Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. Goose Island Founder and CEO Steps Down: The man who built Chicago's Goose Island Brewing into a craft beer heavyweight is stepping down. John Hall, who started the company in 1987, announced he will be stepping down effective Jan. 30, 2013. He will be replaced by Anhesuer-Busch veteran Andy Goeler. Anheuser-Busch Inbev acquired Goose Island in 2011 at a price near $40 million.
2. Craft Collaboration Continues: raft brewers are quick to cite the spirit of cooperation between brewers, which has led to frequent collaborations. This week two of the "craft beer in cans" pioneers announced they were teaming up for a new brew. Oskar Blues Brewery nd Ska Brewing are joining together to produce "oSKAr the G'Rauch Smoked IPA" to celebrate the Ten Year "CANiversary" of Dale's Pale Ale and craft beer in-a-can. The spirit of collaboration also is taking hold overseas where China's leading craft brewer, Shanghai-based Boxing Cat Brewery s teaming up with Denmark's Mikkeller beer brand to produce "Bruce ChiLee IPA," a beer infused with Chinese green chilies.
3. The Art of Naming a Beer: enver-based Dillon Dam Brewery ecently teamed up with the Denver Museum of Art, or DAM, to create a beer in honor of the museum's new Van Gogh exhibit. The brewery held a contest on itsFacebook page soliciting names for the new brew, a French farmhouse-style ale known as Bière de Garde. The winning name? "Dam Gogh," which beat out "Van Gogh After Glow," "Old Gold," and "Vincent Van Snow."
4. Guinness Wants You to Be Generous: Diageo's Guinness Brewery recently rolled out a new beer for the holiday season, Guinness Generous Ale. To mark the release of the new brew, Guinness is asking consumers for some generosity. Guinness has launched a website (www.GuinnessGivesBack.com), where consumers can pledge an hour of their time to do something "generous" this holiday season: "be it gift-wrapping for a friend, assisting in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, being a designated driver or even lending fantasy football advice to the last place team in your league." Consumers can check out the website to see the acts of generosity others are pledging.
5. Stay Crafty San Diego: Funny man Will Ferrell has joined with San Diego-area craft brewers to help raise money Cancer for College. Ferrell is hosting what is being called the "Will Powered Cancer for College Holiday Craft Beer Bus and Jumpsuit Jubilee," a craft beer bus tour that will make its way around San Diego area breweries. The tickets for the tour, which is sold out, ranged in price from $300 to $550 with proceeds going toward the Cancer for College, which provides college scholarships for cancer survivors and amputees. What's behind the red jumpsuits? The organizers say "To get in the festive holiday atmosphere, everyone will be sporting the most awesome red jumpsuit in the entire world."
6. Pakistan Brewery Grabs Hollywood Spotlight: lcohol is banned in Pakistan, but that hasn't stopped the owners of 150-year-old Murree Brewery from keeping the brewery going. Now the brand is receiving an unlikely boost. When Scout Willis, the daughter of Hollywood stars Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, was arrested in New York last June for underage drinking it made national headlines. The beer Willis was holding at the time of her arrest was a can of Murree lager and the company was flooded with emails about its beer. "Demi Moore and Bruce Willis' daughter gave us multi-million dollars' worth of publicity by default. We plan to go to the United States and make a queue to hug both the daughter and the mother," a brewery official recently joked with Reuters. The brewery has used the public relations boost to line up distributors here in the United States. The company tells Reuters the beer could arrive here in the United States as soon as the early part of next year.
Don't Forget: Consumer Nation is looking for the most-loved beer label of 2012. Submit your favorites to BoozeNews@nbcuni.com.
-By Tom Rotunno, CNBC Senior Editor; Follow her @tomrotunno.
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