Saturday, November 29, 2008

Alcohol News

So it's Finals and Christmas time and I will likely be short on posts for the next few weeks. I'll be up in Seattle over Christmas for a sorely needed break from all this sunshine!

In the mean time, here are some interesting news articles:

1) Direct Shipping in Michigan: think again.

Article in the Detroit Free Press. Two months ago a federal judge ruled that the state had to allow direct shipping to consumers in what sounds like a Granholm decision (I haven't had a chance to read the opinion yet). In response, state lawmakers have introduced a bill to ban all direct shipping, instate and out. Michigan is a monopoly state, with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission acting as the wholesaler in their three-tier system. It's interesting to see what monopoly states do in situations like this, because the state itself has an economic interest in preserving the status quo. For example. comparing it to Washington could be interesting, as Washington's beer and wine industries are thriving while Michigan's are near non-existent. Is Michigan protecting fledgling domestic wineries? Or just making sure they get the markup and taxes paid on all alcohol entering the state? I'll try to look more into this when I get some time after finals.

2) Superjuice

Apparently things are getting bad in Manitoba, where members of the local reservation are abusing a new type of alcohol called "Superjuice". It sounds like they're just drinking some kind of mash swill made with distiller's or "Turbo" yeast. The best part is the idea that the yeast keeps acting in people's stomachs, which sounds ridiculous to me. A consult with my resident science adviser (my wife) has let to the same conclusion. Tough as that yeast is, and I've tried some horrific rocket-fuel barleywines made with it, it's not going to keep going in your gut.

3) Radio Bordeaux Dating

No it's not a new Studio Canal show. Article on the BBC about using gamma rays and ion beams to authenticate very old bottles of wine. Should result in some interesting fraud suits in the future. Now if they can only find a way to tell if the bottle's become corked...

4) Prices are falling. So is the sky.

In the current economic climate it appears that people are less interested in paying $1,000 for a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Champagne is down as well. Apparently now's the time to buy... (cough cough). The same is happening with Vodka in Russia. Sales are down 70% and people are turning to poisonous moonshine. Yikes. Times are bad when you can't afford $1 a liter vodka...

5) AB Merger News

Two weeks ago the Justice Department approved the Anheuser-Busch / InBev merger on the condition that they divest themselves of the Labatt brand and facilities. No word on a buyer. (Heineken?) Tuesday the companies completed their stock sale. The new share price of Anheuser-Busch InBev immediately went up 16%, the highest increase in company history.

6) Sam Caglione, of Dogfish Head, in the New Yorker

Great article on Sam Caglione, owner/brewer at Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery in the New Yorker. I've now got a half-crazed plan to try and brew a steinbier/sahti based on his in the article. There will be extensive posting about it, if I can get ahold of some river rocks...

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The Twentyfirst Amendment Meets the 21st Century by Russell Hews Everett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The opinions expressed on this page are purely my own, and should not be taken to constitute legal representation or advice.