The Firkin for September 2021

There are words in the English language that make people squirm. Including squirm or the leader in the category, moist.

There are beer descriptors that turn me off. I am wary of specific terms like sweet. But what really boils my blood is the term “crushable”. You can read a take on it from The Punch, HERE.

I guess, for me, it just conjures up people drinking just to drink. Not drinking to enjoy whichever beverage it is. Not drinking with a group of friends, not drinking and enjoying football or soccer. But it is just drinking. Like inhaling a bag of chips for no reason other than being on the couch.

I am not going to sermonize that every beer is meant to be analyzed with every sip. Far from it. Sometimes the best experiences are the ones we let wash over us. But “crushable” isn’t anywhere near experience. It is neanderthal, violent and best left at Animal House.

Brewers can put the word on their labels but they should know that many people do not have the same definition of the word,


Here is a sobering statistic for you, “88% of U.S. craft brewery owners and 89% of brewers are Caucasian (and majority male).”

But there is a way to help bring about change….

“To help increase representation in the brewing industry, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education is launching “Pour it Forward,” a crowdfunding effort to fund a full, diversity-focused scholarship to its prestigious UC Davis Online Master Brewers Certificate Program.

“Changing an industry takes time, but education and the lifetime of opportunities it represents is the first step,” said Dr. Glen Fox, academic director of the Master Brewers Certificate Program. “By supporting ‘Pour it Forward,’ beer enthusiasts will have a lasting, positive impact on both the scholarship recipient and the industry we are all so passionate about.”

“Pour it Forward” runs from October 1st-31st and is part of the annual “Crowdfund UC Davis” campaign, which raised nearly $800,000 from more than 3,900 gifts in 2020. “Pour it Forward” hopes to raise $16,000 to cover all fees and materials for the Online Master Brewers Certificate Program, including a week-long, in-person bootcamp at UC Davis’ state-of-the-art August A. Busch III pilot brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Science laboratory.”


September 13th saw a new bottle measure added to California…

According to the Surfrider Foundation, “AB 962 would create a returnable bottle system in California and preserve bottles so that they can be washed and refilled by beverage producers rather than being crushed for recycling. It would also allow for returnable bottles to flow through the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Program (CRV/Bottle Bill). This bill would even the playing field between bottle washers and recyclers by paying the same amount.”

Granted we can do more but every little step helps. I don’t think we will ever hit the heights of growlers back in the early days but maybe we can get a return a bottle, buy a bottle going.

Where the Greyhounds At?

Craft beer likes to “borrow” or as the might say in the Premier League, put “on loan”. But I have yet to see many Ted Lasso beer names out there.

No “Football is Life”. No “Diamond Dogs”. No Earl Greyhound.

No AFC Richmond logo anywhere.

Maybe Apple is the one company where IP is not touched?

Successor Needed

First, head HERE to read about Sister Doris Engelhard and the Mallersdorf Abbey brewery.

What is interesting is that in fifty years, no one else was hired? No recruitment of an assistant or assistants in all that time?

Which leads me to ponder how other breweries are planning to transition. If big enough, you can choose employee owned but many breweries just do not hit that threshold. All it would take is one unfortunate event for the whole thing to come tumbling down.

Maybe this is where a law firm specializing in small business could exploit a niche and create transition plans for breweries.

Very Much Needed

Craft brewing is about creativity and we need that creativity brought by people like Local Plastic at every business step of a brewery. With the massive spike in to-go 4 and 6 packs, we need to find ways to think about making this better. Like these cardboardy holders from Highland Park Brewery.

Pac 12

Deschutes Brewery is now  “Official Craft Beer of the Pac-12 Conference.” Which I see as a bit odd and a missed opportunity.

There is no university in Bend and Deschutes has locations in Portland and Virginia but not any of the PAC12 towns.

There is also the tiny issue of underage college drinking but let’s table that as separate from this discussion.

It would have been much more fun to have Deschutes partner with a brewery from Seattle, Pullman, Corvallis, Eugene, Berkley, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Boulder. Last time I checked there were breweries in those towns or at least nearby.

The Firkin for August 2021

The return of beer festivals is again and maddeningly in another limbo pause courtesy of the duo of unvaccinated and Delta but that provides an opportunity to make some tweaks to them.

One addition that I would like to see is raising awareness of women being subjected to all levels of crap behavior by men. Ranging from being man-splained about beer to unwanted sexual advances.

My idea is that those pouring beers and those volunteering would wear festival branded t-shirts with statements on the front such as “No I do not want your number.” or questions like “Have you ever felt unsafe at a festival?”

The back would say, “If you need help, ask us.”

I am sure that female craft beer fans would be able to come up with many, many, many more examples for the front of the shirt.

If enough of these shirts were at festivals, I think that those who felt they had license to behave badly might not see your festival as looking the other way. Maybe even staging an impromptu scene where volunteers act out how to use the help and the consequences might make even the most cavalier of men take notice.

Hard Dew, Hard Pass

One could make a persuasive argument that brand extension is more American than apple pie. Or apple pie hard seltzer. Because, well, this…

Mountain Dew, whatever “flavor” it is has entered “hard” territory. Mountain Dew like Tab and Fresca, has its followers but most people would crinkle their face up if told they had to drink some. And I bet that the people that use “the Dew” as a cocktail base may prefer their own concoctions over SnakeMelon, Wolf Rosacea and original flavor. I can’t imagine that the zero sugar helps this flavor equation either.

Next Gen Beer Cellar

Yes, we are plastic filling the ocean. Yes, climate change is real. But maybe, we can start working with the ocean instead of against it.

Instead of thinking that you are so cool to cool of your cans in the lake or river, how about THIS?