Six items that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. Beer Brands on The Rise: Large brewers may be having a difficult time domestically, but beer brands remain strong globally, according to the latest BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report. The beer category was the largest gainer among all sectors in the 8th annual survey from WPP and Millward Brown, improving 36 percent.
The beer brands with the highest overall brand value were Bud Light with a brand value of $10.8 million (up 30 percent), Budweiser with a brand value of $9.5 million (up 26 percent) and Heineken, up 36 percent with a brand value of $8.2 million. Corona at $6.6 million and Skol at 6.5 million round out the top 5 most valuable global beer brands. Four of the top 20 "fastest rising" brands came from the beer sector with Brahma increasing 61 percent to a brand value of $3.8 million.
2. MMM Hops: Hanson was one of the original boy bands, selling more than 10 million copies of their debut album back in 1997. The brothers are long past their teen years and have been playing together for 21 years now. To mark the occasion the band is releasing its own branded beer in partnership with Oklahoma craft brewery Mustang Brewing. The appropriately named beer is called MMMHops, an homage to the group's 1997 hit MMMBop. The Oklahoma-born band is launching the beer slightly earlier than planned in order to raise money to benefit Red Cross efforts helping those affected by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.
3. Hops for Heroes: Beer and baseball have always gone well together and now a group of brewers is bringing the two together in an unusual way to benefit military servicemen and their families. Known as "Hops for Heroes" the project is bringing together nine different breweries from across the country to create Homefront IPA, a beer aged with Louisville Slugger baseball bats. The project was started by former MLB player Chris Ray, an avid homebrewer and co-founder of Center of the Universe Brewing Co. in Virginia. Participating breweries include: Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Fla., Sly Fox Brewing Co. in Pottstown, Pa., Perennial Artisan Ales in St. Louis, 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, the Phoenix Ale Brewery in Phoenix, Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont, Colo., and Stone Brewing Co., in Escondido, Calif.
4. Guinness Is Good For You?: Known as a famous advertising slogan, consumers will soon be able to decide for themselves if "Guinness is Good For You" by reading the nutritional label on a Guinness bottle. The Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has granted the alcohol industry permission to voluntarily provide nutritional serving information on beer, wine and spirits labels. Consumers will now be able to find such information as the serving size, number of servings per container, alcohol per serving, number of calories, and number of grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving. Prior to the TTB ruling, it was illegal for a beverage company to provide this information. Fittingly the owner of the Guinness brand, Diageo, was one of the alcohol industry leaders working to get the new ruling passed.
5. Brewing Up Bratwurst: Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewing is known for its "off centered ales" and it's now unveiling a line of foods infused with some of those offbeat beers. The brewery is releasing a line of packaged foods including canned clam chowder, four varieties of chicken and pork sausages and jarred pickles.
6. No Boston Beer At Pittsburgh Bar: Sports rivalries are known to inflame local pride in fans. Now a Pittsburgh bar is banning Boston beer for the duration of the Pittsburgh Penguins match-up with the Boston Bruins. Howlers bar is making headlines by refusing to sell Sam Adams beer for as long as the NHL playoff series lasts. It's not the fist time opposing cities have distanced themselves from Boston products during the NHL playoffs. Both Vancouver and Montreal have made similar moves in past showdowns against the Bruins.
-By CNBC's Tom Rotunno. Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno
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