Walmart Just Got Busted For Selling Fake Craft Beer

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By Cooking Panda

Now we don’t pretend to know everything, but we can say with fair certainty that the first thing most people think of when they hear the word “Walmart” isn’t craft beer.

Actually, we’re willing to bet that a lot of Walmart shoppers out there probably buy their craft beers from different stores, only choosing to buy big-name brews from the chain.

However, as it turns out, Walmart actually was selling its very own line of craft beers — and it just got sued over them.

FoodBeast reports that the giant retailer sold a line of private-label “craft beers” and is now getting sued because customers feel deceived, saying that the craft beers really weren’t craft beers at all.

Essentially, Walmart claims that it partnered up with a craft brewing company called Trouble Brewing; only the company that shows up in Walmart’s paperwork for the “craft beer” alcohol is actually called WX Brands. What’s more, even though WX Brands definitely develops an area of different alcohols internationally, it actually doesn’t fit into the legal definition of craft beer, which requires less than 6 million barrels of beer to be crafted per year, as well as less than 25 percent of a non-craft brewer to own it.

Whoopsie.

Additionally, the only Trouble Brewing company that actually exists is an Irish Brewery and totally doesn’t match up with any of the info Walmart gave about its partner!

So Walmart was being super shady by putting its “craft beers” next to other real craft beers in the stores, and then hiking up their fake “craft beer” prices — that includes Walmart’s Cat’s Away IPA, After Party Pale Ale, Round Midnight Belgian White and Red Flag Amber beers.

FoodBeast reports that consequently, a group of residents from Ohio has brought a class-action lawsuit against Walmart, and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction that seeks to prevent the chain from labeling their beers as craft.

We guess we’ll stick to purchasing all of our craft beers from more reputable and established retailers from now on!

What do you think of Walmart’s deception?

Source: FoodBeast / Photo Credit: Amanda/Instagram

Tags: craft beer, Lawsuit, trouble brewing, Walmart, wx brands
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This Pumpkin Spice Latte Beer Is Your New Favorite Fall-Time Booze

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By Cooking Panda

Autumn is upon us, which means that so, too, are the many different Pumpkin Spice consumables.

We have the controversial PSL from Starbucks; countless chocolate and cookie brands have revealed pumpkin spice truffles, or Milanos; Oreos had a go at it; Trader Joes even offers a special Pumpkin Spice cookie butter around this time of year.

So is it any wonder that the craft breweries have taken note?

Honestly, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened: say hello to Breckenridge Brewery’s on-trend offering, the pumpkin spice latte beer.

Per Tasting Table, the Colorado-based brewery’s nitro is made with “carefully roasted, cold-pressed coffee beans” from Cabin Coffee Company, and also makes use of real pumpkin, in addition to cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to round out its flavor profile.

What’s unique about this brew is that it’s a nitro, which means that the bubbles in the beer are smaller, resulting in a less carbonated, and more smooth and creamy PSL texture.

You can use the brewery’s website to find out where the closest location is for you to pick up your own boozy-PSL treat.

Source: Tasting Table / Photo credit: Breckenridge Brewery via Tasting Table

Tags: Beer, craft beer, nitro, psl, pumpkin spice
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Could You Be The Craft Beer Historian The Smithsonian Is Looking For?

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By Cooking Panda

Beer snobs: We might have found your dream job. Put down that pint and listen up.

It’s no secret that craft beer is becoming more and more popular — did you know that beer is the world’s most consumed alcoholic beverage around the world? According to the Ramirez Group, it is the third most popularly consumed beverage overall, trailing just behind water and tea.

On top of that, there are more craft breweries in America than there have been throughout any point in history. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that just about every institution is looking to incorporate ales, stouts and lagers into their programs. And some of these places are offering pretty sweet deals.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History — yes, that Smithsonian! — is looking to hire a beer historian and scholar for a three-year position, funded by the Brewers Association. According to curator Paula Johnson, you’ll need to be able to “focus and dedicate efforts towards research, documentation, and collecting American brewing history” for this arrangement to work, notes the Washington City Paper.

“We have collected food history for many years, so when we were doing the research for the exhibition, which is all about big changes in the post-WW II era in how and what we eat, one thing we were curious about is the craft beer movement,” Johnson said. “We were looking at wine, coffee, cheese, artisanal bread, and farmers markets. Well, this movement with small-scale, local regional beer is part of the ethos.”

The majority of the museum’s collections date back to the late 19th century and early 20th century, but the Smithsonian does not have a ton from the 1960s and beyond.

“The successful candidate will have proven experience in scholarly research, organizing and conducting oral history interviews, writing for both scholarly and general audiences, and knowledge of material culture and archival materials,” the job listing says.

