Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. Forever Unloved: New Jersey's largest craft brewery, Flying Fish Brewing Company, is using some cleverly chosen words to deliver a message to super storm Sandy and raise money towards Sandy recovery efforts.
The brewery is releasing, Forever Unloved (FU) Sandy, a hybrid wheat-pale ale. All proceeds – not just profit – will go to a N.J.-based super storm Sandy relief charity, which has yet to be determined. The brewery said it will produce 100 kegs of FU Sandy, which it hopes will generate $50,000. The beer, which for now will be draft only, will be available beginning in February.
2. Timeless Beauty: Anheuser-Busch InBev is turning to an iconic photographer to help promote one of its long-time brands. Annie Leibovitz is lending her unique perspective and photography talents to a new ad campaign for Belgian beer Stella Artois. The new campaign, called "Timeless Beauty" is being unveiled during at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah. Stills from the Annie Leibovitz shoot, as well as "behind the scenes" films featuring interviews with the subjects, stylists and others involved in the Leibovitz campaign can be accessed here.
3. Budweiser Heir Gets Crafty: Salmon River Brewery in McCall, Idaho, is getting an investment from someone with a well-known name in the beer industry: Adolphus A. Busch IV, the son of August "Gussie" Busch Jr. While Adolphus Busch was never directly involved in the Anhesuer-Busch operations, he knows what he likes when he tastes it. Busch first discovered Salmon River's beer while vacationing with family in Idaho, and two years later has agreed to become a minority partner and owner of 49 percent of the brewery. The deal will allow Salmon River to increase its production from 300 barrels a year to 1,500 barrels per year.
4. New Hampshire Beer Tax "Brew-ha-ha:" There is a beer tax battle brewing in New Hampshire. At issue is two state representatives who are proposing to raise the excise tax on beer sold from a wholesaler to a retailer by 10 cents per gallon. According to Brewbound.com, the current tax rate is already 30 cents per gallon, the second-highest in New England. Opposing the increase are beer producers and distributors who have picked up a powerful ally in the fight, Governor Maggie Hassan.
5. New Belgium Beer and Film: For the fourth year in row, New Belgium Brewing is taking its beer and film festival on the road. The brewery is seeking submissions for the roving festival called "Clips," which the brewery say "brings people together to try beers from New Belgium's Lips of Faith series, along with some popular classics, view amateur films and raise money for philanthropic organizations." In its first three years, the film series has raised nearly $118,000 for local charities in the cities where it has held screenings. Information on how to submit a short film and guidelines for entry, can be found on the brewery website. The film festival will make several stops nationwide and kicks off in Bloomington, Ind., on Friday, May 31.
6. Green Beer: The Alaska Brewing Company has completed work on a new grain fired steam boiler that will allow it to reduce its oil consumption by nearly 70 percent, or about 150,000 gallons per year. The brewery will use spent grain from the brewery process to fire its boiler. Alaskan Brewing said it is the first brewery to rely on spent grains for most of its fuel source.
-By CNBC's Tom Rotunno; Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno
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