This week in beer, wine and spirits news: Samuel Adams gets canned, Anchor Brewing quadruples its size in San Francisco and a Napa winery goes to the bottom of the ocean floor in the quest for the perfect Cabernet.
1. I WILL Put Beer in a Can, Sam I Am! Boston Beer Founder and Chairman Jim Koch has spent decades railing against the idea of putting his beer in a can. For Koch, the issue was taste and a fear of sacrificing the flavor his customers have come to expect. But after "two years of ergonomic and sensory research and testing" Koch caved to the can and Boston Beer will start putting a few of its beers, its flagship Boston Lager and Summer Ale, in cans starting early this summer.
Why cans? Bottles are banned from many beaches and other public areas and, frankly, they fit better in your golf bag! But don't worry glass purists, the bottles will still be available.
2. Dropping Anchor: There are big things brewing in San Francisco. Anchor Brewing, already the city's largest manufacturer, is boosting its presence in the city. The brewery will be expanding its operations with a project at the city's Pier 48, a move that will quadruple its annual production capacity from 180,000 barrels to 680,000 barrels. In addition to the brewing facility, the new Anchor building will also feature a restaurant and museum. A beer museum? Suddenly, the number of "art lovers" just shot through the roof!
3. Guinness Gives Back: St. Patrick's Day may be the biggest day of the year for Diageo's Guinness brand, with an estimated 13 million pints of Guinness served. Now the company is hoping to spread the St. Patrick's Day cheer through its Guinness Gives Back program. Guinness is partnering with the Leary Firefighters Foundation to "encourage consumers to get involved through the brand's "$100,000 Pour." Guinness is asking consumers to text "Guinness [your first name]" to 878787 and each pledge will represent $1 towards the Guinness donation to the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
According to Guinness, "In response to their text, fans will receive a link to an image of a personalized pint glass and a confirmation number. Fans can enter their confirmation number at GuinnessGivesBack.com and find the pint they "poured" within the 100,000 pint mosaic. Progress toward completion of the mosaic will also be tracked in real time on a billboard in New York City's Times Square."
4. Stella Goes Hollywood: Hollywood's biggest night of the year will be taking place Sunday evening when the 85th Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles. It's traditionally one of the most watched television events of the year and Anheuser-Busch InBev will be using the occasion to showcase the Stella Artois brand. The beer will be featured in a 30-second ad highlighting the artistry behind the beer's "signature chalice." The ad shows a glass maker handcrafting the Stella Artois chalice and concludes with the tagline "If this much care goes into the chalice, imagine what goes into the beer." The ad is part of a larger Stella Artois campaign celebrating the chalice which will roll out over the coming months.
5. More Cider, Please!: Cider is one of the hottest categories in the drink space but guess what? Cider drinkers would drink even more if they could, according to the Alcoholic Beverage DemandTracker by Consumer Edge Insights. The No. 1 reason cider lovers cited for not drinking more cider is that it's not always available in bars and restaurants. So, the key to growing the market is distribution, the survey found. Among those who said they don't drink cider, 22 percent said they thought it was "not for people their age."
6. Under the Sea: Napa Valley-based Mira Winery is going to great, ahem, depths in their effort to perfect the aging process. Literally. The winery has placed four cases of its 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in cages that will rest on the bottom of the harbor in Charleston, S.C., (where the winery also distributes its wine.) According to the Napa Valley Register, Mira is the first winery to experiment with aging wine in the ocean. It will be tested by local sommeliers after three months to see how it compares to the same vintage that has been stored above ground. The Register says the experiment is inspired by generations of "explorers [who] have recovered wine from sunken ships and declared the wine to be enhanced by the underwater elements, such as its movements."
-By CNBC's Tom Rotunno; Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno
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