The Year in Beer: 30 stories that shaped 2011 (16-20)

Yuengling truck

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Missed 21 through 30? Here’s 26-30. Here’s 21-25.

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20. Attorneys General denounce Colt 45, Pabst considers lowering ABV

Pabst Brewing launched Blast by Colt 45 in April. The beverage weighed in at 12% ABV and was sold in big cans. Snoop Dogg was brought on to pitch it. That’s when people got mad…

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, along with 18 other Attorneys General, today called on Pabst Brewing Company to stop selling or alter its new malt drink beverage, Blast by Colt 45, because of its high alcohol content and marketing tactics. The drink, known as “binge-in-a-can,” offers the equivalent of five beers in one serving. The Attorneys General also are concerned that the product is being marketed and packaged in a way that targets underage youth.

Later on, Pabst got multiple label approvals revealing that the company was considering lowering the ABV.

Did they ever end up lowering it?

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19. Jester King Craft Brewery sues TABC over 1st Amendment violations and wins

From October

Jester King Craft Brewery, maker of artisan farmhouse ales in the beautiful Texas Hill Country on the outskirts of Austin, has filed suit against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). On Wednesday, attorneys representing Jester King Craft Brewery and two other co-plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court asking that the case be decided in our favor.

We have sued the TABC because we believe that its Code violates our rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Under the Code, we are not allowed to tell the beer drinking public where our beer is sold. We are also not permitted to use accurate terms to describe our beers.

And then just last month…

Judge Sam Sparks of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued his final judgment on the case that Jester King Brewery and our two co-plaintiffs, Authentic Beverage Company and Zax Restaurant & Bar, filed against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. With respect to all of the First Amendment challenges to the current state law, he ruled in our favor, declaring the statutes and TABC rules in question unconstitutional and therefore invalid.

The judge’s comments are classic.

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18. Westvleteren XII released in Belgium with one day spectacular, coming to U.S.

The monks at Abbey of Saint Sixtus announced in 2011 that they would hold a special one-day sale of Westvleteren XII, the world’s top-ranked beer on RateBeer. The beer would be distributed to only Colyrut stores in Belgium and France though. The turnout for the sale resembled what you might expect from a big U.S. beer release…

Two-thirds of the 98,000 boxes reportedly sold out in the morning hours. Those with vouchers for the boxes were lining up in the wee hours of the morning similar to big beer releases here in the U.S..

Then the huge announcement came that the beer will be shipped to the U.S. sometime around April. See all the coverage on Westvleteren XII for more.

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17. Newcastle creates seasonal lineup to much excitement but reviews are absolutely horrendous

When a well-known name in beer gets creative, people get pretty excited. Beernews.org readers shared the posts about Newcastle’s new seasonal program over 1,200 times.

“Distinctive and innovative, Newcastle’s Limited Edition brews deliver a new, refreshing taste to be enjoyed throughout the year,” said Charles van Es, Brand Director Newcastle Brown Ale. “By adopting a wide array of flavors—everything from red ales to distinct India pale ales—we’re providing a uniquely interesting combination of Newcastle heritage, real ingredients and drinkability to our loyal fans.”

Temper your excitement though.

RateBeer members rated Werewolf and Winter IPA in the first percentile of their respective styles. Seriously. FIRST. PERCENTILE. In other words, they consider these two beers to be the worst examples (or damn near close to it) in their styles produced in the modern age. Summer Ale fared slightly better in reviews. Founders’ Ale, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to have been released yet.

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16. Yuengling sales explode in Ohio

Yuengling is set to grow its sales to nearly 2.3 million barrels in 2011 thanks to finally opening up the state of Ohio this past fall. It was a long time coming considering Ohio neighbors the state where Yuengling operations are based: Pennsylvania. Despite being available in just 14 states and Washington D.C., the company has managed to keep pace with Boston Beer Co. in sales. Boston Beer is available nationally.

More on Yuengling’s Ohio explosion…

[…] demand for the beer was greater than expected, with Cleveland sales alone doubling projections, according to Rob VanMetre, Yuengling brand manager for Heidelberg Distributing Co. in Dayton.

“It was kind of hard to foresee that,” VanMetre said. “The overwhelming response in the northern part of the state was just very much unexpected.”

Can Yuengling hit 2.5 million in 2012 and will they add at least another state? I’d lean toward yes on both accounts.

Don’t stop! Continue to #11-15.

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