Think you got what it takes? If you have an advanced degree in American business, brewing, food, culture, or a similar historic specialization — plus you’re willing to travel, meet deadlines, and alternate between working both by yourself and with groups of people, you should totally get ready to jump ship at your day job and run as fast as you can to this position at the Smithsonian.

Interested? Find out more details about the listing here, you lucky beer nerd!

Sources: Washington City Paper, Ramirez Group / Photo credit: Thomas Quine/Flickr

Tags: Beer, beer career, beer history, craft beer, job in beer
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Breweries Are Getting In Huge Fights Over Beer Names

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By Cooking Panda

With over 4,600 craft breweries throughout the United States, the craft-beer industry is running out of names for their creations.

As breweries use up every possible name, many of which are associated with a pun, animal, or landmark, competitors have found themselves in the midst of countless legal battles in order to protect their names and logos.

At least 25,000 active registrations and applications related to beer have gone through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re literally running out of words in the English language that haven’t already been taken,” said Brendan Palfreyman, a Syracuse lawyer who works with beer trademark cases.

Examples of recent cases include a dispute between Maine’s Wash Ashore Beer Co. and another brewery’s application for a “Washed Ashore” beer, and a “Brew Shed” beer being contested by The Shed Brewery in Vermont.

Eric Ottaway, chief executive of Brooklyn Brewery, said he spends approximately $200,000 annually to protect his company’s intellectual property.

“Brand names in many ways are the most important thing that any company has,” Ottaway said to the Journal. “There are only so many different ways to make IPAs.”

Craft beers first became popular in the U.S. in the mid- to late 1990s, according to the Brewers Association. Two decades later, craft beer accounts for about 12 percent of U.S. beer consumption and 21 percent of beer purchases, as breweries increase throughout the nation at a rate of about two a day.

As a result, coming up with a unique name can be a challenge.  

Jamil Zainasheff, owner of Heretic Brewing in Northern California, went through 10 names that were already in use before deciding on Shallow Grave Porter.

“It was the name we liked the least,” he said. “That’s the way it goes.”

On a related note, if a name is too creative, it can lead to other complications in the future. Mike Beebe, assistant brewer at Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego, said his team has been leaning towards names associated with local landmarks instead of “Latin-inspired” ones.

“If people can’t pronounce it, they won’t order it,” he explained.

Source: Wall Street Journal / Photo credit: The Batchyard

Tags: breweries, craft beer, legal battles, trademarks, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
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Pizza Hut Launches New Craft Beer Pizzas — But There’s One Catch

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By Cooking Panda

These are a few of my favorite things…

You know, I never really thought about it before, but over the past years Pizza Hut has steadily been transforming itself from your run-of-the-mill pizza conglomerate (not that there’s anything wrong with that) into The Master Innovators Of Crust.

In 1995 the chain introduced us to the now standard cheesy-crust; since then, it has notably stuffed its crusts with garlic knots (“knot” your average pizza) and even hot dogs (though the jury is still out on that one).

And now Pizza Hut is back at it again with a new craft beer-infused pizza dough that will be given a trial run this week — but there’s a catch. The new pizza concoction is a limited edition menu item for one day only (Friday, May 20th) as well as at one restaurant only – the Finchley Lido Pizza Hut, located in London.

Forget Stella Kowalski; I can literally (in the figurative sense) hear every single American sinking down to their collective knees and screaming: PIIIIIIIIII-ZZAAAAAAAA!

Anyway.

The new pizza has been designed in two special-edition flavors: The Steak Feast and The American Hot. In order to receive a free taste of the pie, patrons will need to whisper/croon/sign/what-have-you the secret words, “I Like it Hop,” to their server when they purchase a beer of their choice, reports the Mirror.

According to Metro, The Steak Feast is a three-cheese blend topped with steak pieces, mushrooms, and caramelized and spring onions served on a beer BBQ sauce; The American hot is a three-cheese blend vegetarian pizza, topped with sweetcorn, mushrooms, caramelized and spring onions, roquito chills, and jalapenos, and served on a beer BBQ sauce.

Kath Austin, Director of HR and Marketing at Pizza Hut Restaurants, told the Mirror:

We know that craft beers are really popular right now and we’re celebrating this not just by adding craft beers to our menus, but also by adding this to our pizza dough.

We also know that for many of our customers nothing beats enjoying their favorite pizza with an ice-cold beer, so we thought this would be the perfect culinary union.

It took our team many hours to perfect the recipes and flavor combinations, but all of their hard work definitely paid off as we’re thrilled with the results and can’t wait for our customers to try them.

We’re proud to be the first chain in the UK to trial a beer-infused dough base, and look forward to hopefully rolling these out nationwide if they prove popular.

