Category Archives: Imports

Guinness launches “Give a ‘Stache” campaign

guinness_logoIt is no secret that Guinness has been and continues to be a huge part of nearly all St. Patrick Day celebrations. This year the iconic Irish brew wants to give back. See all the details in the official press release below.

Above the Upper Lip, USA (February 23, 2017) – Once a year, as the cold begins to thaw and the first hints of spring are in the air, St. Patrick’s Day comes along to give us a reason to celebrate – and especially right here, right now, it’s time we celebrate what brings us together. The Guinness brand is synonymous with this holiday, and now more than ever, it’s up to us to help start great conversations, and to show that St. Patrick’s Day can bring out the best in all of us.

It’s no secret that each pint of Guinness stout, when enjoyed slowly, leaves behind a foam mustache after the first sip. This year, the ‘Stache will be the brewer’s overarching symbol for building the bonds between us, encouraging all of us to come together, no matter our backgrounds, beliefs or political leanings. In that spirit, from now through March 19, 2017, adult beer lovers can share photos of their ‘Staches – self-grown and groomed, drawn-on, or Guinness-enhanced – on social media. For each photo tagging @GuinnessUS and using #StacheForCharity, Guinness will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the Guinness Gives Back Fund*, which supports nonprofits that contribute to the common good in our communities.

“Let’s face it, now’s as good a time as any to raise a pint,” said Guinness Brand Director Emma Giles. “We need to reconnect with what can bring us together as family, friends, coworkers, Americans, and most basically, human beings. St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and few, if any, holidays are as unifying or as celebratory.”

The symbol of the ‘Stache will appear alongside Guinness brand activity, including at bars and restaurants, throughout the St. Patrick’s Day season. To spread the word about the good a ‘Stache can do, the brand is releasing digital content that shows people of all backgrounds sporting ‘Staches, thus turning the brand’s iconic foam into a symbol for unity. A separate video series will follow a Guinness ambassador around town, where he finds the Guinness spirit in the unlikeliest of places.

“There’s just something about the Guinness ‘Stache that makes you crack a smile,” Giles said. “What better symbol this time of year for unity, communion and giving back?”

To keep an eye on everything the Guinness brand is doing and to get in on the ‘Stache action, follow @GuinnessUS on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Whether you’re having a Guinness Draught and getting your ‘Stache, or ordering up any other Guinness beer this St. Patrick’s Day, please respect the beer and drink sensibly.

* The Guinness Gives Back Fund is a corporate donor advised fund administered by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Beer, Imports


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Bruges, Belgium brewery to build unique beer pipeline

dehalvemaanIn Belgium, beer is practically a religion. By some accounts there are over 90,000 breweries – counting tiny brew pubs and monolithic mega-beer producers — in a country that is smaller than Maine. But, preserving the picturesque beauty of their centuries-old cities is also a priority to the hard-working people or the country. It is for this reason that the De Halve Maan Brewery in the medieval town of Bruges has commissioned the construction of a second-of-its-kind beer pipeline to deliver beer from the brewery to the bottling facility.

According to an article by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the five-hundred-year-old brewery wanted to reduce the amount of truck traffic running through the ancient town.

“The idea is born of environmental and quality of life concerns, and not economic ones,” said company director Xavier Vanneste in the AFP article.

The plan is to build a two-mile long pipeline that will transport beer from the brewery underground to an industrial park and bottling facility where the beer will be packaged for shipment to beer lovers worldwide.

“We always wanted to keep the beer brewed at the historic site,” even after the bottling was moved out of town in 2010, said local official Franky Demon in the AFP article.

The challenge was how to allow the brewery to continue operating while reducing the amount of truck traffic in the “Venice of the North’s” cobblestone streets. Building the pipeline will reduce truck traffic by nearly 85 percent on the city’s streets and alleys.

Contractors will use state-of-the-art techniques to assure that Bruges’ gothic facades and medieval belfry are not harmed during the process. While the brewery will absorb the cost of the project, Vanneste could not estimate the economic cost at this stage.

Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2015.

