Beer, Bars & Brewers #19
Welcome back to Beers, Bars & Brewers! This week we take a look at the US Congress which is backing a tax reduction for craft brewers, Rwanda’s first microbrewery that’s run by a woman, Red Robin’s golden ale that tastes like its pineapple burger, and the fact that low and zero-alcohol beer is gaining momentum in West Europe. Cheers!
The time is nigh and it’s almost Bar Convent Berlin 2016 time. The beer area, Brew Berlin, continues to grow and we couldn’t be happier about that. Find the complete program here, make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting panels and tasting sessions on the Beer Stage.
US Congress is Supporting a Tax Reduction for Craft Brewers
For years, new breweries opening in the American market had to face “ a maze of regulatory red tape laid out by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which can include completing background checks on employees, on-site government inspections of equipment, completing a legal analysis of the brewing operation, and approving labels”. Not for much longer though, Quartz reports that congress is ready to pass a measure that would reform how federal taxes are applied to the brewing industry, “making it cheaper for craft brewers to get their product to consumers”.
For the first time in 40 years, “enough lawmakers in both houses of Congress co-sponsored twin bills that would lower the excise tax on brewers large and small”. This would make it easier for more micro breweries to enter the market. “If passed by Congress and signed by the president, the new law would: Reduce the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for US brewers who produce fewer than 2 million barrels each year. Reduce the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers”.
In Rwanda, Craft Beer Opens the Door to Female Empowerment
“The country’s first microbrewery will be female owned and operated”, reports alternet. Josephine Uwineza, a Rwandan entrepreneur, first brought Asian cuisine to Rwanda’s capital Kigali in 2000. Now she wants to open the first Rwandan craft brewery. “This week, Uwineza and Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, based in Canada, announced their partnership with a Kickstarter campaign, seeking roughly $72,000 to purchase a bottling line”.
Her reasoning makes sense, craft breweries have started popping up across Africa. Countries like Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa are enjoying a beer renaissance. The current most enjoyed beer in Rwanda is Primus, “a light lager produced by a Heineken subsidiary”. In the decades that followed the 1994 genocide, “women changed the nation’s constitution to enshrine gender equality, provide land rights to women, and mandate that women comprise at least 30 percent of the nation’s parliament. For two years running, Rwanda has ranked in the top 10 countries for gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s annual report”. Uwineza wants to help the more than 60% of the country that’s still living in extreme poverty by creating jobs.
“My main concern is the women in the village who are going to grow the raw material,” Uwineza said. “Those are the people I’m going to empower, because this is a demand that’s going to be constantly needed”. Beauchesne and Uwineza plan on incorporating many Rwandan staples such as sorghum and banana, into their beer. “At least in the early stages, they’ll need to import hops”. The pair estimates that the first draft is still a few years from being poured. Uwineza says that “Drinking beer has always been something that’s traditional here. Anytime there’s an event, whether it’s a wedding, funeral, or any get-together, there’s always beer on the table”. Cheers to this fantastic project!
Red Robin’s Grilled Pineapple Golden Ale
Tastes like a burger, smells like a burger, but it ain’t a burger. How. Fun. The American restaurant chain Red Robin’s just released a golden ale that’s “modeled after Red Robin’s Banzai Burger, which has a teriyaki glaze and grilled pineapple as a topping”. Mashable reports that the “Golden Ale style brew is made in conjunction with New Belgium Brewing Company.
Dave Glor, Innovation Brewer at New Belgium, said the brew is infused with molasses, pineapple and, ‘apple smoked malt to give the beer its umami and meaty-ness’”. The beer is only available for a limited time in the Colorado-area branches. Not to worry though, vegetarian friends: the beer is vegetarian, and is blessed with an “umami” (catchword of the year 2011) taste. Fantastic.
Low and Zero-alcohol Beer gaining Popularity in West Europe
Canadean, a company that “provides in-depth market research across fast-moving consumer goods” reports that in 2015 “low alcohol and alcohol free (>=0 <=3% Abv) variants became major drivers of beer consumption volumes” across Western Europe. The report figures that the latest health and wellness trends can be held responsible for consumers reaching for low alcohol beer more and more.
“Alcohol-free beer recorded growth of 7% in 2015 and is the fastest growing segment by alcohol strength over a seven-year period”. Germany has proven to be a very successful market, its low alcohol beer and alcohol-free beer volumes that of West Europe at 5% and 3% respectively in 2015. “Germany boasts the most popular brands in both strength segments, with Erdinger Alkoholfrei (Erdinger) generating the largest alcohol-free volumes, and Oettinger Radler (Oettinger Bier Brauhaus) leading the low alcohol segment”.
Foto: Bottles via Shutterstock.