Friday, September 18, 2009

Walkin'. . . Shinin'

It's always a good move when you take a morning walk here in Anna Maria. This morning we loaded my girlfriends' dog in the truck and headed up the island to the brewery. From there we took a walk around the north end to Bean Point and soaked in the morning sun & breeze for a minute. Butch the dog was in heaven every time we walked through the shade of the palms and pines along the way. He's a hundred-ten pound beast(around 7.8 stone for all you Brits out there). Wait, hold on, to call him a beast would not do his heritage proud. You see, Butch is mostly Argentinian Dogo. His personality is more of a brutish gentleman than slobbering beast in search of small mammal blood. He is oft misunderstood and mistaken for a pitbull, and is generally given a wide berth by the local geezers. His presence in the brewery is the stuff of legend -- I find he is most at ease when attached to a pony keg which allows him to wander but not run off. For some reason this really amuses the locals including the Sheriff. An hour walk brought us back to the friendly confines of Little Giant where Butch climbed back in the truck bed and laid down, Happy as a Dogo could be.

Well, what is the purpose of this rambling and waxing? Honestly it's the fact that I quaffed around six pints of my latest brew last night. "Big Deal!" you may say. "Six pints is just lubrication for serious beer drinkers!" This may be true and I may not be as prolific a beer drinker as I try to convince myself I am, but in light of the late night pints, I felt seriously fresh and energized this morning. I think this brew definitely makes strides toward providing my people with a beer that maximizes the quasi-therapeutic nature of fresh, locally made beer. It's gotta be the hops.

In honor of Butch, we are naming this beer the the Laughing Dogo. Think about a Happy Buddha crossed with a very very large canine who wonders why you share your bacon with him but not your beer.

Laughing Dogo is:
Malts Bill:
Canada 2-row Pale
German Munich I
Belgian Cara-Pils

UK Fuggle
US Cascade

Chico Ale Yeast

Call me if you want some samples, I'll even provide a jug if you want.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Craft Brewers Savagely Thrive In Slumping Economy

Interesting growth number for our industry. Keeping up with the economic stats of the industry gives me faith that the US Standard of living is going up and that Craft Brewing is a thriving industry. Although, it is true the sub-premium beer market(Busch, Shlitz, PBR, etc.) is booming while the US economy slumps. I shouldn't complain about this too much since my first sip of beer from my Grandfather Dziadzi's mug was Old Style formerly produced by G. Heileman. Tasty! Stats courtesy of The Brewers' Association.

* Growth of the craft brewing industry in the first half of 2009 was 5% by volume and 9% by dollars.
* Craft brewers sold an estimated 4.2 million barrels of beer in the first half of 2009, up from 4 million barrels in the first half of 2008.
* Overall US beer sales are down 1.3% in the first 6 months of 2009.
* Imported beer sales are down 9.5% in the first 6 months.
* Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2008 was 5.9% by volume and 10.1% by dollars.
* The craft brewing industry produced nearly 8.6 million barrels of craft beer in the US in 2008.
* The craft brewing sales share as of December '08 was 4% by volume and 6.3% by dollars.
* Total US craft brewing industry annual dollar volume is $6.3 billion.
* The US brewery count of 1,525 on July 31, 2009 is the highest total in 100 years. (2008 total includes breweries that closed during the year, and the July 2009 count is higher than at any time in 2008.)

Last updated on 8/17/2009

Lastly, here's a reply from IRI Data Guru Dan Wendel for a more local growth number(from Brewers' Association PowerHour teleconference in August):

8. I'm looking for annual craft sales trends for my home state of Florida. Can you give me some direction?

Answer: Craft Segment Dollar Sales are +8.6% vs. Year Ago. Case Sales are +2.4% vs. YA in Florida State Supermarkets based on YTD IRI Data Ending July 12, 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Hey there Folks, Mike Wagner here checking in from Little Giant Brewery. I want to thank all of you(all 89 of you to be more exact) who participated in the Waterfront Restaurants' first annual Beer, Wine & Salsa Tasting last Thursday. Not only did it include twelve outstanding salsas from the infamous, notably nefarious mind of Chef Bill Shafer it marked the outing of Lagerhead American Pilsner from Little Giant. Lagerhead combines old-world Weyermann Pilsner and Munich Malts with the beauteous Simcoe hop from Hopunion. I was happy to get positive feedback from the patrons who commented that it paired well with the salsas and the 90+ degree afternoon.

For those who lament the short hours I've spent at the brewery this summer all I can say is, "Be patient, my friends, the fall in temperature is near." If anyone wants a tour of the brewery and a few samples, just contact me through this page or at

Strange brews are on the horizon, along with some of my traditional favorites.


MP Wagner