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Sources: New York Times, Pizza Hut Blog, Mirror, Metro / Photo credits: Pizza Hut via Mirror, Metro

Tags: craft beer, pizza hut, stuffed crust
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Now You Can Drink ‘Hamilton’ Beer

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By Cooking Panda

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical “Hamilton” has taken Broadway by storm and is moving closer to complete world domination. Now, the insanely popular Pulitzer-winning play has inspired a new craft beer from New York brewers.

Gun Hill Brewing Co., based in the Bronx, released Rise Up Rye, named after lyrics in the musical, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The brewing company teamed up with Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig, two Broadway actors who also host “Happy Hour Guys,” a web series dedicated to drinking. A year ago, the pair came up with the idea to name beer after Broadway shows. Their idea was initially met with a lukewarm reception.

“We had conversations with producers where they would say, ‘We just don’t see what this has to do with us,'” Ludwig recounted.

Eventually the team behind “Hamilton” signed up, along with Gun Hill Brewing Co. It took six months to figure out exactly what the beer would taste like.

The people representing “Hamilton” wanted something that would be inviting to everyone and avoid the heavy, bitter tastes often associated with craft beers.

“It had to be a beer that was really drinkable, really accessible,” said Javier Munoz, the alternate for the show’s title role. “A beer that made you feel good.”

Gun Hill wanted to make sure that the beer was distinctly reminiscent of colonial America, so they decided to work with rye, a grain that the revolution-era colonials used heavily.

Eventually they all agreed on Rise Up Rye, a 4.8 percent alcohol ale that uses rye, barley, New Zealand Wai-iti hops and saison yeast, notes Playbill.

“The public reception has been amazing, just like I predicted,” Ludwig told Playbill. “When we were pitching this, we kept saying ‘Broadway fans and Craft Beer fans are INCREDIBLY dedicated and driven. Imagine what will happen when we introduce them to each other!'”

Rise Up Rye will be available at approximately 40 New York bars after the April 30 invite-only release party. The brew will go for $12-$15 a bottle. Gun Hill will donate a portion of proceeds to Graham Windham, a social service organization founded by Alexander Hamilton’s widow, Elizabeth, which works with thousands of New York children.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Playbill / Photo credit: Playbill

Tags: Beer, Broadway beer, craft beer, Hamilton, rye beer
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Like Barleywine? You’ll Love These 5 Uncommon Beers

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By Cooking Panda

Everyone knows craft beer has caught on in a big way. Most people are pretty familiar with IPAs, stouts and pilsners by now, and they certainly are delicious. But why not branch out and try something different? Here are some obscure styles that you should definitely keep an eye out for:

1. Eisbock

This beer is so good, it’s illegal. Ok, not really, but only small microbreweries are allowed to make this highly concentrated beer due to its alcohol content, so don’t expect to see this style from Budweiser any time soon. Eisbocks are anywhere from sweet to spicy with minimal hops and a big, syrupy alcohol presence. We recommend Schneider’s Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock and Ramstein’s Winter Wheat Eisbock.

2. Braggot

Arnold Palmers, shandy, black and tans – we do love mixing half-and-half drinks. Why not kick it up a notch and try braggot, which is half beer and half mead (honey wine)? Our favorite is Kuhnhenn’s Bourbon Barrel Braggot, which packs a serious punch at 16% ABV, so only drink this one when you’re ready for a serious party. We also love Brother Adam’s Bragget Honey Ale, which is pretty boozy as well.

3. Gruit

Long before hops entered the beer scene, medieval Europeans flavored and preserved their beer with herbs and spices originally thought to increase sex drive and induce euphoria. Ok, whether or not that’s actually true, there are a few styles still being made that we love, including Professor Fritz Briem’s 13th Century Grut Bier, Williams Bros’ Fraoch Heather Ale and Brasserie Dupont’s Posca Rustica.

4. Smoked Beer

With the huge popularity of bacon, it is a wonder that smoked beer hasn’t caught on more widely. You might have seen Stone’s Smoked Porter, which is a great place to start, but have you tried The Bruery’s Smoking Wood, Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter or Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier?

5. Wild Ale

If you have a penchant for sweet and sour ales and strong flavors, you’ll love wild ales. Brewed with wild varieties of yeast and bacteria (we promise, it sounds a lot more gross than it is), these wild ales can develop some really funky flavors. This style isn’t for everyone, and you might want to taste it before ordering a full glass, but a lot of people really enjoy the strong, totally unique flavors. We recommend Russian River’s Consecration, New Belgium’s Lips of Faith – Le Terroir, and Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja.

Sources: Esquire, First We Feast / Photo credits: Bernt Rostad/Flickr (2) (3) Bernt Rostad/Wikimedia Commons, Stas2k/Wikimedia Commons, Liondartois/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: barleywine, Beer, craft beer, uncommon beer
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