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Imports


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Piraat beer sponsors Talk Like a Pirate Day contest

PiraatThe First Coast has had its share of pirates and pirate invasions. On any given day, pirate impersonators can be found strolling the streets of St. Augustine and Fernandina Beach is practically overrun by the Captain Jack Sparrow look-alikes during the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. So, it is only logical that the internationally recognized “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” held annually on September 19, is a big deal in this part of Florida.

The importer of Piraat beer, Global Beer Network, have taken the fun of the day one step further by sponsoring a contest that asks beer and pirate enthusiasts everywhere to submit their best pirate impression on video. Organized in alliance with the Talk Like A Pirate organization, the contest is both an online video contest and real-life, in-person pirate impression contest at participating pubs, bars and restaurants across the U.S.

The grand prize winner will win a year’s worth of Piraat beer, the official beer of pirates everywhere.
The contest runs through September 30, 2014. Winners will be announced October 1. Entries can be submitted on the Piraat Facebook page, To enter, simply “like” Piraat’s Facebook page and post your video. Check back to see if your video was chosen to be featured!

Piraat is a Belgian Triple Ale. The beer was created centuries ago to accompany sailors setting out on long voyages. In the 17th and 18th centuries, captains needed beer with high food value that could be kept fresh for an extended period of time. Piraat, due to its high ABV (10.5 percent) and second fermentation, was the perfect type of brew for these voyages. A pint a day was the ration passed down by the captain to his crew. Piraat has a well-rounded body and rich flavor. The powerful glow builds from the inside with a deep golden hue and soft haze. The beer is aggressively hopped and features copious amounts of malt. It features a mild sweetness coupled with colorful aromas, fresh bread, spices and tropical fruits for a complex taste.

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Imports


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Mexican craft beer fighting an uphill battle, but coming on strong

bottles-300x226Mexican beer has come a long way from the pale yellow fizzy lagers like Corona and Tecate. In today’s Mexico, craft brewers are setting up shop in and around major cities like Mexico City, Tijuana and Guadalajara. These pioneers have seen the craft beer craze sweep through the United States and seek to bring the great flavors of Mexico to artfully crafted ales.

In an article by Yahoo Food editor Rachel Tepper,  John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine, explained, “We’re seeing stouts, Belgian-style ales, tripels, beers that have local ingredients in with the mash,” Holl explained. “I think local ingredients can really be everything. Beers are brewed with cactus. Beers are aged in tequila barrels, or with spices that might go into certain local dishes.”

One of the breweries that has already entered the U.S. craft beer market from south of the border is Cerveceria Mexican, makers of the Day of the Dead line of ales. Cerveceria Mexican is the third largest brewery in Mexico located in Tecate, Mexico.  Best known for its flagship brand Mexicali, the brewery produces over forty labels of beer.

“We wanted to do this right so we took our time and developed every aspect of the brand with quality in mind and didn’t rush any part of it,” said Joe Belli, VP Sales for the brand on their website. “The brewmaster at Cerveceria Mexicana brewery and owner of the brand did an amazing job.  We had over 40 recipes to choose from…”

But, breaking into the craft beer market in Mexico can be difficult. The Mexican beer market is dominated by just two major players — Grupo Modelo and FEMSA (Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma) owned by Heineken. These companies command 98 percent of the beer in the Mexican Market. The rest of the market is held by smaller craft breweries and imports.

In a report titled, The Mexican Craft Beer Market -A Market Assessment, prepared by    Vanessa Salcido and Alicia Hernandez for the USDA, it is revealed the Mexican businesses are often obliged to sign exclusivity contracts s that prohibit vendors from selling products from more than one brewer. Meaning that bar owners can only sell beers produced by the company they have signed with. This practice of signing bars – known as “tied-houses” – to a single brewery ensures that beer money continues to flow into the major brand’s coffers and shuts out any upstart companies. Before Prohibition, a similar system was in place in the U.S., but is now outlawed in favor of the three-tier system in which breweries sell their beer to a middle man distributer that then sells the beer to both on- and off-site retailers such as bars and supermarkets.

Craft beer, however, is gaining ground in the metropolitan areas of the country. According to the USDA report, Mexico is the sixth largest consumer and producer of beer in the world. With a standing like that, it is likely that the trend towards fuller-flavored craft beers will continue. The report states, “Microbrewers do not have a defined target audience; they sell to people open to trying beer as a flavor experience rather than just a refreshment.”

