when I’m supposed to doing a beer pairing.
  2. Stop Procrastinating. Most often we tend to put off the little things, allowing them to become big things over time. Dealing with things when they’re small saves time now and stress later. It’s much easier to deal with an employee issue now before it becomes a major problem.
  3. Learn to love routine. Have specific places for things and always use them. If your keys are always in the same place, you won’t waste time looking for them. Not only that, block certain times of the day for certain tasks. As a bar manager, when I know that I’m seeing vendors from 8:30 – 10:00 AM and 2:00 – 4:00 PM (and sticking to it) that allows me focus on other tasks. Routine doesn’t always speed things up, but it does make it easier to find things and get things done.
  4. Reduce multitasking. According to some researchers, multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. How? By constantly switching between tasks you can easily lose focus and become more easily distracted. When you implement steps 1 and 3 you can maintain your focus on the task at hand. Set office hours for specific tasks.
  5. Eliminate repetitive tasks. Let’s use your Beer Program as an example. How often do you find yourself updating the same things on your website, print menus, Facebook, Twitter, etc.? TapHunter is a user friendly solution for your beer program. Our tools combine online menu and print menu maintenance, social media and advanced data tools all into one easy to use interface. See how it works here.

Andy

September 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

BC Brewers Rule!

I am going to be doing some serious beer traveling during July. Stone Brewing Sour Fest 2010, Churchills Sour Party, Oregon Brewers Festival…whew!

While I am in lovely California, I have been invited to shoot some footage with my good friends New Brew Thursday. I hope to enlighten the folks in the US to some of the great beer being brewed here in British Columbia.

I recently sent an email to many of the local breweries requesting beer samples to help lessen the financial impact. The brewers have responded in a big way!

At current count, I have been sent 40 large format (650ml, 750ml and 1 liter) bottles, two cases (24) of 335ml bottles and 2 20 liter kegs!

Un-freaking-believable!

Canadians have a reputation for being incredibly nice and friendly. Can’t argue with that!

Now if I can just get someone to donate the shipping…

You guys rock!

Cheers,

Andy The Beerman

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Court Rules in Favor of Central City Brewing

As many of you know, there has been recent legal action between Bear Republic Brewing of Healdsburg, CA and Central City Brewing of Surrey, BC.

In a nutshell, Bear Republic filed suit against Central City over possible copyright infringement regarding the use of the “Red Racer” branding for Central City’s canned beer. Bear Republic felt that Central City’s branding infringed on or was purposely designed to confuse people in regard to 2 Bear Republic beers/service marks; Red Rocket Ale and Racer 5 IPA.

The court ruled that although  “RACER 5 is a strong mark deserving of broad protection, and the RED ROCKET is a weak mark deserving of only limited protection“, “Bear Republic has failed to show a likelihood of success in establishing that Central City’s RED RACER mark infringes the RACER 5 or RED ROCKET marks.”

And “the way in which a typical consumer would encounter the products in the marketplace does not support a finding of likelihood of confusion.”

Bottom line, the court denied Bear Republic’s motion for an injunction against Central City.

“Bear Republic has not shown a likelihood of succeeding on the merits in establishing its infringement claims”

As a regular consumer of craft beer, I always felt that there was little merit to the Bear Republic claim. I’ve drank plenty of both brewery’s beer and have never been confused about the two in any way, shape or form. In reading the decision my favorite part is as follows:

While it is true that beer purchasers are not likely to exercise a high degree of care in purchasing a relatively inexpensive item like beer, it seems likely that drinkers of craft-brewed beer may be generally more discerning drinkers than average beer drinkers, and they would be likely to remember correctly or recognize at least one of the several distinguishing elements between RACER 5 and RED RACER.”

In essence, the judge says that craft beer drinkers are smarter than the average beer drinker! (Leaving out that apparently Bear Republic thinks craft beer drinkers are too stupid to tell the difference between the 2 brands)

I always knew we craft beer drinkers were smarter and more discerning, but now we have a judge’s decision to back it up!

