Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. Trouble at the Altar for Bud's Marriage to Corona: There was bad news this week for Anheuser-Busch InBev in its attempt to acquire full control over Grupo Modelo, the owner of the Corona beer brand among others. AB InBev already owns 50 percent of Modelo and the acquisition would give the brewing giant total control of two of the most popular beer brands in the world, Budweiser and Corona. On Thursday, the government filed a lawsuit to prevent the deal, expressing concern that it would lead to higher beer prices in the U.S. The Department of Justice argues Modelo has held down market prices by not following AB InBev's lead in rising prices. AB InBev released a statement saying it will fight the claims.
2. Budweiser's Big Super Bowl Bet: Anheuser-Busch InBev will once again have a heavy presence in the most watched television event of the year. The brewery will have six commercials during Super Bowl XLVII for a total of four and half minutes of airtime. In a break with tradition, the brewery has released two of the ads in advance of the game. "Brotherhood", which will air in the second quarter, features a baby Clydesdale that will be just 18 days old as of Super Bowl Sunday. Budweiser is asking fans to help name the baby Clydesdale by tweeting suggestions to @Budweiser using the hash tag #clydesdales.
In the fourth quarter, the company will air, "Serenade", an ad for the new Beck's Sapphire. This is the first time Beck's has had an ad in the Super Bowl and Sunday is the one and only time the ad will air on television. The ad involves fish singing "No Diggity," a remix of the 90's hip-hop hit by Australian musician Chet Faker.
3. Beer Bowl: San Francisco vs. Baltimore: It will be more than just city pride on the line when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. Two craft brewers will be putting their signature beers on the line as well. San Francisco based Anchor Brewing and Maryland based Flying Dog Brewery have crafted a friendly wager between the breweries. According to the Anchor Brewing website: "The losing brewery must pour the opposition's signature beer in their taproom for one week while tour staff wears Super Bowl Champion gear from the winning team." The selected beers are Anchor Steam Beer and Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA.
4. Major League Beer: Boulevard Brewing already considers itself Kansas City's hometown beer. Now the brewery is showing its loyalty once again by linking up with another local sports team. Boulevard has inked a deal to become the official craft beer sponsor of Major League Soccer's Sporting KC. The announcement comes as the brewery finishes a successful first season as one of three official beer sponsors of MLB's Kansas City Royals. In another sign of the brewery's popularity, it announced this week it would expand the number of brewery tours it offers each week. The increase is an attempt to ease a log jam which sometimes saw online reservations for weekend tours fill up three months in advance.
5. This Dogfish Is One Louder: Dogfish Craft Brewery is releasing its first new core beer since 2007. It's a beer/wine hybrid, a style Dogfish Head has focused on through the years in releases such as Midas Touch and Raison D'tre. The new release adds one new ingredient to the brewery's best-selling 60 Minute IPA: Syrah grape must from California. In a nod to its heritage, the name of the new beer is Sixty-One. The label for the new release was painted by Dogfish founder and owner Sam Calagione and the according to the brewery "is a twist on a typical watercolor. Rather than using water, Sam mixed the green pigment with beer and the red pigment with wine. And because Sixty-One pairs so well with chocolate, he painted the browns on the label with melted chocolate."
6. Where Beer is Cheaper Than Water: The first sign beer is a big part of local culture? When it costs less than water. Such is the case in the Czech Republic, where a pint costs about one dollar and a pint of water cost two dollars. But now the country's Health Minister Leos Heger has started a campaign to reverse the trend. According to the Wall Street Journal, Heger is "proposing that restaurants and bars be required to offer at least one nonalcoholic beverage at a price lower than that of the same amount of beer."
-By CNBC's Tom Rotunno; Follow him on Twitter
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