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/// HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
 
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
Measure for measure... How many firkins in a hogshead? Seven. Twenty-eight firkins in a tun. Quickly now: two joeys in a nipperkin, two nipperkins in a jack, two jacks in a jill (watch it!), and two jills in a pint. If a firkin is a quarter barrel, how many jacks firkin jill? Ah, the English and Americans -- separated by a common language...

And speaking of things Medieval, watch what you say about a brewer's beer. English Common Law is on the brewer's side. George Johnson, Director of the Craft Brewing Business Institute at Sonoma State, forwards the case of Dickes v. Fenne from the King's Bench (1640). "The defendant having communication with some of the customers of the plaintiff, who was a brewer, said, that he would give a peck of malt to his mare, and she should piss as good beer as Dickes doth brew." Fortunately for Fenne, the words were held "not actionable" because they were "only comparative, and altogether impossible also." Remember, be vague.

And speaking of Mares: The "Big Brewers" have taken to local TV adverts featuring young X'ers swilling down copious quantities of their brands (alas, right from the bottle!) in trendy locations. It helps to know the local laws, however. Miller had to pull the newest Miller Lite ads from TV stations in the NYC area which featured locations in Central Park and the subway system. NYC has strict laws regarding "open containers" and Mayor Giuliani made sure that "Miller Time" would be shown in a legal venue.

"Houston, we have a problem -- a drinking problem." They're here! Apollo beer is here, that is. From the "Big Bang Brewery" in San Francisco (made in St. Paul, MN) comes "space-crafted ale" and "space-aged lager." Both beers are aged in American oak, a "heretofore unheard of step for ale, a giant leap forward for lager." Oak? Who woulda thunk it? "The adventure begins," according to the press release, "when you first get your hands around the icy, cobalt-blue bottle." Well, that oughta stop ultraviolet light... on the other side of Pluto!...

Speaking of advertising agency beer, the Black Star folx sure got the Full Sail folx worried. Black Star claimed to use Hood River hops in their "double hopped" lager. Jerome Chicvara and his crew combed the entire Hood River region and failed to find any trace of hops. "It would be embarrassing if we weren't aware of this going on in our own backyard," Chicvara said. "Hummm... you don't suppose they confused their "Hood River" hops with the Mount Hood variety grown 100 miles north in the Yakima Valley?"

The next battle for Vietnam may be over "Which Bud's For You." Seems our friends at Budweiser Budvar (the one we can't get over here) applied for the trademark in Vietnam but never brewed or sold beer there. That was in 1960! Now A-B wants to have the mark canceled and registered in their name. Vietnamese law puts considerable weight on who files first (our law seems to go with who has the most money). Thirty-six years is a considerable head start. (And thank Hubey Plummer for the tip)...

Meanwhile, Budweiser has launched its Mobile Beer School for consumer education and claims the "largest traveling classroom ever built." It will be at the Olympic Games in Atlanta where anyone can learn about "the art, science and tradition of brewing beer"...

Bud has also started fresh-dating cans and bottles with a "born on" date and a note to drink up before 110 days. A Newsweek story called this "the newest gimmick in the beer business, and the oldest trick in marketing: create a need, then answer it." The story by staffer Jeremy Kahn states, "Never mind that beer never goes bad." The article goes on to say, "Expect others to join the freshness fad before it gets stale." FRESHNESS FAD! "The real targets of this brewhaha," sez Newsweek, "are upstarts like Boston Beer Co.'s Sam Adams, which have been tough competition for the likes of Bud." Geez, Jeremy, Sam Adams has been "fresh dating" their bottles for nearly 10 years! Oh well, what do you expect from Newsweak...

Rams 1, Brewers Nothing: According to a story in The Times of London, James G.A. Young, the distinguished Chairman of Young & Co. Brewery PLC, was posing for photos with Ram Rod, the company mascot, when the ram caught sight of a knife-wielding butcher and bolted through the streets of London, spilling Mr. Young's pint and sending his bowler hat flying. Ram Rod's run eventually came to a halt in front of the Lloyd's Building where he was sandwiched between the breathless Mr. Young and a reportedly breathtakingly handsome policewoman who insisted on having her photo taken with R.R. and J.G.A.Y. (Fade out to the strains of "There'll Never Be Another Ewe"...)

 

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