The full court decision can be found here: http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=infdco20100607741

Cheers,

Andy The Beerman

June 10, 2010 Posted by | beer | 1 Comment

Bureaucrats must be stopped!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had just about enough of faceless government functionaries having WAAAAAY too much influence over our lives.

News is filtering down that the European Union aka EU is trying to influence the way North Americans drink.

The EU has sent a cease and desist notice to the Brewers Associations of the US and Canada over using established ‘regional’ names in their beers and ales.
That’s right kiddies, Europe wants North America to stop using regional terms like ‘Belgian’, ‘Scotch’ ‘English’ etc., in beer names and descriptions. No more Belgian Tripel or Dubbel. No English Milds, Pales, Browns or IPA’s. No Irish Stouts or Reds. No more French Farmhouse style ale. Even the term ‘pilsner’ could be subject to this request, as Pilsen is a Czech town! Dortmunder, anyone? Berliner Weiss…I don’t think so, that’s a protected term!
I am willing to wager that AB-InBev is behind this. Think about it; It’s the only way they can even think of slowing down the unbridled growth of the craft beer movement; through ceaseless litigation and regulation of innovative North American craft brewers!
Let your local brewers (and Brewers Association) know that you won’t stand idly by and let the EU tell you what you can and cannot drink!
Cheers,
Andy the Beerman

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I am a Canadian Craft Brewer

This is Awesome!

Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a celebration taking place throughout metropolitan Vancouver from May 10 16, 2010. It aims to inspire a broader interest in all aspects of beer in order to cultivate a flourishing craft beer culture in the region. This video is in honor of the tireless efforts of craft brewers from British Columbia, as well as the rest of Canada.

Visit the webpage for event updates and tickets for select events; http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com/

Follow VCBW on Twitter; http://twitter.com/VCBW

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

BC Beer Awards

For Immediate Release ——

The Vancouver Craft Beer Week organizing committee is proud to announce the first ever BC Beer Awards by Brewery Creek. On Monday, March 22nd, an expert judging panel will review over 150 beers from all across British Columbia at the Alibi Room, Vancouver’s premier tap house. Judging for the event is NOT open to the general public. Media are invited to join judges and volunteers at 9:00am to witness the judging process, as well as learn about the intricacies of craft beer and to find out more about the upcoming Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

The only blind judged beer competition in British Columbia, the BC Beer Awards judging panel boasts such beer experts as:

  • Don Tse – A BJCP Certified beer judge, freelance beer writer and consultant, Don has been writing professionally about beer for seven years. His articles have appeared in beer publications such as All About Beer, Ale Street News and Beers of the World.
  • Abram Goldman-Armstrong – A beer writer in Portland, Oregon, Abram has been a BJCP National Rank Judge since the age of 21, judging at competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ales, and Portland’s Spring Beer and Wine Fest. He co-organizes the North American Organic Brewers Festival, the world’s largest organic beer festival.
  • Megan Flynn – The publisher of Beer Northwest, a quarterly magazine covering beer, food, and lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest, Megan travels North America in search of the best beer and beer personalities, continuing to develop her pallet into one of the most diverse on the continent.
  • James Nevison – Columnist for The Province newspaper, where his “Wine Guy” column appears weekly each Thursday. He is the co-author of five bestselling wine books, the latest is Had a Glass: Top 100 Wines for 2010 under $20, $25, and $30. Recently James was named a “Top 40 Foodie Under 40” by Western Living magazine.

Winners will be announced at the BC Beer Awards by Brewery Creek award show on Friday, May 14th, one of Vancouver Craft Beer Week’s signature events. For further information please contact:

Vancouver Craft Beer Week

Marketing Director

Christopher Bjerrisgaard

604.813.1210

chris@vancouvercraftbeerweek.com

http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com

http://twitter.com/vcbw

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Location: Alibi Room

157 Alexander Street

Vancouver, BC V6A 1B8

Cheers,

Andy the Beerman

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vancouver Craft Beer Week

If you haven’t heard, Vancouver is hosting Canada’s FIRST EVER craft beer week, May 10-16 2010!

You can follow VCBW on Facebook or Twitter for updates on events.

