Brooklyn Brewery expands upstate, Pennsylvanians case out six-packs, Canadian retirees lose out on free beer and scientists “Frankenstein” a 220-year-old beer. Read on for this and more craft beer news.
Brooklyn Brewery has outgrown its borough. The esteemed Big Apple brewery will construct an $80 million brewery and warehouse in upstate New York’s Orange County. Formative plans anticipate a 250,000 square foot facility. The brewery had been exploring sites on Staten Island and elsewhere in metro New York, but settled on the Orange County location as it offered the best option, “to develop a facility that can handle our volume growth for decades to come, that gives us the flexibility and efficiency to produce the variety of craft beer styles that our global craft beer fans demand, and to be able to deliver those efficiently to all of our domestic and global markets,” according to a blog post by Brooklyn Co-owner and CEO, Eric Ottaway. The missive went on to assure fans that they were still brewing in Brooklyn and efforts to build a new brewery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard were moving forward.
While quirks in Pennsylvania’s blue laws allowed tipplers to buy six-packs to go at bars and convenience stores, they had to purchase by the case at any of the state’s 1,000+ beer distributors. That will all change in less than 60 days when new legislation passed by Governor Tom Wolf goes into effect. The legislation paves the way for patrons to purchase beer in any quantity at distributors. It will also allow the sale of alcohol at bars beginning at 9 a.m. even if the establishment does not serve food, and lift the ban on beer-of-the-month clubs that deliver directly to private residences.
For workers at Labatt, life after 60 just got a whole lot dryer. The Canadian brewery recently announced that it would do away with an employee perk that offered retirees free beer for life. Labatt—owned by AB In-Bev—says the cost of providing beer to retirees was prohibitive and the program would be phased out completely starting January 1, 2019. “The reason for the change relates to the rising overall cost of maintaining a full benefits package, including health care coverage for retirees,” said Labatt vice-president Lindsay King in a letter to employees published by CBC News. The brewery opened shop in Edmonton in 1962 and as part of the local union contract employees could look forward to kicking back with the equivalent of one case of Labatt a week for life once they punched their last time card. Not since Bob & Doug Mackenzie ran out of beer money have there been such disappointed Canadian beer drinkers.
In 1797 the Sydney Cove wrecked on Preservation Island off Tasmania en route to Port Jackson from Calcutta. 220 years later, yeast microbes from a recovered bottle of beer are being used to recreate the 18th century beer, dubbed Preservation Ale. The microbes are similar to those associated with Trappist ales and tasters have said the brew has a “sweet, cider-like flavor.” A scientist at the Queen Victoria Museum—where an unopened bottle resides—believes the beer was a high quality ale most likely destined for military officers in Port Jackson. The wreck also contained wine and various spirits along with lower quality beer for mass consumption. It is hoped that proceeds from the beer will help secure funding for the museum to maintain its collection of Sydney Cove artifacts.
Winners of the 13th annual European Beer Star competition were announced last week and American breweries received their fair share of decoration. The competition featured 2,103 beers—a 7% increase from 2015—from 44 countries in 57 different categories ranging from “sourbier” to “ultra strong beer.” 22 countries received medals including 27 American breweries. Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits led the pack with four total medals including three golds (Double IPA, Black Marlin and Barometer Drop). Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Pelican Brewing Co. received three medals while Deschutes Brewery, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Reuben’s Brews and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. picked up two a piece.