Archive for February 11th, 2008

Business Week has a potted history of American micros:

The U.S. beer industry probably reached its post-World War II nadir in the late 1960s or early ’70s, at which point Smith’s “invisible hand” started to work its inevitable magic. Slowly at first, then in ever-increasing numbers, small, craft breweries began popping up. Started by people who were passionate about real beer—and who knew the difference—perceived a market opportunity. Many of these early craft breweries were inspired by beers their owners may have tasted in Europe, such as Belgium’s lambics, Britain’s bitter, and Germany’s weissbier, but couldn’t find stateside.

Since then, the microbrewery business has grown and begun, in fact, to thrive. In 1978 there were a total of 42 breweries in the U.S., including industrial breweries. Today there are 1,390 craft breweries, microbreweries, and brew pubs. They produced 6.736 million barrels in 2006, an increase of 31% over 2003, according to industry group the Brewers Assn. While that’s only 3.6% of the 210-million-barrel total production of beer, craft brewing generates 5.5% of the industry’s $5 billion revenue.

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I thought a I’d mention a few useful tools.  It’s not the bottle opener this time, but Google Maps and Babel Fish. I wonder how we managed back in the Stone Age – but actually we didn’t have many beers to choose between, either, if we didn’t have an errand in Brussels.

I have used Google Maps for some time for planning my trips. You pinpoint your hotel, your meeting venue and whatever, and then you gather all the beer logistics you have the time to dig up.

Time to go back to Italy? One city you’ve visited before and one new?

You google for birra Parma or Bologna brewpub, you get some results in English or German and run the Italian web pages through Babel fish.

I won’t say the translation programmes are perfect yet, so you’ll still have to use your judgement to decipher what they got out of this:

Pub of the siblings Fontana who proposes to the thorn wieze blanche wieze rouge augustijn to spitfire double red vikingen clear kent malto. Beyond 200 references in bottle (also beer shop) specialties beers aged Maudite Blanche de Chambly, End du monde, beers bretoni, Tri fontaine, Cantillon, point Panil sale handicraft beer of Torrechiara, confection birrarie, gadget, known for the festival birare where the beer is protagonist. In coupling fabulous sandwiches expressed with bound together beer. Closed tuesday, monday thursday 20 01 fridays saturday Sunday 20 02. The pub it is born to March 1983, the beer shop in 2004. Thanks to Federico pearl signalling
At least I won’t waste my time going there before eight in the evening, and not on a Tuesday.

You can then add the places of interest to your map, scale it up and down and print it out. I am sure you can transfer it to your mobile phone or GameBoy, too, but I don’t have the eyesight for that any longer.

So here are my beer maps of Parma and Bologna. Sure, I will have to update them after checking out the terrain, and some of those places are probably a waste of time, but it makes it less likely to do a long excursion to a pub that is closed for the day!

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