Vancouver Craft Beer Week will be a celebration of all things craft beer, featuring brewmaster’s dinners, pub crawls, brewery tours and tastings, a homebrew competition, a Women in Beer event, The 1st Annual BC beer Awards and a slew of other great events.

Brewmaster dinners will include local luminaries like R & B Brewing, Russell Brewing, Storm Brewing and more. In addition, there will be dinners/pairings hosted by some of the best brewers from the US including Green Flash and Deschutes. Restaurant’s slated to participate include some of Vancouver’s best and most cutting edge fine dining establishments like Salt, Refuel, The Irish Heather, Habit, Cascade, R.T.L, Jake’s Steakhouse and more!

The BC Beer Awards will feature over 150 entries from ALL of British Columbia!

The Vancouver Homebrewer Awards and cometition will feature some of the best and brightest local homebrewers. The Best of Show brewer will be given the opportunity to brew a batch of their award winning beer at either The Mark James Group’s Yaletown Brewpub or Dix BBQ!

The pub crawl will cover some great local breweries and brewpubs on a walking tour and then shuttle across the water to Granville Island to enjoy even more great locally brewed beer!

More events will be added in the coming weeks, so check back often, and be sure to follow VCBW on Facebook and Twitter

Save the Dates: May 10-16 2010!

Be a part of Canadian Craft Beer history

Cheers,

Andy The Beerman

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Buffalo Theory

If you were around in the 1980′s you probably watched at least of few episodes of “Cheers”. An enjoyable sitcom set in a neighborhood bar in Boston, MA. Among the regulars were 2 ‘bar hounds’; Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin, played by George Wendt and John Ratzenberger respectively.

Norm was a quick quipping sot who always occupied the corner seat at the end of the bar, and always perched to his right was Clifford R. Clavin. Cliff was a middle-aged, know-it-all mail carrier who lived with his mother for most of the duration of the show. Cliff always had along-winded explanation for everything, including alcohol consumption.

The reason I tell you all this is because Cliff Clavin (and the brilliant writers of “Cheers”) are responsible for one of the all time greatest diatribes about alcohol I’ve ever heard.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with The Buffalo Theory;

“A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. When the herd is hunted, the slow and weak at the back are killed first. The speed and health of the herd keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as its slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. Naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.

In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

There is something in the twisted, yet simple logic of the Buffalo Theory which has always made me chuckle.

It also sparked in me a process similar to the Buffalo Theory. I’ve always looked at alcohol intake as akin to gardening;  to keep a plant or tree healthy, you must regularly trim away the older, less healthy branches. By occasionally trimming the plant, you make sure that the new growth will get more essential nutrients, thus resulting in a fuller, more vibrant, healthy plant.

As I regularly tell my wife: “I’m not getting drunk, I’m pruning!”

Cheers,

Andy The Beerman

February 1, 2010 Posted by | beer, Beer Quotes | 1 Comment

Beer Wars

Wow!

If you were fortunate enough to be in attendance for the Vancouver screening of the documentary film “Beer Wars”, count yourself lucky. If you couldn’t make it, shame on you!

It was a gala event put on by CAMRA Vancouver at District 319 , a wonderful private event venue. Special Guest for the evening was the inimitable Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing Company. Greg was kind enough to bring a good supply of Stone Beer; their signature ‘Arrogant Bastard’ and ‘Ruination IPA”. For the price of admission, you also got to sample beer offerings from Central City, Driftwood, Granville Island, Howe Sound, R&B, Red Truck, Steamworks, Swans, and Yaletown Brewing. (And if you were really fortunate, some homebrew from yours truly and Adam Henderson)

It was a veritable “who’s who” of the Vancouver craft beer scene. Brewers and owners of all of the above listed breweries, plus folks from DIX Brewery, Storm, Alibi Room, St. Augustine’s and God knows how many more! Brewers, homebrewers, beer geeks, beer snobs, beer enthusiasts, fanboys and girls, you name it! All in all, a very diverse and enthusiastic crowd.

