This Issue of Beverage Master Magazine

Tariffs, Tariffs, and More Tariffs

Toward the end of this week, take a minute to add up and total the amount of US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods imported into the US. You can glean this data from online aggregated digital news, television news, or from US Government pronouncements about Trump tariffs. I would be very surprised if the number does not exceed hundreds of billions of US dollars encompassing about half of all Chinese manufactured goods entering the US. The public comment period for most US-China tariffs to be imposed to date ended this past Friday so that such tariffs can be imposed by the US Government and will either be at 25% or 10% depending on the Chinese manufactured product. China and the US, up […]

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Blue Ox Malthouse: A Conduit Between Communities

For Joel Alex, a maltster is a conduit between communities, a craft to its source, a farmer to a creator, a producer to a customer. As a homebrewing enthusiast with a background in environmental education and community development, Alex, founder of Blue Ox Malthouse in Lisbon Falls, Maine, became a change agent for agriculture in the Pine Tree State after a conversation at a farm potluck. “A craft brewer and I discussed the lack of local ingredients available in the industry due to lack of malting capacity. The light bulb went off! Somebody had to do this!” he told Beverage Master Magazine. “I had friends growing grains and other friends getting into milling grains and brewing beer. The idea just […]

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The New Face of Closures

Closures come in all shapes and sizes – shiny, matte, 3-D embossed, silkscreen, utilitarian, wood and plastic. Some are aluminum, decorated with digital printing and metalized with a coating in the color of your choice. Closures can define a brand and target demographic, boost shelf appeal and differentiate brands from one another. With recent innovations and a bevy of options, in today’s market packaging solutions are no longer an afterthought. Functionality matters Closures are a major, and functional, design feature of modern packaging. They protect the spirit from spillage and contamination and are designed to show any evidence of tampering, all while providing beverage producers with space for branding and advertising. Creating a unique closure system requires expertise and resources […]

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Beer Label Design – A Step-By-Step Guide To Working With A Label Designer

As the founder and creative director of a craft beer marketing and branding studio, I’ve spent years working with graphic designers, illustrators, artists, and photographers. Which also means that I’ve spent a lot of time with brewery owners working on beer labels and frankly, I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do. I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can make the label design process as painless and effective as possible. It’s a process that is equal parts exciting and frustrating – but if approached with the right combination of planning and willingness to experiment, can result in SKU-selling magic that we all hope for. What follows is a step-by-step guide on working with […]

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Hop Growers Anticipate Plenty of Product for Brewers This Year

Brewers across North America anticipate plenty of hops, as growers continue a years-long trend of increased production. Last year, hop production across the U.S. totaled around 104 million pounds, over 55,000 acres. The Pacific Northwest is the runaway production leader for hops in the U.S., with Washington alone accounting for 53,000 acres. “Currently, the Pacific Northwest crop looks very good,” said Ann George, executive director of the Yakima, Washington-based Hop Growers of America (HGA). Irrigation water supplies are adequate this year, and mild temperatures have contributed to good growing conditions, George said. Roy Johnson, national sales manager with John I. Haas Inc., which is based in Washington, D.C. but grows hops in Yakima, as well as other regions worldwide, agrees. […]

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Keeping Off Flavors Out of Your Beer

When consumers reach out for a craft beer, they have an expectation of how that beer should taste. When an off flavor sneaks in, it can lose the brewery customers and hurt their reputation. Keeping off-flavors out of beer is not as difficult as it may seem, as long as brewers have the tools and know-how to do so. An off flavor is a defect in beer that does not adhere to the style or ruins its taste. Some of the most common are diacetyl, which takes the form of butter or theater popcorn; oxidation, which comes across as papery; dimethyl sulfide, a sweet corn taste; and acetaldehyde, often taking the shape of green apples. Causes Many different factors cause […]

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As Easy as A, B, C: Does California’s New Independent Contractor Test Impact Your Brewery?

This spring, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court that has far-reaching consequences for nearly all industries in California. The Dynamex ruling established a new test to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee in California. Because the law treats employees and contractors differently, misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in steep penalties and even criminal charges in certain circumstances.  It is therefore extremely important that breweries throughout the state closely review any independent contractor relationships to be sure they meet the new test. Put It to the Test Before Dynamex, California employers applied a flexible, multi-factor common law test for nearly three decades […]

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Does the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution Continue to Affect the Craft Beverage Industry?

Yes, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution passed by congress in 1933 continues to affect the craft beverage industry. Every beer and wine drinker knows that the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution appealed prohibition thereby allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages in the US. Little known is another “prohibition” advanced by the 21st Amendment, that is, the prohibition against state discrimination regarding commerce. Aside from appealing prohibition, the 21st Amendment still significantly affects the craft beverage industry through what is called the “Dormant” Commerce Clause. The Dormant Commerce Clause The “Dormant” Commerce clause prohibits discrimination against out of state companies selling goods and services in a different state. This prohibition against discrimination includes all related state directives and […]

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Brewing to the Green Extreme – Steam Whistle’s Premium Canadian Pilsner

At Steam Whistle Brewing, they live by their motto: Do one thing really, really well.  Since 1998, Steam Whistle has grown from a dream hatched by three friends around a campfire into one of Canada’s largest and most beloved independent breweries. Greg Taylor, Cam Heaps and Greg Cromwell had previously been colleagues at a Canadian premier microbrewery in the 1980’s and 90’s before it was bought out by a national brewer and closed down, as the fate of many of Ontario’s independent breweries at that time. Sitting around the fire, the self-named “Three Fired Guys” dreamed about their own brewery one day, making a Pilsner that would compete with the best in the world. Not only has their only product, […]

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Pumps in Craft Beverage Processing

Breweries and distilleries use pumps on the hot and cold sides of the beverage production process, but there is a lot that goes into selecting the right pumps for each job. When choosing new pumps, brewers and distillers must consider the intended purpose, hygiene standards for compliance, energy efficiency, cost, and other factors. By applying the feedback of industry experts who work with pumps every day, beverage producers can recognize common issues that arise with pump use, how to avoid those issues, and how to choose the best pumps for their operations.  Pump 101 for Brewers and Distillers There are quite a few reasons why brewers and distillers use pumps, including the elimination of unwanted, viscous, and abrasive raw materials […]

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