Minerva Brewery in Jalisco began producing artisanal ales in 2003. The company began when founder Gomez Spain Jesus Briseno accompanied his father to Europe where he had the opportunity to try beer styles that could not be found in Mexico.   Minerva Brewery produces its beers following the German Purity Law or Rheinheitsgebot. This law allows beer to made from just four ingredients; malt, water, hops and yeast. The brewery produces nine styles of beers including a stout, IPA, pale ale and a beer they call an ITA – Imperial Tequila Ale.

On the website, The People’s Guide to Mexico, a short history of beer south of the U.S. border is offered. “The original Mexican artisan brewers were the Huichole and Tarahumara Indians who brewed (and still brew) a corn beer called tesgüino.” Later, after Mexico was conquered by Spain, beer tended to be dark and malty. But, after the French invasion and the short-lived Austrian rule, Austrian, Swiss and German immigrants swarmed the country bringing the crisper beers of their countries.

Slowly Mexican craft beer is gaining ground. Holl, of All About Beer Magazine, likens the current state of Mexican craft beer as it was in the U.S. 10 years ago. As more and more consumers gain access to the tastier, less homogenize beer of these artisans, the market will open and the grip of the mass-producers will be loosened.

For U.S. beer-lovers this means more and more Mexican craft beers will begin to cross the border. But, for now, to get the best selection of these upstart brews, you will have to make the trip south.

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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Beer, Imports



‘Drinking Around the World’ a popular activity at Epcot

English: Epcot Spaceship Earth Walt Disney Wor...

English: Epcot Spaceship Earth Walt Disney World Orlando 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tourists stream into central Florida during the summer to visit the many attractions built in and around the Orlando area. Undeterred by the pounding heat, they queue up for attractions at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. But, not all are seeking the newest thrill ride or attraction; some are seeking relief from the relentless heat and humidity by quenching their thirst with cold beverages from around the world. And there is no better place to accomplish this feat than Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

In Walt Disney’s original vision for Epcot, the park would be a model of synchronistic living. It would showcase how people could live, work, and play in the same community using eco-friendly means. But, after his death, the park took on a much different look. It became more of a showcase of innovations and of world cultures than a community.

It is the World Showcase half of Epcot that provides the venue for the popular activity known as “Drinking Around the World.” The idea is to have an alcoholic drink, in this case beer, in each of the 11 countries surrounding the World Showcase lagoon at Epcot. Considering that each beer will cost anywhere from $6 to $10, this could be an expensive undertaking. But to those who take up the mission, it can also provide a number of insights into the beer that people drink around the world. Because 11 alcoholic drinks over the span of six to eight hours can have quite an impact on your sobriety, it is suggested that you have a designated driver for the end of the evening.

Traveling counter-clockwise around the World Showcase lagoon, you will encounter Canada first, followed the United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, the United States, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico. Each country is represented by an area designed and built to imitate the architecture of its host and are populated by cast members from that country as well.


Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada with over 46% of the adult beverage market. Canada’s oldest independent brewery is Moosehead, located in Saint John, New Brunswick. The brewery was founded in 1867 by Susannah Oland and is still operated by the Oland family, now in the sixth generation of ownership under Derek Oland. Moosehead is also one of the brews you can try in the Canada pavilion at Epcot.

Moosehead is a lager style brew that presents a sweet, grain aroma and crisp, moderately malty taste. It is a refreshing and balanced brew perfect for quenching the thirst of vacationing guests as well as taking the edge of the Florida heat. Canada also serves Molson and Labatt Blue, and occasionally Unibroue products like La Fin du Monde and Maudite.

United Kingdom

England is well known for its love of beer in all its glory. Pubs are a way of life for many Brits and a pint or two and the end of the day is a ritual many would not think of foregoing. Epcot provides guests with an authentic pub experience at the Rose & Crown pub complete with traditional pub foods and beers. Behind the bar a British lad or lass will cheerily and properly draw you a Guinness, Boddington’s, Bass, Harp, or Stella lager. Or, if you are in the mood for something a little different, you can get a Strongbow hard cider. Whatever your choice, be sure to raise your pint high before your first sip and give your barkeep a hearty, “Cheers!”