The evening began with a ‘cocktail hour’ of sorts, with all of the brewers above pouring their offerings, hors d’ouvres, and some great beer conversations. It was also a chance to meet up with friends new and old. One my my favorite parts of the evening was the number of people who approached me and introduced themselves. They recognized me from my Twitter avatar! That was freaking cool!

Once seated, we were treated to an brief intro from CAMRA President Rick Green. Rick introduced the masses to a new project; Vancouver Craft Beer Week, being held from May 10-16! This will be our chance to showcase local beer, beer and food pairings, beer tastings, beer themed events, a homebrew competition, BC Beer Awards, and the promotion of craft beer in general. Looking forward to a tremendous week of beer!

After Rick’s introduction, we were treated to a keynote from special guest Greg Koch. Greg shared a brief history of Stone Brewing, the trials and tribulations of growing a craft brewery, and the glorious success of Stone. Stone opened a restaurant/bistro at their new facility in Escondido, CA in 2007. In the 3 years since they opened The Bistro has become San Diego County’s number 1 purchaser of local organic produce. That shows me how we can all make a difference in how our beer AND food are produced.

From there we moved to the main event, the screening of ‘Beer Wars”

The Synopsis

“In America, size matters. The bigger you are, the more power you have, especially in the business world.

Director Anat Baron takes you on a no holds barred exploration of the U.S. beer industry that ultimately reveals the truth behind the label of your favorite beer. Told from an insider’s perspective, the film goes behind the scenes of the daily battles and all out wars that dominate one of America’s favorite industries.

Beer Wars begins as the corporate behemoths are being challenged by small, independent brewers who are shunning the status quo and creating innovative new beers. The story is told through 2 of these entrepreneurs – Sam and Rhonda – battling the might and tactics of Corporate America. We witness their struggle to achieve their American Dream in an industry dominated by powerful corporations unwilling to cede an inch.

This contemporary David and Goliath story is ultimately about keeping your integrity (and your family’s home) in the face of temptation. Beer Wars is a revealing and entertaining journey that provides unexpected and surprising turns and promises to change the world’s opinion on those infamous 99 bottles of beer on the wall.”

While the film focuses primarily on the US Beer Market, pretty much everything in the film applies to Canada as well. At the time of filming, the independent brewers were facing the might of ‘The Big 3′; Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors. Since then, through consolidation and takeover it’s really just ‘The Big 2′; AB-InBev and Miller-Coors (Molson-Coors in Canada).  Remember; these corporations do not have your best interests as a beer drinker in mind. The underhanded (and sometimes illegal) tactics practiced by these behemoths of brewing are astounding.

Canada has been adversely affected, just take a look at this list. Recognize anyone? Molson, Kokanee, and countless others that you’re sure to find being poured at your favorite restaurant or pub (Except for Vancouver’s finer beer establishments, of course!)

For a detailed view of ‘who owns who’ in Canada, check out Dave’s Vancouver Beer Guide 2010

Pretty scary, isn’t it?

To see more truly local, independent beer flowing from your local taps, make your voice heard! Let your local establishments know that you prefer to drink fresh local products. Many Vancouver resaurants promote the fact that they serve local food, ask them why they don’t serve local beer! If they throw “We serve Molson/Canadian/ Kokanee” back at you, let them know that those aren’t truly local beers. If they support local independent farmers, why don’t they support local independent brewers?

My favorite quote from the movie is from Jim Koch (no relation to Greg, by the way), founder of The Boston Beer Company (aka Samuel Adams) ;

“Almost all our beer knowledge comes from Budweiser, Miller and Coors. It’s as if all we learned about food came from McDonalds.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to know more about my beer; where it’s produced, what goes into it, and who really makes it!

If you were unable to make it out for the screening, want to share it with your macro swilling friends or just want to see it again, Beer Wars is now available via On Demand and Digital Download. CLICK HERE

For a more in-depth review of “Beer Wars” click here:  http://www.granvilleonline.ca/gr/blogs/editors/2010/01/27/david-takes-goliath-039beer-wars039#ixzz0eJO3X9m4

And remember; Support Your Local Brewer!

Cheers,

Andy the Beerman

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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