A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Bud is for Euro.

Full disclosure-I don’t drink Bud. Years ago when I was first learning to enjoy a frosty cold gold beverage I was over served the “King of Beers.” Along with some other symptoms I had an acute gastric disturbance. The sort of thing my Father-in-law would call a “Fizzic.” Only it was much more violent and long lasting. Ever since that day a Bud makes me go number 2 in unacceptable amounts so I just steer clear. It’s no doubt me and not the brew because after all it is consumed in mass quantity and not all those beer drinkers are running to the can all the time, are they?
Any way the big news is that Bud has been bought by the Belgium brewer In-Bev for 52 Billion (with a B) bucks. Or Euros or whatever the Belgium people use for cash. It’s all good because In-Bev owns almost every beer in the world anyway, like Bass Ale, Beck’s, some Italian brew called Stella something and a whole lot more. Budweiser or rather its parent company Anheuser-Busch also owns a bunch of brews including one right here in good old Pennsylvania, Rolling Rock.
I wrote the following when Anheuser-Busch took over Rolling Rock:

The beer world suffered a great disturbance the other day when the doors of the Latrobe brewing company closed for the last time. The much beloved Rolling Rock beer which since 1939 has been pouring out of the glass lined tanks in Old Latrobe will now come from an Anheuser-Busch plant in Newark New Jersey. It just doesn’t sound as good does it? From Glass lined tanks in New Jersey? It sounds like it could be a chemical when you put it that way.
The full text of the label on Rolling Rock reads like poetry.
“Rolling Rock. From the Glass-lined tanks of old Latrobe we tender this premium beer for your enjoyment, as a tribute to your good taste. It comes from the mountain springs to you.”
And so another great brew changes, perhaps for the better or worse but certainly it will be different. Beer is a beverage that is long on tradition. We are lucky here in Northeast Pa to still have one of the oldest brews in the country being made right in town. Yuengling has been around since 1829 but it was only a few years later when the Stegmaier Brewing Company was founded in 1857. The Lion brewery has been brewing the original 1857 recipe for years and even won a gold medal for it in the 1994 Great American Beer Festival. Now I am not an expert beer drinker although I do have some experience in the field. I will however be glad to testify that 1857 is one of the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking and it’s a product that we should be proud of. So why don’t more bars and beer stores carry it? Try asking for an 1857 at a fancy sit-down eating joint in our area and you will either be greeted with a blank stare or worse. Ask if they have 1857 on draft at your local tavern and chances are you will be told no.
So I don’t understand. You find Yuengling everywhere. It’s brewed in some place called Pottsville and it seems like everyone here in Northeast Pa can’t get enough of it. But the local brew? Not a trace. Why is it you can’t get any love in your hometown? By the way if Stegmaier isn’t to your liking the Lion brewery puts out Pocono lagers and ales, six different choices. There was a big deal made out of the fact that beer will be served in Kirby park when the Beach Boy comes to town. I am willing to bet that the beer being served won’t be the brew made less than five miles from the stage. Or then again I could be wrong.

This was published in the Weekender and broadcast on my radio show.

I received an immediate response from some local sales guy working at the time for Falcone Distributors which has also since been sold to someone else.

I don’t have the e-mail anymore but the gist was this:

“Comparing making beer to chemicals just shows how stupid and ignorant you are about beer making. And any way we toured the Latrobe brewery and we couldn’t find any fucking glass lined tanks! Maybe you should join us at a brewery to see how it’s really done.”

I took him up immediately on his offer but he never responded.

Now I have been in many breweries in my life and sampled a fair amount of the various brews of the world, but I don’t claim to be a connoisseur or an expert. I do know that a principal ingredient in all beer, ale or lager or pilsner or lambic or what have you is water. Chemical formula H2O.

Whut ever.

The Belgium In-Bev guys have made a lot of promises. They will still keep all the US Bud breweries open. They won’t change the name. But will it still be
“The great American Lager?” Only time will tell.

Here’s something else to think about while you enjoy your choice of beverage. Will we ever see THIS commercial again?

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