The French have mastered the art of fine dining and elegance. In Epcot you can choose from two award-winning French restaurants and a patisserie. But, the French have never really been known for their beers which is a shame because they have several interesting brews that should definitely be tried. At Epcot there is only one beer available to sample, but it is one of those worth a try.

Kronenbourg 1664 is a pale lager that clock in at 5.9% ABV. The brewery was founded in 1664 by Geronimus Hatt in Strasbourg as the Hatt Brewery. The name comes from the area, Cronenbourg, where the brewery relocated in 1850 and the year the original brewery was founded. As with most lagers, the brew has a sweet, grainy aroma punctuated with grassy hops. The taste is mildly bitter with sweet corn and grain notes. The brew is highly drinkable with a light mouthfeel.


It is somewhat puzzling that there is a Moroccan beer available since Islam, which strictly forbids any form of alcohol,  is the majority religion in Morocco. But never-the-less Casablanca beer is readily available at stores until 8:00 p.m. in the evening. Casablanca lager, brewed in its namesake city,  is a generic, inoffensive brew that is rather unremarkable in both aroma and flavor. The aroma has hints of grain and herbs, while the flavor is sweet from the grains, but thin and somewhat watery.


Those who patronize Japanese restaurants will be familiar with most of the beer choices in the Japanese pavilion of Epcot. Kirin Ichiban and Ashai are the two predominant brews available. But, if you are looking for something a little different, go in to the Japanese department store and work your way all the way to the back where there is a saki tasting bar. Along with the saki, they occasionally have Ginga Kogen beer.

Ginga Kogen started as a project in 1998 to economically develop Sawauchi village in Iwate prefecture, by Isao Nakamura who established Higashinihonhouse Co., Ltd. The beer is an unfiltered, German-style heffeweizen, with an abundance of fruit on the nose and the rich banana flavors you  would expect from the style. At $10 per bottle though, it is an expensive indulgence. Still, you may want to give it a try for the novelty.

United States

The beer choices here are limited you could choose a mass-produced macro lager or Sam Adams. Occasionally you will find seasonal offerings from Sam Adams here as well.


Like the French, Italians are not really known for their beer. The only choices available in this pavilion are Birra Moretti and Peroni. Both are inoffensive lagers, but nothing special. Still, to accomplish your mission of drinking beers around the world, grab a Peroni and enjoy the crisp and slightly bitter flavor before heading on.


When conversation turns to beer, Germany is almost always part of the discussion. With a history steeped in beer-making the Germans have become undisputed masters of the craft. And, at the Germany pavilion you can sample several examples of German craftsmanship as you peruse a shop filled with steins, das boots, and all manner of German drinking vessels.

The German pavilion changes their beers out rather often but there are several staples that are generally available. On a recent visit, Radeberger Pilsner was being served. With an ABV of only 4.8% this pilsner is an excellent thirst quencher as well as a good choice for tis stage of your “Drinking Around the World” expedition. It is a classic example of the pilsner style and is slightly bitter with a crisp, clean finish.

Other brews that are often available at the pavilion include Warsteiner, Spaten Oktoberfest, and Altenmunster Oktoberfest.


There is only one Chinese beer choice in China and it is Tsingtao. This is an adjunct lager similar to American lagers, but not as flavorful. It is drinkable, but not really all that noteworthy.


Copenhagen, Denmark is home to the Carlsberg Group makers of Carlsberg lager. Carlsberg was founded by J. C. Jacobsen and his first brew was finished on November 1847. While not technically a Norwegian beer, the brewery has been owned by Norwegian conglomerate Orkla ASA since January 2001.

As is the case with many European pale lagers, Carlsberg has a slightly skunked smell and flavor, but is otherwise a pleasant enough lager.


Cerviceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma has the distinction of brewing many of Mexico’s most popular brews. Tacate, Dos Equis, Sol, and Bohemia are all brewed there. They are also all lagers with Bohemia being the best of the group. Bohemia is a Mexican pilsner with a nice bouquet, slightly bitter and crisp finish. It is, like most pilsners, a great beer to drink very cold on a very hot day.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Beer, Imports


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