Beer, Bars & Brewers #15

Welcome to this week’s Beers, Bars & Brewers! After launching freshly tapped Heineken bottles on their flight, Quartz explains the science behind KLM’s kegs. Heineken is also making news for sueing a Romanian craft beer brewery, always a good move, and hops harvest is set to be at a seven-year high! How wonderful!

For all you beer lovers out there, the Bierothek is slowly but surely expanding its empire. At the end of this month they’ll be opening their sixth shop in Stuttgart. All things beer in a lovely atmosphere, go pay them a visit!

The Science of Serving Draft Beer at 35,000 feet

Freshly tapped, in the sky. We briefly mentioned the fact that KLM is rolling out freshly tapped Heineken on its flight in our last BBB, but we’d like to take a moment to get into the science behind it.  If you know anything about tap technology, you know that tapping fresh beer in the air is difficult. Obviously, CO2 bottles are out of the question (up in the air they can quickly turn into highly dangerous projectiles).

Another option is air pumping (after all, British hand pumps use this techniques) but the low pressure onboard would make things difficult. Heineken ended up going with plastic containers to transport their brew, which is separated from the pumped air. One thing Heineken won’t be able to get into the plane: a cooling system. Which, for the customer, means: drink more faster. Our condolences go to the other passengers!

Heineken Sues Romanian Craft Brewery

A small Romanian brewery is currently being sued by Heineken, who is trying to forbid them from calling their beer “real Csíker” because the name “Csíki Sör” is too close to Heineken’s “Ciuc”. In 2003 Heineken bought die Ciuc brewery, but it only copyrighted the brand name “Ciuc”, and not the Romanian version “Csíki Sör”. This lawsuit has spread out over several years. After losing the first installment, Heineken is at it again and it’s turned into a huge PR disaster for the macro brewer. Owner of the Csíker beer manufacturer András Lénárd is using the publicity to his gain, the demand for Lénárd’s beer has gone way up since the lawsuit.  He plans on delivering all of Romania with his beer via drones soon. Good for him!

Hops Harvest Forecast to Set a 7-year High

Thanks to increased planting areas, lots of rain, and great temperatures this year’s hops harvest is forecast to be at a seven year high. As demand for hops continues to grow, “ industry experts are predicting an easing of ‘spot’ or market prices for some varieties despite robust demand from the craft beer industry”, so the Financial Times. This year follows a particularly bad one: In 2015 early droughts and severe heat shrivelled up the hops in both the US and especially in Europe. Though not all is rosy, supply shortages in some of the very popular hops persist, say traders.

“Growers can’t keep up,” says Ben Adams at Charles Faram, a UK based hops trading house. But brewers are doing all they can to become more organised and signing contracts for hops ahead of time, making it easier for merchants to grow specifically to the demand.


Foto: Bottles via Shutterstock.

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